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MARCH 2015
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Here's how this list works: We eat. If we like where we eat, we write it up. Scroll down for the full list, or jump to a geographical section below. Capsules by Maureen Adamo (MA), John Hardin (JH), Andrew Kiraly (AK), Al Mancini (AM) and Brock Radke (BR).

View Desert Companion Las Vegas Dining Guide in a larger map



Los Antojos
Tiny, brilliant Los Antojos serves ultra-authentic, mind-blowing Mexican food. A giant bowl of delicious consommé loco (chicken soup with rice and cilantro) is $4.99. Tiny meat-filled tacos are $1.39 each (go to hell, Taco Bell). And for about three bucks, rich little corn cakes (gorditas) stuffed with fried pork skin, cilantro, onion and salty cheese will change your life. (BR) 2520 S. Eastern Ave, 457-3505

Big Wong
Eating at Big Wong, a hole-in-the-wall in our expansive Chinatown neighborhood, is like eating at the house of some longtime family friends - no frills, just simple, great food. Hoi Nam Chicken is the epitome of that vibe, a huge plate of tender, juicy, stewed chicken (complete with skin and other odd but delicious parts) served with a pile of white rice and soy and ginger-chili sauces for a dipping extravaganza. It's an utterly satisfying, ridiculously cheap meal, following in our Chinatown traditions. BR 5040 Spring Mountain Road, 368-6808

Carlito's Burritos
Five bucks scores a meal and a good beer at Carlito's. Voted 2009's best new restaurant by the Review-Journal, Carlito's offers up spicy, authentic New Mexican cuisine. Hit the daily specials like Monday's $1 Santa Fe Sliders or Tuesday's $1 beef tacos. There's a different special every day and a pinto or black bean burrito is $3.95 any time. Wash it down with a pint of Carlito's special lager ($1!). (JH) 3345 East Patrick Lane, suite 105, 547-3592

Natalie Young's menu is filled with simply prepared, classic comfort dishes. The chicken-fried steak may be one of the best dishes I've had all year. (Health food this is not, but I can think of few tastier ways to go out.) Smothered in robust gravy, the lightly battered and freshly fried steak arrives to your table piping hot. Young's huevos motuleños - a Yucatanese breakfast dish with black beans, tortillas and plantains - have gotten more press and while they're good, they're no chicken-fried steak. If you live downtown, this is likely already your favorite breakfast/lunch joint. If you're in the suburbs, it's worth the jaunt. JB 707 Carson Ave., 534-1515,

The Fat Greek
The Gourgousis family's Fat Greek has long been considered by many to be the finest Greek restaurant in town. And that reputation has only gotten stronger since their son Jerry, a veteran chef who's worked in fine dining restaurants such as Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, Guy Savoy and Rick Moonen's rm seafood, joined the kitchen staff. He puts out delicious versions of dishes like moussaka, dolmades and seafood pasta, with no dinner entrée priced above $15. The real standout: braised lamb shank over orzo for $12.95. (AM) 4001 S. Decatur Blvd., 222-0666

Las Famosas de Jose
Sixteen ounces of chicken breast, cheese, beans, tomatoes, avocado, jalapeño peppers and lettuce sandwiched between two humongous slices of fried bread make up Le Titanic, una torta gigante or, as I like to call it, A REALLY BIG SANDWICH (technical specs: 12 inches long by 5 inches wide by 4 inches thick). But the novelty of its size isn't a mere gimmick; on top of that, the ingredients are fresh, making for a gloriously juicy monster. Add in some of owner Fernando Rojas' homemade, secret recipe salsa and you, sir, have got yourself a sandwich (A REALLY BIG SANDWICH). I recommend sharing - with up to 3 people. But if you're broke and starving, Rojas will buy you and your friends' meals if you can gobble up the five pound La Paquita in under 15 minutes. DM 2635 E. Tropicana Ave., 450-2444

Fogo de Chão
Several churrascarias or Brazilian steakhouses have popped up in recent years, but at Fogo de Chão, though the concept isn't any different-rapid-fire meat delivery that you can't possibly keep up with-the service and quality is impressive. Churrascaria means barbeque in Portuguese. And when you go for barbecue, you want to eat too much of different kinds of meats. Fogo de Chão is a great place to do that. The "picanha," or garlicky top sirloin, is the best cut, the perfect blend of buttery texture and beefy taste (especially when you get a slice with fatty, charred crust on one side). The lamb chops are perfect. The linguica sausage is nicely spiced, and even the beef ribs are tender and full of flavor. The side dishes of caramelized bananas and crispy polenta cakes are hard to stop eating, too. It's hard to criticize what seems like a gimmicky restaurant when the food is this good. BR 360 E. Flamingo Road, 431-4500,

Forte doesn't serve just a single type of ethnic cuisine. Rather, it's an amalgamation of some of the most unique types of cooking available in Las Vegas. The sign on the door calls it a European tapas restaurant - and there are plenty of traditional Spanish tapas available. But Bulgarian-born Nina Manchev has also brought the recipes of her native country - and Russia, Georgia and Croatia - to the west side of town. And she's tapped her well-traveled father Stephan to oversee the kitchen. The menu is heavy on meats, sausages and dumplings. But many of the dishes are surprisingly light and delicate, defying the stereotype of Eastern European cooking. The food is best enjoyed family-style, at reasonable prices allowing large parties to sample a bit of everything. There are several standout dishes, but be sure to try the adjarski khachapurri: a large bread boat filled with bubbling cheese and a fried egg. Oh, and don't leave without sampling the homemade flavored vodkas and brandies. 4180 S. Rainbow Blvd., 220-3876,

Magura Restaurant
This east-side eatery sells the best Bulgarian food west of the Rockies. Salads, grilled meats and veggies dominate the menu, complemented by cheese, yogurt or both. Fight the heat with tarator, a cold cucumber, yogurt and fresh dill soup that will have you wishing your bowl was a swimming pool. Throw your arteries to the wind with the wonderful kashkave pane – battered, pan-fried cheese that's sinfully good. Everything is fresh and nothing costs more than $11. (JH) 1305 Vegas Valley Drive Ste. C, 702-693-6990

