Small Planet

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CES 2018 Alternative Restaurant Guide

Sometimes you just need to be free.

Small Planet

Small Planet

If you’re attending the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, you should understand that preparation is the key to survival. As in any harsh desert environment, food and water will be essential. The Starbucks line at the Las Vegas Convention Center has already started.

Vegas is now firmly in the top tier of food cities in America, with what seems like millions of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options for CES 2018 attendees and exhibitors. We created a short list of some of our favorites near the LVCC, Downtown, and further afield.

(Sort of) Near The Convention Center

The LVCC is essentially an Imperial star destroyer, but with less personality and fewer amenities. One of life’s great mysteries is why there aren’t more food options inside or adjacent to the Center (Tech East), since so many people attend shows there on a regular basis. However, if you’re willing to take a brisk stroll there are a few options.


The Peppermill
This symphony in ‘80s pink and blue is on the Strip, .8 miles from the LVCC’s front entrance. Huge menu, huge portions, lots of seating, and an amazing lounge area (with circular fire pit). It’s the kind of place you arrive at only to find DeNiro is already there waiting for you. 2985 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109


The oldest of old school vibes, this Italian classic is pricey but close (it’s literally on Convention Center Drive). Scenes from Casino were filmed there, and the restaurant includes an entire room dedicated to former UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian. Opens at 5:30pm. 355 Convention Center Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89109


Tacos El Gordo
The lines are long, but move very quickly, and the ambience is challenging. However, for authentic Mexican at decent prices this is the place. Sunday through Thursday: 10pm to 2am. 3049 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109


Envy Steakhouse
Envy’s atmosphere and food are decent, but its primary advantage is proximity to the monorail and the LVCC. Only open for breakfast and dinner, which is a bummer. However, breakfast runs til 11am, so it’s perfect for late-morning staff or client meetings. 3400 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89169


The Barrymore
It’s a little pricey, and only open for dinner, and if you’re not into steak it’s probably not going to be your thing. But The Barrymore is only about a 12-minute walk from the LVCC, and the interior design is a total trip. Call for reservations now. 99 Convention Center Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89109


Hash House A Go Go
Find yourself on the Sands Expo/Venetian side of things, but not feeling The Grand Lux Cafe or Chipotle? The Strip location of Hash House in the LINQ hotel offers hearty, intriguing options such as the “Big O Sage Fried Chicken and Waffle Tower,” the “Tractor Driver Combo,” and the refreshingly honest “Old School Fried Mush.”
3535 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109





Staying on or visiting Fremont Street? Congratulations, in addition to being the world capital of yard-long margarita specials, downtown is now home to some of Vegas’ most interesting dining options. It’s also a twelve-minute cab ride from the LVCC.


Worth it. Superlative comfort food, very nice portion sizes. We recommend the corned beef hash two poached eggs & sourdough toast combo. Open for breakfast and lunch only. 707 Carson (at 7th) Las Vegas, NV 89101


Le Thai
Excellent service, excellent food. You have to make your reservation via Yelp at least 3 hours early, but don’t worry, there are plenty of places next door to have a cocktail while you wait. Open 11am to 11pm. 523 Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV 89101


Downtown Container Park
As part of downtown’s resurgence, the park’s retail offerings are paired with many great food options, like Big Ern’s BBQ, Pinches Tacos, and the sit-down Downtown Terrace. Check hours for each place, they fluctuate depending on the day and season.


Nacho Daddy
You work hard, you deserve gourmet nachos. Also features all-day breakfast and a full vegan menu. Do NOT take the Scorpion Shot (as seen on Food Network) unless you understand the consequences. 707 Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV 89101


A blessedly non-GMO, plant-forward alternative with the slogan “Good food for the good of all.” Try the portobello mushroom sliders w/ sriracha aioli, or the organic sweet potato quesadilla black beans w/chipotle crema. 616 Carson Ave #120, Las Vegas, NV 89101



Basic, Cheap, Pretty Good

Do you have a car, or a generous private transportation budget? Lucky you, these lo-fi, high-quality options off the Strip are perfect for quick bites and local color.


