There are a lot of places to eat in Pahrump and some of those are very affordable, which helps a lot in this economy. No matter what your budget is, if you want to get out to dinner here, there is a place for you.
The Gold Miner's Buffet at the Pahrump Nugget Casino is probably the best deal in town with their 2-for-1 deal Saturday through Thursday each week. Two adults can eat for under $12 making it the best value I've seen anywhere, in a long time. The food isn't bad either, with prime rib on the carving station nearly every night and some "themed" entrees (Mexican, Italian, Asian, etc) for each night of the week. Friday is their seafood night but they don't offer the 2-for-1 on Friday and the price per person is considerably higher, though they serve hot and cold crab along with tasty shrimp, among other items you'd expect on a seafood buffet. Saturday and Sunday mornings offer a breakfast buffet for under $10 and if all you want is to "eat-out" with the family-from-out-of-town then it's a good deal.
The Nugget also has a coffee shop, The Golden Harvest Cafe, but with a limited new menu and slightly higher prices coming into the late Summer than they had back in the Spring. I used to love going in for the Breakfast Special for under $4.00 on Saturday mornings but that's no longer available and now the equivalent meal is called "Eggs Your Way" priced at $5.49 (still a great value). For dinner, however, I'm unimpressed. The food is mediocre at best and will cost a couple around-about $40+. There are far better choices for dinner in Pahrump in that price-range.
Not wanting to leave out any dining class here, the Nugget also boasts a fine-dining steak house in Stockman's Steakhouse, with some nights featuring local talent on the piano. The steaks are pretty good and the service is nice and the experience nearly worth the $80-$100 check for a couple out for a nice evening, but there are far better options for date-night in Pahrump in that price range.
The company that owns the Pahrump Nugget, Golden Gaming, recently bought two other Pahrump casino's from the Terrible's organization, naming them Gold Town Casino (across the street from the Nugget) and Lakeside Casino and RV Resort (on the South end of town). Both of these casinos also offer buffets but the variety leave a lot to be desired and the prices are not even close to competitive to the Nugget. The few times I've eaten at the restaurants at either of these casinos, I've opted for menu items instead of the buffet and I've not been disappointed in the quality or volume of food on the plate for the price. A couple can dine at one of these for under $30 and be "satisfied" they had a decent dinner.
Denny's came to Pahrump a couple years ago and, while I've been suspicious that they wouldn't stick around due to the economy, I'm surprised to see they're still here. I haven't been there for breakfast, yet, however their dinner's are decent for the price. A couple out can expect to pay $30 to $50 depending on what's ordered. I've been in there some nights and had a great experience and other nights swearing I'll never go back, so getting a tasty meal without incident is a roll-of-the-dice. Of course, if you like to gamble...
If you like the "Italian experience" then Carmelo's Italian Bistro could be the choice for you. While being family owned and operated, however, there is a clearly visible power-struggle going on that seriously detracts from having an enjoyable experience (you can even see the power struggle on Facebook, where they have TWO pages instead of the usual ONE. Certainly no organization in this place). The chef (Carmelo Blundo) is insistent that quality is most important and strives to put out good food (he really IS a great chef), but the younger generation that controls the operation is more interested in the $$ part of the business and it significantly hurts the quality aspect of the restaurant. Too bad, too, because the food really is great. If they'd just get the crappy service and cheap accessories out of the place and serve bigger portions, they'd have a winner. Despite advertising $10 to $30, expect to pay $40 to $50 for a night out with your date, and not worth it.
If you prefer an Asian experience at a great price, I have to recommend the China Wok buffet. Tucked behind our Walmart, on Dahlia St, is this wonderful little restaurant that serves really great food and a couple can dine there for under $25. I eat there 2 or 3 times per month and enjoy it every time. The staff is very friendly and keep on their toes to make sure you have what you need. Family owned and operated, this place has it going on. They've certainly got the business sense to be successful in Pahrump and you won't be disappointed.
Keoki's Wings N Things is a local sports bar and restaurant that knows how to please customers. Located on Loop Rd, across from the new Goodwill location (used to be Floyd's Ace Hardware), the food is excellent and they don't skimp on quantity. You can have a really enjoyable dinner and watch the game (whatever game that happens to be the night you're there) and get out under $50 having filled up on an appetizer, plate of wings and your favorite beer (or wine). I've been in there a few times already and love it. They serve a variety of options for your wings as well as a number of different menu items for those who don't care for wings (really, though, who doesn't like wings?). The service is wonderful and it also shows. They take great care of their customers and earn their tips. If you're looking for a great dinner on a non-formal date-night, this is the place.
