|Lago affords views of Bellagio’s famous fountains.|
More than two-thirds of travelers “spend more money on dining/entertainment while on vacation than at home,” according to MMGY Global’s 2015 Portrait of American Travelers. Perhaps that’s one reason why Las Vegas — which, the Portrait indicates, continues to be perennially popular across a wide range of demographics — always seems to have something new for those eager to open their wallets in search of the latest dining experiences. Here are some recent developments on that front.
At Bellagio, overlooking the iconic fountains, Lago by Julian Serrano made a big splash when it opened in April, presenting diners with innovative small-plates. Now, this contemporary Milan-inspired Italian restaurant — from the same James Beard Award-winning chef who has presided over Picasso at Bellagio for the last 17 years — has introduced lunch and brunch experiences as well.
Lunch guests have the choice of enjoying a three-course prix-fixe menu for $28 or selecting dishes a la carte. Chef Serrano’s specialties include lighter portions of Lago’s small plates in addition to paninis, salads and entrees. Lago’s Sunday brunch, which has replaced Jasmine’s Fountains Brunch, offers a three-course feast for $38 per person. In addition to freshly baked pastries and a variety of inventive antipasti, guests can choose from such dishes as Eggplant Parmesan Benedict, frittatas and pizzettas, followed by desserts ranging from a classic Tiramisu to Panettone Pudding and Nutella Crespelle. Lago is located off the casino floor next to Hyde Bellagio.
Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas recently announced the appointment of Frederic Don as Chef de Cuisine at the five-star restaurant, Twist by Pierre Gagnaire. Chef Don brings his experience of fine dining to Las Vegas from another Gagnaire restaurant, The Gallery at London’s Sketch, where he served as head chef since 2013. Chef Don began his education in 2000 at Les Petites Bruyeres de St. Chamond and later trained as an apprentice at Restaurant Pieree Orsi in Lyon, France, and served as sous chef at Flacon de Sel, where he helped lead the team to achieving three Michelin stars.
In the fall, Alain Ducasse, one of the world’s most influential chefs, will debut Rivea and Skyfall Lounge at Delano Las Vegas. Rivea, inspired by the casual elegance of the Mediterranean coast, and Skyfall, a sophisticated nightlife concept, will sit high atop the resort. Ducasse and Rivea Executive Chef Bruno Riou’s menu will focus on simple, fresh Mediterranean flavors made with West Coast-sourced seasonal ingredients.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is now home to Pizza Forte, just steps away from the property’s bustling pool scene. Diners can order New York- and Roman-style pizza, home-made meatballs and Hofmann hotdogs, as well as beer and wine, to eat there (plenty of seating at the 1,200-square-foot eatery), to go or be delivered to their hotel room. Pizza Forte is the creation of Chef Mimmo Ferraro and his wife, Nikki — the folks behind Las Vegas’ longest running (30 years) family-owned and operated Italian restaurant, Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar.
At Therapy, the newest dining hot spot in Downtown Las Vegas, Executive Chef Daniel Ontiveros’ ingredient-driven menu offers shared and individual plates including unique selections such as “The Big Sexy” burger, chicken and red velvet waffle sliders and the signature “In the Gnudi,” a baked ricotta with truffle honey and fig jam. Therapy’s 32-foot bar also serves signature cocktails, more than 40 craft beers, wine and house-made sangria. On weekend nights, the venue is transformed into a nightlife destination with live music, DJs and dancing.