The List

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Everyone knows ELV loves restaurants. That’s why he’s been obsessing over them for 50 years and  writing about them for 22.

ELV — the man, the myth, the inveterate fresser —  first fell in love with restaurants when he was a mere tadpole of 6 — when his mum and dad would take the family every Sunday for breakfast at Ronnie’s in Orlando, Florida.

We used to sit (all six of us) at a booth right inside and to the right of the front door. (People watching was my parent’s favorite sport, and boy, did we ever get an eyeful every weekend.) I can still taste the fist-sized, house-made pumpernickel rolls — dark and sour, loaded with finely-chopped, melted onions, tri-folded into the dense, chewy dough. Dad used to buy them back the sackful to take home, and one of my first food epiphanies came from unfolding the roll and stuffing it with rare roast beef (that dad also brought home from their deli counter).

(I even remember going off into a little corner of our house, or sitting on our sofa alone while doing this, the better to enjoy the savory-sour marriage of soft bread and beef all by myself. To this day, when I’m really hungry and there’s something really good to eat in the house, I enjoy sitting off in a corner by myself, enjoying it in the most primal and infantile sort of way.)

Nothing beats eating alone sometimes, just as nothing can compete with watching the human comedy pass by, over good food, good company and the ones you love.

(As usual, The List* contains all of those places at which we’ve dined over the past few months. All places are highly recommended, unless otherwise noted.)


Libertine Social


Zydeco Po-Boys

Ocha Thai

Bazaar Meats

Omelet House (Terrible with a capital “T”.)

Yuzu Japanese Kitchen

Chengdu Taste


Weera Thai

Andiron Steak & Sea

DJT (Some remarkably good food, in an old-fashioned, Miami Beach-like lobby, with some killer seasonal specials. Put aside politics and dig in. Just try to forget where the money is going.)

THE Steakhouse at Circus Circus

Charlie Palmer STEAK


Carson Kitchen

Standard & Pour

Itsy Bitsy Ramen & Whiskey (Ramen that’s gone from decent to terrible, with the worst whiskey list since Whiskey A-Go-Go .)

La Comida


B&B Ristorante


Gelatology (Best. Gelato. In. Town. Period.)


Mon Ami Gabi

Du-par’s (Get the pancakes. Or the patty melt. Or a slice of pie. Skip everything else.)




Art of Flavors

Rick’s Rollin Smoke BBQ (I wouldn’t eat here with Al Mancini’s palate.)

The Smashed Pig

El Sombrero Mexican Bistro


La Cave


Halal Guys (Inexplicably popular food at unbelievably low prices for undeniably dumb Yelpers. I guess that explains it. I wouldn’t go back here if the food was free. Because that’s what it tastes like. Cheap ass, free food.)

Due Forni

Chicago Joe’s (No one gives a shit anymore and it shows.)

Harvest by Roy Ellamar

Estiatorio Milos


Mr. Chow

Spartina (In L.A., I know, but worth a drive just for Stephen Kalt’s fabulous pastas.)


Bardot Brasserie

The Goodwich

Emeril’s Fish House


André’s (Au revoir to a French classic.)

Goong Korean BBQ

Hobak Korean BBQ

Magal Korean BBQ (We ate multiple times at all three of our new, upscale’d Korean ‘cue joints, and Magal gets our nod as the best of the bunch.)

Delices Gourmands French Bakery and Cafe

Yui Edomae Sushi

EATT Healthy Food (Eat. Here. Now. For the healthiest French food in town.)

Le Pho


L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon

Beer Park (For lover’s of serious suds and serious bar food. Even Budweiser tastes better here. Go figure.)



The Perch (Everything tastes like it came out of a freezer bag, because it probably did.)

Lotus of Siam


(That’s 66 restaurants in 90 days if anyone’s counting.)


Yep, ELV loves restaurants like vanilla loves fudge, like peanut butter loves jelly, like Donald Trump loves grabbing cats.

It started at a very young age and has continued right through into our sixth decade of life.

We love restaurants for their theater, for people, for the food, and for the civilization they represent. But mainly we love them because they remind us of that little boy, sitting in a big, semi-circular, low-backed booth on a late Sunday morning with his family, waiting for those pumpernickel rolls to show up, while his mom and dad made him the happiest kid on earth.

2 thoughts on “The List

  1. I’m curious about your mini-review of Halal Guys. I ate there recently and while I wouldn’t rate it very highly, I also wouldn’t try very hard to persuade someone to avoid it.

    It did bring to my mind the question, though, where is the best shawarma in Las Vegas? I was quite unimpressed with Shawarma Plus. I didn’t really care for Sababa (plus I found it overpriced.) Sultan’s Grill is okay, but I like their kabobs a lot better. Jerusalem Grill is edible, but not something I’d get there again. I didn’t really like Shawarma Vegas. Reluctantly, I have to admit that Halal Guys might have the best (or at least the best deal) on Shawarma in Las Vegas, at least that I’ve tried. I’d appreciate other recommendations from you or your loyal readers (insert link to unflattering picture here).

    Perhaps, like BBQ, this is just one of the few things that Las Vegas doesn’t do well. If you get hungry for Shawarma in downtown Toronto, though, I know a place.

  2. Halaal guys enrages me. This place has a line out the door all day everyday and literally the worst food I’ve had that I can remember.. oh and that sushi burrito place on sahara near 15..

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