The best soul food in Las Vegas is Japanese. I hope that's not offensive or blasphemous. No disrespect to your favorite fried chicken joint. It's just that "soulful" is the perfect descriptor for a bowl of noodles so simple yet so sophisticated, flavors so clean and precise, a dish simultaneously exotic and reassuringly homey. Take your seat at the bar in this tiny Chinatown treasure. You can choose from pork bone (tonkotsu), chicken-vegetable (shoyu) or miso broth as the perfect base for a mountainous portion of fresh, hand-pulled noodles and two slices of buttery chashu (roasted pork). Impossibly, it's about $7. Splurge if you must, and drop a couple more bucks for toppings such as extra chashu, hard-boiled egg, sweet corn, tangy kimchi or wonderfully bitter mustard leaf. Simple ingredients for a simple soup, but it's sublime eating, with so much soul. BR 5030 Spring Mountain Road #6, 367-4600,

Nora's Cuisine
Sip a signature $9 cocktail at the lively bar (try the sweet, potent Sicilian martini) to steel yourself for an extensive menu of Italian classics. Sure bets: chicken carciofi ($13.95), baked ziti ($10.50) and the always-generous Pasta Alla Nora ($10.50), a flavorful mashup of spaghetti, eggplant, ground beef, pesto, tomato sauce and cheese. (AK) 6020 W. Flamingo Road, 365-6713

Oiga, Mire, Vea Colombian Cuisine
There's lots of room para bailar when the karaoke machine runs Saturday nights. Try to follow the cumbias in between crispy bites of empanada ($1.25 each) or the steamed, hand-wrapped tamal ($9.99) filled with juicy meats and veggies. The arepas topped with shredded beef ($6.99) come with an imported soda, while the aguas frescas help put out the fiery peppers dancing on your tongue. (MA) 2580 S Decatur Blvd., 221-4359

When Kerry Simon opened his restaurant at Palms Place, he expanded beyond the comfort food that made him famous at The Hard Rock to also include sushi. And if there's one dish that combines both those worlds, it's his delicious tuna dynamite. This $17 dish could serve as a light meal on its own, combining, tuna, lump crab meat and red chili aioli in layers that are alternately hot and cold. (AM) Inside Palms Place, 4381 W. Flamingo Road, 944-3292

Thai Food to Go
Third time's the charm for this east-side eatery, which has seen three different owners. The food was always good, but ever since the newest owners stepped in, it's been exceptional. Some dishes, such as the green curry (lunch $5.50, dinner $6.95), are simply transcendent. They top your choice of beef, chicken, pork or tofu with market-fresh vegetables and herbs, then stew it all in a mix of traditional Thai curry made from fresh green chilies, shallots, garlic, lemongrass and coconut milk. The result is savory, creamy, spicy, not-too-sweet and phenomenal when poured over rice. Spice levels range from one to 10; the main ingredient is fresh chili, so one means "mild tingle" and 10 means "mind-altering trip into the heart of a live volcano." Order wisely. JH 3242 E. Desert Inn Road #9, 778-8898,

Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse
Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse doesn't get much ink, but the crab cake here is killer, and the steaks are fine, too. But the real reason to come is for their brioche bread pudding, two warm, egg-rich slabs of pure heaven alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream, served in a pastry tuile. This bread pudding might not be the visual stunner that you'll find at a place like L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, but it has a solid, down-home appeal at Vic & Anthony's where the décor has a retro feel, courtesy of a stained glass skylight and amber-colored chandeliers shaped like giant starfish. There's also a gallery of black and white snaps of old Vegas. Say, isn't that Elvis standing toe to toe with Liberace? MJ Inside the Golden Nugget, 129 E. Fremont St., 386-8399,

China Town

Bosa 1
Our wondrous Chinatown is awash in cheap eats of all Asian origins. Bosa 1 has my favorite deal, Com Tam Dac Biet, a $9 Vietnamese combo plate of broken rice, barbecued shrimp, shredded pork skin, sweet shrimp cake and peppery egg-pork patty with an additional meat of your choice (such as barbecued pork chop or Chinese sausage). It's a ton of food, and each bite will blow you away, especially once drizzled with homemade fish sauce. (BR) 3400 S. Jones Blvd. #2A, 418-1931

Crown Bakery
Nothing punctuates a China Town foodie crawl than unleashing your ravenous sweet tooth at Crown Bakery. Buns shot full of cream, breads infused with honey, rolls injected with jerkified hot dogs … yeah, there's definitely a forcible flavor-insertion theme going on. There are mainstream goodies, too, from pecan tarts ($1.95) to nut bars ($2) to madeleines ($2.50). (AK) 4355 Spring Mountain Road, 873-9805

Hue Thai
Stop patronizing the visored sub sandwich brigade and try the cheaper, tastier Vietnamese bite called banh mi. The house special at Hue Thai ($3.49) is a soft, flaky French baguette stacked with cold cuts, pate, daikon, carrots and peppers – so good you'll disavow your brown-bag lunch. If you're really hungry, pair it with some pork and vegetable rolls ($4.75), and secede from the nation of turkey sandwich-eaters forever. (MA) 5115 Spring Mountain Road, Ste. 223; 943-8872

You don't need a fat wallet to eat at Ichiza, but you do need a strong finger – 'cause you'll be pointing manically at the walls of this clamorous Japanese beerhall, ordering from the hand-scrawled fliers that hype everything from wasabi octopus to fried crab rolls to seaweed salads – many under $5. On the menu, the $4.50 half-bowl of ramen is a surefire drunk-banisher, and the chefs will cheerfully skewer pretty much any kind of meat on a stick for $1.50. (AK) 4355 Spring Mountain Road, 367-3151

Ronald's Donuts
For vegans: Donuts that won't kill your soul. For non-vegans: Donuts that won't ruin your day. Bonus: They're truly tasty! Airy, soft and with just the right amount of icing, the regulars (75 cents each) from the top two shelves have never even seen an animal's shadow. The flaky vegan apple burrito ($1.10) is mom's apple pie rolled into breakfast. Bring cash, though, or you'll be digging for loose change for the donut holes ($1 a dozen). (MA) 4550 Spring Mountain Road, 873-1032

Tucked into a hive-like strip mall west of China Town proper, the low-key Shuseki boasts cheap eats galore for the luncher or late-nighter, from standards such as pork dumplings ($2.99) to green tea-infused rice with salmon ($4.99) to a generous bowl of crispy, lightly battered fish cakes ($3.99). (AK) 5115 Spring Mountain Road, 222-2321

