Che Mojito!

It seems that every time temperatures rise in the desert, some plaid-trousered rube can’t help but sing the praises of “dry heat.” Generally speaking, 108 degrees is hot – dry, wet or otherwise. Thankfully in Vegas, high temperatures last only as long as you want them to. The spray misters along the strip are just a cheap come on compared to the blessed cool air conditioning that greets you inside the casinos. And the fully stocked bars promise refreshment of a wholly different variety.

Choosing the right cocktail in situations like this is not a decision to be taken lightly. Which is where Vegas Hot Spots crack crew of mixology professionals come in; we set out to uncover the ideal glass-bound tonic.

The Mojito is a Cuban concoction, and one that Fidel should be wary of. Liberation in a tumbler, we settled on its subtle, tangy flavor and alcoholic punch as the perfect antidote for summer’s century-plus temperatures.

The mix is simple: mint leaves, lime juice, simple syrup (sugar dissolved in boiling water) or confectioner’s sugar, a splash of soda water over crushed ice and, of course, rum. As with most good things, the proof is in the execution, so the VHS crew, clad in guayaberas and armed with a healthy stash of Cohibas, was off to discover Las Vegas’ best mojito.

The first stop of the night was Green Valley Ranch Station, the upper end extension of the Station Casino chain. The Ranch brings a down-to-earth luxury to the Vegas scene, a sharp contrast with its popular night club, Whiskey Sky. This swank warren of modern furniture and retro lighting has proven to be well worth the drive for the Vegas club-ready. VHS arrived early to take in the sunrise on the deck, overlooking the Ranch’s pool and spa area, and test the lingering heat. When the lovely cocktail server expressed doubt as to whether she could deliver a refreshing mojito, revolution loomed. But soon she was setting down lowballs filled with mint. The crew sipped, slurped, swallowed and confirmed the sublime nature of the drink. Tart, sweet, and minty by turns, the balance of flavors was perfect and the crew had themselves a contender off the bat.

The Mandalay Bay’s rumjungle, by virtue of its name alone, made the list of mojito contenders. This over-the-top restaurant and bar features walls of fire and a ridiculous variety of rums. As VHS’ resident cubanos tore into their drinks, however, it was clear that lots of rum means little without a mixologist to use it properly. The mint looked like it had been through a blender, making the cocktail hard to drink and giving our crew too many green specks to clear out of their teeth. Disappointed, our boys stubbed out their coronas and soldiered on.

A short walk down the strip brought them to Nectar in the Bellagio. A small bar and restaurant tucked into the North side of the Casino, Nectar is a funky place to watch the well-bred clientele and take in a ballgame at the same time. Perched on plastic stools, the crew was greeted by a Lisa Loeb-look alike waitress and a bartender who didn’t want to be bothered with a mojito. The drinks that arrived were good, however, tipped a little too far to the lime end of the spectrum but otherwise tasty enough. Maybe it was the sterile setting, but somehow this mojito failed to excite.

In the end, this battle royale of cocktails turned out to be a lopsided affair. With drink prices all in the eight to nine dollar range, the clear winner was Whiskey Sky. Well worth the 15 minute cab ride from the strip, it’s not Cuba but on a 108 degree day in Vegas, with a little imagination and appropriate attire, it will do.

 

Best Midnight Snack

Eldorado Cantina

Eldorado Cantina features fresh organic non GMO Mexican cuisine restaurant 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.  No matter the time you leave the club, if you are hungry for some good quality food that is moderately priced, grab a cab and tell them to take you to Eldorado.  Since it is centrally located and close to the strip, the trip is quick, easy, and well worth it.  With a five star rating on YELP, you should come down and find out exactly why we rate Eldorado Cantina as the best food place in Las Vegas to grab a late night bite.

Top Ten Las Vegas Buffets

 

#10: Garden Court Buffet at Main Street Station

“Mostly, the food is just above average, but there are some standouts.”

top10buffets_mainstreetstationEasy on the eyes, easy on the wallet. What makes Main Street’s buffet one-of-a-kind is the fabulous room it’s housed in. This food destination is part dining room, part light show, with ornate wrought-iron ceiling curly-cues and columns studded with more lamps than sense and budget might dictate.