Harrie’s Bagelmania
A true Vegas institution, Bagelmania’s strip-mall setting may give pause to the first-time visitor, but it’s the real deal. Open for breakfast and lunch only. Try the potato knish and the fried matzo with onions. 855 E Twain Ave # 120, Las Vegas, NV 89169


Big Wong
The name says it all. Big menu, big appetizers (try the wontons), perfect for big groups. Big Wong regularly shows up on all the “cheap eats” lists, but the meals are excellent. Open 10am to 11pm. 5040 Spring Mountain Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89146


Marilyn’s Café
A nice surprise in the Tuscany Hotel on Flamingo Road. Three-minute cab from the Sands Expo Center and open 24 hours. High value for the $ too. The “Las Vegas Winner,” for example, gives you 3 eggs scrambled with cheddar cheese, hash browns or grits, 2 sausage links, 2 bacon strips, and pancakes for $8.99. 255 E Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89169


In-N-Out Burger
A little bit of a cheat, since In-N-Out’s once-cult reputation is now worldwide. But it’s worth remembering the location out by UNLV (and close to the airport) that probably won’t get a lot of convention traffic. 4705 S Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas, NV 89119


Whole Foods
Prevention may be the best cure for hunger. It’s probably worth hitting the grocery store for supplies before the show starts, especially since there are no legit grocers further down on the strip, downtown, or by the convention center. This location is 5 minutes from McCarran’s rental car center, and just two miles from Mandalay Bay. Plus, staples like water, power bars, bagels, etc. will be WAY cheaper than the hotel prices. 6689 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89119




Field Trips

Sometimes you just need to be free. Get out there! Vegas is a huge city with all kinds of interesting places beyond the Strip!


Aces & Ales
Chances are you won’t be this far out, but if you are, Aces & Ales is the place. Two locations, both about 20-30 minutes from the heart of the Strip. Extensive beer selection and inspired appetizers on the dinner menu (recommended: cast iron skillet meatballs). 3740 S Nellis Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89121


Inventive, high-calorie fun in Vegas’ Chinatown. Try the Kinoko burger with “grilled shitake mushrooms, pickled red ginger, teriyaki, and finished with wasabi mayo.” Counter service only, open til 1am. Also check the schedule for their food truck. 3429 S Jones Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89146


El Dorado Cantina
Yes, it’s adjacent to a strip club, in a location triangulated by the interstate, Circus Circus, and a haphazard casino construction site. Now the good news: it’s surprisingly upscale, relatively affordable, primarily organic, about five minutes by cab from the Strip, and open 24 hours. 3025 Sammy Davis Jr Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89109


Barcelona Tapas
The Artisan Hotel location on Sahara (near I-15) offers a well-priced, very nice “Fiesta Hour” menu Sunday through Friday from 3pm to 6pm. Features classics like mac & cheese, stuffed artichoke, croquetas, sliders, and … of course … sangria. Lots of sangria. 1501 W Sahara Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89102


Crab Corner Maryland Seafood House
Sometimes you just need seafood, doesn’t matter where you are. Crab Corner understands, offering a Chesapeake dining experience in an unassuming strip mall location about 15 minutes from McCarran via car. Affordable and good service. Perfect for lunch on your way in or out of Vegas. 6485 S Rainbow Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89118


Culinary Dropout
Located in the Hard Rock Hotel, the “elevated pub fare” and spacious seating make for a fresh, attractive alternative to nearby Hofbrauhaus, Lowry’s, or Gordon Biersch. 4455 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89169


The Golden Tiki
As the name might suggest, Golden Tiki commits hard to the tiki lifestyle. The menu skews towards heavy appetizers versus full-on entrees, but the far-flung drink options summon the ghost of Trader Vic. Might make a nice drinks/dinner combo with the numerous Asian restaurants on the block. 3939 Spring Mountain Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89102


Komex Fusion
This is a longshot, since both locations are pretty far afield. However…this Korean-Mexican mashup makes dishes that dreams are made of, such as the Stir Fried Veggie Burrito, the Fusion Bulgogi Cheesesteak, or the engaging, decadent Fusion Tater Tots. Call for hours before going. 633 N Decatur Blvd h, Las Vegas, NV 89107 (express location) and 4155 S Buffalo Dr Ste 103-104, Las Vegas, NV 89147