Tea Station
Like your tea chewy? Hit this brightly lit China Town teahouse popular with the otaku hipsters. If slurping tapioca nodules through a cartoon straw isn't your idea of a meal, skip the boba and leap into the menu for novel yums such as the sticky rice tamale ($3.75) or tea-infused eggs ($2.75). The hot and cold flavored teas are a bargain, too, served in generous mugs for under $5. (AK) 4355 E. Spring Mountain Road # 106, 889-9989

Tofu Hut
For the preposterous price of just $16.99 (even cheaper if you eat after 11 p.m.), you can engage in one of the most flavorful all-you-can-eats in Vegas. The grill on your table is roomy enough for tender, marinated bulgogi, chili- and sugar-laden pork belly and other Korean barbecue treats, but the real deals are the infinite side dishes: great kimchi, sesame oil salad and the molten tofu soup that gives this laid-back joint its name. (BR) 3290 Spring Mountain Road, 257-0072

Veggie Delight
After double-taking at every "chicken," "beef" or "pork" on the menu (no real meat is served in this café), you could probably order any of the fairly-reminiscent-of-meat dishes and be pleasantly surprised. The vegetarian black pepper steak sandwich ($4.50) is a tofu-substitute banh mi, and the crunchy and spicy cucumber salad ($3) is perfect for hot summer days. Ordering vegan will break your budget, but only by parking meter fare. (MA) 3504 Wynn Road, 310-6565

University District

Cottage Café
Las Vegas has no shortage of Ethiopian restaurants. What sets the quaint Cottage Café apart from the crowd are its location and its prices. It's located within walking distance of both The Hard Rock and the large concentration of gay and alternative watering holes just to the south of the resort, perfect for those looking to grab a cheap, delicious meal before a night of partying. None of the nearly 20 vegetarian and meat dinners is priced above $10. (AM) 4647 Paradise Road, 650-3395

A deliciously lugubrious piano-and-vox duo croons while you're sipping a bargain syrah ($10 a glass) and sampling the exhaustive antipastini menu – tender gnocchi pomodoro ($8), arugula-topped beef carpaccio ($10) and grancini al tartufo (fried rice balls infused with truffles, $8) – after which you retire next to the patio firepond to sip some port. Barside or fireside at Ferraro's gorgeous new location only feels expensive. (AK) 4480 Paradise Road, 364-5300

Merkato Ethiopian Cafe
Don't let the "neutron-bombed strip mall" vibe put you off. Hey, the countless cabbies who frequent Merkato gotta be on to something. Entrees tend to run under $10, but you can forge a feast from appetizers, whether it's the humongous selata (tomato salad, $3.50) or yemisir sambusa (lentil-stuffed pastry, $1). Brekkie? Try the chechebsa (scrambled bread, $5), or kinche (cracked wheat with butter, $3.50). (AK) 855 E. Twain Ave., 796-1231

Pho Thanh Huong Restaurant
A godsend for the University District, Pho Thanh Huong is Vietnamese for "OMG, that hit the spot" (we think). The grilled chicken banh mi ($2.75) is the usual French roll filled with shredded meat and veggies, but great for the price and a little spicy with extra peppers. A small iced coffee with milk ($3.23) and small pho khong (rice noodle soup, ($4.49) won't break a student-sized budget, but service can be spotty. 1131 E. Tropicana Ave, Ste. D; 739-8703


Aloha Specialties Restaurant
You might feel overwhelmed by the menu wall, but don't panic. The fare is simple but solid – and anything with the teriyaki chicken is delightful. The saimin ($4) is a bowl of brothy noodle heaven with eggs and green onions. Have a rice bowl ($2.95, $3.25) with your choice of teriyaki, or any of the teri sandwiches ($5.00) and a gooey side of mac salad ($1.45). Just make sure to bring cash. (MA) Inside The Cal casino, 12 E. Ogden Ave., 382-0338

Kabob Korner
After your night of downtown rawker mayhem, Kabob Korner is cheap, filling, tasty and, best of all, within stumbling distance of your favorite bars and tattoo parlors (forgot to tell you: Look in the mirror). Fuel up on the fat menu of pitas. Standard: the formidable gyro pita ($4.99). Adventurous: the chili chicken pita ($4.99). For grazers: Decent hummus ($4.50), falafel ($2.99) and 99-cent samosas. (AK) 507 E. Fremont St., 384-7722

Lola's Louisiana Kitchen
Lola's in the Holsum Lofts offers a wide variety of Louisiana cuisine for under $15. But it's the oysters that will keep you coming back. The best in Vegas, they're brushed with lemon butter marinade and Parmesan cheese, then grilled to perfection. You can get a half-dozen for just $11.49. Another surefire bargain hit is the chef's own creation: a crawfish version of hushpuppies known as crawpuppies for $5.99. (AM) 241 W. Charleston Blvd., 227-5652

Los Tacos
You can get tacos on the cheap anywhere, but only at Los Tacos will a single taco qualify as lunch. It'll cost $3.50, it'll be wrapped in two large, soft, corn tortillas, it will include your choice of meat (get the pork carnitas or marinated al pastor) along with whole simmered pinto beans, melted cheese, avocado and pico de gallo, and it will seriously recalibrate your concept of tacoism. (BR) 1710 E. Charleston Blvd., 471-7447

Dinner and a show, downtown-style: Watching tourists stop outside Mamacita's to vamp to the pop music the waiter/DJ sprays onto the sidewalk while you sample Cuban standards like fried yucca ($3.95), crispy beef croquets and fried plantains ($8.95) served with bread, black beans and white rice – or one of the countless Mexican combo plates under $10 – you vow to return in the morning to cure that margarita hangover with the under-$10 breakfast menu. (AK) 611 E. Fremont St., 474-7033

Second Street Grill
You're downtown. You're hungry and you've tried every shrimp cocktail as far as the neon stretches. This slightly geriatric dining room offers a tender, tasty T-bone steak dinner ($18.99) well worth the time spent wondering how far a Social Security check stretches these days. Lighter options: The Peking duck and shrimp tacos ($14) or the pan-fried crab cakes ($15). So what if they pour the fancy water from plastic bottles? (MA) Inside the Fremont Casino, 200 Fremont St., 385-6277

Tinoco's Kitchen Express
Okay, so it's a glorified casino snack bar, its brand-name appeal deflated a bit by barstool seating that offers you an up-close view of shambling and muttering downtown casino denizens. Still, the food fills you up, cheaply and quickly, whether it's a (surprisingly spicy!) $2 soft taco, Tinoco burrito (chicken, pork or carne asada, $5.95) or more lumpen fare that ranges into hot dogs and club sandwiches in the $5-$7 range. Want ambience? Get it to go and eat in your car. (AK) Inside the Las Vegas Club, 18 Fremont St., 380-5735

