Midnight snackage: Our sweet, savory and sauced-up worship of post-party grub

Photo: Mikayla Whitmore

Late-night dining is a phenomenon in plenty of cities, but in Las Vegas, it’s essential. When you’re going out on this town, you spend as much time charting your 2 a.m. burger or sushi or taco or breakfast as you do deciding which nightclub or bar to target for your actual party. An evening of revelry is simply incomplete without after-hours indulgence, and hey, pancakes prevent hangovers—it’s science.

So let’s skip fancy food talk, and get down to business. These are the restaurants we love extra after midnight. These are the bites we need to survive the drinks and the music and the lights and the nights. This is Vegas drunk food, and it’s absolutely mandatory.

ACES & ALES A&A is primarily known for having one of the best draft-beer selections in town—22 at its Nellis location and another 50 at Tenaya—but its simple, bar food-centric menu is highly underrated. There’s hardly better beer food than Wisconsin fried cheese curds served with hot sauce or garlic-laden pretzel bites with beer-cheese sauce. Best of all is the addictive Buffalo chicken mac & cheese, a melding of parmesan and blue cheese with more hot sauce. 3740 S. Nellis Blvd., 702-436-7600; 2801 N. Tenaya Ave., 702-638-2337. 24/7.

Feta fries from Cafe Prince.

CAFÉ PRINCE If you’re not of Balkan descent, odds are you haven't wandered into Prince Café, across the parking lot from a Fatburger. It exudes an Eastern European social-club vibe, replete with a restroom cigarette machine and lots of beers you’ve never had. But the folks here couldn’t be friendlier, and the heavy yet authentic fare is just what your drunken self needs. Try the house-made cevapi—thumb-sized, skinless sausages served with creamy ajvar and the red pepper relish kajmak—and don’t forget a side of feta fries. Na zdravie! 6795 W. Flamingo Road, 702-220-8322. Daily, 8 a.m.-2 a.m.

CHADA STREET Chada Thai & Wine was already a late Chinatown fave, with authentic flavors and value-oriented bottles that keep savvy night-owls coming back. But now we have Chada Street, even closer to the Strip and folding intense, frequently fiery dishes into the mix, like crispy-spicy chicken wings, a Thai-style ground pork omelet and fried pork belly with the chili relish nam prik noom. The more expansive dining room and bar make Chada Street one of the hippest and best post-midnight hangs. 3839 Spring Mountain Road, 702-579-0207. Tuesday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; Tuesday-Sunday, 5 p.m.-3 a.m.

CHEFFINI’S Las Vegas’ best gourmet hot dog joint closes at 1 a.m. on the weekends, but you can catch its little brother, the Cheffini’s cart, one block west on Fremont East for two more hours. Be sure to order extra potato chips, jalapeños and pineapple sauce on your frank. Container Park, 702-527-7599. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Cheffini’s cart at Fremont & Sixth; Tuesday-Saturday, midnight-3 a.m.

District One.

DISTRICT ONE The beauty of eating after drinking at District One is threefold: You can soothe a savage drunk appetite with primo pho; you can share stupendous small plates like pork-belly buns, beef carpaccio and sashimi yellowtail tacos; and/or you can keep on drinking at one of the most underrated local bars around. Throw some oysters and deep-fried softshell crabs into the mix while you’re at it. 3400 S. Jones Blvd. #8, 702-413-6868. Daily, 11 a.m.-2 a.m.

DU-PAR’S That the iconic Vegas cheap shrimp cocktail has been added to the menu is nearly inconsequential considering the magnitude of this classic greasy-spoon diner grub. No pancakes are more buttery, no patty melt more glorious, no slab of blueberry cream cheese pie more dreamy. Golden Gate, 702-777-6941. 24/7.

El Dorado Cantina

El Dorado Cantina

EL DORADO CANTINA Sometimes you just have a hankering for organic Mexican food and strippers. A late-night visit to El Dorado Cantina might find you in the company of some entertainers from Sapphire next door, but more importantly, you’ll definitely find yourself dipping into a bowl of made-to-order guacamole. Chapulines (grasshoppers) are no longer an option, but the ridiculously tasty cilantro rice still is. Thick with butter to sop up those margaritas, if you share it you might just make a new friend. 3025 Sammy Davis Jr. Drive, 702-722-2289. 24/7.

