Can the NYC Steakhouse Survive?
Vegas style meets home comfort in an old family house
Here's a reason to visit Downtown and skip Fremont Street altogether. Turn down Fourth Street near the Arts District and keep your eyes peeled for Chicago Joe's, an old brick home that was transformed into a cozy Italian joint four decades ago. It's been drawing loyal regulars, including members of the mob, ever since. And if mobsters know anything, it's choosing Italian restaurants. The Christmas lights stay up year-round, giving you a clear but colorful look at the baked rigatoni and other traditional favorites on the menu.
Off the Strip
A 60-page wine list with a menu based on family tradition
Family owned and operated since 1985, Ferraro’s has found a perfect balance of old-school favorites and non-traditional dishes, made with all-natural meat and carefully selected seafood. The spicy tripe is an experience in itself, as is the coniglio brasato (braised rabbit). The restaurant also takes its wine seriously, offering one of the best selections in Vegas, as well as pairing dinners and other tasting events that are among the most informative you’ll ever come across. This spot is also very friendly -- perfect for casual wine drinkers who want to learn the difference between a "Chianti" and "Chianti Classico." And if you need a late night bite, the bar serves food until 2am.
Wynn Las Vegas
A daily seafood catch with a great patio and koi pond
This elegant fine dining spot focuses on seafood and culinary creations that often come with a strong Mediterranean influence. The Wynn Resorts are loaded with upscale dining options and Costa di Mare is among the most stylish and comfortable, with a gorgeous outdoor patio that surrounds a koi pond. The fresh fish and shellfish, flown in daily from Italian waters, are presented table-side for your selection. And don't worry if you see something move, those are just the langoustines -- small European lobsters that will help make your dinner one to remember.
A faithful recreation of the legendary New York restaurant -- with better seating
The waiting list to get a table at the original Rao’s in New York is so notoriously long, someone got the idea to open another version in Las Vegas that’s basically the same thing, just a little bigger -- which means everyone gets a fair chance to try out their famous signature meatballs. The same family is deeply involved in both restaurants, ensuring that the experience is as identical as possible.
Off the Strip
A strong Vegas legacy (and a mean seafood soup) just off the Strip
An example of vintage Las Vegas for more than 30 years, Piero’s continues to be a regular spot for authentic Italian dishes, romantic dinners, and power lunch meetings near the Convention Center. A long list of celebrities, including at least two US presidents, have stopped by over the years. La Zuppa di Pesce is the the house specialty: a soup loaded with lobster, clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops, and calamari.
Green Valley Ranch
A breezy and bright dining room perfect for a weekend brunch
Bottiglia is a big hit with the Henderson crowd, thanks to a diverse menu representing all regions of Italy, a relaxing outdoor patio, and a bright, open dining room with big windows designed to circulate a welcome breeze. The best time to visit is during Sunday brunch, where the gnocchi arrabbiata and short rib cavatelli are both nearly as addictive as the house-made sangria.
Off the Strip
A focus on ingredients, vegan options, and mega-views of the Strip and airport
Panevino is probably the healthiest option for Italian dining in Las Vegas, as special care is put into the ingredients, cooking methods, and nutritional content of each dish. Some of these aren't even prepared with oil -- which is practically unheard of in an Italian joint. But the taste never suffers, and if meatballs and sausage aren't your thing, there's also a stellar vegan menu; you won't believe the spinach, walnut, and "ricotta" ravioli is actually cheeseless. Enjoy it all next to floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the Strip, as well as the airport across the street.
Grand Canal Shoppes
The stations in this place accommodate any Italian taste
The name is Italian for "fish market" and while there's definitely an emphasis on seafood, the dishes are based on a wide array of components. Stations throughout the restaurant specialize in all things Italian, from imported cheeses, salads, and flatbreads to fresh-made pastas, steaks, and of course, desserts. Don't get the wrong idea; this isn't a Vegas buffet. Everything is brought to your table in a wide-open dining room that spills out onto St. Mark's Square. Plus, you can order steaks, fish, and vegetables cooked in a Spanish-style Josper Oven. Think of it as a grill and covered oven combined in one, giving dishes like the delicious lamb chops a unique smoky taste.
