Whenever my friends visit Las Vegas, they want recommendations on local restaurants, so I thought I would include four of my favorite Italian restaurants in Las Vegas. Of course you can find many more, but we thought this list would be a start.
Probably the most well known Las Vegas Italian restaurant at the moment is Scarpetta at the Cosmopolitan Hotel with award-winning chef Scott Conant. It is part of one of the hottest restaurant empires with locations in Beverly Hills, Toronto, New York and Miami. It has a 3,000-bottle wine cellar with a 500-selection list that focuses on Italy’s Tuscany and Piedmonte regions. Scott Conant’s signature spaghetti marinara, a simple plate of spaghetti with tomato and basil, is shown above. Though superficially similar to your mothers ketchup and noodle variety, Conant’s version uses fresh, house-made pasta, a few ripe San Marzano tomatoes and a basil-and-garlic-infused olive oil, the result being a dish that critics have referred to as the best spaghetti they’ve ever had.
The interior is very modern but surprisingly intimate. This is a place to see and be seen. A little expensive, but if you limit your wine choices, you won't drop dead when you see the bill. You might recognize Scott Conant from the TV show, Chopped.
The bread basket included four breads, including a meat and cheese filled warm stromboli accompanied by eggplant caponata, citrusy extra virgin and mascarpone butter to spread.
We ordered the roast beet salad with watercress, nice but not uncommon.
Duck and fois gras ravioli with a marsala reduction, this was really good.
Black Cod at Scarpetta with caramelized fennel and concentrated tomatoes, one of their specialties.
Braised shortribs are another delicious specialty. Altogether, this was a delicious meal and a place to visit if you are in Las Vegas.
The other day we were visiting friends on the Las Vegas strip and stopped in to Wolfgang Puck's Cucina for a snack and drinks.
I went off to the bathroom and passed by the kitchen. What a lovely sight, dozens of heirloom tomatoes waiting to be eaten. And not just one but at least seven varieties. At last Las Vegas restaurants are getting the tomato taste message.
The restaurant has a great view of the Crystals shopping mall, a place with prices that will make you drop dead in your shoes. Nice to visit though. The restaurant was not quite up to the environment.
The bruschetta was tasty but too much bread and no noticeable taste from heirloom tomatoes, also no salmon pizza, one my favorites from the Caesars location. The menu seemed a little tired, try the restaurant in the Caesars Mall, Spago for a better experience.
Panevino is one of those old Las Vegas places that has not been torn down and in fact is thriving. It is enough of a Las Vegas institution to receive the barbs of the occasional Las Vegas food critic looking to complain about it but fortunately there is little to complain about.
That is not to say the plush interior is old or dated, quite the opposite, I felt as if I was in the lap of luxury with new carpets and lighting. The service is impeccable with suited servers who are very attentive. It is slightly off the street on the Sunset side of the airport, wonderful views of the airport and the skyline. A great place for a sumptuous lunch or romantic evening.
There is a restaurant and a deli/grill for takeout and casual dining.
We ordered Panko breaded calamari and shrimp, an unusual pairing that really works well together.
We decided to go with fish for the entre, Chilean Bass for me and Salmon for Lisa. The brunoise French cubed potatoes were a nice touch and both fish dishes were cooked perfectly. The plating was playful and the vegetables were cooked to a perfect al dente, particularly my zucchini which retained a nice crunch. I love Chilean Sea Bass, I choose it over lobster every time. I appreciated the light treatment, with a delicious crust and flakey interior. The lightly roasted cherry tomatoes made a nice presentation but the delicious burst of flavor from the tomatoes between bites of fish made this dish exquisite. We have eaten here several times and have never failed to have a memorable meal, a little expensive but worth the money.
Brio is a chain Italian restaurant with a pretty spectacular location at Town Center at the southern end of the strip. Town center is an open air shopping district with the only Apple store and Frys Electronics nearby. I included Brio because of the great happy hour and movie theaters for afterwards in Town Center, $5 dollar drinks and $4 appetizers 3-6:30 PM. Also there are lots of other bars and restaurants nearby, lots cheaper than the strip.
They have a fabulous patio that goes around the building that fills up along with the bar about 4:30 every day. They have fireplaces and a bar that opens outside, this is about as close to the strip as most locals care to go.
Two of the popular dishes are the tomato and mozzarella heirloom salad and the lobster bisque soup. Those are Black Russian heirloom tomatoes with nice soft mozzarella cheese, both on the happy hour menu while lounging in front of the firepit. Some days they have the tomato bisque soup, the best I have ever had.
In the dining room Brio has the best carpaccio in town, a huge 2 1/2 foot plate of delectable goodness. Sometimes I come here for lunch, just to have carpaccio and Chardonnay.
All the food is good and the prices are very reasonable. We eat here at least every couple of weeks. For a fun place that won't break the bank, try Brio for lunch or dinner.
We are always on the lookout for new places to eat, recently we found Annie's Gourmet Italian tucked into the neighborhood in Henderson. Although it is in a shopping center, the entrance is around the corner, with a large outdoor patio and a charming, intimate interior. I am told they are pretty open to bringing your dog to the patio and even have a small dog menu.
They have a nice selection of wine and fresh Italian pastries. Like most American cities, there is no shortage of Italian restaurants, but I decided to review this particular one because it is near our house, we have eaten here several times and the food and service has been uniformly excellent. This restaurant is a level below the ones mentioned above but the food is great, it is inexpensive and it is really a family business.
The one thing you have to order are the huge stuffed portabello mushrooms, fortunately there were four of us. They are stuffed with Italian sausage and like all of the food here, have a delicate seasoning that tastes home-made.
The baked artichoke hearts were also over the top on a lovely plate.
The stuffed roasted red pepper plating was beautiful, chilled red pepper stuffed with fresh mozzarella and topped with fresh basil. We each ordered an entree.
Chicken And Eggplant Parmesan.
Veal Marsala and Veal piccata. Their veal is particularly good here, organically grown. This is not a fancy place but the food is hearty, the servings large and the price very reasonable. It is among the best neighborhood restaurants and if you want to get away from the Las Vegas strip, it is an good option.
That's all for now, I will add more in time.
Scarpetta at the Cosmopolitan: (702) 698-7960
Wolfgang Puck's Cucina: http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/restaurants/fine-dining/53877
Brio at Town Square: 702-914-9145
Annie's Gourmet Italian: http://www.anniesgourmetitalian.com/