ELLIS ISLAND CASINO & BREWERY CAFÉ Its welcoming nature and proximity to the Strip help maintain EI as one of Vegas’ graveyard-special stalwarts. Dig into the $5.99 New York steak and eggs special from 11 p.m. until 7 a.m. and you’ll understand why so many of us have ended up at Ellis Island for so long. 4178 Koval Lane, 702-733-8901. 24/7.

FERRARO’S The family-run local legend is still one of the best Italian restaurants in the city, and its vibe, cuisine and incredible wine list might seem too nice for a post-party hunger strike. But Ferraro’s special Mezzanotte menu (Fried baby squid! Veal tortellini! Osso buco!) is just too fabulous to resist. 4480 Paradise Road, 702-364-5300. Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m.; Friday & Saturday, 4 p.m.-2 a.m.

The Kennedy from Fukuburger.

FUKUBURGER Fuku truly has Vegas covered in late-night burger bliss. Strolling the south Strip? There’s a sake bomb and tamago burger waiting at the Hawaiian Marketplace across from CityCenter. Drunk Downtown? There’s a good chance the Fuku truck is parked around the corner. Our favorite is the new shop off Spring Mountain Road, which just added the addictive Kennedy sandwich as a full-time menu selection—crispy chicken katsu topped with Hawaiian-style macaroni salad. We can’t think of a single night bite more definitive than a juicy, saucy Fukuburger. 3429 S. Jones Blvd., 702-262-6995. Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-3 a.m. Hawaiian Marketplace, 702-776-8928. Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 a.m. Truck, fukuburger.com.

GOYEMON We don’t always advocate for all-you-can-eat sushi, but Goyemon is a rare exception. And while it’s almost always busy, the late-night hours might be your best chance to get in. When you do, make the most of it. Split your time between amaebi and uni nigiri and sprinkle in some natto. Depending on how much you’ve had to drink, you may even be entitled to a Philadelphia roll. 5255 S. Decatur Blvd., 702-331-0333. Daily, 11:45 a.m.-3 a.m.

HERBS & RYE Consistently recognized as one of the best cocktail bars in town, H&R has a food menu as timeless and classic as its drink list. Steaks are butchered on-site, so enjoy a flatiron with a Fogcutter, a filet with a Frisco or a ribeye with a Ramos Gin Fizz. Visit during reverse happy hour and you’ll eat (and drink) cheaper. 3713 W. Sahara Ave., 702-982-8036. Monday-Thursday, 5 p.m.-2 a.m.; Friday & Saturday, 5 p.m.-3 a.m.

Ichiza's heaven on a plate: honey toast

ICHIZA Depending on how hard you partied, you might not want to waste a visit to late-night fave Aburiya Raku. Instead, head to its drunker, rowdier, estranged cousin, Ichiza, where you only need to be sober enough to read the rotating menu items adorning the walls. But you already know to order the honey toast, practically a half-loaf of white bread “garnished” with ice cream and honey. It might not be as fancy as Raku, but it also doesn’t come with the price tag. 4355 Spring Mountain Road #205, 702-367-3151. Daily, 5 p.m.-2:30 a.m.

MUSASHI Local celebs and poker players celebrating a hot turn at the tables have long made Musashi their go-to nightcap. Why? Because it’s right there on Paradise. Because it’s a ton of fun. And because it’s as good as teppanyaki gets in this town, with a little extra edge on it. See and taste for yourself. 3900 Paradise Road, 702-735-4744. Daily, 5 p.m.-4 a.m.

NAKED CITY PIZZA After a long night of battling with the bottle, there are few foods more appetizing than pizza. And the thick-crusted, Sicilian-style pies at Naked City are particularly perfect for soaking up some alcohol. So are the assortment of hand-cut fries, including the poutine, loaded with cheese curds and gooey gravy. 3240 S. Arville St., 702-243-6277; 4608 Paradise Road, 702-722-2241. Daily, 11 a.m.-3 a.m.

Oysters at Oyster Bar.

OYSTER BAR Palace Station’s 18-seat, 20-year-old Oyster Bar might be the only restaurant in the city where you could have to wait in line for a seat at, oh, let’s say 3 in the morning. And it's worth the wait. If you can’t handle the creamy, spicy, brandy-finished seafood stew known as pan roast at that time of day (night?), stick to linguine clams or rich gumbo. From 1 to 9 a.m., Bud Lights are $3 and a half-dozen oysters are $10. Palace Station, 702-367-2411. 24/7.

