Tips for dining on a budget in Vegas

Las Vegas has some amazing restaurants so you’re probably going to indulge at least a couple of times while you’re on vacation. Eating at gourmet dining rooms and celebrity chef restaurants can add up really quickly though, so you’re also going to want to find some ways to eat without completely blowing your budget.

Luckily there are a few tricks you can use to eat in Vegas and still have enough money left over for the blackjack tables and the nightclubs. Here are a few of our favorites:

The nachos at Guy Fieri's Kitchen & Bar are big enough to share with a friend. Photo courtesy of Caesars Entertainment

The nachos at Guy Fieri’s Kitchen & Bar are big enough to share with a friend. Photo courtesy of Caesars Entertainment

Share a meal
We’ve got plenty of restaurants in Vegas that serve monstrously large portions that could easily be split with your buddy — and that means your bill will be split in half too. Try Hash House A Go Go or Guy Fieri’s Kitchen and Bar at The LINQ, Cheesecake Factory at the Forum Shops at Caesars or Grand Lux Café at Palazzo and Venetian. Carmine’s at the Forum Shops at Caesars is another great option for groups of friends. All of the food is served in large family-style, reasonably-priced portions that you can share.

Skip soda
If you’re dying for your soda fix, buy some at a convenience store on the Strip. If you order one in a restaurant you might be pretty shocked when you get your bill and see you were charged $4 or $5 for that Diet Coke. Just stick with a glass of Lake Mead’s finest when you’re at a restaurant. You need to hydrate yourself in this desert anyway.

Enjoy all-you-can-eat brunch at La Cave. Photo courtesy of La Cave

Enjoy all-you-can-eat brunch at La Cave. Photo courtesy of La Cave

Have brunch
Instead of paying for both breakfast and lunch, why not combine the two and just eat brunch? We’ve got lots of awesome Vegas brunches in town. Some of them feature all-you-can-eat food for a set price and most also have bottomless booze options you can add on for around $20. Have a few drinks and you’ve more than covered your cost. A word of warning: You’ll probably be taking a nap after brunch if you drink your way through it.

Go to happy hour
Happy hours on the Strip do exist. You just have to know where to look for them and you’ll get great deals on food and drinks. Lucky for you, we did the work for you. Check out this awesome list of the happiest of happy hours in Vegas.

Look for hotel deals with a dining credit
Hotels often offer special deals and incentives on rooms like including a food and beverage credit with your purchase. That means money for you to use at the hotel’s restaurants. For deals check out Vegas.com’s deals page.

Eat your fill at the Wicked Spoon buffet at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Photo courtesy of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Eat your fill at the Wicked Spoon buffet at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Photo courtesy of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Take advantage of the hour before lunch and dinner at a buffet
Eating at a buffet in general can save you money but timing is everything. Costs vary depending upon which meal of the day is being served at a buffet. Obviously dinner costs more than lunch or breakfast. If you time it right and arrive just before the lunch menu is served you could pay the breakfast price and enjoy the lunch menu. The same goes for paying the lunch price, but getting the dinner meal. This doesn’t work at all buffets. Some of them actually close for an hour or two between meals, but if they don’t, it’s worth a try.

Check for coupon books in your room
When you get into your hotel room, take a look through those flyers that might be sitting on your coffee table or desk. Some hotels give you coupons for their restaurants. If there are magazines in your room you’ll want to look through those for coupons too.

Head downtown
As a general rule, most things in Downtown Las Vegas are cheaper than the Strip including drinks, gambling and food. All of the major hotels downtown have cafes and coffee shops where you can get a nice meal for an inexpensive price.

Grab a meal at Pink's Hot Dogs for under $10. Photo courtesy of Pink's

Grab a meal at Pink’s Hot Dogs for under $10. Photo courtesy of Pink’s

For more ideas on cheap eats, check out these places where you can get a quick meal for under $10.

Comments

It’s not that warm in Minnesota. I know this from spending half my life freezing in the northern part of the state. So 20 years ago, I decided to thaw out and traded in scarves and mittens for tank tops and flip-flops (Take that, polar vortex!). I swapped snow for 300 days of sun a year. I may not have been born here, but there are hotels that haven’t lasted in Vegas as long as I have. The Sands, Hacienda, Aladdin, Desert Inn and the Stardust too. I've been to my fair share of implosion parties. (Yeah, that’s a thing.) As a writer for Vegas.com, I've applauded hundreds of shows, explored every major hotel in town and raised a few glasses at most of the city's bars and clubs. Now I'm the resident foodie here. I write about all things dining — from $3.99 shrimp cocktail at the Golden Gate to the finest sushi at Nobu, and everything in between.