Border Grill at Mandalay Bay

It’s no secret that I love Mexican food. It’s easy to make vegetarian, full of protein and good fats (give me some guacamole and a side of black beans and I am a happy, happy girl) and, last but not least, absolutely delicious. Border Grill at Mandalay Bay delivered on all these things, and more. The servers are fun and attentive and the atmosphere is relaxed. Perfect for a group dinner for vegetarians, vegans and carnivores alike.

We went for dinner with a few friends, but I’m hoping to try brunch as well. (I’m a sucker for brunch but have trouble motivating to actually get out of bed on weekends.) But back to the dinner menu. The first thing I noticed, and what had originally made me put this place on my list, was their cute little leaf symbol that signifies a dish is good for you, and good for the planet, since it’s made with at least 80% plant-based ingredients. Vegetarians, you know you are in good hands here!

We split an order of guacamole to start, while my friends enjoyed queso. (It’s got meat in it and I didn’t get the impression it could be done without.) For my meal I had the Roasted Potato Rajas Relleno and boy, was I glad I did. Just writing this is making my mouth water. The flavors came together so beautifully, and the quinoa added some nice texture and protein. It would be difficult not to order this again, but I’d also love to try the vegetarian enchiladas or even their “make your own tasting menu.”

There are so many vegetarian options at Border Grill, and I definitely got the impression that vegan wouldn’t be a problem here. The servers know their menu (and their tequila) and are more than happy to offer recommendations or substitutions. And while the food is what I would call “fancy Mexican” the atmosphere is decidedly laidback.

Posted in Casual, Dinner, Lunch, Mandalay Bay, Mexican, Vegan, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Vegetarian Lunch in Las Vegas

There are many, many amazing restaurants and celebrity chefs in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, a lot of these stellar dining establishments are only open for dinner. Besides making it hard to all the good food you want into one vacation, it can also make finding a spot to grab a vegetarian lunch on The Strip a bit challenging. Here’s a guide to the best vegetarian lunch spots in every hotel or casino on the Las Vegas Strip. So eat up! There are some yummy vegan options, too.

Julian Serrano at Aria

Lemongrass at Aria

Social House at Crystals, Aria/CityCenter

Noodles at Bellagio

Beijing Noodle No. 9 at Casears Palace

Spago at Caesars Palace Forum Shops

Trevi at Caesars Palace Forum Shops

China Poblano at The Cosmopolitan

Holsteins at The Cosmopolitan

Society Cafe at Encore

Fleur by Hubert Keller at Mandalay Bay

Border Grill at Mandalay Bay

Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay

Cheeseburger Las Vegas at Miracle Mile Shops, Planet Hollywood

La Salsa Cantina at Miracle Mile Shops, Planet Hollywood

PBR Rock Bar at Miracle Mile Shops, Planet Hollywood

BLT Burger at The Mirage

Gozalez Y Gonzalez at New York, New York

Chin Chin Cafe at New York, New York

Sugar Factory American Brasserie at Paris

Gilley’s at Treasure Island

Canter’s Deli at Treasure Island

Stratta at Wynn

As mentioned previously, Wynn and Encore offer vegetarian and vegan options at every single restaurant, so no matter where you stop for lunch you’re in for a meat-free treat!

Posted in Aria, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Encore, Lunch, Mandalay Bay, New York New York, Paris, Planet Hollywood, The Cosmopolitan, The Mirage, Treasure Island, Vegan, Vegetarian, Veggie Burgers, Wynn | Leave a comment

Lemongrass at Aria

One of the things I often find myself craving in Las Vegas, particularly on The Strip, is good Thai food. Luckily, Lemongrass at Aria is always there when I need some delicious vegetarian pad thai. Tucked away off the back of the casino floor, it can be a bit hard to find, but it makes the atmosphere very relaxing.

The food at Lemongrass is reasonably priced and the kitchen is consistent; I’ve been at least half a dozen times and it’s always been predictably delicious. Now, maybe predictable sounds boring, but with so many options being up in the air as a vegetarian in Vegas, I like to know what I’m getting. Another big plus? Lemongrass has helpfully labeled their menu with a leaf symbol next to all vegetarian items. Score!

The vegetarian spring rolls are amazing, perfectly fried and served with a slightly sweet dipping sauce. The vegetable fried rice is always tempting, but I always go with my favorite, Phad Thai J. It’s a light pad thai dish but the tofu is perfectly cooked, the veggies fresh and flavorful.

There are several other vegetarian dishes on the menu, and they serve lunch, too, which can be hard to find in Las Vegas. A great place to grab a bite in City Center!

Posted in Aria, Asian, Casual, Dinner, Lunch, Thai, Vegan, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

Blue Ribbon Sushi at The Cosmopolitan

Obviously, sushi restaurants cater to fish lovers. As a strict vegetarian, I do not fall into that category by any means. But I have learned that you can always get a vegetarian roll or two at any sushi place in Vegas. And if you’re lucky, like at Blue Ribbon in The Cosmopolitan, a whole lot more.