In short, it’s eye candy that you wouldn’t expect to find in a buffet room – particularly not one serving dinner for as little as $10.99. Mostly, the food is just above average, but there are some standouts. The rotisserie chicken was so moist and flavorful we were tempted to stuff a few pieces in our pockets to be eaten later at the blackjack tables. And on the night we ventured there, the buffet had made-to-order steak. Not prime rib that a guy wearing a funny hat slices way too thin – though they had that, too. We repeat, steak.

Now, if the beyond-grand room and the chance of scoring steak on a buffet leave you unimpressed, consider this: Just outside the dining room there is a men’s bathroom with urinals mounted on a piece of the Berlin wall. Yes, a real piece of the famous symbol of communism. You can write your name on it. Literally.


#9: Green Valley Ranch

“This one is at the upper end of midrange buffets, so we’ll call it an upper-middle-class eatery.”

top10buffets_greenvalleyranchCall it “GVR” if you want to be on the vanguard of Henderson cool. Actually, the buffet’s name is “Feast”, just like most of the other buffets in the Station Casinos family. This one is at the upper end of midrange buffets, so we’ll call it an upper-middle-class eatery. (Perfect for SUV-driving, family-oriented Green Valley, right?) It won’t wow you with culinary flair and derring-do, but it consistently delivers in terms of quality and quantity.

A lot of people seem to like the live-action cooking station where you can toss all your favorite Asian ingredients into a bowl, tell the cook which meat you’d like, and watch him or her make it for you on the spot. We appreciate the novelty of making a buffet worker our slave for a couple of minutes, but we prefer to bypass the live-action line and head straight for the Chinese spread.

There, GVR always has at least one fried chicken dish that is every bit as good as what you’d get at Panda Express or any other takeout Chinese place. Also strongly recommended are the fried chicken and fried cod – I think we have a “fried” trend here. Although it’s true that nuanced dishes aren’t the strong suit of GVR’s considerable spread, this buffet isn’t all about batter. The salad bar is one of the best in the biz, with fresh fruit, chicken salad and more soups than you can shake a ladle at. The decor is rustic Italian with tile galore and big arches, and the price comes in under $20 for dinner.


#8: Las Vegas Hilton

“…the quintessential Vegas buffet, with plenty of solid, pseudo-upscale offerings…”

top10buffets_lasvegashiltonWe at VegasHotSpots.com can get behind a buffet with booze. The Hilton’s was the first to offer all the wine and draft beer you care to have with dinner, and it’s still one of the best places to get your drink on while you’re getting your nosh on. Polite society demands that you tip a dollar each time you visit the beer maid, but after the second or third round, who cares about polite society? Amazingly, the food gets tastier around the same time – not that it isn’t tasty to begin with.

This is, after all, the quintessential Vegas buffet, with plenty of solid, pseudo-upscale offerings such as a well-stocked carving station, daily chef’s specialties and grilled Pacific salmon. There’s also special attention paid to veggies and sugar-free desserts, which we appreciate because a trip to the Hilton buffet means one thing: We’re drinking our calories on this particular night. The scenery inside the buffet doesn’t add much to the experience, but outside there’s enough skin and sin to swivel the head of this Midwestern-bred buffet reviewer.

Let’s just say that where there are conventions, there are bound to be plenty of working women. And although we like to limit our indulgences to culinary and nightlife pursuits, the lookin’ is free.


#7: Golden Nugget Buffet

“…excels at dishes that are lighter, and healthier, than other buffets’ specialties.”

top10buffets_goldennuggetAt this buffet, you might just leave without the feeling that you’ve just eaten at a buffet. That’s because it excels at dishes that are lighter, and healthier, than other buffets’ specialties. The Nugget’s strong suits include salad, fruit, soup and seafood. We still managed to blow our caloric quota here, but not through any fault of the casino’s. The crab legs at the Nugget bear mentioning because they appeared unusually fresh and were presented in visually appealing mounds. This buffet has been voted the best in Las Vegas, and we can see why.


 

#6: Bellagio

“…this buffet is one of the priciest in Vegas, but also one of the best.”

top10buffets_bellagioThe reputation of the Bellagio buffet precedes it. Big flavors, big raves, big wait times. This one, a mainstay of the Vegas food scene for years, falls into the high-end, gourmet category of buffets. On the night we attended – granted it was a special holiday buffet – the offerings included foie gras, Kobe beef and quail. A popular regular feature is the cold seafood spread, which includes smoked salmon, crab claws, scallops and oysters.

