Dining Near The Vegas Strip
It seems as though prices for everything on the Vegas Strip are rising faster than ever before. I was walking through a casino yesterday and saw a bottle of water in a food court for $3.50. This kind of high price comes along with just about everything when you’re on the Vegas Strip. You can buy water at one of the drugstores on the Vegas Strip for less if the price is a concern.
The water price example might be a bit aggressive but prices will continue to rise as long as people are willing to pay. These rising prices on the Vegas Strip have motivated some people to look at other options for food, drink, and entertainment. The price and convenience of ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft make these off-strip options more accessible while keeping them affordable.
Dining off the Vegas Strip isn’t a new trend. However, why people are dining off the Vegas Strip has changed. Years ago, visitors wanted to “eat where the locals eat.” Before moving to Las Vegas I would often set aside one night of vacation to dine where the locals dined. It was a different way to experience Sin City and became a tradition.
While this hasn’t changed, the prices in the touristy parts of Las Vegas are forcing some people to look for new and affordable things to do elsewhere. In the casino world, we see Station Casino and Boyd Gaming upgrading their off-strip properties. There’s a demand for better odds and a less expensive casino experience.
We’re also seeing some of the best chefs in Las Vegas moving away from the casinos to open restaurants at an increasing rate from previous years. Locals and tourists are noticing these shifts and it’s creating a new off-strip dining environment.
While there are new restaurants and bars opening all over Las Vegas there’s one hot spot that has been getting a lot of attention. Chinatown isn’t a new place to visit for good food but they’ve had a series of unique restaurants open in the past year.
Off Strip – Spring Mountain Area
First things first, the Spring Mountain area isn’t just a place for Chinese businesses. You’ll find a variety of businesses from China, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and other Asian countries. This part of town has always been a great place to eat. Monta Ramen and Pho Kim Long are some of the first good Asian restaurants I learned about.
The new restaurants in the area are offering more than just good food at good prices. They’re offering a cute environment with pretty and unique food. The visual appeal of the environment and food is as important as the flavor of the food. It’s not enough to create good food today. There must be an Instagramable environment for pictures and video. You won’t find this kind of dining experience in a Las Vegas casino.
Here are a couple of my favorite new off-strip dining hot spots along with a very newly opened restaurant. I’m including Uber ride-hailing estimates so you can budget time and money. You won’t find this kind of dining experience in a Las Vegas casino.
Hobak Korean BBQ ($7-$9 Uber estimate from The Mirage)
Big eaters may find it difficult to finish a Family Style Korean BBQ meal. Each large family style order comes with four different high-quality cuts of meat and sides that should easily feed four people for under $100. Ice cream sandwiches are included and delicious.
Smaller parties and small eaters can order less and spend much less. The flavors are unique and you can either barbecue your own food or have someone help you along. I recommend having a tour guide walk you through everything if you’re new to this cuisine.
Chubby Cattle ($7-$10 Uber estimate from The Mirage)
The restaurant promises an authentic Chinese hot pot experience but that might be selling the entire concept short. The hot pot is the center of your meal but it’s really just the beginning. This is a restaurant that has, and needs, a “how to eat” page on their website. This still doesn’t explain everything available at the Chubby Cattle.
The meats are cooked in the hot pot are beautiful and delicious but experience goes to another level. There is a carousel that goes around the restaurant with side dishes that you can just take and add to your soup. There’s also a create your own sauce area. I’ve never experienced anything like Chubby Cattle before.
Sparrow + Wolf ($6-$8 Uber estimate from The Mirage)
This is a brand new hot spot on Spring Mountain from Chef Brian Howard. You may be familiar with his name from his work at Comme Ça at Cosmopolitan. While the other new(ish) restaurants have become popular because of the price, this restaurant is focused on offering a higher quality experience than some restaurants away from the tourists might experience.
For full disclosure, I haven’t been here yet but the buzz from people I know and the reviews on Yelp are spectacular. I’m looking forward to trying this place sooner than later.
This really is just the tip of the iceberg in off-strip dining. I’m finding that almost all of the interesting restaurants opening in Las Vegas are opening away from the tourists. Las Vegas is continuing to break visitation records. The big casino operators will continue to offer amenities that mainstream visitors already like. Billion dollar corporations don’t take many risks when they don’t have to.
There are so many great dining options off the Vegas Strip today. You can find meals that range from high-quality to adventurous. The best part is that many of these restaurants are an affordable price that you might not see in a casino.