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Best of Reno 2007 votes


Best Sandwich: Port of Subs
Best Mexican restaurant: Micasa Too
Best Italian restaurant: Olive Garden
Best new restaurant:
1. B.J.’s Brewery
2. Johnny Carino’s Italian Grill

All solid arguments that democracy sucks.
For those out of the area, Micasa Too is as authentic of a Mexican restaurant as Wienerschnitzel is authentic German food. Killer margaritas, though.

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  1. I'm right with you on those.

    Another one I'd disagree with is
    BEST THAI RESTAURANT: Bangkok Cuisine
    Only been once, but I found it pretty bland and unsatisfying. Very overrated IMHO.

    One you can't argue with too much with

    Haven't been to the new location, but I assume it's the same food as before. I personally prefer Saigon Pearl (which a lot of people seem to be scared of because it's in the El Cortez Hotel)--good quality food and less crowded; but I've never been disappointed by Pho 777, so I have to give it to "the people" on that one.

    I noticed that Sezmu came in at #3 for best new restaurant. It's like Albert Einstein coming in third in a poll for "most intelligent" behind Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.

    7 Replies
    1. re: clarence6ybr

      I love Bangkok Cuisine. I think it's the best Thai restaurant in town, although it's slightly Americanized.

      Sezmu and Ciao Reno should be 1 and 2 for best new restaurant.

      1. re: SteveTimko

        I also like Bangkok Cuisine. I eat there at least once a month.

        BJ's Brewery for best new restaurant?? give me a break......

        1. re: SteveTimko

          Have you tried Thai Royal House? I like them a lot better than Bangkok (although as I mentioned I've only tried Bangkok once). For the huge number of Thai places we have in Reno per capita, I don't think we have a truly outstanding one, though.

          1. re: clarence6ybr

            For the record, my favorite Thai is Thai Chile on Virgina. I prefer them over Bangkok, as well.

            1. re: nancyhudson

              I like Thai Chile as well. Just about all the Thai restaurants in Reno and Sparks are pretty good. A much better success rate than the Chinese restaurants.

              1. re: SteveTimko

                Hey Steve, if you had to pick between Jazmine and Peony for Chinese food, which would it be? What do you think Johnathan thinks? I like Jazmine so far, but have not tried Peony. Wasn't there a chowdown recently?

                1. re: MofCarson

                  Just noticed this post. I would say Peony, definitely.

      2. Hmm...I was looking at the list "best restaurants" in the original posting and--for a minute there--I thought we were talking about Fresno!

        (Wasn't the Olive Garden in Fresno voted as the best Italian restaurant? Or am I thinking of Denny's being voted the best breakfast?)

        1. i was disgusted, but can't say i wasn't surprised...did you vote? i didn't. steve, saw your byline today...who knew? i didn't...don't you have some influence over there?

          3 Replies
          1. re: nancyhudson

            Wow. Even though it disappoints me to know that Sezmu turned in third place for best new restaurant, when the first place went to a place that still serves its Atlantic salmon and New York steak “ blackened or flame broiled“, I try to look on the bright side- The real chowhounds will still be able to get a reservation on Friday & Saturday nights! If Sezmu received the 1st place it deserves, a bunch of people, used to going to a brew house & chain Italian restaurant, would be filling the place up every weekend for the next month or so. Can you imagine how frustrating it would be for the talented chef & crew from Sezmu to get numerous special request to “Blacken the salmon, with sauce on the side”, then getting said dish returned because "the customers claimed that the fish is undercooked” when it was sent out a perfect medium? Or families showing up Saturday nights, taking up 6 top tables, with two parents & 4 kids, not only not ordering appetizers, salads or wine, but asking “Can our kids just get spaghetti with marinara and some garlic bread?” and “How come you guys don’t have video games for the children? At least give them place settings with puzzles or something to keep them busy!” Those who seek a good meal will realize right away that this says more about the taste of the average diner in Reno then it does about the qualities of the few good restaurants in Reno. In what other city would Olive Garden win best Italian, or Round Table best pizza? At least Peg’s Glorified Ham & Eggs didn’t get beat by Denny’s for best breakfast. I don’t think they take reservations for breakfast, so I should still be able to pop in there anytime I want for a great breakfast.

