10 Best Dining: You Don't Have To Splurge To Enjoy A Memorable Dining Experience At These Las Vegas Restaurants
By Heather Turk
Las Vegas Local Expert
Las Vegas may be known for its many high-end celebrity chef restaurants, but that doesn't mean there aren't still plenty of affordable dining options in town--and no, we don't mean food courts and all-you-can-eat buffets. From amazing happy hours at restaurants like Brio Tuscan Grille and Meatball Spot to lunchtime deals at Baja Miguel's and Sushi Roku, no matter what time of day, you don't have to break the bank to cure your hunger pangs. In fact, Wolfgang Puck's Postrio Bar & Grill even offers an all-day, every day happy hour!
While some deals are hard to ignore (Free lite bites for locals and Venetian/Palazzo hotel guests at Lavo? All-you-can-eat fish & chips at Crown & Anchor?), others must be experienced to be believed. Guests looking for a memorable dining experience that won't cost a fortune won't be disappointed by Mon Ami Gabi, which is known for its affordable French bistro fare and unbeatable Strip-side ambiance, while families and those looking for a good time will love Dick's Last Resort for its hilarious equivalent of dinner and a show. And don't forget about special occasions--at Grimaldi's, your pizza is free on your birthday if you are a Grimaldi's VIP.
Here are 10 of the city's best value restaurants, sure to please both palates and pocketbooks alike.
10 Lavo Italian Restaurant
A celebrity favorite, this Strip hot spot is an Italian restaurant by day (or early evening) and a hip nightclub at night. Boasting a picturesque Strip-front patio and sumptuous Southern Italian cuisine, signature offerings include the Baked Clams Oreganato, Chicken and Mushroom Ravioli and Roasted Chilean Sea Bass. There's also a selection of brick oven pizzas and USDA Prime steaks to tempt taste buds with. Of course, no meal would be complete without one of Lavo's famous Kobe Meatballs, as seen on the Travel Channel's "Meatball Paradise." Guests can enjoy their meatball with sausage ragu, whipped fresh ricotta or a salad and garlic crostini. After dinner, guests can dance off the excess calories in the second-story nightclub, which features resident DJs nightly. (702-791-1800)
9 Dick's Last Resort
Famous for its deliciously messy cuisine, zany décor, rowdy wait staff, live bands and let-loose atmosphere, Dick's Last Resort offers a casual, down-to-earth entertainment option for visitors to the Entertainment Capital of the World. Its sassy staff is sure to deliver a side order of friendly sarcasm and clever wisecracks as guests dig in to such tasty American dishes as the BBQ Pork Ribs or Big Ass Burger. Guests can wash everything down with one of 18 draft beers on tap or eight different flavors of signature-blended daiquiris. Although ideal for bachelor and bachelorette parties, Dick's is also a hit with families thanks to its "Rugrats Menu," which features a variety of childhood favorites like the Chicky Tenders or Grilled Cheese Sammich with fries and a drink for only $10. (702-597-7991)
8 Sushi Roku
With its striking Strip views and daily lunch specials, it's no wonder sushi fanatics love Sushi Roku. Guests can enjoy one of several lunch specials without breaking the bank, like the popular Chef's Sushi Assortment--seven pieces of sushi and a spicy tuna roll for only $19. Diners can also build their own lunchtime combinations, choosing from chicken, beef or salmon teriyaki and pairing their selection with assorted tempura, sashimi or a California roll. Having attracted everyone from Usher to Kris Jenner to its tables, one bite and it's easy to see why Sushi Roku is a star in its own right. (702-733-7373)
7 Mon Ami Gabi
While the people-watching at Mon Ami Gabi is unparalleled (there's nothing like a street-side view of the Strip), the food is also worth noting. There is always something new to try on the classic French bistro's ever-evolving menu. Traditional menu favorites include the Onion Soup au Gratin with bubbling baked Gruyere and the trademark Steak Frites. For those looking to indulge in a unique dish, the Wild Escargots de Bourgogne with garlic-herb butter is to die for. To complement the cuisine, an extensive selection of more than 80 boutique French wine varietals--handpicked by Gabino Sotelino himself--are served by the glass or bottle from the restaurant's signature rolling wine cart. (702-944-4224)
6 Wolfgang Puck's Postrio Bar & Grill
The creation of famous chef and restauranteur Wolfgang Puck, Postrio Bar & Grille features a contemporary vision of American tavern cuisine for lunch and dinner. Signature dishes include the Lobster Club Sandwich with applewood smoked bacon, the Ricotta Gnocchi with sweet fennel sausage bolognese and the Grilled Prime Burger with Vermont cheddar cheese and smoked onion marmalade. There's also a selection of pizzas, pastas and desserts sure to leave taste buds salivating for more. A reasonably priced yet expansive wine list and a more casual patio seating area increase the restaurant's appeal, as does an all-day, every day happy hour at the bar. (702-796-1110)