Uncle Joe's Pizza
The classic walk-in-and-grab-a-slice pizza joint will never get old, and Uncle Joe's boasts the added benefit of the charms of East Fremont. At lunch, five bucks on the dot will get you two tasty slabs of cheese pizza, glistening with just the right amount of grease and ready for a generous dash of red pepper and dried oregano, and an ice-cold can of Coke. (BR) 505 Fremont St., 385-2162


Bamboo Bistro
For a Vietnamese feast like no other, head to Bamboo Bistro. While the menu boasts countless affordable Southeast Asian delicacies, the crowning jewel is Bo 7 Mon Hang Nong. This $21 indulgence (which could easily satisfy two moderately hungry diners or one ravenous one) features seven separate courses of beef. You even get to cook your own meat in the fondue-style bho numg dam, and wrap several of your courses in rice paper yourself. (AM) 7537 S Rainbow Blvd Las Vegas, 838-6770

Having the Angry Kimchi Fries delivered to your table at Buldogis, a crazy Korean hot dog joint, equates to that part in '80s action movies when one guy shoots a machine gun and the other guy pulls out one of those wide-barreled grenade launchers. It makes you smile - because you know something is going to blow up. In this instance, the explosion will be in your face, as your hapless taste buds attempt to understand how vinegary kimchi belongs with a mountain of crisp sweet potato fries. For fun, there's also spicy-sweet grilled pork, diced onions and jalapeños, mounds of melting cheese to glue it all together, and a nice fried egg, because why not? Funky, sweet, spicy and rich, this basket of insane flavor confetti cannot be defeated. And even though you'll only eat half, it'll stay with you for days. BR 2291 S. Fort Apache Blvd. #102,

Eddie D's Famous Italian Sandwiches
This unheralded Italian neighborhood deli is joyfully throwing together some of the best sandwiches in town, including chewy hard rolls stuffed with slow-cooked pork and beef that should cost way more than seven bucks. Eddie D's may serve the best homemade meatball sub in town, they've got all your favorite imported ingredients from prosciutto to capacola, and their signature sandwiches are named after Sopranos characters. What more do you want? (BR) 8410 W. Cheyenne Ave. #102, 541-8792

Goyemon Sushi House
All-you-can-eat sushi is not for everyone; however, under the right circumstances, it can be quite the windfall. This is true of the spread at Sushi House Goyemon, where their mission is simply to make their customers happy and where their high-quality fish, served alongside Japanese staples tends to do that. Besides the sushi, don't miss the seared pork belly or innovative desserts. And here's an insider secret: If you're dining there after 11 p.m., you can even order Monta's renowned shoyu ramen. Just keep that secret between us - they're busy enough already. JB 5255 S. Decatur Blvd. #118-199,

Hachi's chef Linda Rodriguez and her husband and sushi chef Martin Swift were both trained under Nobu Matsuhisa, with Martin working at Nobu in London, and Linda working there and at Nobu New York. They offer similar fusion cuisine and sushi at Hachi, but at a fraction of the price. In fact, 38 separate menu items cost $8 each or less, including tempura, fried rice, sashimi, dumplings, ribs and five different specialty rolls. (AM) Inside The Red Rock Casino, 11011 W. Charleston Blvd., 797-7576

Korean food hasn't quite spread to Vegas from the Left Coast in the same way that Chinese food has, although we do have a Korean food court at the Greenland Market and occasional flashes of brilliance at places such as Honey Pig. However, Soyo, which bills itself as a "barstaurant," stands up to any good eatery in L.A.'s sprawling Koreatown. The décor features muted colors and booths carved cannily into the walls. Cooking is done in the kitchen, not at table. Kim'chi pancake, a thin crêpe with a persistent crunch, and mandu, that's fried dumplings to us, both offer any dedicated barfly an excuse to drink. Other dishes not to miss are soon du bu, soft, silky tofu, a suspension with the texture of crème brûlée, and some of the best fried chicken in the city, laced with hot spices. MJ 7775 S. Rainbow Blvd. #105, 897-7696

TC's Rib Crib World Famous BBQ
The sammies on this beloved barbecue joint's $4.99 lunch menu all sport the prefix "Jr.," but between the sandwich (choices, choices: pulled pork, rib tips, brisket) and the bonus side (Dare you ask? Gotta get the sweet potato fries!), it's a filling bargain. For a buck more, get a pancreas-taunting cup of cobbler or banana pudding. Full yet? (AK) 3655 South Durango, Suite 18 Las Vegas, NV 89147, 451-7427

Vintner Grill
You, too, can join the train of society ladies and suited execs that seems to run nonstop through Vintner Grill on an invisible stopwatch. The trick: Request the surprisingly hefty half-orders of anything off the lunch menu, from the lamb Bolognese to the crab ravioli to the generous entrée salads, and you've just scored a bargain power lunch. Seal the deal with a frothy cappuccino. (AK) 10100 W. Charleston Blvd. Suite 150, 214-5590


Baladie Cafe
Envy the residents of the north, for they have Baladie, where falafel is made the way Greeks intended – soft and moist inside and fried to a sesame-crusted crisp outside. Have the platter ($7.99), stacked with Mediterranean delights, or the pita ($5.99) and add the herb fries ($1.60) or the utterly satisfying and larger-than-usual side Greek salad ($2.99). The Mediterranean platter ($8.99) is a generous tour of the treats the mom-and-pop shop has to offer. (MA) 4872 W. Lone Mountain Road, 658-0024

Camacho's Cantina
The beautiful and often empty Aliante Station resort in North Las Vegas has some solid eats, but the best deal in the house is Taco Tuesday at Camacho's. Starting at 4 p.m., shockingly delicious street-style tacos of grilled chicken, carne asada or tender marinated pork in small, warm, corn tortillas are a buck each. (BR) Inside Aliante Station, 7300 Aliante Parkway, 692-7777

