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Our first trip -- too many food options! Where do I start?

Discussion in 'Restaurants & Buffets' started by RookSpud, May 9, 2017.

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  1. RookSpud

    RookSpud Tourist

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    Hi all!

    My wife and I are looking to take our first real trip to Las Vegas this summer, probably in July or August. Nothing is booked yet, but we're contemplating a few different center strip hotels, with Venetian probably at the top of the list.

    Anyways, having never been (except when we were kids), I am completely overwhelmed by the food options. I've been reading through some travel books, looking online, and watching some YouTube stuff, but there are too many and I can't wrap my mind around it. Where do I even begin?

    We'll probably go for about a week, but can't afford $200 a day in food, and would probably die if we ate giant meals every day anyways.

    I guess my questions are:

    1. It seems like there are tons of over-the-top mega restaurant experiences, and while I'd like to get some reservations to some nice eateries, if we'll be there a week, are there good mid-range options?
    2. Are we going to have to take a taxi somewhere for every meal once we burn out on whatever the hotel has, if anything?
    3. Will I need to make a reservation for every meal while we're there? Do I have to do it weeks ahead of time?

    Help a newbie navigate the food landscape of Las Vegas, please! Thank you!
     
  2. npom

    npom VIP Whale

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    We eat 2 buffets a day and use lots of coupons. Usually keep the food bill to under 200 for the whole week.
     
  3. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

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    1. Plenty of great mid range options - even some good low price options - on the strip. Any particular type cuisine you're looking for? Also, defining your definition of "mid-range" will help you get better responses.
    2. No. There will be plenty of places at surrounding "easily walkable" casinos (assuming you don't have mobility issues). Over the course of a week, you'll probably want to go somewhere where you might have to take a cab/Uber, especially since it will be hot and you might be in slacks and a jacket (if you're doing "fine dining"). But you won't need to ever take a cab if you don't want to.
    3. No. On a Friday or Saturday night during a popular dinner time or if there's a place you absolutely must try, it would probably be a good idea. But it certainly won't be necessary for every dinner - especially if it's just the two of you. And other than a few spots that are popular brunch destinations, I don't think you'll ever need a reservation for any meal but dinner.
     
  4. pebbles

    pebbles VIP Whale

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    Today we ate breakfast in the room. Cornflakes, milk, coffee, toast and jelly.
    Lunch was soup, also in the room.
    Dinner was appetisers at Bahama Breeze. We ordered a bunch of apps and the cost was less than $40. Plus tip of course.

    Disclaimer, we stay at a place with microwave and fridge. We stay for 6 weeks, so it's probably once or twice that we eat breakfast out. Good places are Ellis Island, Silver Sevens, Buffets at Gold Coast or Orleans Lots of places downtown, (too many to count)
    Check out happy hours. They are the key to frugal dining.

    Enjoy your trip.

    There are a few good websites that will tell you the best happy hours.

    I hope this makes sense. I'm in Vegas now and I'm a bit drunk.. Sorry.
     
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  5. RookSpud

    RookSpud Tourist

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    Hey, thanks for the responses. :)

    As requested, some clarifications:
    We consider the higher end to be $30 and up for the main entree per person. Mega high-end would be $50+. We'll probably try to hit "Prime" while there, as I heard good things via word-of-mouth.
    For mid-tier, to save both our wallets and our guts, think along the lines of.. I dunno.. Panera? Or a sandwich at Applebees? $5-$15 per person.

    We like just about all types of food, and will probably have a variety. American, Mexican, Chinese. No sushi... that's nasty. :)

    We are probably a bit unique in that neither of us drink alcohol at all, so that saves on the restaurant bills. :)

    Appreciate the tips on reservations/crowds. You mentioned Uber--I was under the impression that one could not catch an Uber on the strip. (I believe I read that in one of the travel books.) Is that not the case?
     
  6. dj56

    dj56 Tourist

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    Rio World Buffet. That is the only place you need to eat for dinner! We love that place.
     
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  7. blkshirt

    blkshirt High-Roller

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    As far as Uber and Lyft you'll need to catch it at the hotels in the various "ride sharing" spots. But yes they exist.
     
