Guy Fieri. Bobby Flay. Mario Batali. Emeril Lagasse. Giada. If you’re into the Food Network, these names have been in your home for decades. Luckily for Las Vegas diners, each culinary personality has Food Network restaurants that can actually—not virtually—serve you breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But . . . you have to know where to look.
Giada De Laurentiis
The only one of the Strip’s Food Network restaurants to be helmed by a woman, Giada De Laurentiis’s Giada at the Cromwell boasts one of the city’s most beautiful dining rooms (naturally). The atmosphere is breezy, with coastal California glam in soft whites and rose golds, and pops of cinema memorabilia from her famous directing granddad, Dino De Laurentiis (look for the life-size poster of Jane Fonda in Barbarella). But don’t be fooled: the eye candy’s but a backdrop for Italian food that is elegant and approachable: cheat-worthy if you want, light if you don’t. Don’t miss Giada’s lemon spaghetti with jumbo shrimp . . . which vegetarians can order and receive sans crustaceans (it’s every bit as good).
Do you prefer The Food Network’s old-school guard? Emeril Lagasse has a long history in Food Network restaurants, and his count is now up to four. From fine dining institutions to a sports bar, the flair of Lagasse’s iconic, ingredient-tossing “Bam!” comes through in dishes at the restaurants known for high flavor. For bachelor parties, tournament watching, or good ol’ family fun, hit Lagasse’s Stadium at the Venetian, where big plates enjoyed during big games proffer big fun for big fans. With “tailgating” treats like Emeril’s New Orleans BBQ shrimp and a warm Bavarian pretzel you can slam dunk into the gooey ultimate beer and three cheese sauce, you’ll want to stay long after the final buzzer.
Like Lagasse, Mario Batali and his No. 1 business-partner-slash-restaurant-opener-extraordinnaire, Joe Bastianich, also have four eateries, where they have elevated Las Vegas’s idea of Italian cuisine so that their interpretation is the norm, not the exception. If you’ve drooled over Batali’s sauces, pastas, and charcuterie from the armchair of your living room, visit Carnevino Italian Steakhouse. Located at the Palazzo—where the resort’s air is already filled with scents of authentic leather goods and soft-spun clothing from fine Italian purveyors (and tomatoes)—the vibe of this dark-wooded dining room is kept hip with several tables overlooking the Strip. Nothing outshines the food, though: from handmade pasta (pay attention to the specials, as they’re typically even more unique than the regular menu), to choice cuts of the choicest beef.
The master of the proverbial throw-down, Flay is just as masterful with Southwestern subtlety, seasonings and spice . . . all of which makes snagging a table at his long-revered Mesa Grill at Caesars Palace historically tough—but succeed, and you won’t be disappointed. The open-air dining room is colorfully contemporary. But at Mesa, the service, more than anything, is what elevates your every bite. In fact, take note of the person who waits on your table. Unless you ask, they won’t make any introductions. It’s an effort to maintain a gentle cloud of anonymity around your dining experience, so that your needs are front and center. Waitstaff say it’s protocol at Mesa. However, there’s no fault in getting chummy with the guy or gal who brings you the dessert that changes your life: chocolate sticky toffee pudding with chocolate-vanilla-swirl ice cream and salted cajeta. (Swoon. No joke.)
One of The Food Network’s most popular personalities is also the newest to the Las Vegas Strip food scene. Fieri has brought his “Guyisms” and “off-the-hook,” aw-shucks attitude to two eateries with menus as big and bodacious as he is—especially at Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen and Bar at LINQ, which serves outrageously creative pub food from bloody Mary time to the Vegas late-night hours. Try the Vegas fries: curly fries tossed in Buffalo seasoning and mixed with blue cheese bits, homemade Buffalo sauce, and a wasabi blue-cheese dip. The experience might inspire you to crowdfund “taste-o-vision,” so that you never have to be without this food.
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