10 Money-Saving Meal Strategies for Vegas

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The response to last week’s post, 10 Vegas Breakfasts Under $10, was so positive, I’m following it up with my strategies for saving money on lunch and dinner in Las Vegas.  Again, the best way to save money on meals in Las Vegas is to stay off-Strip, where prices are cheaper.  If you’re traveling with someone, definitely take advantage of those 2-for-1 coupons or split a meal (God knows the portion sizes in Vegas are big enough).  But if you ‘re traveling solo, staying on the Strip, and don’t have access to a car, there are still ways to save money on meals.  Here are 10 of my favorite tips:

Paradise Cafe


Ellis Island (Koval Lane, behind Ballys) – Ellis Island has a terrific $6.99 steak dinner special that’s available all day.  As I mentioned before, as a solo female, I personally wouldn’t make this walk after dark (your mileage may vary), but I’d totally do it for lunch.

Head to Planet Hollywood for the next 3 bargain meals:

PF Changs – PF Changs offers lunch specials for under $10 that are quite filling. You can also eat off the appetizer menu to  keep it cheap. This place is not going to break the bank.

The Earl of Sandwich – Located in the Miracle Mile Shops, the Earl offers lots of fantastic hot sandwiches for under $6.  You can’t go wrong with that.

Ocean One Bar and Grille – This is also located in the Miracle Mile Shops.  Everything on the lunch menu is under $10, and everything on the dinner menu is under $20.

Hussong’s Cantina – This Mexican cantina at Mandalay Bay is on my list to try on my next trip.  It’s getting rave reviews, and nothing on their menu is over $20.  Sweet.

Firefly Tapas Bar


Go Downtown – The price differential on a good dinner you can find on the Strip vs. a good dinner you can find Downtown is HUGE.  For $6 round trip, you can catch the bus to Fremont Street, where the food is inexpensive and delicious.  Consider one of these:

  • The California’s Market Street Cafe has a $7.95 prime rib special.
  • Main Street Station’s Garden Court Buffet runs from $11-14/night, depending on the night (they have specialty nights which drive the price up a bit). Seafood Buffet night is $17.
  • The Triple 7 Brew Pub at Main Street Station has Happy Hour specials from 3-6pm with all food items $4.50 each and drinks $2 each. Regular dinner prices are also reasonable– nothing on their menu is over $20.  How about blackened salmon or mahi mahi for just $10.95? Sound good?
  • Don B’s Steakhouse at Fitzgerald’s offers Early Bird Specials every day from 5-6pm starting at $10.95.

Find Happy Hour specials. A number of Las Vegas bars and restaurants offer not only drink specials during Happy Hour, but food specials as well.  It’s a great way to have dinner and maybe even meet some new friends at the bar.  Current happy hour specials include:

  • The Palm at Caesars Forum Shops (4:30-6:30pm and 9:30pm to closing) offers $3.50 appetizers; inquire about drink prices before ordering, as I’ve heard those are still pricey.
  • Society Cafe at Encore (M-F, 4-7 pm) offers 2-for-1 mojitos and a tapas menu featuring dishes under $9.
  • Ra Sushi at the Fashion Show Mall (Mon-Sat, 3-7pm), $2-6 drinks and half off appetizers and sushi. (Ra Sushi also offers a very affordable lunch.)
  • The Lucky 7 Lounge at Japonais in the Mirage offers $7 drinks and $7 appetizers 7 days a week from 5-8pm and Thurs-Fri-Sat from 10pm-1am.

Catch a free shuttle to the Orleans – At the Courtyard Cafe, you can get a 16 oz. T-Bone Steak dinner for $12.99 or a 10 oz. Prime Rib dinner for $10.95.  The French Market Buffet offers good food for much more reasonable prices than on the Strip:  You can have lunch here for just $8.99 or dinner for $13.99-15.99 (or $18.99 on Seafood night).

Get a room with a refrigerator – Portion sizes in Las Vegas are as big as the state of Texas–instead of letting all that extra food go to waste, why not save it for another meal?  Some hotels will provide a refrigerator in your room (the kind you can store stuff in, not the minibars).  If they don’t automatically, you can request one.  Sometimes, they are free, but sometimes you have to pay a daily fee (which may or may not be high enough to negate any savings).  Be sure to ask when you reserve your room.

Fast Food – I wouldn’t want to just eat fast food in Vegas, but it’ll do in a pinch when you want something cheap and quick.  There are tons of fast food restaurants and food courts up and down the Strip.  There, you’ll find McDonalds, Nathan’s Hot Dogs, Subway, Sbarro, Panda Express,  Chipotle Mexican Grill, and Pink’s Hot Dogs (at Planet Hollywood), among others. The Venetian has two food court areas that I especially recommend for good, cheap food.

PSA:  As you’re eating all sorts of things that are bad for you in order to save money, please insert a salad now and again.  Your body will thank you for it.  End PSA.

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14 thoughts on “10 Money-Saving Meal Strategies for Vegas

  1. Reese

    I use restaurant.com when I’m travelling. If you plan ahead they have sales or you find promo codes that give you 80% off – so you can get a $25 gift certificate for $2, and can eat somewhere nice for less!

    1. Sheila Stuart

      Reese how do you do that being solo? Everything on restaurants.com and groupon.com is for buy 1/get 1. And this being a solo website, help me understand because I would love to get the bargains you mentioned above. WOW. I look forward to hearing back from you!

  2. Vegas Solo

    I would love to take advantage of Restaurant.com coupons, but I find it difficult to meet the minimum requirements as a solo diner (whether it’s buying 2 entrees or spending a certain amount of money, alcohol not included). Have you used them when dining alone?

  3. Geraldine

    Splitting an entree is a good idea no matter what – you save money and avoid consuming waaay too many calories. Bonus when the hotel room has the rare fridge/microwave combo. You will save a fortune. 🙂

  4. Reese

    I’ve used them at local restaurants and Atlantic City – usually the lower denominations, and for the special, all out meal (appetizer or salad, entree, and dessert) to hit the minumum. It does take some planning with checking out the menu and figuring out how badly you want to eat there, but it can save some money.

  5. Vegas Solo

    I’ve only ever been able to use them with friends. Every time I review menus of restaurants I want to eat at, I realize there’s no way I can eat enough food to make it worth it. (If only they counted alcohol as part of the total!) Possibly the lower denominations are the way to go. I’ll have to check that out next time I go to Vegas. Thanks, Reese!

  6. Pingback: Vegas Coupons and the Solo Traveler | The Vegas Solo

  7. Ukhotdeal

    Family day out need not be expensive. I really liked the tips that you shared since they are great ways for a family to enjoy without spending a lot. It’s all about finding a great activity and being with the people that matters most to you.

  8. Vegas hotels

    All this talk about food is making me hungry. LOL.
    We ate at the Mexican joint in Mandalay Bay on our last visit and the food was to die for.There were 2 of us, we both left the table with our stomachs totally full, the food was brilliant, we had a fair few beers too and the bill only totalled $50 – well and truly worth it!

  9. Brian

    You failed to mention the Stage Door Casino. A little dive behind Bally’s.$3 Burgers, $1 Michelob’s, $2 shot and beer, $2.50 for a beer and 1/4 lb Nathan’s hot dog and all kinds of other food specials. This is the pinnacle of cheap dining in Vegas.

    1. Gray Cargill Post author

      I failed to mention it because I didn’t know about it, Brian! I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this place! And it’s good food? Thanks for mentioning it!

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