Ah, Las Vegas. The city that was built on cheap prime rib and shrimp cocktails. A place known for massive buffets featuring eggs, carved meat stations, cold seafood, and sushi.
What’s a vegan to do?
Sure. Whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but that’s not good enough for most vegans out there who want to be able to go on vacation and still maintain their values when they eat. The good news is that while the city of Las Vegas has a reputation for cutting loose, it also knows not to mess around with those who have specific diets.
That means that you can be vegan and love Vegas, too. Sometimes, that may mean needing to plan ahead, but it’s completely doable! Here are a few tips to help you along.
Vegas Loves Vegans
That’s not a joke. Las Vegas is home to a diverse crowd of people who come from all around the world and there are plenty of vegan-friendly and all-vegan restaurants here. In all seriousness, Las Vegas truly wants you to fly to her borders and spend money like there’s no tomorrow.
Vegans are not going to do that if they can’t find any place to eat. That’s why you’ll be seeing meatless alternatives on menus across the board.
All you have to do is ask. Unfortunately, in some places, you are going to have to ask, but you should be able to eat tons of enjoyable vegan food in Las Vegas.
Avoid Most Buffets
Okay, I know I said there’s plenty of options, but buffets aren’t one of them. I thought long and hard about whether to include buffets, but at the end of the day, I had to decide. If you’re vegan, most buffets are not for you.
I really wanted the whole of Las Vegas to be behind a healthy, plant-based diet, but for every buffet I looked at or went to, I just didn’t see a lot of vegan options. If you’re only vegetarian, then yeah, you can stuff your gullet like most meat eaters at a buffet. If, however, you eat strictly no animal products, then only the Wynn is really known to cater to plant-based diets. Just tell the host and a chef will show you your options!
Overall, it’s a numbers game. It’s still a case where a higher number of people want to eat things with honey, butter, or chicken broth. In buffets, you have to cook for the masses to keep costs down, which means going with meat items. But if you keep asking for it (and go there when it opens), you will see more of Las Vegas come around.
Vegan on the Las Vegas Strip
Remember that part about Las Vegas loving vegans? That still holds true. First, like many places outside of Las Vegas, you’re likely to be able to find a plant-based pasta, Japanese food, or Chinese food at most restaurants. But I also realize that’s not good enough and certainly doesn’t match Vegas’ luxe image.
So, hop into an Uber, take a walk, or ride on the bus and head to Mandalay Place, which is conveniently located nearly Mandalay Bay (it’s actually between Mandalay Bay and the Luxor). There, you will find two excellent restaurants with vegan options.
Vegan at Mandalay Place
First, we have Hussong’s Cantina at the shoppes at Mandalay Place. Hussong’s is routinely rated some of the best Mexican food in all of the Las Vegas Strip. They have a separate vegan menu for anyone looking for plant-based alternatives. Don’t miss out on a feast of tostadas, enchiladas, “fish” tacos, and even breakfast burritos with vegan chorizo and scrambled vegan eggs.
Also, at Mandalay Place, you can stop by Slice of Vegas, a pizza place that serves vegan pizza made with Daiya mozzarella. There are also “meatball” subs, pastas, and other vegan delights to be found. Just ask for the vegan menu when you enter and get ready for an amazing meal!
Other Vegan on the Strip
For those who find themselves in the middle of the Strip, near the Wynn, you will find a restaurant called Stripburger and Chicken. One of the burgers they serve is the Impossible Burger, which you can get with fresh cut fries or sweet potato fries. It comes with caramelized onions and you can sub the cheese for avocado. Sadly, their menu doesn’t yet feature a vegan milkshake.
For those on the north end of the Strip, there’s always El Dorado Cantina which is rated some of the best Mexican cuisine in town. They’ll serve you up some tableside guacamole, some ghost chili salsa, grilled cactus tacos, meaty roasted chiles, and a delicious veggie-stuffed burrito with Mexican squash and portobellos.
Vegan-Friendly Hotel: The Wynn
When it comes to vegan-friendly Vegas, though, I saved the best for last. While I don’t support Steve Wynn’s personal conduct at all, his decision in 2010 to go vegan has delicious consequences for those who stay at his hotels.
Wynn has decreed that there will be animal-free menus at all his properties, including his Vegas casinos and he has worked with vegan chefs to improve their offerings. So far, this doesn’t mean that he’s given up on animal products completely in his hotels, but you can always get meatless dishes at his restaurants.
This alone can justify a stay at one of his hotels. The Wynn and the Encore have vegan menus at every restaurant within the properties. Terrace Pointe Café is known for its vegan chicken and waffles, complete with a spiced maple syrup and a scallion waffle. Lakeside has an incomparable carrot cake with walnut brittle and a cauliflower steak charred to perfection. To top it off, Sinatra has vegan milanese, “chicken” parmigiana, and Valrhona chocolate mousse to finish your meal. You can even request vegan meals for in-room dining!
Vegan Off the Strip
For those willing to leave the bright lights of the casino behind, Vegas offers a number of places for vegans to tickle their taste buds.
The first place to go is VegeNation in Downtown Las Vegas for vegan American fare from around the world. You can also stay for one of their seminars on how to help change the environment for the better, which is a pretty cool thing for a restaurant to offer. VegeNation is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.
You can then head over to Ronald’s Donuts for a massive selection of vegan doughnuts (soy-crème filled, anyone?). They also offer fried doughnut holes for anyone looking to add some extra carbs to their diet. This is Vegas and you have to cut loose!
Also, if you’re goal is to eat vegan like Bill Clinton once did, head over to Simply Pure, an all-vegan restaurant where the former president once stopped.
If you’re dining with omnivores, The Modern Vegan is a great place to stop by. Their menu is astonishingly extensive! You’ll see everything from buffalo chicken cheese dip to eggs Florentine. There’s waffles, hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches, and even healthy options like protein bowls, salads, and kombucha.
These are just some of the vegan restaurants that you can explore while in Las Vegas.
At the end of the day, Las Vegas has something for every vegan. If you want to stay on the Strip, you have allies amongst the chefs there. If you ask, they will make you something special. And since this is Vegas, it’s likely to be a lot more delicious than some boiled noodles or a basic salad.
Also, the Wynn can be your beacon to eating animal-free on the Strip.
If you’re willing to adventure out though, the eating really gets going. All of the places listed above are going to give you a completely fantastic vegan meal using a lot of ingredients sourced locally. Yes, that’s right, there’s a lot of urban agriculture in Las Vegas and it’s showing up in restaurants all over the city.
The main thing, though, is that I know traveling while vegan can be a headache. It requires extra planning and can put you in the hands of chefs who may or may not know that butter, cream, and chicken broth aren’t vegan.
But you don’t have to worry about that in Las Vegas. All you have to worry about is whether you will fit into your clothes after all that delicious vegan food.