Photoshop World Insider’s Guide – Part 3 – Eats!

Last year, I posted a PDF called “An Alumni’s Guide to Photoshop World”. It was well received, but a lot of folks were unable to view it on their device for various reasons. So this year’s edition will be posted on the blog instead so you can view at your leisure using whatever method suits you! 

Las Vegas may be known as “Sin City” but it is also a foodie’s dream. You can find everything from Three-Star Michelin restaurants to familiar fast food joints. Listed below are several popular options both in the hotel/conference center and on/off strip.

 Mandalay Bay Area
Here is a link to the restaurants in the conference hotel and immediate area.

Quick

  • Raffles Cafe – 24 hour casual lunch and dinner – $
  • Bayside Buffet – Your standard Las Vegas AYCE – $$
  • Starbucks – Right outside the convention center – $
  • Sports Book Grill – Sandwiches and more – $

Casual

  • House of Blues – BBQ, Creole, Southern Flair – $$
  • Burger Bar – Name says it all – $$
  • Red, White and Blue – American – $$
  • Noodle Shop – Chinese, Cantonese – $$$
  • Border Grill – Mexican – $$$

Upscale

  • Lupo by Wolfgang Puck – Italian – $$$$$
  • China Grill – Traditional Chinese – $$$$
  • Fleur by Herbert Keller – French -  $$$$$
  • RM Seafood – Seafood – $$$$$
  • StripSteak – Steakhouse – $$$$
  • Charlie Palmer Steak – Steakhouse – $$$$$
  • Aureole – Wine, American – $$$$

Insider’s Tip: Starbucks, while enticing can be an attendee’s downfall. It is located directly outside the convention center and is slammed before the opening of the conference days. Don’t be fooled, the lines are long and it can take time so plan accordingly. If the line is long and you have places to be, walk on by. 

My choice for best fast and cheap eats in MB is the Sports Book Grill. It has enormous deli sandwiches for a reasonable price that can easily feed two. For a fancier fare, try Aureole – with it’s amazing “Wine Angels” that retrieve your bottle of wine while suspended from the ceiling like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible.

The food court, located outside the Expo Hall, tends to be overcrowded with many establishments closed and the food is cafeteria quality at best. There is a convenience store on the corner directly across from the entrance to the Expo Hall that does sell bottled water, sodas and other items. Be prepared, it does tend to have higher than average prices compared to the rest of the hotel.

Mandalay Place/Luxor

My new favorite restaurant find from last year has to be RiRa Irish Pub, located in Mandalay Place (the walkway between MB and Luxor), with huge portions, great food and reasonable prices I found myself going there twice for lunch and once for dinner during the last conference. It is quick, convenient and far enough away from the conference crowd that service was quick. Try the Walleye or Potato Leek Soup. Both were excellent.

The Luxor has many offerings including Pyramid Cafe, with the best stuffed french toast I have ever had, Backstage Deli with huge New York-style deli sandwiches, and a Food Court featuring McDonald’s and Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs. This is all within easy walking distance using the Mandalay Place walkway or the Tram (see Getting Around).

Excalibur

Excalibur is closer than you think using the Tram system, but it can be a 20+ minute walk so plan accordingly. There are two reasons to go to Excalibur – Krispy Kreme (located upstairs in the Food Court), which is where they make the donuts for the three neighboring MGM properties so they are “Hot and Fresh” and Dick’s Last Resort - known as the “Shame of the Strip” with rowdy staff and messy (good) food.

New York New York

Here is my secret for getting lunch on the cheap while at Photoshop World. The schedule does allow a good amount of time for lunch breaks during the days, so this is very doable. Take the Tram to Excalibur and walk over to NYNY. There you will find The Village Eateries. There is everything from Mexican at Gonzalez Y Gonzalez to true NY pizza. If you go with a group or are very hungry yourself, try a deli sandwich at at Greenberg’s home to the largest pastrami sandwich I have ever had and easy to share.

Famous Chefs

There is so much to do and eat around Vegas that you could literally eat at a different restaurant every meal and not eat at the same establishment for TWO YEARS. Crazy. Here are suggestions for celebrity eats around Vegas. Note that these are not meant for quick trips during conference days. Plan for an evening or non-con days to visit. Many take reservations, so call ahead.

  • B&B Ristorante – Mario Batali – Venetian
  • Bartolotta – Paul Bartolotta (hometown favorite) – Wynn Las Vegas
  • BLT Burger – Laurent Tourondel – Mirage
  • Bouchon – Joel Robouchon – Venetian
  • Bradley Ogden – Bradley Ogden – Caesar’s Palace
  • Delmonico Steakhouse – Emeril Lagasse – Venetian
  • KGB: Kerry’s Gourmet Burgers – Kerry Simon – Harrah’s
  • Mesa Grill – Bobby Flay – Caesar’s Palace
  • Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak – Tom Colicchio – MGM Grand
  • Aaron Sanchez – House of Blues – Mandalay Bay

Cheap Eats

You can enjoy Vegas cuisine without breaking the bank by playing it smart. Hotel buffets may not be the best deal for breakfast and lunch, but dinner prices can’t be beat. Some hotels offer 2-for-1 or all-day deals depending on the weekday. There are a lot of chain restaurants with familiar food as well in the area. From Chipotle (across from Caesar’s) to Denny’s, there are a multitude of options for you to choose from.

Coming up in Part 4 – Wrap Up and Things to Do in Vegas (including photowalk ideas!)