Grimaldi's is arguably the city's best pizzeria. Don't believe us? The world-famous Brooklyn pizzeria has garnered more awards than any other pizzeria in the country and has more celebrity sightings than most 5-star restaurants. Now with six locations in Las Vegas to choose from, including two on the Strip (inside Fashion Show and The Shoppes at The Palazzo), guests can enjoy Grimaldi's delicious coal-fired brick oven pizzas no matter what side of town they're on. To keep the integrity of the water used in the Brooklyn pizzeria location, Grimaldi's hired a chemist to analyze and recreate the mineral content and exact composition of the water to ensure the dough made in Las Vegas tastes just as it does in Brooklyn. That alongside its fresh ingredients, "secret recipe" pizza sauce and handmade mozzarella cheese and dough makes Grimaldi's pies the best in Las Vegas. (702-657-9400)
4 Meatball Spot
Quickly becoming a celebrity hot spot thanks to celebrity chef Carla Pellegrino, Meatball Spot offers a selection of meatball dishes, pizzas and salads as well as an array of mojitos, sangrias and cocktail floats. French country design unites with a SoHo meets Malibu setting at the dynamic restaurant, where a white picket fence frames a spacious patio with a garden-style setting outside and a lively bar is the centerpiece to the dining room inside. A takeaway counter offers pizza by the slice and other quick bites for those catching a movie at the nearby AMC Theatres. Or, for a post-movie treat or a refreshing shopping pick-me-up, hit up the gelato bar or try one of the restaurant's sinfully delicious milkshakes. (702-641-7768)
3 Baja Miguel's
This festive cantina located inside the South Point is known for its tasty south-of-the-border favorites. Tacos, tamales, enchiladas, chimichangas, flautas, carne asadas and sizzling fajitas are among the restaurant's bestsellers. For the bravehearted, Baja Miguel's colorful tequila bar offers a wide selection of fiery, mouth-watering spirits. Be sure to visit Wed.-Sun. from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. when guests can enjoy a frozen margarita, the Fiedo soup and their choice of two entrees--a beef, chicken or cheese enchilada, the chicken or beef flautas, the chili relleno or the chicken, ground or shredded beef tacos--plus Mexican rice and refried beans for only $9.95. It's one of the best (and most filling) deals in town! (702-797-8075)
2 Crown & Anchor
Although it doesn't look like much from the outside, this popular 24-hour pub (which also has a second location at 4755 Spring Mountain Road) serves some of the best food in town. Famous for its homemade chicken fingers, the restaurant is also known for serving some of the best fish & chips this side of London as well as one of Las Vegas' most savory burgers--the 1/2 pound Angus British Burger with bacon and Stilton cheese. Popular with soccer fans, guests can catch all the big games while drinking one of 30 beer selections on tap. Guests can even drink with their dog, as pets are welcome at the Tropicana location's fenced patio. (702-739-8676)
1 Brio Tuscan Grille
Enjoy the tastes of Tuscany without leaving the country at this popular Italian chain, which also has a location in Summerlin's Tivoli Village. Serving an array of pastas, flatbreads, steaks and grilled specialties, the restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner as well as for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Probably its busiest time of day, however, is during happy hour Mon.-Fri. from 3-6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.-close when the restaurant offers its popular Tuscan Tasters menu at the bar. Guests can enjoy full-size portions of some of Brio's most delicious menu items, like the Margherita Flatbread and Beef Carpaccio, for only $3.95. It's arguably the best deal in town! (702-914-9145)
About Heather Turk
A graduate of the University of Southern California, Heather's byline has appeared everywhere from The Los Angeles Times to Playboy.com--with her review of The Truman Show making the front page of The Detroit News' movie section when she was just 16 years old. When she's not at her computer writing a story for one of the many outlets she freelances for (including Allegiant Air's in-flight magazine Sunseeker, the Los Angeles Times Las Vegas Guide and CBS Las Vegas), she can often be found at the movies, on the Strip checking out the latest restaurant/show/spa/hotel opening or at Disneyland.
Read more about Heather Turk here.