Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Vegas Family Vacation: Dining

Posting a recipe the other day got my gears turning on dining options with the family. One of the most common questions from tourists is "Where's a good place to eat?". Everyone's first instinct is finding a place on the strip, but it can get fairly pricey to eat on the Strip your whole stay so I usually recommend a few local places to eat to balance their budget. The Strip has some of the finest cuisine that you will ever see. However, it's not always the most family friendly. I personally don't think JAM is capable of eating $40 worth of food no matter what it is. He'll eat a steak and lobster with no problem, but he's usually satisfied with just chicken nuggets and fries. Although there is a Mcdonald's on the Strip, the prices are a little higher than a regular Mcdonald's and they don't offer a dollar menu. No worries, there are plenty of other restaurant options nearby.

If you're looking for fast food, just head down West Flamingo Road and you'll find all the fast food that your heart desires. Sonics, McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, Arby's, Wendy's, Fat Burger, Subway, Starbucks...the list goes on and on. You'll find it all on W. Flamingo Road between Las Vegas Blvd. and Rainbow Blvd. If In-N-Out is what you're craving that's not too far either. It's right on the corner of I-15 and W. Tropicana Ave. Have a little fun by ordering off their "secret menu", and as a souvenir for the kiddos ask for stickers and In-N-Out hats (the same the servers wear).
In-N-Out Burgers. YUM!
If you're craving Chinese food, Las Vegas' Chinatown is nearby too. I must warn you, coming from Chicago where Chinatown was an actual town, Las Vegas' chinatown is A LOT smaller. Just head down Las Vegas Blvd. to Spring Mountain Road to see it. Heading down W. Spring Mountain Road you'll see a few plazas filled with stores and restaurants. My favorite place to get some boba tea is Tea Station. If you're looking for something quick and yummy check out Lee's Sandwiches ( FYI: they're open 24 hours!). If you want more of a restaurant feel I suggest trying Korean Garden BBQ Restaurant. Their bulgogi (Sliced Tender Beef Seasoned Korean Style) is AMAZING.
Tea Station yumminess!
A couple other places you have as an option is by the outlet mall and at Town Square. If you head down S. Las Vegas Blvd. past the Mandalay Bay hotel you see Town Square. They offer lovely restaurants like California Pizza Kitchen, Texas de Brazil, and Claim Jumpers. Keep going down Las Vegas Blvd. and your see restaurants galore at the Las Vegas Premium Outlets - South. If you can't find something to eat here, you're either not hungry or you're just no looking. Buffalo Wild Wings, Raising Cane's, Tropical Smoothie, Outback Steakhouse, IHOP, Chili's, Burger King, Chipotle, Panda Express...it's all here. Plus, being near the outlet gives you an excuse to see what's inside since your there already hehe.
Buffalo Wild Wings Galore!
If you absolutely want to stay on the Strip to dine, that's ok! There's a good amount of affordable places to eat right on the Strip. There is the Rainforest cafe and is probably the most family friendly restaurant on the Strip. If all the animals and rainstorm isn't appealing to you, you can never go wrong with eating at a buffet. My go-to buffet is the Carnival World Buffet at the Rio Hotel, but other popular buffets are at the Bellagio, Planet Hollywood, Paris, and Aria in Citycenter. Serendipity 3 is also a nice restaurant inside Caesars Palace where you can grab a table at their outside patio and get a cute view of the Strip. If you're looking for tasty American cuisine, check out this restaurant owned my Wolfgang Puck in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, Spago. A family-favorite of ours in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace is TREVI Italian restaurant. The views of the fountain are beautiful, the service in impeccable, and the food is amazingly delicious. If you're traveling with an adult-filled crowd you may want to visit Dick's Last Resort in the Excalibur hotel. It's a real laid back enviroment with great tasting food, however, to eat at this place you have to keep an open mind. The server's are known for their rowdy and have sassy behavior. They love to deliver a side order of friendly sarcasm and clever wisecracks, but don't take it personally, it's all a part of the experience at Dick's. Last but not least, check out the eateries at Fashion Show Mall. Most people don't even recognize the mall on the Strip, but it's the building that looks like a silver spaceship from afar. They have your typical food court restaurants as well as yummy dine-in restaurants like Maggiano's.
Eating with my cousin and her family at Rainforest Cafe.

Your food options are endless in Vegas and I call still go on and on, but I know tourists don't like to veer too far off the Strip. As a little tip on the buffets, they there's a package for a two-night stay and two Buffet of Buffets. It's a 24 hour pass where you can enjoy all day access to five of the most spectacular Caesars Citywide buffets starting at $52/night for the package. These buffets include: Bacchanal (Caesars Palace), Spice Market Buffet (Planet Hollywood), Le Village Buffet (Paris Las Vegas), Paradise Garden Buffet (Flamingo), Carnival World Buffet (Rio), Flavors (Harrah's Las Vegas), and Village Seafood Buffet (The Rio) Upgrade fee applies to Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace and Village Seafood Buffet at Rio Las Vegas per person per visit. Bon Appétit!