If your idea of perfect Italian is linguine with clams and chicken parm, keep walking. At Portofino, chef Michael LaPlaca doesn’t so much deliver the staples as navigate deftly between creativity and comfort, developing original dishes that satisfy on both accounts. Think pumpkin spice gnocchi with braised venison, hand-cut fettuccine in foie gras alfredo or groan-worthy burrata agnolotti served with lobster, chanterelles and roasted corn butter. LaPlaca even invented his own pasta shape, the hand-torn “ripatelli,” which serves as a canvas for wild boar bolognese with roasted tomato sauce and goat cheese pesto.
Never mind the stereotypes of greasy pizza and limp fettuccine. The best Italian restaurants in Las Vegas elevate pasta to an art form, shaping it by hand and swathing perfectly pliable noodles in knee-weakening sauces. Head to these joints before catching one of the best Las Vegas shows or after a day spent scouring the best things to do in Las Vegas. From foie-infused alfredo to simple spaghetti in tomato sauce to out-of-this-world osso bucco, these eateries deliver an authentic taste of Italy so vibrant, you’ll forget you’re 6,000 miles away. Word to the wise: don’t even think about taking advantage of the best Las Vegas happy hour deals before visiting these restaurants—you’ll want to save room for a bottle (or three) of real good Italian wine.