    2020 Trip Take3???
  8. BackInVegas

    BackInVegas VIP Whale

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    At the Venetian/Palazzo you have tons of choices. You will not be able to hit every restaurant there. For the venetian, probably the most mentioned restaurant is Grand Lux. I will take a wild guess and say there are at least 50 restaurants at Venetian/Palazzo. Price range from low to exceedingly ridiculous. I remember walking to Grimaldi's pizza in the Palazzo, it is just a pizza place in my opinion. Some people rave about it.

    if tired of the venetian, you can wander north across the street to Wynn/Encore or west across the street to Mirage/Treasure Island. No cabbing needed for that, just your feet. if you choose, you can purchase the monorail tickets for the EAST side of Las Vegas boulevard. I have never ever used the monorail in Las Vegas.

    Only some restaurants require reservations at all times. Joel Rubuchon, Guy Savoy, e, those kind of places.

    If you plan on eating from 6:30 PM to 8 PM(las vegas time) every night you will almost ALWAYS need a reservation. if you are like me and eat at 5:30 PM(las vegas time) you never need a reservation except on special days, Super Bowl, Mother's Day, valentine's Day etc.

    Since this is your first visit, try not to do too much, because you will be overwhelmed. You are also coming at PEAK HEAT time. the coolest it has been for me in July and August has been in the 90s. You can also get a few very hard rainstorms that might dump 0.5 inches of rain, but Vegas has no clue what to do with it.

    Just outside of the Venetian(south side) is a Walgreens drugstore.
     
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  9. Geogran

    Geogran Whooo. Whooo.

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    You will have a great time experiencing Vegas together as adult newbies.
    The food thing can be overwhelming but with a budget in mind along wth your own food preferences, the suggestions you find here on VMB, you will find lots of good options Depending on your preferences, alternate your 'big' meal each day and go lighter on the other two meals, it will be easy to work with any budget. And you can eat healthy in Vegas but admittedly hard with all the temptations, lol.

    If you stay at Venetian you won't run out of options. High end, mid range and fast food.
    There are 2 small food courts, one just off the casino floor, the other - take the escalator (near the Venetian room elevators) to the 2nd level, go to the right and follow the walkway til you reach the food court (Johnny Rockets, etc). Also lots of good restaurants in that same area along the Canal shops as well as on the Palazzo side.
    The Lux Cafe is open 24 hours with a huge menu and very good food - very popular too.
    More restaurants on the 1st level along the concourse between the Venetian and Palazzo.
    We really like Bouchon for breakfast/brunch/lunch at Venetian. Table 10 (Emeril Lagassi) on 2nd level of Palazzo is very good and reasonably priced. Grimaldi's Pizza is very good also on 2nd level Palazzo.

    Fast food includes In n Out Burger near Linq, Earl of Sandwich inside Planet Hollywood (a favorite and inexpensive), Shake Shack near NYNY, Secret Pizza at Cosmo, Five50 pizza at Aria, etc.

    Several restaurants have fixed price lunch specials that are reasonable and have excellent food, one of our favorites is Estiatorio Milos (Mediterranean) 3rd level at Cosmo, about $30 per person includes app/salad, entree, dessert in a beautiful setting.

    Another favorite for lunch or dinner if you like Mexican is Javier's at Aria and is a huge meal for two and reasonably priced on the menu named 'La Tablita (Para Dos Personas)' and includes carne asada, carnitas, grilled natural chicken, Served on a wooden platter with all the condiments: rice, beans, jalapenos, salsa fresca, guacamole, rajas, grilled green onions and warm tortillas, yum!

    So many fine steak restaurants with varying price ranges, I will leave that to the experts and you!

    Continue reading the 'Restaurant' and 'Trip Report' threads and you will see lots of ideas and recommendations from fellow VMB members that will help you in your planning. Follow up by looking at the menus most restaurants list online once you've narrowed your list.
    No need for cab or Uber unless you just are too tired and full on the return trip!
    Venetian is more 'North' strip, might consider more central strip unless you enjoy walking a lot!
    Be sure to stay hydrated - carry water with you if on strip during heat of day!

    Best of luck on your upcoming trip!
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2017
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  10. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    Define mid-range, price wise. There are all manner of dining options, but if you give people more specific ideas of the type of food you want and budget, you will get more specific answers.

    I mean, you can always walk and find mid range options, but then you'll probably end up at chain restaurants and the like, and what fun is that?