Chocolate & Spice Bakery Attack your breakfast or lunch with plastic utensils. The casual vibe here suits the neighborhood. Though many are pre-packaged grab-and-gos, the savories do not disappoint - tasty stuff like Mediterranean salads, burly turkey or ham sandwiches on baguettes or ciabatta, and a fresh pasta with toasted garlic, parmesan and broccoli rabe. But don't dare do Chocolate & Spice without indulging in at least a couple desserts. You'd be missing the point. There are flaky raisin pinwheels or apricot croissants. The banana cream pie is small but so rich, you'll beat yourself up for not being able to finish it alone. Chocolate? How about blended with Nutella in a decadent dome, swirled with caramel in a linzer torte, or married to peanuts in a dense bar that begs for coffee. And then there are daily special desserts and rotating, featured bites ... just get one of everything. BR 7293 W. Sahara Ave., 527-7772,

Dom Demarco's Pizzeria and Bar

It's every New Yorker's God-given right to lament the absence of good pizza in Vegas. But with the arrival of Dom DeMarco's, in 2012, my maw was muzzled. The Di Fara Special - named after the pizzeria's main camp in Brooklyn - wipes the floor with competing deep-dish pies. The square-cut behemoth, cooked in cast iron, boasts a crust with crisp, rich edges and a light, soft crumb. Thick coins of pepperoni are strewn across the top to please the pork-lover, while ribbons of basil add a fresh finish. Make like a real New Yorker and elbow your tablemates so you can stake your claim on a piece of the pie. DL, BR 9785 W. Charleston Blvd., 570-7000,

Due Forni

Due Forni's slogan is "pizza and wine," but this is a pizza place you can visit several times without ever eating pizza. Case in point: the mozzarella bar ($12.95). The mozzarella bar comes to your table as a choice of three different mozzarella cheeses and a side dish. The cheeses are made of imported bufala mozzarella, and all are excellent. The smoked-in-house affumicata is smoky and delicious, but the stracciatella, a shredded mozzarella mixed with cream, is otherworldly. It's rich and decadent, with just a hint of sourness that pairs incredibly well with salty flavors of the proffered taggiasca olives or prosciuttio san daniele. Other sides include basil pesto, marinated artichokes, roasted tomatoes and roasted red peppers. It's accompanied by hot, freshly baked triangles of cheese bread that tie all of the flavors together. This cheese stands alone. JH 3555 S. Town Center Drive #105, 586-6500,

Marché Bacchus
Once the city's best kept suburban secret, Marché Bacchus is now a regular award winner, so it would have been totally acceptable for the most recent owners Rhonda and Jeff Wyatt to rest on their restaurant's reputation as a charming, tasty French bistro with an impeccable (and affordable) wine selection. But since they took the reins in 2007, the energetic couple hasn't rested, constantly renovating the food and remodeling the beloved lakeside experience. The great Alex Stratta is master chef and Dave Middleton is in charge of the kitchen. The result is a finely sharpened menu improving the dishes favored by regulars who storm the lake for dinner, brunch, or both in one weekend. Seared duck breast is moister. Steak is richer, frites are crispier. And there are more tables on that hotly requested patio, for sipping Bordeaux, enjoying baguette and watching the geese float by. BR 2620 Regatta Drive #106, 804-8008,

Retro Bakery
Cupcakes are super-trendy, but not to Retro's bakers. Cupcakes are deadly serious here, and the flavor explosion from just one of these crazy-moist, buttercream-mountain-topped beauties ($2.65 each) might be too much for a Retro rookie to handle. Break yourself in with the signature Hop Scotch, vanilla dipped in butterscotch ganache, and work your way into extremes like Chocolate Covered Banana and Peanut Butter Cup. (BR) 7785 N. Durango Drive #130, 586-3740

Wine 5 Café
I appreciate a meal that must be ordered in advance. It requires a strong commitment to eating that most people don't possess. If you have that kind of devotion, then Wine 5 Café's Kenyan feast (requiring 24 hours' notice) is just the meal for you. A fusion of classic American dishes with exotic spices from Kenya make this one of the most unique restaurants in Vegas and this meal combines your choice of meats with traditional Kenyan sides for an introduction to a cuisine you're not familiar with. Just trust me when I say under no circumstance should you miss their samosas - you'll thank me for the suggestion. JB 3250 N. Tenaya Way,

South/Green Valley/Henderson

Balboa Pizza Company
I'm on a quest for the most mouth-watering, tear-inducing, pleasure-sense-peaking tuna sandwich ever created. (Hey, we all have dreams.) I came pretty close to finding it at Balboa Pizza Company. Theirs might not be the end of my holy tuna pilgrimage, but this sandwich certainly satiates and satisfies. First of all, it's got pepper bacon, a key ingredient that shifts any sandwich into flavor overdrive. Second, the mayo doesn't overpower the tuna, meaning it's not a gooey mess but actually a tasteful texture of sauce (garlic-tomato mayo) and fish. Finally, the thin, doughy pizza bread pulls it all together - none of that thick sourdough crust that out-machos the fleshy goodness of the tuna salad. It also comes with homemade chips, which truly hold their own against this catch of a sandwich. DM The District at Green Valley Ranch, 2265 Village Walk Drive,

The Bootlegger Bistro
At the Bootlegger Bistro you can get a pasta dinner and a show for $15 or less. The restaurant, which has been in the family of former showgirl and ex-Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt for generations, features live music nightly, with several generations of Strip performers performing regularly. It's a taste of old Vegas included in the price of the meal. And the menu features eleven different pasta dishes under $15. (AM) 7700 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 736-4939

Hank's Fine Steaks and Martinis
It would be hard to find a nicer place to start a night out than the chandelier-draped bar at Hank's. Pre-party noshing is good at the neighborhood eatery and martinis taste twice as nice during half-price happy hour from 5-7 p.m. Try the mixed berry with candied pecan salad ($13) or the jumbo lump crab cake ($18). The buttermilk fried chicken ($28) is perfectly crispy and moist, large enough for two, and paired with an earthy, spicy mustard. (MA) Inside Green Valley Ranch Casino, 2300 Paseo Verde Parkway, 617-7075

Johnny McGuire's
This Colorado-bred joint shoots for maximum satisfaction by really packing it in between the bread. A "regular" sandwich is $7.50, but there's nothing regular about the Olympian, grilled corned beef, turkey, pastrami, grilled onions and peppers, tomato, Swiss cheese, coleslaw and dressing. That's one sandwich, people. Hot or cold, salads, breakfasts or hot dogs, Johnny McGuire's does it all. (BR) Town Square, 6599 Las Vegas Blvd. South #209, 982-0002

