Eat Cheap But Good In Vegas

One of the most dramatic changes to the Las Vegas landscape in the last decade has been its emergence as a destination for fine dining. Food fare previously was intended to dilute alcohol consumed and fuel more time at the slots and tables. Today, however, visitors come for the food and stay for the dice, and celebrity chefs from all over the world are rushing to open signature restaurants to feed them.

 

So where do you go to find the wickedly sinful cheap meal deals? Are there any places left where you can still get the outrageous plateful of grub for a $5 chip? We sent our late night foodies out to find them and here are some great deals they found for cheap eats in Las Vegas. The first rule of thumb for dining on the cheap in Las Vegas is no alcohol from the restaurant. You can get that at the slots or tables when you're chasing your dream of that one quit-your-job-sized bet.

 

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Everyone wants to know a Las Vegas secret, and here's one to try the next time you go to the Hard Rock Hotel (4455 Paradise Road). Make sure you visit Mr. Lucky's Cafe and ask for the Gambler's Special. This unadvertised selection includes an 8-ounce flatiron steak, three jumbo shrimp, salad, and garlic mashed potatoes all for $7.77. Just make sure you ask your server specifically for this item because it's not listed on the menu. And it's available 24 hours a day.

 

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What would a trip to Vegas be without a little cocktail? We suggest the one at the San Francisco Shrimp Bar & Deli in the Golden Gate Casino (One Fremont Street) in downtown Vegas. They still serve a $1.99 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.

 

Who doesn't love happy hours. But they don't have to just mean drink specials anymore. One of the more sophisticated restaurants in town, and a popular local's power lunch/dinner spot, is McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant (335 Hughes Center Drive). They have a famous happy hour menu that is available twice a day Monday through Friday when you buy a drink. From 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., and 9:30 to 11:00 p.m., you can fill up on affordable meal items such as a high-quality half-pound cheeseburger and fries for $2.95, blackened fish tacos or Asian popcorn chicken for $3.95, and Hood Canal oysters or Bay shrimp shooters for $4.95.

 

For warm-your-belly food, we recommend Oyster Bar at Penazzi at Harrah's Las Vegas Hotel and Casino (3475 Las Vegas Blvd., South). Have a bowl of chowder and the bread and crackers that come with your meal. For $10 you'll have a quality meal and we like eating at the bar because you've got a better chance of chatting up a working girl who's killing time waiting for an call.

 

For something you probably won't find anywhere outside of the 808 area code, try the Loco Moco, a bowl of rice topped with a hamburger patty, fried egg and drenched in brown gravy at Aloha Specialties at California Hotel and Casino (12 East Ogden Avenue) in downtown Las Vegas. A true Las Vegas bargain at only $4,75, it's available Sunday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.

 

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.

 

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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