Where to eat in Las Vegas?
May 15, 2024 9:24 PM   Subscribe

I'm heading to Last Vegas this month for work and want to eat healthy. I'm limited to $15 for lunch and $30 for dinner, including tip. No alcohol. Any tips?

I'll be near the convention center, and sadly won't have a car...

I have no food allergies or limitations, but I'd just prefer to (and feel better when I) eat healthy. Vegan is often a good option when I travel for that reason, but I'm open to any type of food.
posted by Toddles to Travel & Transportation around Las Vegas, NV (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You're going to have a hard time with the lunch budget anywhere near the convention center, especially without a car. $15 for a healthy lunch with tax and tip in that area just isn't realistic; it's specifically designed to separate tourists from their money any way they can. The time and money cost to go away from the strip is high enough they know they have a captive audience.

My usual strategy for a relatively cheap and relatively healthy lunches in the area is to go to Walgreens or CVS and buy a meal salad (they also have premade sandwiches). If your room has a fridge, you can get stuff delivered or strategize for leftovers from dinner the night before, but most hotels won't have a fridge for free. Depending on whether you feel like pushing your luck, you can sometimes claim that you have medications that need it to get a comp one. I sometimes bring a small cooler that fits in a checked bag and just restock the ice daily. Other people I know get a cheap Styrofoam one when when they arrive and just trash it when they leave.

Barring all that, you can have a stash of shelf stable stuff like peanut butter and bread, power bars, trail mix, etc.

If you're there for a conference that has vendors, it's often possible to scrounge a good lunch from their promotional events. If your hotel has a free breakfast, you can generally get away with taking some extra fruit and a bagel or whatever with you for lunch.

There's two McDonalds in the general area and an affordable taco place (Tacos El Gordo) but I've not been there. You might be able to find something close to your budget at some of the lower end hotels in the area - the Hampton Inn nearby has a few personal sized pizzas for $11-13. The various Starbucks in hotels might have sandwiches that cheap.

For dinner, you'd have to splurge on transport to get there, but
Chef Kenny's
is a nice vegan restaurant. It would also be a bit of a trip, but Lotus of Siam is an extremely well regarded Thai restaurant.
posted by Candleman at 2:12 AM on May 16 [5 favorites]

Best answer: When I’ve been in Las Vegas for conferences on the strip, I usually end up in the Arts District afterwards for dinner and/or drinks. If you like to walk, it is about 2 miles from the convention center, or you can take the 108 bus directly to it (which is much cheaper than the Deuce bus). There are plenty of good places to eat there, and it is much more locals oriented than anything on the strip - it feels more like downtown Olympia than the icky tackiness of the tourist focused side of Vegas.
posted by rambling wanderlust at 4:58 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]

Contest your limits. Those are per diems from 10 years ago. Talk to your boss, see if your expenses will be approved anyway if you submit something reasonable. $25-$30 for lunch is more like it.
posted by shock muppet at 7:34 AM on May 16 [8 favorites]

There’s a really nice Whole Foods just off the south end of the strip that has lots of healthy prepared foods and the usual Whole Foods salad/hot bar. If you can make it back to your room to eat lunch I’d plan on making a trip down there (via an Uber/Lyft/cab or mayyybe the city bus? Don’t try to walk it) to stock up on shelf stable stuff and whatever you can fit in your room’s mini fridge.
posted by MadamM at 11:04 AM on May 16

Best answer: For dinner, the Linq Prominade (the restaurants are listed here) is not too far and has a selection of decent restaurants that will easily fit your price range. I'm particularly fond of the pizza place - if they have it, the watermelon salad is really good. It's not vegan, but if pescatarian is close enough, there's a sushi burrito place. I believe you can get there on the monorail. And you can catch the fountain show at the Bellagio after dinner if that's of interest. On the other hand, if you're exhausted after your day and the idea of being in a crowd of people is unappealing, the Art District mentioned by rambling wanderlust is a much safer bet.

Grand Bazaar is also right nearby and has a variety of good restaurants in your price range - I usually go to Ramen-Ya.

Those are per diems from 10 years ago.

Unfortunately, official per diem rates for Vegas are still quite low. The problem is that they're calculated based on overall cost of being anywhere in the city, while the strip is effectively like visiting New York City.

Speaking of which, this won't help OP because it's way too long of a trek to save a few dollars, but if any future reader is staying nearby and looking for cheap eats, New York, New York has some of the better bang for the buck casino restaurants as well as some of the best beer you'll find on the strip.
posted by Candleman at 11:15 AM on May 16 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I recommend going to chinatown, plenty of cheap, high quality eats. i sometimes go to vegas in the summer and have gotten all you can eat korean bbq quite reasonably, and went to a ramen shop there, got a large wagyu bowl with every add-on and a couple beers and it was under 40. don't know the bus routes, but everything I've had there has been good.
posted by lkc at 5:38 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]

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