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Couple's first time in Vegas - Tastiest cheap foods please

We're going to Vegas for the first time - spending Sun - Tues nights there. We're from Seattle - we love tasty beer, bbq, burritos, dumplings... not really into concept dining or going to places to "be seen". Honestly we just want food to taste good when we put it in our mouths without taking out a second mortgage. Looking for recommendations for all meals - brunch, lunch, dinner, and 4th meal...

We're staying at the Elara if that helps - but we're up for hoofing it/driving somewhere if it's tasty enough.


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  1. How much are you looking to spend per person per meal? Cheap is a vague term. About half a mile north of where you are staying is Ellis Island Casino. Ellis Island microbrews their own beer, root beer and hard cider. The restaurant has an off the menu steak special that is available 24/7. It includes a 20 ounce beer or root beer, soup or salad, 10 ounce top sirloin, green beans and choice of rice or potato. The cost is $8.99. The bbq restaurant is opens at 4:00 pm. It is a very limited menu. Whole or half rack of baby backs, half a chicken or half a rack and half a chicken. Everyone gets the same sides of cole slaw, baked beans, corn on the cob and garlic toast. With the players card the whole rack of baby backs is $13.99. You'll need to sign up for the players card to get the specials. You'll get $10 in free play. Before you eat you'll need to go to a kiosk, swipe your card and print out the coupon for the meal that you want. They also have a $5.99 steak and egg breakfast until 11:00 am. Tuscany Suites is around the corner from Ellis Island. While not fancy, the cafe and Mexican restaurants are good and reasonably priced. The Cosmopolitan, Bellagio and Aria all have good buffets. The Bellagio and Aria buffets don't close between meals. Get to the buffet about thirty minutes before the buffet switches meals and you can save some money by paying for the earlier meal.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Eric

      Probably looking at like $25-40/person for dinner - $10-20/person for other meals... thanks!

      This is all great info! Thank you!

      I've also heard of the $7.77 off-menu special at Mr. Lucky's - is it awful, though?

      1. re: lewalker

        I've never had the special at Mr. Luckys as I do not like shrimp. Some other restaurants to check out:
        Mon Ami Gabi at Paris http://monamigabi.com/wp-content/them...
        Milo's at the Cosmopolitan for their $22.14 three course lunch special. http://www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com/p...
        Prime Rib Loft at the Orleans http://www.orleanscasino.com/dine/the...
        The Oyster bar at Palace Station which is open 24/7 https://palacestation.sclv.com/Dining...
        Downtown is the Triple George Grill http://www.triplegeorgegrill.com/?no_...

        1. re: lewalker

          Yes the $7.77 special at Hard rock is awful. Everything garlicky and bad. Also they forced us to buy a drink and the beer was $7 so the total is $15! Not a deal at all! I would recommend Ellis island above Hard Rock. We were there during Liquid over Memorial Day and the ladies were all naked w/ g strings and guys were just grabbing the ladies from the patio! It was pretty crazy and not appetizing!

          1. re: chewbacca

            We were there during Liquid over Memorial Day and the ladies were all naked w/ g strings and guys were just grabbing the ladies from the patio!
            What hotel are you referring to because that's where I need to go.

            1. re: chewbacca

              Estiatorio Milos - is the lunch special 7 days/week or weekdays only?

        2. Lotus of Siam:
          one of the best Thai restaurants in the country. Not expensive, in a hole in the wall strip center off the main Strip, but not far.

          1. Okay, please consider The Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan hotel. Technically it's a "buffet," but it is the furthest thing from the pasta salads and mountains of crab legs style of Vegas buffet.

            A very well regarded local food radio show in LA, "Good Food with Evan Kleiman" with the famous Jonathan Gold in tow, recently did a profile of Vegas and they raved about The Wicked Spoon, as is proper, calling it the "the anti-buffet."

            They have something like 80 chefs working at time, constantly turning over dishes on the vast, enormous, mind-blowing array of cuisines.

            It's not cheap for a "buffet" at $40 a pop, but you will enter a culinary wonderland. My wife and sister and I did an overnight trip to Vegas recently just to go back there and eat. It's fantastic.

            1 Reply
            1. re: EarlyBird

              I just put up a lot of photos and a review of Wicked Spoon. It is indeed excellent.

            2. We go to Vegas a couple of times a year and a new favorite is Fat Choy in the Eureka Casino at 595 E. Sahara, not far from Lotus of Siam, which I also recommend. We like Fat Choy so much, we went there twice on a recent trip. The short rib grilled cheese is sooo good!

              Lotus of Siam has the best Thai beef salad I have ever had. Also love the Nam Kao Tod appetizer.

              I would also recommend Naked City Pizza. The original location is in a little divey bar on Arville, close to Spring Mountain Road. Great pizza! On our last trip, which was just last week, we found out there is a new location, haven't tried it yet but we will on our next trip.

              Ping Pang Pong at the Gold Coast is great for dim sum.

              There's a few ideas for you! Enjoy your trip!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Michelle

                I second Naked City Pizza, LoS, and Fat Choy. Have yet to visit PPP, but KJ in the Rio is quite good Dim Sum as well.