At about $30 for dinner, this buffet is one of the priciest in Vegas, but also one of the best. Although the desserts could be better, the meats and veggies are top-notch. To avoid the aforementioned lines, we recommend offering to sit at the bar, which allows you to bypass the line, sneaky Vegas insider that you are. In the dining area, the enormous space is divided into smaller rooms, so you won’t feel like you’re eating in a barnyard. And that’s fortunate when you’re eating like a domesticated animal but don’t want to feel like it.


#5: Cravings at Mirage

“This is the buffet that pioneered the “world tour” concept with dishes from all the major ethic cuisines…”

top10buffets_mirageUpscale, but not too, too upscale. At about $25 per person for dinner, this buffet packs a culinary punch at a reasonable price. It obviously placed well in our buffet power rankings, but it would have fared well if we were ranking only value or only quality, rather than both. Like the Mirage itself, the first true mega-resort in Las Vegas, this buffet paved the way for a new breed of venue.

After it was remodeled earlier this decade, it opened with lavish interiors that created a new buffet “experience,” complete with live-action cooking stations and food presented in smaller quantities, refreshed more frequently. Since then, many other properties have emulated the Mirage model with varying degrees of success. Remember: This is the buffet that pioneered the “world tour” concept with dishes from all the major ethic cuisines, including Mexican, Japanese, Italian and on and on. Really, you can’t go wrong with this Strip stalwart.


#4: Seasons at Silverton

“…the Silverton is home to the area’s top mid-range buffet and perhaps the best food for the least money.”

top10buffets_silvertonOnly a mile or two below the big resort corridor – we’ll call it south-south Strip – the Silverton is home to the area’s top mid-range buffet and perhaps the best food for the least money. The spread is a heavenly mix of the exotic and the usual buffet suspects, including prime rib, mac and cheese, and mashed potatoes. In the “exotic” category we were fortunate to find pineapple-battered shrimp in the buffet’s Asian section, and it may well have been the single best dish we savored at any Vegas-area buffet, if second and third helpings are any measure. But then again, you’d expect a property that wraps itself in a Western, outdoorsy (East Coasters might say upscale redneck) exterior to have good eats.

The Silverton has what must be the world’s largest Bass Pro Shop on-site, though that does not translate into better-than-average seafood offerings on its buffet (aside from the salty-sweet shrimp dish). That would be our only knock for this eater’s paradise, and it’s also the reason the buffet at Paris Las Vegas appears nowhere on our list.

A buffet at a French-themed joint with no recognizably French food? A souffle of shame on your house! If you do venture to the Silverton, be sure to linger awhile at the SeaWorld-size aquarium near the front. If you’re lucky, you might even peer inside the tank and spot a mermaid … er, fish feeder with a microphone inside her scuba suit. Best of all, a dinner buffet will set you back as little as $13.99 on weekdays.


#3: The Buffet at Wynn Las Vegas

“The variety and quality of the food – especially the colorful and immaculate sushi – are spectacular.”

top10buffets_wynnresortHands down, the best buffet in Las Vegas if price is no object. You might ask: How can a buffet that weighs in at a hefty $35-plus per person receive such a prominent ranking on our value-minded list? It’s quite simple – this is still an amazing value. You will get a chance to taste food you’ve never seen on a menu and, even if you did, you wouldn’t take a chance on.

At the Wynn buffet, there’s no risk – it’s all reward. Expect dishes you know and love to be scaled up and done with a twist, making you wonder what the heck you had been eating before discovering The Buffet. For example, it won’t be merely T-bone they serve; it will be ginger lamb T-bone. It won’t be merely steak; it will be Beef Wellington. The variety and quality of the food – especially the colorful and immaculate sushi – are spectacular. That said, what speaks to Steve Wynn in terms of decor doesn’t necessarily speak to us. Think Victorian England meets rapper’s bachelor pad on “Cribs.”


#2: Spice Market at Planet Hollywood

“A veritable smorgasbord of world flavors, this buffet is a must-eat for the culinary adventurer.”

top10buffets_planethollywoodThe Planet Ho’s aptly named Spice Market holds a special place in the VegasHotSpots.com heart. A veritable smorgasbord of world flavors, this buffet is a must-eat for the culinary adventurer. Sure, it has shaved prime rib and peas and carrots and all those other traditional feed-your-face buffet dishes, but the Planet Ho chefs aren’t content to stop there.

