Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare
For the same reason people deny the existence of decent sushi in the desert, they also can’t imagine how Mediterranean seafood could actually be fresher in Las Vegas than in New York. Enter chef Paul Bartolotta (formerly of San Domenico in New York and Spiaggia in Chicago), who receives a daily shipment of langoustines, cuttlefish, and prehistoric-looking slipper lobster from the Ionian, Tyrrhenian, Adriatic, and Ligurian seas, among other places. The theatrical bi-level room—with neo-Baroque chandeliers and tented outdoor dining loggias surrounding a lake—is maximalist. The best dishes—fish you can choose from a cart piled high and then simply grilled with olive oil, lemon, and parsley—are minimalist.
Tip: The best way to eat at Bartolotta is family-style. Bring along as many friends as you can and order either the Menu di Paranza or the Gran Menu di Mare (for $135 and $155 per person), and allow the chef to prepare a meal of the day’s best ingredients.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.