John Curtas is …

EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants is Here!

imageTwenty-one years ago, I started writing about the Las Vegas food and restaurant scene.

First with my weekly gig on Nevada Public Radio, and then with every magazine and weekly published in town, I started amassing a library of meals, reviews, experiences, tastes, and sensations that would one day give me the storehouse of information needed to catalogue all of the noteworthy eateries surrounding us.

For years, I imagined the book would be entitled “The Restaurants of Las Vegas,” and for years I knew I would be the one to write it. (Whether anyone would read it was never in doubt, given the booming popularity of Vegas and its food scene throughout the 90s.)

But the 90s came and went, and then 9/11 hit and put a damper on things, and by the early aughts my dream had receded to but a whisper in the back of my brain —  a receding hum of hope that maybe, someday, Las Vegas residents and tourists would have reliable guide to tell them where to find the best food in town. And again, through it all, there was no doubt in my mind who would be the one to write it. (It never occurred to me that I would need help to write it, but as it turned out, I did.)

When Alain Ducasse (2004) and Joël Robuchon (2005) arrived, it signaled the start of a French Revolution of a different sort. Soon thereafter, Guy Savoy and Pierre Gagnaire expanded their brands here, and suddenly the whole world was paying attention to our culinary scene, and taking it much more seriously than it had before, even eclipsing the interest shown after the Bellagio opened in 1998.

Michelin came and went in ‘o8 and ’09, but still no book from yours truly.

I had pretty much given up on my authorship ambitions when Al Mancini approached me in the Spring of 2010 and asked if I was interested in doing a dueling critics thing in a book with him and Max Jacobson. Seeing a chance to finally do what I’d dreamed of doing for fifteen years, I jumped at the chance. From the get-go, I’ve always been more than a little proud that the book takes its name from this web site. (That original title was a bit stuffy, after all.)

Now, after a three year hiatus, we’re back with a bigger, better and more wide-reaching book than ever before. God bless Al Mancini for thinking of it, and Huntington Press for publishing it, and my new co-authors for diving in with me to re-start the franchise.

You can order it now from, or from the Las Vegas Advisor bookstore if you want the best price.

If you travel to Las Vegas, or live in Las Vegas, or eat out in Las Vegas, or know people who do, or wonder about being in Las Vegas and/or eating in Las Vegas, you need this book.

I guarantee it will make you hungry, and take care of any arguments you ever have about “where should we eat?”

7 Responses to EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants is Here!

  • I’ve had a copy for 2 weeks and it has come in handy several times with friends visiting from out of town. Thank you very much for going thru the effort of culling out the crappy places for us again.

  • I have had it for weeks too and read every word. Going out there next week and probably hitting at least Yonaka, Bardot, Ferraro’s, and probably a couple more.

    I am proud to say I have been to 21 of the 50 in trips in recent years.

    Absolutely worship this book and am so thrilled it’s back. Thank you John.

    One thing-the only thing that made previous editions better better was the absolutely hilarious interplay. No disrespect to the 2016 guys but I pray you someday do one again with Al and Max.

  • What is a paperback book?
    Make it an ebook too

  • ELV responds: Thanks for all of the kind words. As to Doug’s comment about the interplay between Max, Al and me – at this point Max can’t do it (due to his horrible injury) and Mancini doesn’t want to. Thus are we left with my younger compatriots to fill the void.
    Re: Kathy D.’s comment: This is an old-fashioned guidebook, the kind that’s easy to access and a lot more convenient to use than scrolling through a iPad or handheld. Someday there may be an e-book made of it, but right now this is the format and a lot of people seem to (still) respond to it. Try it, you might actually like it! ;-)

  • I agree that the “dueling critics” made the previous editions more fun, but it remains a great guide that I recommend to locals and tourists alike.

  • I am a concierge in a strip property.
    This publication is a must have for my job

  • I am on the same page as previous posters: The banter and different perspectives of previous editions was great, and kind of made the book. Still, this is a fine effort and will be read, paged through, and paged through again until the next edition.

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