In fact, this buffet rejects and shatters the Vegas buffet mold. Falafel, hummus, tabboulleh and kefta from the Middle East, and tandoori chicken, naan and chicken makhani from India are just a few of the ever-changing ethnic specialties you might find here. If that isn’t enough, desert crepes made to order complete the experience. The first time we rode the escalator down to the otherworldly Spice World, we weren’t prepared for the kaleidoscope flavor festival that ensued. Remember to pack the Rolaids, and consider yourself warned.


#1: M Resort: Studio B

“The quality alone is worth the trip to the valley’s southern edge…”

top10buffets_mresortThe new kid on the Vegas block commands the top spot on our list. This is a sprawling parade of well-executed dishes with too many highlights to mention. We’ll start with the layout: This isn’t the usual buffet spread shoved up against one wall of a cavernous room. It’s a cavernous room with undulating colors and textures, with more than 100 flat-screen TVs and a broadcast-ready TV cooking studio, with gourmet food arrayed in concentric circles that begin in the center and ripple out in delicious rings.

You’re sure to burn a few calories just browsing all the offerings – including unlimited wine and beer, a dedicated Thai station with a half-dozen curries to choose from, and the best carving station in town – but who’s counting calories. On the day of our visit, the carving station had more than a few of our favorite meats, plus a few surprises, such as plank-cooked salmon and hand-carved pork belly (gourmet bacon!).The quality alone is worth the trip to the valley’s southern edge, and the modest pricetag (about $20 for dinner) is just an added bonus.


The One To Avoid: Terrible’s Buffet

top10buffets_terriblesThe loser’s lineup of crap food on this modest buffet is, well, Terrible. Don’t be seduced by any two-for-one coupons or other special offers; it’s just not worth the risk. If we can say one nice thing about Terrible’s buffet, it’s that it did not land any of us in the hospital – although it did give us a good scare. One meat-adverse young woman in our party found nothing appetizing enough to put on her plate other than mashed potatoes. Instant mashed potatoes. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

Best .99-Cent Shrimp Cocktails Las Vegas

Player’s Deli

Tropicana Hotel
vegas-shrimpcocktailThe 99 cent shrimp cocktail is alive and well. In a town where bits of old Vegas history are dying off every day, some traditions seem to have the half-life of a 100-year-old Twinkie. The Tropicana is undergoing its own painful metamorphosis, but they’ve seen wise to preserve a connection to the past while they transform for the future. There are some things you just have to do when you visit Sin City and this stop should be on your list.


Another Shrimp Cocktail Hotspots

Golden Gate Casino Deli
What would a trip to Vegas be without a little cocktail? We suggest the one at the Golden Gate in downtown Vegas. They still serve Vegas shrimp cocktail in a glass as if it were the sixties, and they’ve got the same red-walled, smoky decor as when the joint opened in 1906. If you want to see vintage Vegas, this is the place. If you want a taste of the way Vegas used to be, head to the bar & deli inside the casino. Remember to ask for the lemon wedge.

Food: Cheap, Moderate, & Best Values

The Dirt Cheap, Moderately Priced, & The Best Overall Value in Las Vegas

Vegas loves to tout its growing cadre of world-renowned chefs and high class restaurants, but let’s face it, sometimes you’re in the mood for something a little more simple (translation: cheap). Forty-five dollar steaks have their place, but so do five dollar burgers, especially in our current economic climate. Then again, some of the lower end deals in Vegas don’t always deliver the highest of standards. The $5.99 prime rib looks good on the billboard but it might not always look quite so good on the plate. So, if you’re trying downshift on your Las Vegas food budget without totally betraying your taste buds and/or digestive system, here’s some good options among the fast and cheap, the moderately priced, and our selections for the best overall values in town.

The Fast and Cheap

The Moderately Priced

The Top Three Best Overall Food Values in Las Vegas

 

Food: Top Three Best Overall Values

And if we could have a drum roll please, our top three best food values at Las Vegas restaurants are:

Lobby Bar and Café

The Lobby Bar and Café at Encore is pure genius. First of all, it’s located adjacent to the front desk, right in front of the guest elevators. This is convenient for a number of reasons. Let’s say you’re hungover in the morning and you’re not interested in spending $84 on room service breakfast. Here’s what you do: roll out of bed, float down to the Lobby Bar and Café and get yourself an egg, bacon and cheese croissant for $9. Sounds like a lot for a breakfast sandwich, but when you bite into it you’ll understand. This might just be the best breakfast sandwich you’ve ever had. Pair it up with a bloody mary for a true breakfast of champions. There’s also outstanding coffee and a fine selection of pastries by famed master chef Frederic Robert. And while the breakfast sandwich (served only until noon) is the main attraction, this place serves excellent food at all hours of the day and night, including some pretty good fish tacos for $13.00.

