My absolute favorite thing to do in Las Vegas is . . . surprise! not food-related. I love, love, love the fountain shows at the Bellagio. During the rare opportunities I’ve had to stay in a fountain-facing room there, I’ve sat all night next to the window, watching show after show after show.
The next best thing to getting a fountain-facing room is to sit at one of the fountain-facing balconies at the restaurants inside the Bellagio. Several of them have outdoor patios facing the fountains, including Picasso, Olives, and one of their newest restaurants, Lago by Julian Serrano.
Lago has a gorgeous outdoor patio with phenomenal views of the fountains. During the winter, they have heat lamps, so you can even sit outside when it’s a bit chilly (it never gets that cold in Vegas, at least not by Bostonian standards!).
Chef Julian Serrano is well known in Vegas. He’s the executive chef at the two-Michelin starred French restaurant Picasso (also at the Bellagio with equally stunning views of the fountain!). He also has Julian Serrano inside Aria, which focuses on his native Spanish cuisine. Lago, his first Italian (more specifically, Milanese) restaurant, is his newest project, and just opened April 2015.
The concept is Italian small plates, and we ordered from various parts of the menu.
I’m always a huge fan of anything made with raw fish, so I opted to order two items from the Crudo di Pesce (raw fish) part of the menu.
Tonno ($19 for three pieces – pictured in front) consisted of an Ahi tuna slice topped with an orange segment and seasoned with citrus-colatura di alici. Capasanta ($18 for three pieces – pictured in back) was a raw scallop topped with blood orange and pistachio.
Unfortunately, I was not impressed with the crudo. I felt that the raw seafood was not super fresh and the citrus fruit together with the dressing overpowered the delicate seafood flavors. Perhaps my standards are a bit too high, as I am probably instinctively placing sushi-level standards onto the crudo. Nevertheless, I would not recommend ordering this dish, especially at these prices.
The Insalata Caprese ($15), made with heirloom tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella and dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, was solid and pretty classic.
My favorite dish of the meal was the Polpo alla Diavola, a spicy, tomato-based octopus and chickpea dish served with garlic bread. The flavors were excellent, and the octopus was really tender.
The Margherita Pizette ($14), a smaller sized Neapolitan pizza with tomato sauce, house-made mozzarella, and basil was very good and tasted quite authentic.
The Linguine al Frutti di Mare, a seafood pasta dish made with seafood ragu and a touch of tomato sauce had great seafood flavors. The pasta texture was a bit soft for my taste, but the sauce was so tasty everyone still ate that dish up.
Another tasty dish was the vegetarian dish Verdure e Farro, made with farro grain, roasted vegetables, and arugula all tossed together. The flavors were nice, and I loved the nutty flavor and chewy texture of the farro, one of my favorite grains to eat.
We finished with the Branzino Livornese ($16), sea bass served with capers, olives, tomatoes, and roasted asparagus. It was fine, not bad but again not particularly not memorable.
All in all, the food at Lago is fine with a few standouts (octopus!) and a few sleepier dishes. It’s a safe place to have a reasonably enjoyable meal all while enjoying stunning views of the fountains. Keep in mind I did visit during lunchtime, which has a more limited menu compared to dinnertime.
I thought the food was good, but I wouldn’t come out of my way to dine here. It’s probably not necessarily a destination-worthy restaurant. However, if you happen to be attending a conference in the area or are staying at the Bellagio and don’t feel like traveling far, it’s a perfectly fine place to enjoy a meal while enjoying the fountain shows.
Lago by Julian Serrano
3600 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109