            Next time I try to make, and still receive, reservations at Sezmu on a Saturday night, I plan on buying the kitchen a round of drinks to celebrate a fine job on remaining a hidden gem. I don’t think you can change the entire dining scene with one (or two, counting LuLou’s), great restaurants, but if you please those with discriminating tastes, and they tell their friends, you can still remain profitable, pleasurable, and accessible, which for us is a good thing.

            1. re: nancyhudson

              It's how the people vote, Nancy. This ain't Florida.

              1. re: SteveTimko


                But unfortunately, I didn't vote either. And I read the paper every day....but don't remember seeing the ballot.

                Speaking of new restaurants, ate tonight at the new Sushi Pier II (It was son's birthday, and he wanted sushi). The sushi tastes the same (good but not great) but the atmosphere is much improved: very spacious with lots of bar space. We enjoyed it. (Its in the same strip mall as India Garden, on the north side, right across the street from Bangkok Cuisine). Also, noted that the Chinese restaurant that was there and had dim sum for awhile is gone....its going to be a branch of one of the local Italian places....I forget which one, sorry....

            2. My favorites are somewhat different from the "Most Popular", er, "Best of" list:
              Top of the Line: White Orchid in the Peppermill
              Thai: Thai Chili on Virginia, though Bangkok is also good
              Mexican: Rosita's Cocina and Lupita's
              Italian: Luciano's or La Vecchia
              Vietnamese: Depends on what I'm ordering; Pho 777, Golden Flower and Asian Noodle House (near Costco) are all good
              Greek: Nick's Greek Deli (a hole-in-the-wall - try the Royal Plate)
              Chinese: Fortune Palace (Sparks), Palais de Jade, Jazmine
              Indian: India Kabab and Curry
              Steak: Peppermill Steak House or Harrah's Steak House
              Neighborhood lunch: Stonehouse (French onion soup, slider, and fries)
              Persian: Parisa's Cuisine (huge Saturday Persian buffet)
              French: Beaujolais Bistro
              Sinful Burger with grease: Nugget Diner's "AwfulAwful"
              Pizza: Blue Moon
              Breakfast: Legends

              9 Replies
              1. re: bill2975

                Where is Fortune Palace? Never heard of it...

                Is Nick's the place just off Virginia near Cheney? If so, hubby likes it a lot too. I have to agree with a number of your other favorites: India Kabab and Curry (well, my house is better, but technically that's not a restaurant :-), Lupita's, and Beaujolais Bistro are all favorites of mine.....

                1. re: janetofreno

                  Fortune Palace is at 1282 Disc Drive, Sparks - 626-9888 - www.fortune-palace.com, off Vista, in Sparks. We've had three very good meals there. It's not Hunans' Home in San Francisco, but what is?

                  Nick's is just off Virginia on Moran. Across the street from "Wild Orchid".

                  Much better than the one time we tried the Blue Plate on Greek night, but that was a few years ago, so maybe that's improved.

                  Speaking of Greek, how about a chowhound outing to the Greek Festival on Lakeside next month? Anyone ever been?

                  1. re: bill2975

                    What are you ordering at Fortune Palace? I was there as recently as two Fridays ago and I still haven't found much I like. It's not bad. Just nothing distinctive.

                    1. re: SteveTimko

                      It's been about six weeks (wrong side of town for us), but I remember having hot and sour soup, the house special fried rice, and some braised eggplant. We also had a shrimp dish, kung pao style, I think, and they were perfectly cooked. Again, it's not SF Chinatown, but it was good.

                      Anyplace here do scallion cakes (green onion pie)?

                    2. re: bill2975

                      Yes, Nick's is the same one my husband really likes.

                      Is Fortune Palace the one in the shopping center across the street from Reed High School, that used to be called something else?

                      Every year DH says he wants to go to the Greek Festival, and every year we're on vacation that week...maybe this is the year to go.......

