Among the images that come to mind when people think of Las Vegas are food bargains so good the food is practically free. They think of the buffets -- all a small country can eat -- for only $3.99! While minor hotels still seek to attract guests with meal deals, eating in Las Vegas is no longer something you don't have to worry about budgeting for. The buffets are certainly there -- no good hotel would be without one -- as are the cheap meal deals, but you get what you pay for and these days you often have to pay a lot. Virtually overnight, there was an explosion of new restaurants, most the creations of the so-called celebrity chef phenomenon from brand names such as Wolfgang Puck and Emeril Lagasse to such foodie faves as Joël Robuchon and Thomas Keller. For a while, this boom affected only the very highest end of the price category. In other words, boy, can you eat well, as long as you have a trust fund. While those restaurants still thrive and multiply, it seems, there has been a recent move toward more moderately priced restaurants that manage to provide excellent dining experiences without breaking the bank. Having said that, the truly great restaurants in town will still cost you an arm and a leg (and perhaps a kidney).

Great Meal Deals

We've already alluded to the rock-bottom budget meals and graveyard specials available at casino hotel restaurants. Quality not assured and Pepto-Bismol not provided. As prices and deals can change without notice, we don't want to list examples, but finding a full prime-rib dinner for around $5 is not rare (pun definitely intended).

Your best bet is to keep your eyes open as you travel through town, as hotels tend to advertise their specials on their marquees. Or you can go to and click on "Dining" and then "Dining Bargains," though the tips and prices may be somewhat out-of-date. Following are three examples of current options for late-night munchies: Coronado Cafe at the South Point offers a $3.95 steak-and-eggs meal, while $2.95 gets you a hearty breakfast at The Sundance Grill at the Silverton. At the Hard Rock Hotel, Mr. Lucky's 24/7 is a particularly good diner, with particularly good people-watching. And then ask your server about the $7.77 steak, three barbecued shrimp, and sides; it's not on the menu, so you have to know about it.

Shhhhhh . . . Half-Price Meals, on the Strip & Off -- Here’s the latest in restaurant discounting: Cut-price meals at some of the city’s top eateries are being sold by Tix4Tonight, the same people who peddle theater tickets. Either stop by a booth, call tel 800/269-8499, or visit Request a reservation from their list of partner restaurants (which vary often but can include gourmet to buffet), pay a small fee, and get discounts of up to 50% off. Reservations must be made in person at a Tix4Tonight booth.

Booths can be found at the following locations:

  • In the Fashion Show mall (across from the Wynn)
  • In the Hawaiian Marketplace (near Harmon St.)
  • At the Circus Circus main registration desk (North Strip)
  • At Slots A Fun (next to Circus Circus)
  • In Bill’s Casino (at the corner of Flamingo Blvd.)
  • In the Showcase Mall (at the base of the giant Coca-Cola bottle)
  • In the Four Queens Casino (Downtown, on Fremont St.)
  • In the Casino Royale (across from the Mirage)
  • At the Town Square shopping center (across from Claim Jumper)

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.