Ellis Island Brewery

The barbecue menu at the Ellis Island Brewery is the real deal. Not to be confused with the regular restaurant at Ellis Island, the Brewery is only open from 4 pm to 10 pm each day. People tend to line up early waiting to get in for a shot at the outstanding baby back ribs, with special prices for Ellis Island Player’s Card holders ($12.99 for a full rack/$8.99 for half a rack). Don’t sweat the card holder thing- it’s free to sign up. There’s also a great chicken/rib combo priced at $10.99 for card holders ($13.99 for non-card holders). And these dishes come with excellent sides like beans, bread and corn on the cob. If you’re a barbecue fanatic this is definitely the place for you.

Paymon’s Mediterranean Café

Having cited a couple of great spots on strip, it’s time to consider the best off-strip dining value in the city, which happens to be Paymon’s Mediterranean Café and Hookah Lounge (4147 S. Maryland Parkway, about 5-7 minutes from the strip). The diverse menu at Paymon’s offers a range of well-done Greek, Italian, Persian, Middle Eastern, Indian and Vegetarian dishes at reasonable prices. Some claim that the Athens fries ($2.95 for a side/$4.50 for a full serving) with special seasonings and dipping sauce, are among the best french fries they’ve ever had. There’s also an array of entrée dishes in the $12.95 range and- get this- all you can eat pasta for $9.95 at all times. Take your pick of a wide variety of pastas and sauces ranging from marinara and alfredo to Bolognese and pesto. And Wednesday nights between 5 pm and 9 pm is customer appreciation night, with all bills receiving a 25% discount. Now that’s some serious Las Vegas dining value

Good Food In Vegas: The Moderately Priced

Wichcraft

Wichcraft (MGM Grand) is an upscale sandwich shoppe (you can tell it’s fancy because they spell “shoppe” with an extra “pe” at the end) featuring reasonably priced creations by all-star chef Tom Colicchio. Try one of the breakfast selections like the fried egg sandwich with blue cheese, bacon and frisee (fancy lettuce) on ciabatta ($8.50). There’s also warm sandwiches, such as an excellent roasted pork loin sandwich with red cabbage, jalapenos and mustard ($9.50), and cold sandwiches too, such as the Sicilian tuna with fennel, black olives and lemon confit (lemon flavor) on a baguette ($9.50). Better yet, go for the combo deal with any sandwich and chips, fruit and drink for $15.00.

 Hash House-a-Go-Go

And then there’s Hash House-a-Go-Go (Imperial Palace, Plaza Hotel and Casino, The M Hotel), featuring one of the most unique menus in town, offering massive portions of southern-styled creations such as the fried chicken and bacon waffle tower ($18.00), meatloaf and cream sauce gravy ($17.00) and Indiana crispy hand hammered pork tenderloin ($27). The real attraction, however, are breakfast dishes such as the tractor driver combo, consisting of two eggs, bacon, sausage or potatoes and one flapjack, waffle or piece of French toast ($13.95). Things can get a tad pricey when it comes to dinner entrees, but breakfast and lunch are reasonable- and bring your appetite, because, just to reiterate, the portions are huge.

 BLT Burger

Shifting to the upscale burger category, two of the leading spots on the strip are BLT Burger at the Mirage and Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay. Both feature hip scenes, cocktails, and gourmet burgers that go a step beyond the fast food variety. BLT Burger features a 7 oz. grilled certified Angus beef burger ($12.00) as well as some interesting dessert offerings like deep fried oreos ($6.00) and milk shakes ($6.00). Even better, BLT Burger specializes in spiked shakes like the Malibu Barbie, consisting of Malibu rum, pineapple juice, coconut milk and vanilla ice cream ($12.00) and a Jack Daniels root beer float ($12.00). Burger Bar has an Angus burger of their own ($9.50) and they also feature an American Kobe beef burger ($16.50) and a buffalo burger ($16.50). In addition there’s a fine selection of hand-crafted microbrews.