Layers Bakery Café
Layers Bakery Café (yes, it's a bakery and café) serves all natural ingredients. Their menu says, "All Natural. No Preservatives. No Artificial Ingredients" and they mean it. The breakfast soup is a must-have. The intriguing dish consists of a house-made chicken stock with sage, afloat with a mixture of scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, spinach, onions and carrots. What reads like cacophony is actually a symphony - this savory soup is a perfect starter for the cooler winter months ahead. It's served with a buttered piece of the daily bread selection. Not in a "soup for breakfast" mood? Try the scone-wich. It's a simple dish - your choice of a savory scone topped with a single fried organic egg, with the option to add bacon or ham. Layers' "all-natural, all-organic" and delicious offerings come at a price; however, the quality merits it. JB 665 S. Green Valley Parkway, 221-2253,

The Mac Shack
This latest venture from Marcello Mauro, whose family owns both Nora's Cuisine and Nora's Wine Bar, is an extremely casual pasta house. You can start with your choice of 15 pastas topped with your choice of nine sauces for $6, then add ingredients for between 50 cents and $1.50 apiece. Or you can choose from more than a dozen of the chef's own creations, none of which are more than $9. (AM) 8640 W. Warm Springs Road, 463-2433

Pizza My Dear
The per-topping regime at this two-table neighborhood spot is heavy with gourmet ingredients, and a basic 8-inch pie with one topping ($4.99) has just the right crust-to-sauce-to-cheese ratio. Pizza by the slice ($1.99), a garden side salad ($3) or the 11 a.m.-4 p.m. lunch special of a one-topping 12-inch pizza will leave you enough dough for the tiramisu ($3.25). (MA) 1725 E. Warm Springs Road, #9; 368-3327

Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana
It's real Neapolitan-style pizza, oil and vinegar are on the table and a Peroni comes with a chilled glass. The caprese ($6.99) is aromatic and a misto platter ($11.99) sampling meats, cheeses and olives is a meal in itself. But the inventive pies are the real draw. Move beyond the menu and try the pizza of the week (usually $11.99), like the Pizza Siracusa with Sicilian tuna, thin-sliced onion, crushed tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil. (MA) 140 S. Green Valley Parkway, Henderson, 222-3556

The Strip

For the most decadent drink in town, head to the bar at Andre's in the Monte Carlo. The Marti-Gras is essentially a foie gras martini, created by Chef Gary LaMorte by using roasted foie gras, vodka, vanilla bean, honey, huckleberries or other seasonal garnish, and topped with shaved seasonal truffles. At $18, it's accompanied by a tray of four desserts. (AM) Inside The Monte Carlo, 3770 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 798-7151

B&B Ristorante
At his downstairs restaurant in The Venetian, Mario Batali shocks a lot of customers with pricey exotic dishes that include tongue, tripe, lambs' brains, oxtail and beef cheeks. But you can actually experience a handful of his more traditional, approachable pasta entrees for $25 or less. And if you dine here from 5-6 p.m. or 10 p.m. to midnight, a 20 percent discount brings more offerings under the $25 mark. (AM) Inside The Venetian, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 266-9977

Border Grill
There is not a more innovative Mexican restaurant in Las Vegas at any price, which makes it so much sweeter that the fiery, flavorful cuisine of Border Grill is so reasonably priced. Smoky beef brisket taquitos ($18) and chicken chilaquiles ($19) are my lunch favorites, and – to break the rules for a sec – getting the superior grilled fish tacos Ensenada for $23 or orange-and-cinnamon infused cochinita Pibil for $24 feels like stealing. (BR) Inside Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 632-7403

Comme Ça
Maybe you haven't yet tasted the best house-made charcuterie on the Strip, or the brilliant egg-topped steak tartare in a jar. Maybe you haven't lunched on the terrace overlooking Las Vegas Boulevard, wolfing down a BLT made with luscious pork belly. Maybe you haven't plunked down at the comfy bar and dabbled with the creative Prohibition-era cocktail list, and then, when you've had too many, indulged in perhaps the greatest bar snack of all time: roasted bone marrow with rich oxtail jam. If you haven't done these things at Comme Ça, transplanted from Los Angeles to The Cosmopolitan by David Myers, then you should. This modern brasserie is pitch-perfect for the ever-changing Vegas dining universe. It's a satisfying spin on the world's greatest cuisine. Its modular design provides experiences both casual and formal, taking apart the question of fine dining. It's a foodie haven and a specialty eatery while remaining approachable and affordable. BR The Cosmopolitan, 698-7910,

Country Club
If you're missing the sweet Southern hospitality of brunch at the former locals' Strip favorite Commander's Palace, Chef Carlos Guia is doing an updated version in his well-appointed room at Wynn. Go Saturday to skip the live jazz and all-inclusive Sunday price ($59) and revel in the delicious affordables, which include French toast bread pudding with glazed bacon, sweet corn chowder and a smoked Chipotle burger. (BR) Wynn Las Vegas, 3131 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 248-3463

La Creperie
Sometimes it pays to wade through the fannypacks, especially when seeking out a delicacy as heavenly as the crepe. Whether savory or sweet, all crepes here are $9.99, and plenty for two. The du soleil is soooo French countryside with fresh veggie ratatouille, scrambled egg, mozzarella cheese and basil, topped with béchamel. The peanut crepe is a Chantilly cream-covered treasure hunt of fresh bananas among peanut and caramel sauces that even Elvis would approve of. (MA) Inside Paris Las Vegas, 3655 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 946-7000

Wolfgang Puck's Palazzo restaurant is pricey, but it's also the most innovative steakhouse in town. So if you want to get a taste of Puck's genius at deconstructing the classic steakhouse, drop by the bar and order his bone marrow flan with mushroom marmalade and parsley salad. It's only a few bites for $17, but even if you think you don't like marrow, this dish alone should be enough to convince you to start saving for a full dinner here. (AM) Inside The Palazzo, 3325 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 607-6300

Fleur de Lys
Hubert Keller's Fleur de Lys is both delicious and pricey. Fortunately for those who want to sample the Top Chef Masters finalist's cuisine without breaking the bank, Executive Chef Steve Wolf has created a lounge menu. Seventeen dishes are priced below $15, with five desserts just $5 each. A set of four truffle onion soup shooters will only cost you $6, while the spicy rock shrimp with glass noodles and Asian vegetables is just $12. (AM) Inside Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 632-9400

