Nevada Public Radio Listen Live

"All Things Considered"
Facebook Twitter Follow Nevada Public Radio

Support Nevada Public Radio
February 28, 2002



1. Jazzed Cafe and Vinoteca
8615 W. Sahara 233-2859

2. Mama Joe's
8427 W. Lake Mead 215-6262

3. Thai Room
3355 E. Tropicana 458-8481

4. Pho So Mot

5. Cafe Heidleberg
604 E. Sahara 731-5310

6. Labarca
953 E. Sahara 792-9700

7. Lotus of Siam
953 E. Sahara 735-3033

8. Anna Bella Restaurant
3310 S. Sandhill 434-2537

9. Abacus Chinese Restaurant
5960 Spring Mountain 221-0456

10. Bob Taylor's Ranch House
6250 Rio Vista 645-1399

In case you hadn't noticed, we're in slowdown mode for new restaurants, and all the celebrity chef hubbub of the past three years, has subsided. So it's time to take stock and take your fanny to some locally owned joints that deserve your attention and dining out dollars. And just to make it easy, here are my top ten neighborhood places, geographically dispersed, that deserve a boost if we are to avoid the fickle fate of franchise food frippery.

Number one - Jazzed Café and Vinoteca. Doesn't the name just roll off your tongue? So will the fine wines, and keep in mind that this stylish café was the forerunner of all our great neighborhood restaurants.

Number two - Mama Jo's for good red-sauce eyetalian at two locations.

For numbers three and four we have the Thai Room II and Pho So Mot, two southeast Asians dishin' up the real deal in dining rooms with all the charm of your high school cafeteria.

At five there's the Café Heidelberg, still going strong with German food you can hibernate to.

Number's six and seven are so close you can toss a stone between 'em in a shopping center that's so ugly that not even the bums go there. But forget the commercial center because La Barca and Lotus of Siam are worth the trip. Lotus is our best Thai restaurant by a mile and La Barca will inflame your tongue and passion for Mexican seafood.

At eight we have Anna Bella's, still the east side's best Italian, and at nine is Abacus, for superior Chinese that even a round eye can love.

And finally, last but not least, is Bob Taylor's Ranch House…for a great slice of grilled beef served with a big slice of old Nevada.

if you ignore these eateries, don't blame me if your neighborhood options end up as kentacohut I HOP and Outback. And if you'd like to read more about these an many of my other favorites go to or pick up the recently published Best Places Guide, where you can read my opinions and second guess my ratings of Las Vegas' top 100 restaurants.

See discussion rules.


Nov 24, 2010 | Thanksgiving 2010 - Another Beanie Reveal
John Curtas delves into family history to discover the real story behind Grandma Schroader's Sour Beans.

Nov 19, 2009 | Valentino -- You don't know the truffles I've seen
According to Food Critic John Curtas, no other Italian restaurant in Las Vegas has performed at such a high level for so long.

Oct 1, 2009 | Blow It Up
In at least one part of town, our dining critic John Curtas says the food used to be a lot better.

Sep 25, 2009 | Social Media Meltdown
For our dining critic, John Curtas, social media has started to intrude on dining out.

Sep 2, 2009 | Discovering LOS ANTOJOS
Our dining critic John Curtas finds a new affordable favorite.

Aug 20, 2009 | Chinois R.I.P.
For John Curtas the recent closing of Wolfgang Puck's first Las Vegas restaurant brings back memories.

Aug 3, 2009 | Food, Inc.
John Curtas turns movie reviewer today - but the subject is in his usual area of expertise. Hear his review of "Food, Inc."

Jul 16, 2009 | The Steak That Saved Las Vegas
Dining critic John Curtas finds some steak aged for EIGHT MONTHS and he tells us how it tastes.

Jul 2, 2009 | Bang for Your Buck
Everyone's food budget is tighter these days. But if you still want to dine out now and then, our dining critic John Curtas has a few tips on restaurants now giving you more bang for your buck.

Jun 19, 2009 | Whassup with Wazuzu
Explore Dining Critic John Curtas' love/hate relationship with Wazuzu. If you want to spice up your dinner go for at least a "4 or 5."

Jun 12, 2009 | Two Farmer's Markets
Fresh, locally produced food has become a big trend across the U.S. Our food critic, John Curtas, says there's more of this trend in Las Vegas than you might think.

Jun 4, 2009 | MandM Soul Food
John Curtas tells us about one of his favorite dining spots - a surpsingly affordable one.

May 28, 2009 | Checkpoint Charlie
While fine dining has seen a downturn in Las Vegas in recent months, our dining critic John Curtas says at least one dining legend intends to stay put. Charlie Trotter is standing pat in Las Vegas. John Curtas reviews Resturant Charlie.

May 8, 2009 | Food Festival Frenzy!
It's a time of many food festivals in Las Vegas. John Curtas has an overview.

May 5, 2009 | Peppermill Coffee Shop and Fireside Lounge
A landmark Las Vegas restaurant gets a visit from John Curtas. He takes you to the Peppermill.

Apr 23, 2009 | Thai Me Up Thai Me Down
Thai cuisine is starting to show up in more places in Las Vegas. John Curtas has some recommendations

Apr 9, 2009 | A Gourmet Corner - In Spring Valley?
Food Critic John Curtas takes a trip to the strangest gourmet corner in town.

Apr 2, 2009 | Pip's is a Pip
If you're looking for good dining near Aliante, our dining critic, John Curtas, has found a new place to go.

Mar 26, 2009 | Stripped to Its Bare Essentials
Dining on steak at Planet Hollywood! John Curtas takes you along.

Mar 19, 2009 | Hachi is absolutely amazing!
John Curtas has a find - a Japanese-fusion restaurant on the west edge of the city.

Web hosting facilities provided by Switch.