                      1. re: janetofreno

                        No, Fortune Palace is in a strip mall west of Scolari's on Disc Drive. Fortune Palace is closer to Sparks Boulevard than to Vista Boulevard. It's near the restaurant that used to be the RoadHouse Grille that was operated by the people who own Rapscallions. Now it's something different.

                  2. re: bill2975

                    Splurged on dinner tonight at the White Orchid in the Peppermill Casino with two other couples for a special occasion. As usual, a wonderful meal, though not cheap.

                    I had a tomato and onion salad, followed by a peppercorn-crusted New York steak that was superb. Spouse had a nice salad followed by prawns stuffed with crabmeat and a glass of wine. Later we shared a chocolate dessert.

                    The food, the service, and the ambience were superb, as has been the case each time we have been here - all with Entertainment card, which takes $30 off the total bill. Total for us tonight, with side salads, entrees, glass of wine, and dessert, was an even $100, tax and tip included after deducting the Entertainment card discount.

                    All in all, an extremely pleasant evening with four friends and great food. I've spent more for a show at John Ascuaga's Nugget, and enjoyed it far less.

                    Though we only do this once a year, it's been great for special occasions. I'd also suggest the Peppermill steakhouse, which also takes the Entertainment card, and has had excellent steaks and fish whenever we've visited.

                    1. re: bill2975

                      you were able to get seperate checks for each couple? $100 not too bad inc. wine and dessert. I have the discount card too. I have yet to go. Has anybody else gone, or have thoughts?

                      1. re: MofCarson

                        Separate checks were no problem at all, and because there were six of us we were seated in a private room.

                        All in all, a very pleasant evening in good company, with very good food, exceptional service, and a quiet ambience conducive to conversation.

                        Anyone have any suggestions for other restaurants where you can actually carry on a conversation without the music(?) blasting you out?

                  3. How come there's no category for best Tapas? My vote would go to Costco! :)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: RevrendAndy

                      If only Costco offered wine with it's small plates.

                    2. Thanks to this board, I have been going to Taste of India, so I was pleased to see their #1 ranking. ITA that the Italian rankings were just so wrong, as well as the Mexican. Even the national chains were not the best of the best, although I admit to the fact that I have never eaten at an Outback. I do like Changs, but don't consider it a Chinese retaurant. But Olive Garden? (shudder) Carinos was disappointing, we did like Cortina (also at the Summit).

                      There are still so many places that we have not been to in Reno, once we find a few that we like we tend to go back there, like Rosita's for lunch or dinner, or Legends for breakfast as Bill listed. For comfort foods, we like Austins.

                      Can I ask this learned group, where is the best place for sandwiches? Never been to Port of Subs. Any recommendations for bakeries?

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: nevada cat

                        Munchies on Lakeside, south of McCarran has good, reasonably priced sandwiches. I would also recommend Paisan's, now in two locations - one on Longley, one next to the Nevada Art Museum. Deli Towne in the Shell station on Lakeside, near Moana, has very good sandwiches, though not as inexpensive as Munchies. Blue Bounty will also make sandwiches, though I haven't tried them.

                        I've had Butcher Boy 's sandwiches, but don't care for the really, really thick bread they use.

                        1. re: nevada cat

                          For your good ole sub, my favorite is the shop inside the gas station on the corner of Moana and Lakeside - Deli Towne - I think it made the list. Great dutch crunch, too!

                          1. re: nancyhudson

                            Best sandwich place I know of is Rose's on Center Street a block or two south of Liberty Street. It's in a converted house. They name the sandwiches after artists. Although the Homer is a peanut butter sandwich. I'm not sure if that's supposed to be the artist or the cartoon character.
                            They also have a killer homemade salad dressing for the salads. The sandwiches are big. Not quite New York deli style, but pretty big.
                            I've been meaning to write them up on Chowhound, but I keep forgetting.

                            1. re: SteveTimko

                              I like Rose's, too. They're a sit-down, dine in type of place, tho - a lot of the sandwiches are served warm. The salad dressing IS awesome. Deli Towne is your typical sub shop, they have seating, too, but it's also the place I'll grab sandwiches before heading to a game or the lake.

