Eat Your Way Through Las Vegas, Nevada, With the Best Cheap Eats

There is a lot to see and explore on the Las Vegas Strip
There is a lot to see and explore on the Las Vegas Strip | © f11photo/Getty
Photo of Nick Dauk
14 July 2021

You didn’t save your piggy bank to blow it on the buffets in Las Vegas. Eat your way through Sin City with the best cheap eats that’ll make you feel like a VIP with a five-dollar bill.

Sin City is a fiery place to burn up your budget – but such overindulgence is best reserved for high rolling on the casino floor, bottle service at the nightclub and front-row show tickets. If you want to keep your meals cost-effective and convenient, Las Vegas will oblige.

Big Wong

Restaurant, Chinese
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You can never steer your budget wrong at Big Wong. One side of the menu alone has over a dozen chicken, pork and shrimp meals under $5 (£3.60). Dessert won’t upset your cash flow either – almond and mango puddings are only $1.25 (£0.90) each. Believe it or not, there are only two menu items you’ll spend more than $6 (£4.30) on: the salt-and-pepper shrimp or a whole soy-sauce chicken.

KoMex

Restaurant, Korean
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Courtesy of KoMex
Tacos are always a win, especially when they’re the dirt-cheap Korean-Mexican fusion creations of KoMex – think $2 (£1.40) kimchi bowls and $2.25 (£1.60) fusion tacos, a perfect pair for your wallet and weeknight happy-hour recovery. Your choice of beef, pork, chicken or tofu is topped with pico de gallo (Mexican salsa) and KoMex slaw and packed inside a corn tortilla. Feeling fancy? Upgrade your meat to pork belly for only a quarter (£0.20) more.

$5 Cafe

Restaurant, American, Fusion
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Courtesy of $5 Cafe
How could a place called the $5 Cafe not make it onto our list of Las Vegas cheap eats? Admittedly, the menu lined with diverse American, Mexican and Thai dishes does see plate prices as high as $14 (£10) – but we’re here for the diner’s namesake express breakfast. Five dollars (£3.60) will fuel your day via the Small Breakfast: two eggs, toast and your choice of hash browns, ham or bacon. Want to double up and stay full through lunch? A $10.99 (£8) plate of chicken and waffles will make your belt, and not your wallet, work.

Salvadoreno Restaurant

Restaurant, American
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Even those in the know would be forgiven for not having Salvadoreno Restaurant on their “local gems” radar. This Latin American restaurant, a few blocks north of Fremont Street, is ready to introduce you to El Salvador’s culinary staple, the pupusa: a small, round and cheesy corn cake filled with meat or beans. With other tasty plates on the menu, like pollo encebollado (chicken with onions) and frijoles y chicharron (pork dish), you’ll wonder how this cheap Central American restaurant has been kept so quiet for decades.

Moon Palace

Restaurant, American
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Courtesy of Moon Palace
Be honest, you didn’t expect to see one of chef David Chang’s restaurants on this list, did you? The restaurateur behind Momofuku has something tasty in store for money-conscious foodies at Moon Palace: every item on the menu is under $10 (£7.20). Slap a Jackson down on the table, and walk away with a beef tasty and sweet and salty honey-butter hot chips. Only got an Abe in your wallet? That’ll buy you a marshmallowy half dip, with a Washington to spare.

Donut Bar

Bakery, American
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Think you need to go over budget to try the most award-winning oversized donuts in the world? Think again. Donut Bar’s got the goods if you’ve got some pocket money; all cake donuts, like the red velvet and triple chocolate threat, are $2.50 (£1.80) or less. Should you have a few extra coins in your purse, yeast donuts, like the Nutella overload, Vermont maple bacon and birthday-cake Oreo, won’t run you more than $4 (£2.90). Throw a fiver (£3.60) down, and you’ll take home a vegan strawberry split or the ever-popular big poppa tart.

Pin-Up Pizza

Pizzeria, American
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Six dollars (£4.30) is all you need for one 30-inch (76cm) slice of pizza at Pin-Up Pizza. This is no skinny little slice, either; a triangle of cheese and crust will dominate even the widest of mouths, and there’s no shame in asking the Pin-Up parlor staff to cut it in half. For less than $13 (£9.40), you can add a plump garlic knot and a pint of beer to your order, giving you a dinner that’ll leave you stuffed for less than a single cocktail on the Strip.

Shang Artisan Noodle

Restaurant, Chinese
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Courtesy of Shang Artisan Noodle
Can you put a price on noodles handmade using ancient Chinese practices? Shang Artisan Noodle insists that their modern interpretation of the Shanxi tradition should hover around $10 (£7.20) or less. Bring your appetite for a bowl of chunky noodle soup or noodles and sauce, slurping down every drop while saving every penny possible. Not one to nom on noodles? Shang Artisan Noodle will load up a plate of steamed rice with meat, egg and veggies if chow mein and hand-pulled noodles aren’t on your belly’s budget.

Foot Long Hot Dog

Food Court, American
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Courtesy of Foot Long Hot Dog

You could go full-on James Bond and sit at the poker table of Casino Royale, or you could place three dollars (£2.20) on a sure bet: a Foot Long Hot Dog. This foodcourt fixture within the casino sells its eponymous menu item for a cool $2.49 (£1.80) – that’s nearly $0.21 (£0.15) per inch (2.5cm) of meat. Though toppings do cost extra, you can’t beat a quick and quality hot dog for less than a bet at the blackjack table.

Pacific Island Taste

Restaurant, American
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Throw up a shaka sign, and let your wallet hang loose at Pacific Island Taste. Huge Hawaiin grinds are only a wave away from the Strip. A half-pound (0.2kg) of poke is yours for eight bucks (£5.80), as are most of the breakfast plates. Need lighter fare that’s lighter on your budget? A handheld musubi (sushi) sandwich and the famous taro turnover are three dollars (£2.20) each, supplying lunch with a snack without washing your gambling money into the deep end.

Fancy a drink to wash it all down? Head to one of these top bars on the Las Vegas Strip before making your way back to your waterpark hotel or hotel with a balcony. Once you’re all rested, get your cultural fix at the best museums and art galleries Sin City has to offer.

Marcelina Morfin and Amy Schulman contributed additional reporting to this article.

These recommendations were updated on July 14, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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