The menu here is not your typical sushi menu; there are a lot of interesting touches and unique twists on favorite dishes. The best part? Every server, from the bar to the dining floor, is well versed in potential allergens and what a vegetarian or vegan will and won’t eat. They aren’t afraid to recommend dishes or steer you away from those that might not be as good once you’ve altered them beyond recognition. (Trust me, I’ve been known to do that.) Listen to the experts here; they’ve obviously been well-trained and tried most, if not all, of the menu themselves.

The edamame is always good, and the Phoenix roll is a great, fresh appetizer that really lets veggie shine. There are quite a few vegetarian salads; the Season Salad sounds simple but has a great mix of flavors. The Un-Fried Rice is what I would consider their vegetarian signature dish, and sized for sharing. Of course, there are plenty of vegetable rolls on the menu. As usual, I’ve never made it to dessert here but it sounds delicious, and their drink list is great. Enjoy!

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Social House in Crystals at Aria/CityCenter

As a vegetarian, there are a few things I’ve learned are almost universally true about sushi restaurants: the menus can be intimidating at first, but the chefs have plenty of vegetables at their disposal and can whip up a veggie roll or two, no problem at all. Just be sure to mention that you are a strict vegetarian (or vegan) and what that means, such as no fish sauce, no cream cheese, etc.

This “everyone can do a veggie roll” was my reasoning behind our first visit to Social House, inside the Crystals shopping area at CityCenter. But I was in for quite a pleasant surprise. I looked over the regular menu and selected a few items that sounded vegetarian and decided just to check with the server before ordering. As soon as I told our server I was a vegetarian he said “You should have told me!” and came back with a full vegetarian and vegan menu. Appetizers. Sushi. Shareable plates, and larger entrees. Heaven in Vegas for this vegetarian food lover!

I quickly changed my order to select from the vegetarian menu, especially since it featured a few items not even on the regular menu. Our server was also able to recommend dishes that were their specialty and not likely to be found anywhere else in Vegas. A nice touch, and a far cry from the simple veggie roll I expected! I tried avocado tartar, a citrusy deconstructed guacamole dish that was small, yet full of flavor. Next was an assorted vegetable tempura, and finally a seared tofu dish, one of their vegetarian specialties.

I can’t wait to go back and try the rest of the vegetarian menu at Social House. (It will likely take me more than one trip.) Good thing they also serve lunch! It’s a great spot for a quick snack, or a larger meal as the plates are small enough to order depending on appetite after a long day in Vegas. Just make sure to ask for the vegetarian menu!

Posted in Aria, Asian, Dinner, Lunch, Sushi, Vegan, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

The Good, the Bad, and the Not-So-Veggie-Friendly

There are tons of restaurants in Las Vegas, from vegan to steak and potatoes only, with all manners of cuisine and pricepoint in between. So it’s safe to say that I’ve eaten at some seriously disappointing/overpriced/not a vegetable in sight kinds of places on The Strip. But I’m trying to keep this blog positive. So while I have tons of advice for places to stay away from, you’ll only find great vegetarian and vegan spots to eat at here.

Why? It seems counterproductive to write reviews of places you should avoid. I’d rather offer constructive ideas and tips for places that are worth checking out. Also? Writing negative reviews is exhausting and makes me angry ‘cuz I have to go back and remember how awful the service/food/drinks/all of the above was.

This also explains why sometime I won’t have a new review right away…it’s safe to assume that means I recently went somewhere I wouldn’t suggest you visit. Maybe some day I will include “negative” reviews as guidance for restaurants, chefs or hotels to stay away from. And by no means have I tried every restaurant in Vegas, so don’t assume that the absence of a review means it’s no good…it’s possible I just haven’t gotten there yet!

If you’d like to know about a specific restaurant or chef, feel free to tweet me @VegetarianVegas or leave a comment on a post and I’ll let you know if I’ve been there and my honest (off the record) thoughts.

 

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Resources for Eating Vegetarian In Vegas

I do my best to eat at a LOT of restaurants in Vegas in order to provide the most up to date guide to vegetarian and vegan dining on the Las Vegas Strip. But there are some other great sites out there as well that can help you find the perfect vegetarian meal for any price point or time of day in Las Vegas, Nevada. So here it is: linkapalooza.

Happy Cow Las Vegas

Organized by exclusively vegetarian or vegan, as well as veg-friendly, Happy Cow is a great guide to Las Vegas. (And many other US cities.)

LV Vegan

This site has lots of great tips for eating 100% animal free in Las Vegas. Did you know that many restaurants can accommodate vegan or even raw diners if you give them notice?

The Vegas Vegan

Slightly older posts as the author has now moved to Los Angeles, but some great tips at a many current restaurants. And if she can do vegan, you can definitely do vegetarian.

Surviving As a Vegetarian In Vegas

This site breaks restaurants down into two categories: ones you would actually want to eat at, and ones where you can “get by.” It was my guide to Vegas for my first trip years ago.

Veg Guide Vegas

Thorough list arranged by vegetarian, vegan or veg friendly, but not a lot of reviews. A great starting place to narrow down your own research.