    First, burning out on everything V/P has to eat would take awhile, unless it is simply burning out on the budget options. It has some of the best restaurants on the strip.

    The one thing a taxi (or Uber) would do for you is get you more access to those value restaurants you are looking for. But you'll have plenty of selection within a 10 minute walk, and if you are active and don't mind a longer walk the selection grows like crazy.

    This will depend on what restaurant and when you visit. A busy convention/fight week or weekend, you'll want reservations. A fancier place on a weekend you generally want reservations. And if you are going to take a cab there, I'd book it.

    Weeks ahead of time? Not needed. This is a tourist town with capacity built for when they are busiest. Which means a lot of the time they are in "plenty of good seats available" mode.
     
  11. DaiLun

    DaiLun R.C., L.C., and A.A.N.G.

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    Q. It seems like there are tons of over-the-top mega restaurant experiences, and while I'd like to get some reservations to some nice eateries, if we'll be there a week, are there good mid-range options
    A.IMHO, it really depends on whether you are coming back to Las Vegas anytime soon. the good restaurants don't "close down".
    There are good mid-range options on and off the strip.
    Now, I haven't "paid" for a meal in a Las Vegas casino in a long time, but if I were paying and this would be my first (and uncertain when I would return, I would pick)

    Assuming no car and a $150-$200 budget
    Breakfast
    Mon Ami Gabi - just to sit outside and enjoy the view

    Lunch
    Harrahs Oyster Bar

    Dinner
    Center Cut Steakhouse (Flamingo) < $100 for two
    Tender Steak (Luxor) - myVegas comp available ($75 off $150)
    Camelot Steakhouse (Excalibur) - myVegas comp available ($50 off $100 or $100 off $200)
    Giada's (the Cromwell) (if you're into celebrity Chefs) - reservations required
    Emeril's Seafood House (MGM Grand) <$100 for two
    Gordon Ramsey Steak (Paris) >=$100 for two

    If you had a car, expand to:
    Breakfast
    Magnolias at the Four Queens (downtown) get a player's club card, you will receive a discount

    Lunch
    Lotus of Siam (Northern Thai)
    Cafe Mayakovsky (Russian)

    I have several reviews with pictures in the Food forum

    Buffets to try if you like variety

    IMHO, the top three buffets in Las Vegas are: (in no particular order)

    Wynn
    Baccahanal (Caesars Palace)
    Wicked Spoon (Cosmopolitan)

    Q. Are we going to have to take a taxi somewhere for every meal once we burn out on whatever the hotel has, if anything?
    A. It really depends on where you're staying and how far you want to walk. If you are staying a Venetian or Wynn and want to eat at Luxor or Excalibur, I would recommend taking the Deuce. (bus)

    Q. Will I need to make a reservation for every meal while we're there? Do I have to do it weeks ahead of time?
    A. It doesn't hurt. I have made reservations at Jose Serran's Tapas each time I've eaten there, but never needed it.
    Also, not unless it's a popular restaurant. Giada's - definitely

    These are my personal opinions and others may disagree . . .
     
    Another NGO trip. QQQQ/NYNY
  12. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    I would suggest you start by giving us an idea of your budget for a typical dinner, whether you would like to stretch that for a meal or two (and if so how many meals) and things you like or don't like to eat.

    Also an idea of how far you'd be willing to walk.


    As a 10 time vegas visitor, when I plan my visits now, I usually have 1-2 restaurants I have heard of but not tried yet that I plan around, and the rest gets planned around either good deals, or where I am planning to be. For instance, if you have show tickets in the South Strip one night, look for interesting dining deals in the same area.
     
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  13. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    Sorry, I didn't notice you had already replied answering some of my questions

    For cheap meals, if you can handle a line ... there's an in n out burger at the Linq promenade. There are also places like Earl of Sandwich (closest would be at caesars) and Carnegie Deli (Mirage), which aren't cheap, but are good size servings and fit your budget.

    Prime comes highly recommended, but there are 3 steakhouses within V/P that are comparable at around the same price (CUT, Delmonico, Carnevino). And those prices are high, remember when looking at steakhouse menus that those prices are usually a la carte (just the steak, no sides).

    Mon Ami Gabi at Paris would be about a 15 minute walk and in your "higher end" category. You can make a reservation for inside, or wait in line for the patio with a view of the Bellagio fountains.

