What’s best in Vegas? Locals get asked that a lot. As a local, I never know quite how to answer, for all the obvious reasons. One man’s meat is another one’s poison. De gustibus non est disputandum. Now, though, I’ve got just the right response to any new queries about where to eat, what shows to see, where to take your dog for a walk, or what exterminator to use. I’ve got a copy of the 35th annual “Best of Las Vegas,” a 62-page magazine containing the results of the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s annual survey. Thousands of readers have submitted their opinions in scores of categories. I am now off the hook for providing mine.
I received my copy of “Best of Las Vegas” in the most delightful way possible: following a show at the Venetian. Hosted by Suzanne Somers and star-studded with local talent, the show was an Oscar-style awards extravaganza. The winners in ten categories were announced by local luminaries including Robin Leach, Pia Zadora, Kelly Clinton, Carrot Top, Vinnie Favorito, Nathan Burton, and Sir Monti Rock III. Well-known Elvis chaneller Steve Connolly, Chippendales dancers, Human Nature, and Clint Holmes were among the performers.
After the show, when it was coming up on dinner time, I realized I had a perfect chance to try something new that other Las Vegans considered “best.” As I flipped through the pages of my hot-off-the-press “Best of Las Vegas,” I happened upon the Italian restaurant category where Nora’s Italian Cuisine was listed as a first-place winner. Nora’s! Hooray! If I had voted, Nora’s would have been my pick. Because the newspaper survey results and my opinion matched, I drove directly to Nora’s shiny new location on West Flamingo.
I sat at a table outside, right next to the bocce court. Dinner — a salad and Crazy Alfredo followed by a tartufo — was pretty much perfect. If all the other winners in all the other categories deserve their honors as much as Nora’s, the “Best of Las Vegas” magazine is a valuable reference work. I’ll keep it on hand for guests, reserving the right to check it out myself. I’ve already decided to make a point of heading to the Sky Lounge at the Stratosphere for the best happy hour in town. Even if it isn’t, I already know for sure that it’s got a great view.