Eating Vegan In Vegas

365 days of vegan eating in and around Las Vegas (plus some homecooking recipe ideas.) This blog provides a little more local flavor and some off-Strip suggestions.

Yelp’s Vegetarian Vegas Reviews

Don’t discount Yelp’s crowdsourced reviews. Just be aware that Yelpers tend to favor vegetarian-specific restaurants, as opposed to the more mainstream nature of this blog.

Urbanspoon’s Vegetarian Restaurant Guide

Focused primarily on off-strip, casual dining this site has some of those hole-in-the-wall vegetarian and vegan restaurants that are often home to the best recipes around.

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Koi at Planet Hollywood

There are quite a few casual-yet-delicious vegetarian-friendly restaurants in the Miracle Mile Shops next to Planet Hollywood in Vegas. But tucked away on the second floor of the Vegas resort, overlooking the casino, are Planet Hollywood’s nicer restaurants. And while Strip House’s burlesque atmosphere has always sounded interesting, last weekend I was too hungry to nibble at a few sides at a steakhouse. And so we found ourselves at Koi, a Japanese restaurant and lounge inside Planet Hollywood.

As is customary for me at any sushi place, I prepared to order a lot of random dishes and expected them to come out whenever. I also informed our server early on that I was a vegetarian, as some places use fish sauces or other hidden animal products. He assured me that all my choices were fine, and he was definitely right!

We started with steamed and salted edamame to share. Then my husband got a bunch of raw fish and I got lots of yummy veggies (and some tofu). I tried the mixed vegetable tempura, which had a nice variety of vegetables, including a radish that was disguised as a carrot and perhaps even more delicious than it’s orange twin. It was so good I also got an avocado, cucumber and “fake carrot” sushi roll, as well as the tofu and vegetable dish. The tofu was grilled and firm, not fried, so it seemed pretty healthy, and the sauce was delicious.

Overall the food was great, as well as the service. It’s definitely worth seeking out Koi at Planet Hollywood. It’s also a lounge at night, which I haven’t visited, so let me know if you check it out!

Posted in Asian, Dinner, Planet Hollywood, Sushi, Vegan, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

China Poblano at The Cosmopolitan

There is a lot of amazing vegetarian food in Vegas. Yes, you have to look a little harder and do a bit of research to find the perfect vegetarian dinner spot on the Las Vegas Strip, but it’s worth it. Lunch can be a bit harder to find, however, particularly if you’ve had a veggie burger every other day of the week. So if you’re looking for something new, be sure to stop by China Poblano at The Cosmopolitan. (FYI, it’s pronounced chee-na.)

Brought to Vegas by Chef Jose Andres, is a new take on Mexican and Chinese food: they’re presented side by side, as is the restaurant. There’s plenty to sample, so don’t feel limited to one side of the menu! China Poblano offers fresh, inventive vegetarian fare for both lunch and dinner. My favorite is the Beijing Noodle Bowl, a chilled noodle bowl full of fresh, crunchy vegetables, creamy avocado and a tasty sauce. It tastes delicious and is a nice, healthy break from some of the heavy pasta dinners and buffets that Vegas is known for.

The guacamole is the best I’ve had in Vegas, and if you look closely you’ll know why: it’s made fresh. So fresh that they don’t cut the avocados until you order it. (Make sure to tell them if you’re vegan, as it usually comes with cheese.) Walk by the bar to see them making tortillas fresh on the stone griddle. The drink list at China Poblano is equally inventive, and the whole place has a fun, relaxed vibe that’s perfect for ordering lots of dishes to share. Perfect for groups, vegetarian or not!

Posted in Asian, Casual, Dinner, Lunch, Mexican, The Cosmopolitan, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Circo at Bellagio

The Bellagio is an absolute must-see in Vegas. And while it’s not exactly a new attraction, the fountains are still breathtaking to watch–particularly while you enjoy a delicious and artfully prepared vegetarian dinner at Circo. Located inside Bellagio and overlooking the famous fountains, Circo is Le Circque’s whimsically decorated sister restaurant.

Upon entering the aptly-named restaurant, you feel like you’ve just entered a high-end circus. The rich colors and fun details (like a dancing monkey) set the tone for a dinner that is flavorful without being fussy. The menu is full of vegetarian Italian dishes and the servers are quite knowledgeable about ingredients, allergies and dietary restrictions. Salads, flat bread pizzas and some of the freshest pasta you’ve ever had all offer tempting options for vegetarians. (The tagliatelle was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten, as plain as pasta with red sauce may sound.) Vegan dishes are harder to come by, but call ahead and I’m sure they would be able to accommodate you.

Omnivores will also be able to feast on the menu at Circo, but the real treat is the view. Request a table with a fountain view and you’ll be treated to a show throughout dinner. Sadly, I was too stuffed to order dessert but we saw quite a few go by that looked almost too pretty to eat! Save room to share at least one sweet something with the table.

Posted in Bellagio, Dinner, Italian, Vegetarian | Leave a comment