 The Pizza Place

And, speaking of upscale, The Pizza Place at the Wynn serves up a pretty good New York-style pie in the type of opulent setting that only the Wynn can deliver. Everyone knows about the fine dining that Steve Wynn’s resort offers, but he balances that out with a place like this, a classy pizza joint located amidst flowing waterfalls and all-around gorgeous scenery. You might get better pizza in New York, but you’ll never get to eat it in surroundings like this. Slices go for $5.25 while the small 12 inch pizza starts at $13.50 and the large 22 inch starts at $31.50.

 Zoozacrackers Deli

The Wynn features another excellent option with Zoozacrackers Deli. This is not a sprawling old school deli, but it offers a nice selection of quality fare at reasonable prices. The location adjacent to the sports book is ideal for sports fans. If you’re the type who likes to hang out all day betting games and throwing back some beers, this is the place to get some good food in your stomach without putting a crimp into your gambling and drinking fund. And if your games are coming down to the wire, you won’t miss a beat on the flatscreens located all over the dining room. Better yet, Zoozacrackers will deliver right to your spot in the sports book. We like the stuffed turkey sandwich, consisting of turkey, stuffing and cranberry relish, for $11.95. There’s also the Zooza Burger, featuring a burger with pastrami, swiss, cole slaw, pickles and Italian dressing for $14.95. And they serve a mean bowl of chicken noodle soup ($5.95).

Great Vegas Deli’s

But if you really like deli food, there’s no shortage of other options as well. In fact, venerable Jewish delis are popping up all over the strip these days. Among the more prominent installations are the Carnegie Deli at the Mirage, Backstage Deli at the Luxor and Towers at the Venetian. Canter’s at Treasure Island features a massive pastrami sandwich for $15.00 including fries and drink.

 Greenberg’s

The best of the bunch, however, in terms of both quality and price, is Greenberg’s at New York/New York. Loyalists rave about the beef and cheddar melt with a side of potato salad ($10.25). There’s also a classic turkey club ($9.75) and a New York skyhigh sandwich featuring corned beef, pastrami, turkey, cole slaw and thousand island dressing ($9.75).

 Fireside Lounge

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a local institution, as opposed to one of these interlopers from New York or Los Angeles, you might wanna head straight for The Peppermill Restaurant and Fireside Lounge (2985 S. Las Vegas Blvd., on the strip near the Riviera). The highlight of the menu is the great breakfast fare, (bacon, eggs, hash browns and toast for $11.50) but there’s also a diverse selection of old-fashioned diner food for lunch and dinner as well (classic reuben and hot pastrami sandwiches for $11.95). The real draws, however, are the ambiance, complete with neon lights and mirrored ceilings, as well as the vibe and the crowd. Open 24 hours, there’s always something interesting going on at the Peppermill, particularly around the circular fire pit located in the main dining area. And if you’re looking to embrace the late night weirdness of sin city, you really can’t do much better than a stop at the Peppermill for one more cocktail and some pancakes and eggs anywhere between 3 AM and sunrise.

Las Vegas Food: The Fast and Cheap

Here is our list of fast, easy, an budget friendly food to catch at almost any time of the day.  Keep your wallet and your belly food at one of these fast and cheap Las Vegas restaurants.

In-N-Out Burger

The strip In-N-Out Burger is at 4888 Dean Martin Dr., just off the strip behind New York/New York). It has hordes of loyal believers on the west coast. Located across California, Arizona, Texas, Utah and, yes, Nevada, In-N-Out features some of the freshest ingredients you’ll find at any “fast-food” burger joint. Go for the “double-double”- two burger patties and two slices of cheese, with lettuce, tomato, sauce and some onions if you like ($3.05) or a burger-fries-drink combo ($4.45).

Fatburger

Fatburger is located at 3763 S. Las Vegas Blvd. S., on the strip near MGM Grand and it is just that- a thicker, fatter, jucier burger than you’ll find at In-N-Out. That’s not to say it’s better, just different. Fatburger also features a much greater variety of options than In-N-Out, including different sizes of burgers for all appetites, different types of french fries (fat and skinny), onion rings, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, turkey burgers, bacon and egg sandwiches and shakes too. Best of all, Fatburger features a char-grill option, giving you the choice between a flame-broiled burger or a traditionally fried one. Lighter appetites can go for the Baby Fat ($3.80), others can opt for a regular Fatburger ($5.75) or the Big Fat Deal (burger, fries and drink for $9.50).

