Dining in Las Vegas is one of the city’s most popular attractions, and while the city has innumerable steakhouses and hearty bistros, there is certainly a fair percentage of the population that is interested in something a bit more veggie friendly. Las Vegas is not known for its vegetarian options, but there are a few places worth checking out that specialize in vegetarian or vegan fare … or at least offer up a good portion of menu space with several vegetarian choices.
Rainbow’s End Natural Foods Cafe isn’t all that eco-friendly, but its menu is all vegetarian (with many vegan dishes). Fans of this cafe rave that the food is delicious and not mushy, though apparently it lacks a bit of color. The cafe is open 9:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. on Saturday and noon-5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Located at 1100 East Sahara Avenue.
Go Raw Cafe and Juice Bar serves up organic, vegan cuisine, which generally appeals to even those who are open to eating anything. The menu offers a full range of salads, soups, wraps, pizzas and entrees as well as a selection of juices and smoothies. Go Raw is found in two places in Las Vegas: The west side location is at 2910 Lake East Drive and is open 9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. on Sunday. The east side location is at 2381 East Windmill Lane and is open 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Red Velvet Cafe allows customers to substitute vegetarian meats and soy cheese on any of its bagel melts, paninis and wraps. Leave room for something sweet at this dining establishment though, as there is also an extensive offering of vegan-friendly desserts including ice cream, cookies and cakes. Located at 7875 West Sahara Avenue, Red Velvet Cafe is open Monday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
Elixir Organic Cafe & Lounge has a menu with several salads, wraps and sandwiches, and all meat-made options are available meat-free. Nearly all of the ingredients used here are certified organic, and customers have the choice of several types of breads and dressings. In addition, there are several smoothies and fresh-brewed ice teas to top off a meal. Best of all, nearly all choices on Elixir’s menu are less than $10.00. Located at 9550 South Eastern Avenue, the restaurant is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m., Tuesday and Friday from 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. and Saturday from 7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
Wynn / Encore
Steve Wynn has mandated that every restaurant at Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Las Vegas must now offer at least a few vegan dishes, and this includes the buffets and steakhouses. These options come at a price, however, and are in line with the cost of meaty options on the menus. Nonetheless, if you are unable to get off the Strip in order to explore the other vegetarian options in Las Vegas, it helps to know that vegetarians can find something to eat here.
It may be hard to believe, but Las Vegas has a Chinatown that spans a good length of Spring Mountain Road on the west side of the Las Vegas Strip. Though it is not distinctly marked as such, you can tell you’ve hit Chinatown simply by the sheer number of Thai, Chinese, Korean and Japanese restaurants located up and down the road, all of which offer dishes that feature vegetables and rice. You can also request to have tofu replace the chicken, beef or seafood found in many of the dishes, but make sure you also specify that you don’t want fish sauce as well.
Veggie Delight (located at Spring Mountain and Wynn Road) is a small Vietnamese / Chinese cafe worthy of special note because it specializes in faux meats. Everything on the menu is at least vegetarian, which can be made into vegan meals for a small surcharge.
A Word About Buffets
Vegetarians may want to steer clear of the many buffets throughout Las Vegas (except, perhaps, those located at Wynn and Encore, as noted above). Though you might think that a vegetarian could find something to eat at a buffet, the fact of the matter is that options are slim. These buffets are geared toward meat eaters, and even those things that you might consider veggie friendly are not. At many Las Vegas buffets, there is chicken powder in the Asian vegetables, lard or meat in the refried beans and chicken stock in the Spanish rice … and these items are very rarely labeled appropriately so that vegetarians would know better.
Photo credit: chotda