PEPPERMILL It’s hard to top this. The Peppermill, a Strip institution for more than four decades, is still likely the most popular drunk-breakfast option in Vegas. Cheesy lights and faux foliage, big booths and bigger plates of French toast and pancakes and eggs ... this place is home. Our recommendation for the heartiest late-night appetite? The Maserati omelet, loaded with sausage, two cheeses and mushrooms and covered in Italian meat sauce and parmesan. 2985 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702-735-4177. 24/7.

Pho Kim Long

PHO KIM LONG Anyone who has had a late night at the clubs knows the eternal dominance of Pho Kim Long. The slightly dirty-sounding restaurant is a staple of the nighttime crowd, which would like nothing better than a hot, steaming bowl of Vietnamese noodles to wash away those Fireball shots. As strange as it sounds, we recommend the salted fish and diced chicken fried rice, a hidden menu gem with fabulous funk and enough greasiness to settle any stomach. Trust us. 4029 W. Spring Mountain Road, 702-220-3613. 24/7.

PING PANG PONG Not everyone wants classic casino Chinese food around midnight, and if you don’t, we have to ask: Why not? Got something against hot and sour soup, pork potstickers, Cantonese roast duck and calamari in XO sauce? Didn’t think so. Gold Coast, 702-367-7111. Daily, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. & 5 p.m.-3 a.m.

POP’S As far as we can tell, this cheesesteak hut hasn’t put up a closed sign since 2002. And sizzling, griddled beef with hot, tangy cheese sauce on a soft sub roll seems like a sandwich tailor-made for late-night noshing, no? Pop’s will save your life. 501 S. Decatur Blvd., 702-878-6444. 24/7.

ROBERTO’S This is cheap, fast Mexican food, and sometimes that’s what you need. The crisp tacos are always a good choice, but also consider the quesadillas, as big as your head and oozing with processed cheese, to which you could add some carne asada if you feel the need. You surely have at least one Roberto’s on your way home, so what’s your excuse for not stopping in? Multiple locations, robertostacoshop.com. 24/7.

Ronald's Donuts.

RONALD’S DONUTS Ronald’s is for next-levelers only, those who clubbed on the Strip, karaoke’d and noodle soup’d in Chinatown, and still weren’t ready to call it quits at 4 in the morning. To those who won’t sleep until they mash a fresh fritter into their face, we salute you. 4600 Spring Mountain Road, 702-873-1032. Daily, 4 a.m.-4 p.m.

“SECRET” PIZZERIA Isn’t it ironic that we still refer to the most obvious Strip after-booze bite as a secret? These majestic, just-greasy-enough slices haven’t been anything like a secret for a long time, but that’s because you keep going back for more. Shouldn’t have told all your friends. Cosmopolitan, 702-698-7860. Daily, 11 a.m.-4 a.m.

SIERRA GOLD Five words: Flamin’ Hot Cheetos onion rings. Five more: chili cheese sliders party bucket. Three words that matter most: in your neighborhood. Multiple locations, pteglv.com. 24/7.

TACOS EL GORDO There are now three locations of this Tijuana taco stronghold in Las Vegas, most notably the recently reopened adobada palace on the Strip just north of Encore. Now that it has been resurrected, we can all enjoy this ideal drunk food together, locals and tourists, taco-loving people of the universe. 1724 E. Charleston Blvd., 702-251-8226; 3260 Losee Road, 702-641-8228; 3049 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702-982-5420. Sunday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-2 a.m.; Friday & Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 a.m.

WHITE CASTLE The cliché goes that these sliders should really only be consumed when you are actually inebriated, that you won’t fully appreciate the greasy-guilty mini-burger badness until you’ve had three too many—drinks and sliders. Sometimes clichés are truth. Casino Royale, 702-227-8531. 24/7.

Tags: Dining, Featured, Food
Photo of Jim Begley

Jim Begley

Jim Begley is an avid food lover who began writing about his Las Vegas dining adventures to defray his obscene ...

Get more Jim Begley
Photo of Brock Radke

Brock is an award-winning writer and reporter who has been documenting life in Las Vegas for 20 years. He currently ...

Get more Brock Radke
  • Clevelander Michael Symon’s beef brisket is smoked so the fattiest bits melt in your mouth, in strong contrast to the charred skin. Equally noteworthy is ...

  • Priced at just $3.50 (!), it’s a faithful and toothsome version of Vietnam’s national stacker—crispy baguettes stuffed with pork pâté, pork sausage and roast pork ...

  • The Wynn cafe offers breakfast all day, including green tea pancakes, stuffed French toast and a spicy chicken sausage and potato omelet, along with a ...

  • Get More Dining Stories
Top of Story