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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.

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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.

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