Five Guys Burgers and Fries

If In-N-Out and Fatburger are the old veterans of the upscale fast-food burger chain category, Five Guys Burgers and Fries (7580 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Ste. 120, just off the strip) is the new kid on the block, and it is coming fast. This burger is winning converts rapidly, and rightfully so. It’s quick, it’s good, and it is substantial. It feels like a real meal. Various sizes here as well, ranging from the little hamburger ($3.79) to the regular burger ($5.39) or the bacon cheeseburger ($6.89).

Jimmy Johns Gourmet Sandwiches

Vegas has plenty of quality options in the sandwich category as well. Jimmy Johns Gourmet Sandwiches (4800 S. Maryland, just off strip near UNLV) makes a mean gourmet sandwich, they make it quick and they make it good. High quality ingredients, particularly the bread, and a reputation for good service and a fun atmosphere make this a great choice. Popular selections include the Italian combo ($6.22) and the Beach Club, with turkey, provolone, avocado, sliced cucumber, sprouts, lettuce and tomato ($6.22).

Jersey Mike’s Subs

Just as In-N-Out is rivaled by Fatburger, Jimmy Johns has a strong rival of its own in Jersey Mike’s Subs (3900 Paradise Rd). Whereas Jimmy Johns makes a slightly smaller gourmet sandwich, Jersey Mike’s offers more of an old school, east coast-style sub. They slice the cold cuts right there in front of you, and they also offer excellent hot subs as well. We’re big fans of the American Classic, featuring ham and provolone, and you gotta get it “Mike’s Way,” which includes your choice of onions, lettuce, tomato, vinegar, oil and spices. Like all the Jersey Mike’s subs, this one comes in three sizes: mini ($5.45); regular ($7.45); and giant ($10.95).

Earl of Sandwich

But wait, Vegas has another sandwich option as well, and it’s a damn good one. Locals swear by the Earl of Sandwich (Planet Hollywood). We like the Original 1762, named after the year the sandwich was invented, featuring roast beef, sharp cheddar and creamy horseradish sauce ($6.48). Others swear by the Full Montagu, with roast beef, turkey, swiss, cheddar, lettuce, tomato and mustard sauce ($6.48). These are some good sandwiches at very reasonable prices, and they’re open 24/7.

 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs

There’s plenty in Vegas for the hot dog lovers as well. Stop by Pink’s (Planet Hollywood) for a classic dog ($4.75) or get a little wild with the chili cheese dog ($6.50). Another great option is Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs (New York/New York; Venetian). This place has come a long way since Nathan Handwerker opened his first hot dog cart at Coney Island in 1916. If you appreciate the snap of a classic New York dog, you won’t be able to have just one. Just ask Joey Chestnut, five time winner of the annual 4th of July Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest, and holder of the world record of 68 hot dogs (and buns) consumed in a ten minute period. Make Joey proud and go for the combo deal of two dogs and crinkle cut fries ($9.99).

 Grimaldi’s Pizzeria

And speaking of New York institutions, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria (9595 S. Eastern Ave.) has made its way to sin city as well. Actually there are a few Grimaldi’s locations across the city, including the Fashion Show Mall and the Shoppes at the Palazzo. Pick up a 12 inch personal pizza ($9.00) if you’re flying solo or go for the larger 16 inch ($14.00) or 18 inch ($16.00) pies if you’re rolling with a crew.

 Superbook Deli

Another great spot that’s worth a mention is the Superbook Deli at the Westgate (formerly the Las Vegas Hilton). Located in the sports book, the Superbook Deli features an outstanding selection of quality food. Sandwiches like the Italian Hoagie ($5.95 six-inch/$8.95 foot long) are made with Dietz and Watson premium deli meats. There’s also a Philly Cheese Steak ($5.95/$8.95), a classic burger ($4.50), a New York hot dog ($3.25) and a Chicago-style footlong dog ($5.95). And if you’re looking for something a little more healthy, there’s a salad selection as well, including an excellent Chicken Caesar ($8.95).

Las Vegas Breakfast Deals Under $5

In a city where you can dance at a nightclub until well after sunrise and play golf after the sun sets, breakfast is a 24 hour-a-day phenomenon. Make sure you visit Ellis Island Casino & Brewery (4178 Koval Lane) for 24 hours of great breakfast deals. Most meals are served with potatoes and choice of toast and jelly, so any of the menu items is a good bet. Some of the savory selections include: Two eggs any style with crisp bacon or sausage patties for $2.95, biscuits and gravy $1.95, stack of three buttermilk pancakes for $1.75, cinnamon vanilla French toast for $1.95, or country ham and two eggs $3.25.