Julian Serrano
Again with the Spanish tapas? Absolutely, yes, especially when the master is calling the shots. Everything from the paella to the béchamel-laced croquetas is just a little bit better than the neighborhood joints at this Aria hotspot, and everything but that paella and the supreme Pata Negra ham can be yours for less than 15 bucks. Pure and simple joy: sautéed padron peppers for $8, or creamy mushroom risotto for $10. (BR) Aria, 3730 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 590-8250

There's more than a touch of metaphorical significance to Mizumi haven taking over the space formerly occupied by Okada in the Wynn - something about sweeping away bad vibes from that whole Steve Wynn-Kazuo Okada mogul bromance gone sour. Mizumi's covered up that era with a décor that calls to mind the boudoir of a glam geisha, equal parts fantasia and restraint. That's also an apt description of the Seafood inaniwa pasta, a standout dish on Executive Chef Devin Hashimoto's menu. The seafood elements (scallops, king crab, octopus) and uni butter sauce scream pure decadence, but the light touch and delicate inaniwa noodles - offset by lime and the tonic of shiso - make this pasta dish a Zen study in savory balance. AK Inside the Wynn, 770-3463,

Morels Steakhouse
On Morels' dinner menu, salads start at $16, and the least expensive appetizer is $19. But those looking to at least sample the cuisine have a unique opportunity every night from 9 p.m. to midnight. That's when the bar offers nine separate items for $9 each. They include pancetta-wrapped shrimp, stuffed red peppers and miniature beef Wellington. They're complex, delicious dishes, and the portions are surprisingly large. (AM) Inside The Palazzo, 3325 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 607-6333

Old Homestead Steakhouse
This steakhouse has been in the meatpacking district in Manhattan since way before it was cool, 1868. The Vegas version is compliments of Greg and Marc Sherry, brothers whose family has been operating Old Homestead from the very start. With such an impressive pedigree, it's a given this place serves up prime beef in big, bold portions. The signature steak is a velvety 16-ounce bone-in filet mignon ($72). Old Homestead steaks have the best outer-meat-char I've ever drooled over. They also do the ribeye lollipop-style, served on the massive "dinosaur bone" (32 ounces, $99). My pick is the New York Strip (16 ounces, $63), impeccably beefy and needing none of the four classic sauces available. There's a little bit of seafood, and extensive if unsurprising appetizers and side starches rounding out the menu and, as you have read, the prices are high. Worth it? If you love beef, and appreciate an undiluted steakhouse experience, this might be your spot. BR Inside Caesars Palace, 731-7560,

Payard Patisserie & Bistro
You can enjoy coffee and carefully crafted chocolates for about twenty bucks, or you can wise up, sit down in Payard's quaint little café, fork over $19, and partake of one of the best lunch deals on the Strip. Start with a goat cheese onion tart or lobster salad, choose a delicate salmon en papillotte or snazzy couscous with lamb sausage for your entrée, and still eat your cake, too – since dessert is included. (BR) Inside Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 731-7292

Public House
Once the scorch of summer subsides and you're craving some ultra-hearty, crazy rich, soul-satisfying grub, for the love of all that is holy, get down to Public House. It's hard to choose from the list of small plates at this gastropub which prides itself on celebrating contemporary tavern dining and BEER!, but the potted farm egg is a no-brainer: crusty chunks of sourdough bread riding shotgun with a cast-iron dish of savory gravy with forest mushrooms, melting ricotta cheese and a soft cooked egg. Dip away, and feel no guilt. Oh, and pair your fare with some of the finest brew in the world. Public House has over 200 premier ales, lagers, IPA's and stouts. Cheers.- DL, BR Inside The Venetian, 407-5310,

The Las Vegas incarnation of New York's legendary Harlem restaurant offers several things the original doesn't. For one thing, it's possible for normal humans to get a reservation. For another, it serves lunch. And the so-called "Lunch in the Park" menu is the only time they offer their delicious thin-crust pizzas. Chef Carla Pellegrino offers five different versions that are among the best pizzas in the city, all priced between $7 and $17. (AM) Inside Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 731-7110

Red Square
More a retro-Russian twist on lox and bagels than a Spago-style pizza, the smoked salmon pizza is an addictive appetizer and just one of several new bites on the re-imagined menu at Red Square. The foundation isn't pizza dough, but a toasty, crispy tortilla, layered with cream cheese and richly flavored fish. Topping it off? Capers and lightly pickled onions, of course, to add vinegary and briny notes to an impressively well-balanced bite. And oh yeah, there's a generous amount of luxurious domestic caviar sprinkled about. No Soviet-era austerity here. Thirsty? Surely there's something cold to satisfy you in the vodka vault. BR Mandalay Bay, 693-8300,

Restaurant Guy Savoy
This Michelin two-star temple to gourmet dining is one of the town's most expensive restaurants. But you can get an affordable sample of French master Guy Savoy's cuisine from the "Bubbles and Bites" menu in the Bubbles champagne lounge, which offers "small bite" portions of any two of 10 different dishes for $25. Options include signature items such as oysters in ice gelee, crispy veal sweetbreads with potato and black truffle chips, and the restaurant's famed artichoke and truffle soup. (AM) Inside Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 731-7110

RÍ Rá is a big chain of Irish pubs that's set a new standard of quality for local Irish cuisine. All the greatest hits are on the menu at what is an original Irish pub, meticulously restored in Ireland then shipped to Las Vegas, from house-brined corned beef and cabbage to lights-out fish and chips. One side dish has proven extremely addictive: hand-cut chips (French fries) and Irish curry sauce. At first, the thought of Irish curry seemed like a joke, but this is a serious snack, beating out other countries' versions of fries and gravy. Ultimately savory, rich and flavorful sauce on perfect potato sticks. Tough to beat. BR Inside Mandalay Bay, 632-7771,

Shawn McClain's Sage is one of the true originals of the Strip, a bona fide American restaurant that serves dishes that reflect both the skill and the aesthetic of the chef. McClain's cooking is confident and creative. Witness dishes such as his Wagyu beef tartare garnished with slow-poached egg, crushed caper aioli and crisp chocolate wafer, or a note-perfect Iberico pork loin with milk-braised cannellini, baby eggplant, and boutique Italian mortadella, and you'll get the idea. But it's his Kusshi oysters with Tabasco sorbet - five delicate, buttery bites perfectly offset by the acidity in the sorbet - that we always come back for. These perfect little bivalves hail from the icy waters of British Columbia, and their sweet complexity is the perfect metaphor for the chef's approach to cooking. MJ Inside Aria at CityCenter, 230-2742,

