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Budget Eats in Las Vegas: 10 Restaurants to Help Stretch Your Dollars



Las Vegas has become a serious food lover’s destination with an impressive line-up of first-class restaurants, but what if you’re looking for something more wallet-friendly? You’ll probably want to venture off the Strip for the best deals, but there are still good values to be found on the Strip as well.

Downtown Las Vegas and Chinatown are full of terrific small restaurants with food prices that will fill your tummy and keep your bank balance healthy all at the same time. Le Thai in Downtown Las Vegas offers a menu of delicious Thai dishes for very reasonable prices. Their lunch menu features a $9.95 special with a main dish, rice and a drink--a tough deal to beat no matter what part of town you’re in.

Lunch specials and happy hours are great ways to find value-priced food. In Vegas, you can find two happy hours at many restaurants: one during the late afternoon and one late at night.

Buffets were once the best place to load up on big portions of food for the lowest prices, and while most buffets have changed their style (and increased their prices), some are still a great value. The Garden Court Buffet in Downtown Las Vegas has been a locals’ favorite for years, and it still offers a large selection of food for less than the cost of many craft cocktails.

Scroll down to read the rest of our recommendations on Las Vegas' best restaurants for food deals.


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This vintage Las Vegas bar and restaurant has been open since 1972, and this classic has retained its "Old Vegas" ambiance. Breakfast is served around the clock, but the menu doesn't stop there. Burgers, sandwiches and steaks are just a few of the selections. Generous portions almost guarantee that you won't be able to clean your plate. In addition to its extensive menu, the Peppermill also offers a selection of large and delicious adult drinks, like its signature 64 ounce Scorpion. The d├ęcor here feels virtually unchanged from a prior era in Las Vegas, which is part of the charm. Instead of feeling dated, it's retro in the best way, with reasonable prices that also seem to be a hold-over from a past age. The Peppermill has Happy Hours twice a day, and both feature half-price good drinks and appetizers for under $10.

Recommended for Best Value because: The Peppermill's generous portions offer diners a great value around the clock--they're open 24/7.

Terrisa's expert tip: The breakfast menu is served around the clock and includes a vast selection of dishes, including traditional meats and eggs, pancakes and waffles, Eggs Benedict, biscuits and gravy, omelets and even corned beef hash.

Read more about Peppermill Restaurant →


Dirt Dog


Dirt Dog comes from Los Angeles, and it's stayed true to its street food origins. The chow here is hinted at in the name, but it's not dirt on those dogs--it's delicious toppings like Bacon Thousand Island, chimichurri sauce, guacamole, chili or one of many other mouth-watering additions to the hot dogs here. There are also several varieties of fries, from the rather plain-sounding garlic fries to the Filthy Fries, with guacamole, chipotle aioli, cheddar and cotija cheese. Best of all, you can chow down on a super-sized dog with all the fixings for less than $8. Dirt Dog has two locations in Las Vegas, one on the Strip at Bally's Grand Bazaar and one at 8390 S. Rainbow.

Recommended for Best Value because: Dirt Dog serves up hot dogs and fries overflowing with delicious toppings for prices that will leave you some change.

Terrisa's expert tip: The Dirt Dog at Bally's Grand Bazaar Shops is a kiosk location with a limited menu and no seating, but they will bring your dogs to you at any of the bars in the area.

Read more about Dirt Dog →


Located west of the Strip in Chinatown, Monta Ramen has a devoted following for its distinctive types of ramen. In addition to Shoyu Ramen, which comes with a chicken or vegetable-based broth, Monta serves "Kurume" style Tonkotsu ramen with a broth made from pork bones and imported soy sauce from Japan. This style of ramen is distinguished by its rich pork broth and thin noodles. Miso Ramen, a heartier soup, is prepared with miso and oily pork broth. Basic toppings are green onions, chashu, bamboo shoots and kikurage, and special toppings include roasted pork, nori, nitamago and mustard leaf. Other dishes include fried rice and rice bowls.

Read more about Monta Ramen →


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In-N-Out Burger


In-N-Out is a burger place that hasn't strayed far from its roots as a basic drive-thru hamburger restaurant. The succinct menu is all about the burgers--you won't find chicken sandwiches or salads at In-N-Out. You also won't see the "secret" menu that In-N-Out devotees find so exciting: options like "protein style," with the patty wrapped in lettuce, or the most popular choice, "animal style," with pickles, extra spread, and grilled onions. (Most of the secret menu is posted on In-N-Out's website.) The number of specialized options should satisfy even the pickiest burger lover, but even if you never stray from the posted menu, all the burgers here are freshly prepared from ingredients that were never frozen or pre-packaged. In-N-Out makes their own patties and buns, and the restaurant's emphasis on fresh, quality ingredients pays off in delicious burgers, fries and shakes.

Recommended for Best Value because: The flavor-packed burgers at In-N-Out are made to order with the freshest ingredients.

Terrisa's expert tip: While the long line at In-N-Out may look daunting, don't worry--it moves with amazing efficiency and you'll have your burger in far less time than you'd think.

Read more about In-N-Out Burger →


Viva Las Arepas


If you're looking for inexpensive, delicious food, Viva Las Arepas is worth a stop. This family-owned restaurant serves Venezuelan food that's been a hit with diners for years. The original location is in Downtown Las Vegas, and it continues to gain fans with its flavor-packed arepas, Venezuelan-style sandwiches that come for only about $6 to $7 each. You'll find beef, ham and cheese, Perico, cachapa, shredded chicken, pork, black beans and cheese, shrimp and vegetarian, along with a few other variations. The restaurant is an unfussy spot with casual counter ordering, suitable for families and definitely recommended for anyone trying to save a few dollars on their food expenditures.