              2. For lunch or late night I recommend Tacos El Gordo. The dim sum at K J Dim Sum at the Rio was good for lunch too.

                DOCG at the Cosmopolitan had Happy Hour at the bar when I was in town. It was Monday-Thursday 5:30 to 7pm but only at the bar. Here is a link to the menu: http://www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com/p...

                If you want to splurge one evening I would recommend doing the Cut of the Week at Charlie Palmer Steak. The menu changes weekly but it is $48 for a three course dinner including a bottomless glass of wine. You have to ask for the menu once you are seated. They don't give it to you unless you ask.

                1. If you're into driving you could go to Shaanxi Gourmet just slightly North of the intersection of Spring Mountain and Jones. Dishes there are dirt cheap and good - and most of the bowls will feed two. I like the sour and spicy pig tripe soup and also the hot shaanxi noodles. In the same mini-mall you will find Chada Thai and China Mama - both also worthy of consideration.

                  1. Dae Jang Kaeum (DJK) Korean barbecue was a place in their little Chinatown (tiny area on spring Mountain road, easy to park there) that we liked better than Lotus of Siam. You can get a meal for two for about $35 or 40 that is really fun and interesting. They have the tabletop grill and will bring lots of side dishes with it and a variety of things for the grill. When we were there, we were the only ones not speaking Korean. Our server had limited English vocabulary but steered us well with pointing, especially when she figured out we were game to try it all. The meal even came with sake.

                    Not sure what it is like this year. Worth checking out.

                    1. I forgot to say, don't make the mistake of imagining you can walk anywhere in Vegas. The distance is deceiving. Rent a car or call a taxi.

                      The Culinary Academy has a Bistro that is open for lunch. I haven't been but others say it is good quality food and service for a reasonable price.

                      There is also a food truck scene that you might be interested in depending on where you are at the time.

                      1. You are really in a very good location to explore the center of the Strip.....look at the Miracle Mile restos on the Planet Hollywood website, you should find a couple of solid places to eat cheaply....Use TA to find different restaurants directly on the Strip (as said earlier, Mon Ami Gabi is great fun, quality, easy to walk to)....the side of the Strip that you are on does have a lot of "middle-America" fun & food that is very budget-conscious....just use GoogleMaps to discover...

                        1. Also check Groupon. There are several Strip restaurants on the site. KGB Burgers is on the site. It is owned by Kerry Simon who beat Cat Cora on Iron Chef America. The burgers are very good.

                          1. - Monta Ramen: Great ramen on Spring Mountain Road and a very inexpensive meal. (We paid $23 for two bowls of ramen, two sodas, and an appetizer.) My husband and I both like the Tonkatsu Ramen best so far, but we still haven't tried all the different types.

                            - Hash House A Go Go (multiple locations): My husband really likes this place and the portions are HUGE.

                            - Burger Bar (Mandalay Bay): I've been a couple times and haven't had a bad experience. It's not as overpriced as other Strip restaurants and serves a good burger.

                            - Border Grill (Mandalay Bay): The brunch is very popular, but it's a little pricey ($35 per person). However, if you sign up for the VIP club on their website, you get a "buy one entree, get one free" coupon, which does count towards a buy one, get one free brunch. (The coupon has an expiration date so people shouldn't sign up until fairly close to their trip/planned usage.)

                            - Restaurants at the Venetian and the Cosmopolitan: Not a specific recommendation but if you find yourself nearby and hungry, both of these hotels have a lot of great food options.

                            1. I second the recommendations for the $22 lunch special at Estiatorio Milos in the Cosmopolitan. One of the best meals we had in Vegas. We also loved the weekend brunch at Border Grill in Mandalay Bay. It is unlimited small plates and will easily keep you full until a late dinner or snack.

                              Although a lot of people bash it, we loved Hash House a Go Go. There are multiple locations but we went to one that was just next to Freemont Street. I live in the land of diners and IHOPs, so it was great to go somewhere and see some new and creative options for breakfast and lunch. I think we had breakfast there once and lunch there once. I wish there was one in this area.

                              1. Viva Las Arepas has tasty food and is next door to the great gelato place, Art of Flavors. Both feature onsite owners who care about their customers and show great pride in their work.

                                1. For Korean dumplings, go to M Sushi / Korean BBQ & Rolls

                                  They make their dumplings in-house and they are sooo good. The husband and wife team are really sweet, too.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: weimaraner

                                    Thanks for the tip! Do you like anything there besides the dumplings?

                                    1. re: Dave Feldman

                                      Sorry for the late response! Hope you went to check it out, but if you haven't, I've been there a few more times now, so I guess I am better suited to answer your question haha...

                                      Their spicy pork is really solid--better than most Korean restaurants...it has a nice balance of sweet and spicy, and they use good quality meat. I've tried their stir-fried noodles with meat and veggies...it's a bit different than Chinese chow mein; I'd say the flavors are more complex and interesting. Their rolls are ok, but I'd definitely go for the Korean dishes.

                                      1. re: weimaraner

                                        Haven't been to Las Vegas in a while, so your suggestions are most appreciated.