This vintage Las Vegas bar and restaurant has been open since 1972, and this classic has retained its "Old Vegas" ambiance. Breakfast is always available, 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 décor 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.
Recommended for Best Value because: The Peppermill's generous portions and expansive menu give diners a lot to choose from.
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.
When Chef Jose Andres decided to combine flavors from Mexico and China, the result was China Poblano. This mash-up of cuisines works wonderfully, with offerings that are both traditional and new. It's not fusion, but instead an innovative mix. Guests enjoy a menu that offers chips and salsa, dim sum, tacos, noodles and more. Dishes like Dan Dan Mian show off Chef Andres' talent at combining the two cuisines: hand-cut wheat noodles with Szechuan ground pork sauce, toasted peanuts, cilantro, chile pequin and Chinkiang vinegar. The tasting menu is only $35 per person here, a real steal. Dim sum is under $20, and tacos are $6-7, all bargains for food from this chef and for dining on the Strip.
Recommended for Best Value because: Bringing together Chinese and Mexican cuisines, China Poblano's menu is full of favorites like tacos, noodles and dim sum.
Terrisa's expert tip: China Poblano also offers a take-out menu with most of the same items available on their regular menu, plus three "take-out feasts," each for $40: Mexican for Two, Chinese for Two or Noodles & Tacos for Two.
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.
Recommended for Best Value because: The deeply flavorful ramen at Monta Ramen is inexpensively priced and is some of the best in Las Vegas.
Terrisa's expert tip: Monta Ramen is less than three miles west of the Strip in Chinatown, where parking can often be an issue. If you have the option, take a taxi or use a ride share to avoid worrying about where to park the car.
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: In-N-Out uses the freshest ingredients for their burgers and fries, creating habit-forming food that fans rave about.
Terrisa's expert tip: If you haven't been to In-N-Out before, you might be put off by the long line for service. Don't worry--service is speedy and efficient here, and you'll have your order in no time.
If you're looking for inexpensive, delicious food, Viva Las Arepas is worth a stop. This family-owned restaurant serves Venezuelan food, and it'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-$8 each. You'll find beef, ham and cheese, 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 budget.
Recommended for Best Value because: Viva Las Arepas offers authentic Venezuelan arepas that are full of flavor and easy on the budget as well.
Terrisa's expert tip: In addition to the authentic arepas, the menu also includes fried plantain and fried yuca root, as well as pastelitos, empanadas, pork fried rinds and other regional dishes.
Tacos el Gordo on the Strip is one the most well-known stops for cheap eats in Las Vegas, perfect for a late-night snack after a night out. This small chain of restaurants attracts devoted fans, and one taste of their tacos explains why. There's nothing fancy here: it's a walk-up counter where you order and pick up at the same place. The focus isn't on décor--it's on the food. You could play it safe and order the carne asada, but you can also get tripe (tripa), brains (sesos) and cactus on their handmade tortillas. Tacos El Gordo originated in Southern California but has only expanded to Nevada so far. Aside from the Strip location, they also have two other locations in Las Vegas.
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.
Downtown Las Vegas has some great local restaurants, and Le Thai delivers on both taste and value. 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: Le Thai offers guests a casual, welcoming atmosphere and flavor-filled dishes at reasonable prices.
Terrisa's expert tip: Happy Hour happens at Le Thai Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. Appetizers are under $10, beers are $5 or less and cocktails are $5-$6.
The Village Pub and Café has been a favorite of Las Vegas locals and visitors for decades. Located inside the unpretentious Ellis Island Casino Hotel Brewery, the café 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 (and only $16.99), but the wide array of options gives guests a selection that can't be beat, and at some of the best prices in town. Since Ellis Island is also a brewery, as a bonus you can enjoy a local, hand-crafted beer with your meal. Since the café 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: Ellis Island's Village Pub and Café is well-known for its steak special and other tasty, cheap eats.
Terrisa's expert tip: The Village Pub and Café is only one of Ellis Island's restaurants, all of which offer great deals on food. The Front Yard is the new beer garden but guests will also find a barbeque restaurant and a pizzeria.
The new hotel casino in downtown Las Vegas, Circa, is home to some of the city's most talked about restaurants, like 8 East. This notable new Pan-Asian eatery is from a well-known Las Vegas chef, Dan Coughlin, who also helms downtown's Le Thai. At 8 East, dishes are both delicious and reasonably priced, showing off influences from Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai and Korean cuisines. Grab some tapas for sharing, like the ginger chicken dumplings or the pork belly bao. Entrees include brisket fried rice, Dan Dan noodles and lobster fried rice. Menu items are generally under $20. Guests will also find a solid selection of Japanese and Indian whiskies.
Recommended for Best Value because: With flavorful, inexpensive and original Pan-Asian dishes, 8 East offers guests great tastes without a big bill.
Terrisa's expert tip: The entirety of Circa, including its restaurants, is open only to those over 21 years of age. If you have kids with you, 8 East will be out as a dining option.
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 hall. Slices start at a little over $5 and whole pies start at around $27. 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 4 a.m. on weekends. Beer, wine, soda and dessert are also available.
Recommended for Best Value because: Secret Pizza will satisfy your craving for an authentic slice of pie at a wallet-friendly price.
Terrisa's expert tip: Go to the third floor to find Secret Pizza, which is down an unmarked corridor next to Jaleo and Blue Ribbon. Look for the hallway decorated with album covers.