John Curtas is …

Our Favorite Italians – Restaurant Division

As long as we’re thinking like an Italian these days, this might be a good time to point you to ELV’S FAVORITE ITALIAN RESTAURANTS (Las Vegas Division).

The Top Five are, in order:

1. (toss up) Allegro (for Neapolitan cooking at its finest)/B & B Ristorante (for the best pasta in Vegas)

3. Carnevino – possibly the best steakhouse in the country; certainly the best Italian steakhouse in the country.

4. Rao’sItalian-American cooking at its finest

5. Buddy V’s – a worthy newcomer that, like Rao’s, does its Italian-American ancestry proud.

Special Honorable Mention:  Nakamura-Ya – which is technically a Japanese restaurant, but which does pasta better than just about any true Italian restaurant not named one of the above.

Some of you might be wondering about the omissions of perennial favorites Circo and Sirio, to which we can only say: one is closing soon (Circo) and Sirio is now being run exclusively by its hotel’s F & B department, with nary a Maccioni on site, save for an occasional p.r. appearance. None of these developments bodes well for the future of upscale, Italian eats in our humble burg.

Indeed, when considered along with the recent, without-fanfare closing of Valentino at the Venetian, and the shifting fortunes of whatever is going on at Piero Selvaggio’s flagship in Santa Monica, one might conclude that sophisticated Italian cooking is going the way of French haute cuisine in fast becoming a gastronomic artifact, as the great food of this gourmet mecca gets drowned under a sea of red sauce.

Which leads us to:


The Bottom 5 are, in order:


Face it. They’re all terrible and you know it.

15 Responses to Our Favorite Italians – Restaurant Division

  • Must say..kinda of suprised you didnt list scarpetta John?!?!!

  • ELV responds: Scarpetta is a chain restaurant masquerading as a temple of Tuscan gourmandia.

  • Wait… wuh?

    Scarpetta is part of a chain but not Rao’s?

  • There are only two Rao’s. Still, if you’re gonna be a chain, be as good as Scarpetta.

  • I was at Buddy V’s last week. The veal was great.

  • Huh? What about Parma you stupid fuck? Best Italian beef sandwich anywhere.

  • Where does Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare rank?

  • three Rao’s john.. they just opened up in So Cal

  • ELV responds: Rao’s doesn’t sell itself as a gastronomic haven (with stratospheric prices to boot) like Scarpetta does. There are at least seven Scarpettas out there right now, if memory serves, and soon to be many more.

    Bartolotta is not open right now. Ane when it does re-open, we’ll be very interested in tasting the new operation, since Paul Bartolotta moved away from Vegas many months ago, and now is only showing up occasionally under a management contract.

    Parma is okay on its best day (and we’re big fans of Chef Marc), @Jonathan Bon Jovi, but if you think it competes with the best of the Strip, you have sand pebbles for a palate.

  • Parma is the biggest dissapointment ive had in a long time. Feable attempt at an east coast deli, the service was sloppy….which was 10X’s better than the food.

  • The food at Cafe Mastrioni, in Summerlin, is as good, if not better, than the overpriced linguini joints in the Strip hotels.

  • @Garwol

    I ate at Cafe Mastrioni two months ago as it’s very close to my home and I ordered the lobster Fra’Diablo special for 56 bucks !. In a word: Terrible. Lobster was very dry and pasta was way overcooked. What did surprise me however was the presentation. It looked fantastic, but was such a disappointment to eat. . Also, I had a bottle of Far Niente that was corked and when I complained about it the waitron couldn’t comprehend what i was talking about. They said something along the lines of ” of course it is” …..Not returning .

  • Il Mulino rules, how come it never gets any love?

  • No love for Lupo? Chef Eduardo has been doing great things with Wolfgang since his time heading Spago. Ask for a tasting menu from him and you will not be dissappointed. Much better then the so called “eye talian” joints you have listed in your top five.. Cough Cough Buddy V’s Cough.

  • To me Piero’s is one of the best Italian restaurants in Vegas. Also, Novo when Chef Gino was there. Buddy V … Lol. I’m from Jersey he can’t cook. It’s no better then any corner pizzeria in NJ.

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