Local favorite that's grown from a 12-seat spot to a powerhouse
Originally just 12 seats when it opened back in 1991, this longtime locals' favorite has expanded in dramatic fashion to a two-story location a couple blocks away from the original site. The menu has grown over the years as well, with more than 70 dishes in play. Favorites include wild boar over pappardelle pasta and a lineup of 11 pizzas (four of which are "white" without tomato sauce). The cocktail program gets plenty of attention, offering both carefully constructed classics and some impressive original creations.
Upscale joint dedicated to the Rat Pack charm of Frank Sinatra
The only thing Italians like more than ravioli and red wine is Frank Sinatra. Especially in Vegas where Ol’ Blue Eyes ran this town for years. So head to Wynn Encore where you can experience a menu based on the Chairman of the Board’s favorite dishes, including the popular spaghetti and clams. The dining room is decorated with portraits of Sinatra along with his Academy and Grammy awards.
A minimalist take on the cuisine of the Amalfi Coast
After building his reputation at Portofino, chef Michael LaPlaca is drawing on greater resources and a larger space to craft a new identity with Osteria Costa. By narrowing his focus to the vibrant cuisine of the Amalfi Coast, the dishes are given a minimalist approach in both prep and plating -- with the freshness of ingredients front-and-center. LaPlaca's dedication to bright flavors is found in the aromatic spices and tomato broth of the Corvina Acqua Pazza as well as the lively vinaigrette that brightens the creamy base of the Caesar salad -- not to mention the awesome garlic-buttered croutons. Top-to-bottom, the team does it all in-house with dry pastas, Neapolitan pizza dough, and hand-pulled mozzarella making familiar dishes refreshingly new and comfortably recognizable at the same time.
Affordable new hotspot with fresh, climate-controlled ingredients
Opening within the first week of 2018, Esther's Kitchen quickly found itself on a wait every night, sometimes for up to two hours. It's a good problem for a new restaurant to have -- reflecting not only the emergence of the social scene in the Downtown Arts District, but also demand for what chef James Trees calls "honest food." From the ingredients sourced from local farmers markets to a climate-controlled room dedicated to hand-making bread and pasta, Esther's Kitchen over-delivers on its "Italian farm-to-table" marketing tag. No premade pasta, overcooked sauces, or high-priced tasting menus. Rather -- neighborhood dining done right with low prices to encourage repeat visits. The name is in honor of Trees' late great aunt who financed his way through school.
Red Rock Resort
A wood-burning oven and the best of all worlds by Scott Conant
The latest restaurant from Scott Conant leaves behind the celebrity chef congregation of the Strip in favor of the Red Rock Resort in the far west valley. Designed to be both a neighborhood hangout and a warm contemporary dining room, Masso Osteria showcases Conant's flawless execution in both traditional dishes and inventive modern fare. The wood-burning oven is put to good use on meats, fish, pizzas, and vegetables while generating a welcome subtle smokey scent throughout the venue. The $65 veal chop is in line with elevated Strip price points, but for the exact same amount per person, you can opt for a customized multi-course tasting menu as a more affordable alternative.
Rare authenticity and skilled preparation in a casual Italian-style deli
This Italian deli and pizzeria operates on authenticity, attention-to-detail, and execution that's rare to find in such a casual space. Even the mozzarella is hand-pulled each morning, adding a fresh bite of sweetness to every slice of pizza. Other highlights include house-made ricotta cheesecake, overloaded sandwiches prepared with a half-loaf of bread, and "fried boloney" which is nothing like it sounds. (Trust us on this one. It's amazing). The menu also adds an Italian touch to the beer and wine selection.
Style, service, and an extravagant supper-club atmosphere
If you want to "go big" with Italian food in Vegas, Carbone is your kinda place. With a handful of distinctive dining rooms, the spirit of the classic New York supper club is reimagined with teams led by knowledgeable and experienced service captions. The Caesar salad, squash agrodolce, and bananas flambe are all prepared tableside, offering a lively date night atmosphere -- although the seating can feel a little cramped at times. Don't forget to ask about Mario Carbone's famous off-menu meatballs.