Just off the Las Vegas Strip to the west is a place with unbeatable prices on meals, The Orleans Courtyard Cafe (4500 W. Tropicana Boulevard). It has the best graveyard specials which offer two eggs with bacon or sausage with hash brown potatoes, toast and jelly; two buttermilk biscuits and country gravy; or two buttermilk pancakes with ham and fried egg, all for 99-cents. A seven ounce New York Steak with two eggs and hash browns and toast only cost $3.99, as well as a bone-in ham steak and eggs with hash brown potatoes and toast.

Some of our other favorite breakfast meal deals seriously do not involve McDonald’s, Burger King or Denny’s. C’mon man, it’s Vegas. Save that ghetto dine-and-dash for back home. $2.21 is good for a “Deuces Wild” — two scrambled eggs, two slices of bacon, two sausage links, with two triangles of French toast at Promenade Cafe at JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort (221 S. Rampart Boulevard). Available daily, midnight-5 a.m. $2.49 flips you a pancake sandwich at the Texas Cafe at Texas Station Casino (2101 Texas Star Lane, North Las Vegas) . A little off the Strip it’s $2.99 for ham steak eggs, hash browns and toast at the Eastside Cannery’s Snaps (5255 Boulder Highway) restaurant. Offered 11 p.m. – 9 a.m. Try the $4.99 New York steak and eggs at the Golden Gate Casino (One Fremont Street). Available between midnight – 2 a.m, or $4.99 for the ìGraveyard Specialî at Casino Cafe at Circus Circus Las Vegas (2800 Las Vegas Blvd., South) including two eggs, hash browns, toast, bacon or sausage and coffee. Available daily, 11 p.m.-5 a.m. Holidays are excluded.

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Las Vegas Dinner Deals Under $10

We wouldn’t recommend taking a new hottie for a first-date dinner to any of these deals, but if you’re in town with a good friend or pack of friends and you all agree you want an acceptable meal that leaves lots of green leftover for gaming and girls (and possibly bail money), then check out these steak dinner deals under $10 per person (everything here is subject to change without notice. You know how it is). $6.99 at Ellis Island gets you a 10-ounce steak, potato, bread, green beans and a beer.

At Jerry’s Famous Coffee Shop $7.85 pays out the Surf and Turf special of New York steak, pan-fried shrimp, soup or salad, potato or rice and garlic or French bread. $7.99 at Arizona Charlie’s Boulder Cafe (4575 Boulder Highway) lands you a Porterhouse steak. $7.99 at Sweet Lucy’s in the Eastside Cannery is a New York strip steak platter with roasted potatoes and vegetables. $9.95 is good for steak and shrimp at the Best Western‘s Mardi Gras Cafe (3500 Paradise Road). $9.99 gets you T-bone steak dinner and a beer at Terrible’s Bougainvillea Cafe (4100 Paradise Road). It’s not on the menu, so ask your server about this special. Available 24 hours.

If you’re hankering for prime rib, here are a few cheap eats deals for you. $7.95 deals a prime rib special with soup or salad, vegetable, potato and dessert, available at Market Street Cafe in the California Hotel and Casino (12 E. Ogden Avenue) from 4 p.m. – 11 p.m., daily. $8.95 at Magnolia’s Veranda at the Four Queens Hotel and Casino (202 E. Fremont Street) offers a prime rib dinner served daily from 4 p.m. – midnight.

If you’re feeling like pigging out, you can make a meal deal out of the simple hot dogs. $1.25 gets you a hot dog served from a vendor’s cart at the sports book at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino (4100 W. Flamingo Road). Available 10 a.m.-6:45 p.m. $1.99 equals a hot gdg and draft beer at The Deli at Eastside Cannery. $2.95 converts into a giant hot dog at Westside Deli at Circus Circus Las Vegas (2800 Las Vegas Blvd., South). $3.50 is a Nathan’s hot dog served at a cart by the Monorail station at MGM Grand. Or if you like your pork on a plate, $8.99 scores a BBQ pork rib dinner with coleslaw, BBQ beans, corn and french fries in the Boulder Cafe inside Boulder Station Hotel and Casino (4111 Boulder Highway). Available daily, 4 p.m. – 11 p.m.