Recommended for Best Value because: The inexpensive, tasty Venezuelan arepas at Viva Las Arepas will fill you up without breaking the bank.

Terrisa's expert tip: Besides the authentic arepas, you'll also find fried plantain and fried yucca root at Viva Las Arepas, as well as pastelitos, empanadas, pork fried rinds and other regional dishes.

Read more about Viva Las Arepas →




When Tacos El Gordo location on the Strip re-opened, devoted fans of this restaurant were delighted. There's nothing fancy here--it's a walk-up counter where you order and pick up at the same place--but the tacos are worth it. Sure, you can order the usual carne asada, but you can also get tripe (tripa), brains (sesos), or beef and cactus on their handmade tortillas. Tacos El Gordo in Southern California earned a dedicated group of followers, and in Las Vegas, it's been the same. If you're off the Strip, the East Charleston location is also close to the Strip and Downtown, making it easy to find in case you're in need of tacos.

Recommended for Best Value because: When late-night cravings hit for authentic tacos, head to Tacos el Gordo on the north end of the Strip.

Terrisa's expert tip: Lines at Tacos el Gordo depend on what you want to order, so take the time to make sure you're in the right line. The carne asada lines are long, but the al pastor is the real crowd pleaser.

Read more about Tacos El Gordo →




Downtown Las Vegas has been attracting some great local restaurants, and Le Thai was among the first to arrive. Its flavorful, reasonably priced food is served in a casual, welcoming environment that almost feels like it could be at a friend's house. Servers are friendly and happy to give suggestions. Lunch specials are $9.95 and include several types of curry, vegetable stir fry or spicy eggplant, all with a choice of protein (chicken, beef, pork, tofu or shrimp for $1 extra) and a drink. The menu also offers soup, salad and noodle dishes. Take out is available. Appetizers are inexpensive and easy to share, like the tasty chicken satay or the ever-popular crispy spring rolls. Le Thai is located close to many of the downtown area's attractions, making it a good choice for a stop if you're sight-seeing in Downtown Las Vegas.

Recommended for Best Value because: Convenient locations and a menu full of reasonably priced food make Le Thai's a solid choice for great food deals.

Terrisa's expert tip: Le Thai has a second location at 2202 W. Charleston, giving diners more than one location in the Downtown area to enjoy their tasty eats and budget-friendly prices.

Read more about Le Thai →


3
East Of The Strip


Village Pub and Cafe (formerly Ellis Island Cafe) has been a favorite of Las Vegas locals and visitors for decades. Located inside the unpretentious Ellis Island Casino Hotel Brewery, the cafe serves up breakfast dishes, steaks, sandwiches, burgers, pasta and a host of other dishes. The King Cut Prime Rib is one of the restaurant's most popular items, but the wide array of options gives diners a selection that can't be beaten, and at some of the best prices in town. Since Ellis Island is also a brewery, as a bonus you can enjoy a hand-crafted beer with your meal. Since the cafe is open 24/7, it's a perfect place to stop for middle-of-the-night cravings. Ask about the Top Sirloin Steak Special, which might not be on the menu but is well-known as one of the best steak specials in town.

Recommended for Best Value because: The Village Pub and Cafe at Ellis Island is just a short drive east of the Strip and is known for its inexpensive food.

Terrisa's expert tip: The famous $7.99 10-ounce steak special at Ellis Island's Village Pub is available with a players club coupon and the "Play $5, Get $2 Coupon," which are available at a kiosk when you pay $5.

Read more about Village Pub and Cafe →


Garden Court Buffet
Photo courtesy of Main Street Station


At one time, Las Vegas was once called the "Buffet Capital of the World." The city's culinary style has evolved, but there are still plenty of all-you-can-eat spreads even though buffets aren't always the inexpensive option they once were. Main Street Station's buffet is still affordable, and it's loaded with a wide variety of dishes you expect to find at a buffet. Located just off Fremont Street, this buffet has been known as one of Downtown's best buffets for years. Diners have plenty to choose from, and the limitless portions are a great idea if you're trying to fill up big eaters. With the wide selection of dishes, everyone is sure to find something they like.

Recommended for Best Value because: The Garden Court Buffet is a good old-fashioned Vegas buffet offering a large selection of food for less than $20 per person for most meals.

Terrisa's expert tip: While the Friday seafood dinner is the most expensive option at Garden Court Buffet, it's still a steal at $29.99 per person, without a players card.

Read more about Garden Court Buffet →




Secret Pizza at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is so secret that you won't find it on the hotel's restaurant website listings. Located on the third floor, this little pizza joint is unmarked. Walk down a hallway decorated with album covers, and you'll find it at the end of the hallway. Slices start at about $5 and whole pies start at around $25. While the prices might be a little higher than you'll find off the Strip, Secret Pizza offers a deal compared to most other dining options on the Strip. You won't find anything incredibly fancy here as far as flavors, but you will find a solid slice of pizza and as a bonus, you can stop in for a post-evening-out slice of pie until at least 4 a.m. Beer, wine, soda and dessert are also available.

Recommended for Best Value because: Secret Pizza's slices are just the thing when you're craving a slice at the end of a long night.

Terrisa's expert tip: To find this unmarked restaurant, go to the third floor and find a hallway near Jaleo. Look for the album covers on the walls to verify you're in the right place and, presto, there's Secret Pizza.

Read more about Secret Pizza at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas →


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Meet Terrisa Meeks

Terrisa Meeks is a native born, life-long resident of Las Vegas. She's watched Las Vegas grow and change over the years, especially the ever-evolving Las Vegas Strip. She still enjoys hanging...  More About Terrisa

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