                              1. re: nancyhudson

                                It is fun to follow this discussion. I must add that I like India Garden more than India Kabob. And my favorite fine restaurant is 4th Street Bistro. I don't think that there are any good sandwiches in this town! To me, Roses is good but a bit fussy.

                        2. Olive Garden is "Italian"? What an insult to the Italians who make fabulous food with four or five simple and incredibly fresh ingredients.


                          "Chain food" is not Italian. Get a clue, Reno.

                          Can we say that "Olive Garden" is as authentic of an Italian restaurant as Micaso Too is authentic Mexican?

                          Did I mention "barf"? And "shudder"?

                          1. Ok, RGJ didn't break the chinese food into seperate foods, Soooo... I ask here. Where would I find the best roast duck around Reno- Carson -Tahoe? Pacifica seafood buffet at Harvey's South Lake Tahoe was great, but alsa no more, its closed for good. They had really good roast duck and all you can eat too...that's my fantasy come true..well except for all you an eat rack of lamb!

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: MofCarson

                              Oh Oh. Pick me! Pick me! I know.
                              Reno Asian Supermarket, 803 W 5th St Reno, just off Keystone Avenue.
                              They'll even cut it for you. $11.50. They usually have them in stock.
                              Very good duck. Try one. You'll see.

                              1. re: SteveTimko

                                I think I have been there before, the place thats an old Safeway cut in half? Are the ducks cooked there and hanging like in the Bay Area? I'll look again...

                                1. re: MofCarson

                                  I don't think it was a Safeway. It was some other store, yes, and the other half is an auto parts store.
                                  The duck isn't hanging up. It's in the back.
                                  Peony has a good roast duck, if you're looking for it in a restaurant. I actually thought the Peking duck was better.

                                  1. re: SteveTimko

                                    Peony was next on my list to try. Just went to Jazmine Sat. The halibut cheeks special was killer, except I told the chef not to do it the way it was normally being served that night (sweet and sour sauce over baby bok choy), that sounded really weird, told him to steam then chinese style. Should of taken a pic to post.... Which place do you like better?

                                    1. re: MofCarson

                                      Peony. Jazmine seems average. Maybe I haven't been ordering the right dishes.

                                      1. re: SteveTimko

                                        Look forward to Peony this week....guess I better get off this board and get back to work before the boss gets back....

                              2. re: MofCarson

                                Doesn't look like anyone's mentioned Chinese Duck House yet. Had very good roast duck there a few weeks ago, but the other dishes we had were nothing special. I haven't tried Reno Asian Supermarkets, so I can't offer a comparison, but I'll have to try that soon, as it's quite near home.

                              3. Steve, do you know if the Reno Asian Supermarket carries salt baked chicken?

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: RevrendAndy

                                  No clue. I've never even heard of it.

                                  1. re: SteveTimko

                                    Steve, next time you're there, ask for it. They may not carry it but maybe it can be ordered. I've never seen it in Reno but have purchased it at an Asian market in Sacramento. I used to eat it often in Chicago. The chicken is baked in a salt crust, chopped up like a roast duck, and is incredibly moist and flavorful.

                                  2. re: RevrendAndy

                                    I called and asked today. No salt baked chicken, they said.

                                    1. re: SteveTimko

                                      I live in SF and the only salt-baked chicken (and it isn't really--like many names lost in translation) I've ever had was at Hakka restaurants.

                                  3. Having given this poll some thought, it seems to me that the poll should be renamed from the "Best of " to the "most Popular". It stands to reason that a chain, maybe with multiple outlets or a very high volume place will get more votes then a mom and pop that may actually be a "better" place in terms of food and service. Maybe it goes to show the culinary awareness of our general population. I doubt that in San Francisco the chain places would as well.....Olive garden? I've never even been to one in my life!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: MofCarson

                                      How can someone actually have an opinion on a place yet have never been to one in their life?

                                      Sure, it is very disappointing seeing chain Restaurants find their way onto a "Best of" list, but the derision that is being sent into this thread is a bit extreme.

                                      The one glaring omission from this thread AND from the Best of List is the Dynasty China Bistro. Very good and affordable Chinese Food.

                                    2. If Olive Garden & Johnny Carino's is the best...I would give up eating.