Dining in Las Vegas isn’t cheap. Sure there are inexpensive dishes but splurging on food in Las Vegas can get a bit expensive. Even ideas that seem cheap, aren’t always inexpensive. For example, eating at a bar can be inexpensive. Dining at a bar can also be as expensive as sitting at a table in the same restaurant. I’ll share ways to find better prices when dining in Las Vegas.
Leave the touristy areas for a cheap buffet
Leaving the Vegas Strip is usually a good start to saving money on dining. Almost everything away from the touristy parts of Sin City is less expensive.
Las Vegas buffets aren’t the deal they used to be. A dinner buffet on the Vegas Strip can come close to $100 per person (see Bacchanal at Caesars Palace). While the food may be delicious at this buffet, it’s not quite a great deal.
Boyd Gaming, Station Casinos, M Resort, Silverton, South Point each have affordable buffets. M Resort has long been considered one of the best buffets in Las Vegas. The seafood buffet at Silverton has massive lines every week. In addition to being less expensive options, many of these casinos will offer a small discount if you present a players club card.
I’m not a buffet fan but am partial to the Red Rock breakfast buffet. The base price is $12.99 and it’s discounted to $8.99 or $9.99 with a players club card. Frankly, it’s a deal at any price. One visit to the omelet station, a bagel, and bottomless coffee and juice make this less expensive than most restaurants. Add more food and you’ll have a great deal.
For a fair comparison to the Caesars Palace dinner buffet, the price for the same meal at Red Rock is $25.99 (and lower with players club card). I’m doubtful you’ll have the same experience but it’s much less expensive.
Eat at the bar…for Happy Hour
Dining at a restaurant bar is a great option for solo travelers. It’s simply less awkward than sitting at a table alone in the dining room. Word of caution – dining at a bar has different costs depending on what you order and when you visit. Eating late lunch or early dinner at the bar can be one a great deal – especially on the Vegas Strip.
Many restaurants – on and off the Vegas Strip – have happy hour specials at the bar. The limited menus have discounts on the same quality of food that you’ll get inside the dining room. You’ll usually just see smaller portions or different items during happy hour.
The happy hour discounts can be anywhere from a couple of dollars on an appetizer to half price. I’ve been writing about the half-priced happy hour steak at Herbs & Rye since 2013. The owners now have another restaurant that offers a similar half-priced steak deal. Clever is located just off the Vegas Strip on Paradise in between the Westgate and Hard Rock. They also offer half-priced steak but a side dish will cost extra.
I’d rather eat smaller meals more often so happy hour deals on smaller dishes are great. I visit local bars for a happy hour dinner a few times a week.
One thing for sports fans to remember – east coast games that start at 7 pm or 8 pm local time fall during happy hour in Las Vegas. Cheap eats, drinks, sports, and a wager on the game is a good way to start the day.
Look for a slice of pizza
Las Vegas may not be famous for its pizza but it’s getting better than it used to be. A slice of pizza is a good way to hold off hunger for a couple of hours. It can also be the most delicious thing you can eat at Aria when almost everything else is closed at 2 am. My friends and I wanted late-night dinner/breakfast and Five50 was one of two places to grab a bite. It was delicious and affordable but I wanted an omelet.
A slice of pizza and drink is usually around $5-$10. This is about as inexpensive a meal that you’ll find inside of a casino.
Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gaming and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Check out his blog at Edge Vegas.