Pahrump is an up-and-coming community with new stores/restaurants popping up frequently with most not lasting even 6 months because the owner's didn't know about this town's quirky nature. For example, the Yoshi Sushi cafe on highway 160 across the from the Saddle West. The sushi was good, but the prices were far more than the typical Pahrumpian was willing to pay for the quantity of food served. The owner boasted of having a very successful sushi restaurant in Manhattan and decided the slower pace of a small town was more likable than retiring altogether. Seriously, though, any smart entrepreneur would have researched the community before trying such a disastrous idea here. Quizno's was in that location for about a year before Yoshi's and they decided to pull out due to lack of sales. Heck, if Quizno's can't survive, what makes Yoshi think he can? Now in that location is Gem's BBQ, having relocated from the Calvada / PV Blvd crossing. Unfortunately, they might not last either since they also skimp on portions and charge a high price. Their food is good and they have the opportunity to succeed but I don't see it happening at the prices and portions they have now.
Speaking of new places opening here with seemingly clueless owner's, the new Tropical Smoothie Cafe just opened yesterday on Highway 372, across from the KFC, with much fanfare and hype. While the fanfare and hype are OK, they also thought it was necessary to offer free smoothies for their first 24 hours. I'm not complaining about getting a free smoothie, but realistically, when a new place opens here in Pahrump, the last thing you need to do is give anything away. Everyone in town will visit you on opening day and a smart restaurant owner/manager would certainly know that if they knew anything about this town. They were totally overrun for the entire day and I'm surprised the teenage staff members were still smiling after 4pm. I got their "Rockin' Raspberry" low-fat smoothie which I thoroughly enjoyed while my friend got the "Hawaiian Breeze" low-fat smoothie that she said had a "chemical aftertaste to it, perhaps from the machines still being new". I didn't want to try it. I also ordered some sandwiches, since it would be irresponsible of me to review the place without trying the food. My friend ordered the "Baja Chicken" flatbread, which looked pretty good for the price, under $5. I ordered the "Wasabi Caesar Roast Beef" sandwich and was very disappointed in that it cost $7 and didn't look anything like the picture (see below). It had hardly any roast beef in it, but tasted good otherwise. This TSC will be a great place for a smoothie, they also serve "supercharged" (energetic) versions, at a good price but won't be on my list of places to visit for lunch or dinner again.
Finally, for those of you interested in a fine dining experience to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or just to impress your date, there are two fantastic places here I highly recommend:
The Symphony's Restaurant at the Pahrump Winery is a classy restaurant that I would expect to pay a lot more than I have for dinner. The food is phenomenal and the service impeccable but the prices are reasonable for the experience. Hidden away just up the hill on Winery Rd on the South side of town, this place is the perfect place if you want to take your date out for an elegant dining experience. The wine is awesome, as well, as should be expected. Dinner for two, with wine and an appetizer will run $80 to $100 before tipping but you can't complain about the price when you consider how great the food and service are and you won't regret it. I also had my Thanksgiving dinner there last year (and plan to go there again this year) and I was pleasantly surprised to find it actually cost LESS than a normal night out. The special dinner for two was less than $80 and featured a five-course meal with wine. Make your reservations early, though, since seating is limited and the place is popular.
You wouldn't know that the Ohjah Japanese Steakhouse and Hibachi restaurant was a chain store, since they make your dining experience unique and enjoyable. I've been in for the hibachi a few times and enjoy it every time, with the Hibachi Combo menu option the best value in the place. You and your date can dine for $80 to $100 depending on your drink and appetizer choices (and it's worth every penny). They also serve sushi, and it's as good as any I've ever had. I recommend the hibachi for dinner because you just can't beat "dinner and a show" for under a hundred bucks. The chef cooks at your table and if you're lucky, like I've been, you'll be seated with some of Pahrump's most notable celebs (I had the pleasure of sharing a table with Mr. Kent "Tim" Hafen, a prominent land and business owner that makes Pahrump what it is). Brilliantly located in the Albertson's shopping center at Basin Rd and Highway 160.
There are many, many more places to get a great meal in Pahrump at the price you're looking to pay but this post has gone on too long already. As time goes, I'll probably post individual reviews of my experiences to help keep the recommendations fresh. Coming up soon I'll be posting "Just How Many Pizza Places Do We Need???" and provide my reviews of all those pizza restaurants in Pahrump that serve up my favorite dish. =:^)