Sea Blue
Sunday through Friday, Michael Mina's MGM Grand seafood restaurant hosts a daily happy hour from 5:30-7 p.m. Oysters and shrimp are priced at $1 apiece, and Stella Artois drafts are $4. If you want something a little more substantial, the restaurant's signature salt-and-pepper calamari are available at half price, just $5. And you can purchase a chremoula chicken skewer for $3. (AM) Inside The MGM Grand, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 891-1111

Society Café
Taking the casino café to a new level, Society is one of the best places in town for breakfast: the food is great and the décor is stunning. Highlights include pumpkin and buckwheat pancakes with pumpkin butter and candied pecans, and Frosted Flake French toast with caramelized bananas and chocolate cream – both $15. If you want to avoid the sweet, go with the trio of mini-quiches. You'll get ham and gruyere, salmon and chive, and asparagus and goat cheese, all for $14. (AM) Inside Encore, 3131 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 770-3463

Wolfgang Puck's original Las Vegas restaurant is arguably the place that started the Strip dining revolution. While it's routinely packed with celebrities for dinner, it's also the power lunch spot for Las Vegas' movers and shakers. Yet surprisingly, 75 percent of the lunch entrees are priced at $25 or less. They include free-range chicken breast, pancetta-wrapped meatloaf, and Puck's signature smoked salmon pizza (adding caviar, of course will push it past that price point). (AM) Inside The Forum Shops, 3500 Las Vegas Blvd S., 369-6300

The Steakhouse at Circus Circus
When you're looking for a classic old Vegas steakhouse, nothing compares to Circus Circus. Even the prices seem to be trapped in time, especially during happy hour, which runs from 3-5 p.m. daily. Nine different items come in at less than $10. But the real bargain is the prime rib, which diners cook themselves on a hot stone. It's delivered au jus and accompanied by toasted bread. Another $5 surprise: the trio of chicken lettuce wraps with two sauces. (AM) Inside Circus Circus, 2880 Las Vegas Blvd S., 794-3767

Tender Steak & Seafood
Sundays through Thursdays, Tender hosts two "power hours" from 5-7 p.m. when the bar offers eight different items priced between $5 and $10. Enjoy micro-brew-fried onion rings with homemade ketchup and mustard aioli, "Kobe" beef foie gras meatloaf sliders with caramelized truffle onions and blue cheese, or shrimp cocktail with basil-pesto cocktail sauce and mango salsa. Hell, you can have all four of them for $30, and wash them down with one of nine specialty martinis for just $6 more. (AM) Inside The Luxor, 3900 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 262-4778

One of our best sandwich shops shouldn't be on the Strip, but it is, an old-school lunch with modern flavor as conceptualized by the great Tom Colicchio. Try rare skirt steak with fried eggs and oyster mushrooms on a roll. If you're real hungry, you want a thick slab of meatloaf with cheddar, bacon and tomato relish on a roll. This food is too good to be on a roll, but lucky for us, it is. (BR) MGM Grand, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 891-7777

Zine Noodles Dim Sum
Noodles are really the best bet in this luxe and lovely pan-Asian restaurant, named one of the country's top 10 Chinese restaurants by Chinese Restaurant News. The Singapore Style Curry Rice Vermicelli ($16.80) is a fried noodle dish piled high and stuffed with shrimp, pork, eggs, red and green peppers, and green onions. Add a little chili sauce for some fire and put it out with the Thai iced tea ($5.50). Skip the spring rolls ($7.25) and try the pork and shrimp dumplings instead ($6.95). (MA) Inside the Palazzo, 3325 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 607-2220

Multiple locations

Archi's Thai
Vegas foodies know we've got the goods when it comes to Thai cuisine. The thing about Archi's? It's just as great – for a few dollars less. Spicy lime larb salad is just $7.95, and coconut-based tom yum or tom kha soups are just under $10, even with big juicy shrimp in the mix. Get Archi's specialty pad thai at lunch for under $7, or my favorite, spicy basil chicken. (BR) 9350 W. Sahara Road, 363-9699; 6360 W. Flamingo Road, 880-5550; 6345 S. Rainbow Blvd., 870-5558

El Taco Fresco
It's hard not to wish you were already hungover ordering from the window inside this four-table dive. Everything is cheap, large and – guess what? – fresh. Order carne asada, carnitas or fish tacos (all $1.99) a la carte or have a taco plate with rice and beans ($4.99 for beef or chicken). The 24-hour joint's daily dollar add-ons, like Thursday's chicken finger taco (ask for it "hot"), are too good a deal to miss. (MA) 4755 W. Flamingo Road, 247-6633

There's a reason Firefly continues to grow as other tapas joints keep popping up all over town: value. But low prices mean nothing if the food isn't reliably delicious, and that perfectly describes the menu at Firefly. Only about five of some 40 mini-dishes reach the $10 mark. Don't tell, but we'd happily pay more for cool gazpacho, crisp empanadas, a great Thai beef salad and cheese-stuffed piquillo peppers. (BR) 3900 Paradise Road, 369-3971, or at the Plaza, 1 Main St., 380-1352

Slidin' Thru
Following a nationwide trend, Slidin' Thru is Las Vegas' first mobile food truck that invites fans to follow its movements via Facebook or Twitter. Its legion of hardcore devotees routinely travel across town when they hear about an unscheduled stop, anxious to grab one of the truck's large and constantly evolving variety of delicious mini-sandwiches. Sliders are $3 apiece or two for $5. (AM) Various locations,

This bustling burger joint is snagging buzz for serving gourmet slabs at bargain prices. The Sin City Smashburger – a blur of egg, bacon, beef, cheese and haystack onion – is less a burger than some decadent, unrelenting initiation rite, and a host of smashsalads, smashsides, smashthis and smashthat round out the menu. Burgers of sundry weight classes run $4.99-$6.99, sides $.99-$3.99. A must-taste: the rosemary- and olive olive-coated fries – uh, smashfries. (AK) 7541 W. Lake Mead Blvd, 982-0009; 9109 W. Sahara, 462-5500

Super Mex
It's Mexican, it's open 24 hours, and it's not Roberto's, which means you can feast late-night minus the mating cries of drunken frat mooks. Super's 24/7 value menu has a glut of $4.99 deals. The best: the Super Burrito or the taco salad with shredded chicken. Stuff yourself, share or doggie bag 'em. (AK) 3455 E. Sunset Road, 436-5200; 6450 S. Durango Road, 312-8000


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