Other than gambling, eating just might be the biggest reason people come to Las Vegas.  In addition to the ubiquitous buffet, the city has an enormous number of restaurants, some of which are among the best you’ll find anywhere.  So where should you eat?

  • We have to start with the buffet.  It isn’t a $2.99 special anymore.  The best buffets will set you back around $50 or more at dinner.  Are they worth it?  If you have a taste for exotic foods or want to try a lot of things, maybe they are.  For the best of the best, consider Bacchanal at Caesars Palace, Wicked Spoon at Cosmopolitan and the buffets at Aria, Bellagio and Wynn.
  • If you want to save some money, consider having lunch or brunch instead of dinner.  Other than a few high end dishes and meats, you’ll get much of the same food at a buffet at midday.  If the buffet doesn’t close between lunch and dinner, go right before the meal changes and you’ll be able to try the dinner menu at the cheaper price.
  • If you wander Off Strip, you can find some very good buffet values.  Places like the Orleans, Palms, Gold Coast and Palace Station put out a decent spread for half the price you’d pay on the Strip.
  • For cheap food, there are still a few old fashioned coffee shops like those at Ellis Island and Four Queens with good food specials at a fair price.  Most hotels have some sort of food court but the best variety is at the Miracle Mile shops and Fashion Show Mall.
  • Most all the fast food suspects are available in Las Vegas, but places like In n Out Burger, Shake Shack and White Castle offer you options you may not have where you live.  Each is worth trying.
  • If you are looking for something a bit nicer, the Strip has a number of “fancy” restaurants with a price to match.  Many feature the name of a celebrity chef who may visit a couple of times a year but has little to do with the day to day operation.  Again, if you want to try one, consider visiting at lunch.  I can personally vouch for Mesa Grill and Hell’s Kitchen.
  • For that old school  Vegas feel, here’s a few places to check out:  The Golden Steer steakhouse on west Sahara, Hugo’s Cellar at the Four Queens, the Steakhouse at Circus Circus and the Peppermill restaurant on the north end of the Strip.
  • One way to get a filling meal or snack is to grab a slice of pizza.  There must be a few dozen spots and some are quite good.  Downtown, check out Pizza Rock, across from the Downtown Grand, and Evel Pie on East Fremont.  On the Strip, “Secret Pizza” at Cosmopolitan is too popular to be a secret anymore, but Pin Up Pizza at Planet Hollywood and 550 Pizza at Aria also get high marks.  Skip the generic Sbarro, but most any other spot is at least decent.
  • While there are almost as many places serving up gourmet burgers as there are steakhouses, the humble hot dog is harder to find.  Still, for an upscale take on this budget sausage, consider checking out Haute Doggery on the Linq Promendade or Dirt Dog in the Grand Bazaar Shops.  Fremont Street boasts American Coney Island at the D.