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Jan 26, 2014 09:39 PM

Taco Wars -- Leticia's Mexican Cocina

I was watching an episode of one of the worst restaurant competitions I've ever seen: "Best in Chow." This episode was devoted to who had the best tacos in Las Vegas. The contestants were, to say the least, unlikely:

Tacos and Tequila at the Luxor
Diego's at Planet Hollywood
Leticia's Mexican Cocina on Norman Rockwell Lane in northern Las Vegas.

The winner was Leticia's for a queso taco. I was curious if any Chowhounds have eaten at Leticia's and, if so, what the verdict is.

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  1. I used to live in that neighborhood (not any more, obviously:-) and have eaten there several times. The last time was the week I moved out of Vegas, just about a year ago. The food was pretty good, and it became a go-to place when we wanted sit down Mexican (its definitely NOT a taqueria) and a drink or two without traveling far.... But I never ate their queso taco so no opinion there. Besides, queso tacos?? Really??? Isn't that really just a quesadilla??

    5 Replies
    1. re: janetofreno

      I've never eaten a queso taco, and the fact that they use flour tortillas (small ones, imported from Mexico) make them seem even more like tacos. And it's great to see you here again, Janet, even if it's a hit and run.

      1. re: Dave Feldman

        Thanks! But didn't you mean "makes them seem even more like quesadillas"? When I lived in Mexico City I was never served a "taco" made with a flour tortilla.....

        1. re: janetofreno

          Yes, I did mean "quesadillas" (I won't edit the original post so your post doesn't seem weird). But I have had flour tortilla tacos in L.A. -- here's a thread about this very subject:

        2. re: Dave Feldman

          how can the best taco in town not be in a homemade tortilla. they taste sooo much better from a nice hot tortilla just off the grill

          1. re: chrisdds98

            That's a very good question, although I have to admit I've had many good tacos where the tortillas were not house made. Many/most buy from tortilla wholesalers and pop them on the grill, just as Leticia does here.

      2. There is another Vegas based Chow episode -- this one is for burgers. From the cooking channel website:

        "Cris Nannarone hits Vegas and bets he can find the best burger in the city. Featuring the "Famous Blue Cheese Burger" from Stripburger, "The Gold Standard" from Holstien's & the "Highway 80" from BLT Burger. Let's hope they call it 'sin city' because of the food."

        2 Replies
        1. re: Disneyfreak

          I saw this episode. At least the burger episode features credible choices.

          The show is relentlessly formulaic. No attempt is made to discuss how these restaurants are chosen, or who the judges are, or what criteria the judges use. The host seems to know little about food.

          1. re: Dave Feldman

            Agreed. That is one of the lamest food shows on TV. As for the "best burger" choices, of course it's a matter of opinion, but I feel that any serious competition should include Bachi Burger.

        2. Leticia's is slightly better than On the Border. If you like your Mexican greasy and covered in cheese, the way they do it at all of the least authentic places in the US, then you might like Leticia's. John Curtas recently names Leticia's the best Mexican food in Las Vegas which has affirmed my belief that he has completely sold out any objectivity for comps and local food notoriety.

          1. this is the first time I've seen this show..does the host really not know much about food (or much "sounds so much better when you say it in "Mexican") or is that just an act

            1 Reply
            1. re: toncasmo

              Nannarone is a stand-up comedian, not a chef. So although he may be exaggerating his lack of knowledge, maybe he isn't.

            2. Well let me start off by sharing that I'm sitting at Leticia's as I type this out over my cell phone! I have lived in Vegas since 98 and have ventured all over sampling the vast variety of mexican cuisine. When I saw this episode of Taco Wars I was somewhat surprised at the competitors but understood the reasons for the 2 casino applicants. I've eatin at Leticia's previous but never took note to the winning taco till tonight when my curiousity overwhelmed me to try this award winning taco as they claim on their menu. Too keep this short and from giving Leticia's a bad rap, because honestly their food is decent, aside from these tacos! Presentation on the tacos would resemble store bought corn tortillas with a red colored enchilada as the filler oozing of too much melted cheese n oil. I realize cheese is comprised of sodium but they were too salty. My recommendation for best tacos off the strip in Vegas: Rigos tacos and Cardenas grocery has an eatery that has the best tacos and broiled citrus chicken to die for!! Let me also add they're a lot cheaper than the $18 2-taco plate at Leticia's!

              3 Replies
              1. re: ChefMickeGonz

                Thanks for taking one for the team! $18???? I've passed Rigos and never stopped in. Will try.

                1. re: Dave Feldman

                  By the way, Dave, I thought I had reviewed Leticia's here before, and I was right. I found something I wrote after the first time we ate here, during the time period we lived closer to Summerlin and away from the northern parts of Las Vegas. When we moved back to the northern parts of town we remembered that first trip to Leticia's and ate there several more times, as I mentioned. Couldn't figure out how to link that post, but it was back in 2011.....