In a city known for innovation, Nora’s Wine Bar & Osteria stands out. The concept is new, on-trend and focused. Where else can you get the mix of old and new, where you can sample wines straight from the latest equipment in wine dispensing, the Enomatic System, and watch as they use a 1927 Berkel to shave the prosciutto into delicate slices!
That mix of old and new is actually the basis for Nora’s. It all started with Nora Mauro and her original restaurant, Nora’s Cuisine. Her sons, Giovanni and Marcello, took that legacy of southern Italian Cuisine and modernized it a bit with the Osteria (neighborhood) concept and the emphasis on sharing everything from the food to the wine tasting.
Of course, you know a place called Nora’s Wine Bar will be all about the wines, and it is. But even the bartender told us in an aside, “You won’t believe the food!” He knew what he was talking about.
It starts with the salt flight found on every table. Here, instead of “just” a bread bowl, you can experiment with some of the flavors of the world. Just try a little of the different olive oils, with a variety of salts, on some of Nora’s bread, and you’ll begin to see how different Nora’s is.
Move on to the menu, and you’ll understand the Osteria concept. The word comes from the Latin word for “host,” and has come to mean—at least at Nora’s—a “family-owned establishment where locals gather to mingle and trade stories; a place where wine is the main attraction.” And the restaurant is set up to allow for the people, the food and the wine to all be featured.
The decor is simple, with the look of a fresco-strewn Sicilian countryside, textured walls, tile floors, warm lighting, and a bar that consumes stage right of the dining area. There is a chef’s table that sits right in front of the open kitchen, with a full view of the extensive wine collection (350-some bottles on display in an award-winning wine cellar).
There is also a quaint outside garden, surprising in the midst of a Vegas shopping area, with live bay leaf trees providing both shade and spice to the menu. According to Manager Drew Edelmeyer, the fresh leaves are used in everything from the sauces to the vodka drinks, and are just one example of the locally-grown and fresh ingredients used at Nora’s.
The feeling of family and comfort is perhaps amplified by the words on the menu: Here at Nora’s we encourage sharing your meal with the table since we believe this to be the ultimate expression of camaraderie. Menu items are designed in that spirit, starting with local favorites such as the Artisan Meat Platter, which has healthy samples of prosciutto, mortadella, bresaola, salame Toscano, cappa, and salametto.
Move on to what they call their Cicchetti, or “small bites,” and try the Burrata Caprese or the Spinach & Belgian Endive salad (pictured) with radicchio, apples, gorgonzola, walnuts and fig vinaigrette.
If you are in the mood for pizza, we recommend the wood-roasted shiitake, cremini, oyster mushrooms, with mozzarella and micro arugula (pictured)—great for any vegetarians in your group.
If you want the pasta, choices include the Pumpkin Risotto, using local pumpkin from the Gilcrease Orchard, Tortelloni with in-house made meat filled tortelloni, the Roman Gnocchi, a baked semolina gnocchi with oxtail ragu, Seafood Cous-Couse with a saffron broth or the Pappardelle Luisa with sausage, sundried tomatoes and cream (pictured).
But don’t stop! You have to try the Stuffed Lemon Leaves (pictured below)—mesquite-grilled ground beef, pork and lamb filled lemon leaves that give you crispy edges and a nice blend of meats that just can’t be identified. To eat it, you just put your fingers on either side of the leaves and pull on the stick, then eat the filling to your heart’s content. It left us searching for words besides succulent, and failing to find any better.
Save room for dessert, because you’ll want the Panna Cotta Trio, which offers three flavors of traditional cooked cream (espresso, citrus, and a salted caramel) with a biscotti assortment . . . or maybe the Ricotta Cheesecake (pictured), or the Panettone Pudding.
Any of the meals can be paired with your server’s recommendation of wines, or with any of 60 wines by the glass. Sharing, pairing, and a spirit of conviviality that is unmatched.
If you are in Las Vegas and want a taste of both the old Vegas and the new, you might also try the original Nora’s Cuisine, which is more of a pizza/bistro concept in a traditional Sicilian sense. It features house-created pastas such as a Melrose Pesto with zucchini, sundried tomatoes and pine nuts in a basil pesto sauce over linguine. (Tip: The Expresso Tartufo for dessert is an experience).
Just be sure you make your visit to the new Nora’s Wine Bar, where tradition is honored in a new, exciting, and delicious way.
See our Food Channel interview featuring part owner B’anka Mauro, Manager Drew Edelmeyer, and our own Christen Nehmer, here.
Hear more directly from Drew Edlemeyer, manager, here.
Visit either Nora’s when you are in the Las Vegas area:
Nora’s Wine Bar & Osteria
1031 South Rampart, Las Vegas, Nevada 89145
6020 W Flamingo Rd # 10, Las Vegas, NV 89103-2378
This is a Raves & Faves Featured Restaurant.