    Depending on your appetites and eating habits, another way to stretch your food dollars would be to look for the cheaper breakfast buffets (Harrah's would be closest), do basically a brunch there, and skip lunch. That would leave you more wiggle room to splurge on dinner. Just beware trying that on weekends, where the buffet will have a higher price for the "champagne brunch".
     
  14. Tony Y

    Tony Y Low-Roller

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    Hello Rook. I highly recommend staying at Venetian where as others have stated you won't run out of options to dine. If you have one high end meal planned in your budget and opt for staying at the Venetian I would go to Sinatras at Wynncore as it is a short walk from Venetian. At Sinatras They have the most delicious veal Parm I have ever had the pleasure to eat. You will not be disappointed
     
  15. tmoney25

    tmoney25 High-Roller

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    Every, or most places, has a food court. In there you can find quick and cheap options. It can feel daunting to find something to each when you look at all the options available to you, but really it isn't that hard. My wife and I try not to spend too much on food either. We'll do something really inexpensive like Inn 'N Out Burger which is at the Linq promenade. Heck, we'll even stop at one of the McDonald's! ... even though we're tired of that place because kids.

    Since there are so many options it would be very easy to have a big meal at each meal, but we also know that we don't want to gain 10lbs per day so we take it easy. Sometimes we'll have a big breakfast and just a snack for lunch and then find a burger restaurant for supper, or maybe we have McDonald's for breakfast, and have a big lunch and then something small and quick for supper. In general you should know how much you feel like eating and it is easy to plan that way. We usually have a few places that we know we want to hit up when we're in Vegas and then we just wing-it the rest of the time and we'll choose a place based on where we are and how hungry we are.
     
  16. deansrobinson

    deansrobinson VIP Whale

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    The Venetian is a phenomenal resort. Our all time favorite.

    Now, about this dining thing. In looking at your cost-per-tier post, what you might want to think about is just blowing some coin on one premier meal, and letting the rest of your dining develop on an as needed or wanted basis. There's so many options available...and it's not like you're gonna accidentally miss out on something.

    How-ev-ah...you said "July or August", which I'm gonna assume you know means surface-of-the-sun hot on Las Vegas Boulevard (Oh, but it's a dry heat ;)) . I have a bad habit of assuming that we are the norm. We walk everywhere. Regardless of temp, because you can always duck indoors...which means even more dining opportunities along the way! "Hey...let's do this!"

    If it's your first trip out, it's gonna be overwhelming. Why not just use this trip as a reconnaissance run and intelligence gathering opportunity for the next visit? Truthfully, you could just google some place you're interested in, and hit the menu tab, which will show you what the pricing will be. A lot of times we use the same words but apply a different meaning. "Cheap / Inexpensive" can have a wide range of dollar value depending on who you're talking to.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2017
  17. Tarstarkas

    Tarstarkas High-Roller

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    If you want a good steakhouse go to Circus Circus....sides r included not ala carte. For Italian try battistas
     
  18. 93 Octane

    93 Octane Chief bottle washer

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    There is a happy hour thread on this site, find it and plan accordingly....happy hours are your friend in vegas...one can score very good food and drink at bargain prices...center strip has chipotle--mcd--in n out-- to name a few
     
  19. RookSpud

    RookSpud Tourist

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    Wow, thank you all for the feedback. A lot to digest here! It sounds like the Venetian will be a good spot for food options, though there may be some warm walks. :)
    That Grand Lux Cafe looks really cool.. heck we could probably eat four meals there alone! And 24 hours is so convenient!
    Sounds like I can go ahead and book now without having to know everything ahead of time! Then take some time to review & pick the spots and make reservations only when needed. (A lot different than, say, a Disney vacation, where all restaurants have to be selected and reserved 180 days in advance!)

    Good suggestion to check proximity to shows, too. Shows are at the top of the list for reasons we want to go, and we'll try to hit a few. I'm hoping for maybe three or so. I prefer to plan ahead, but then you can't hold out for coupons or deals, so we'll see what's in the budget. :)

    I'll have to dig in to some of the menus of these places that were mentioned and see what looks good. Will check back in if I have more questions.
     
  20. Geogran

    Geogran Whooo. Whooo.

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