Italian cuisine is supposedly the most popular fare in the world. Certainly Las Vegas has its share of great restaurants.
But if you want to really experience a whole world of Italian culture you must visit Eataly at the Park MGM. The place is a warehouse of just about everything you can imagine with a dozen eateries.
There are restaurants, casual dining areas and dessert spots but there is much more. I had heard of the place when it first opened in Los Angeles and was excited to visit but waited awhile to visit the Vegas location.
You may remember that Mario Batali was first involved and brought a lot of his tried-and-true dishes into the place. But after his alleged scandals the company severed ties but luckily the quality of the food continues.
To truly appreciate the place, you have to walk around the vast indoor space a few times. You will notice a meat market, wine bar, dessert area and a truffle space. When it comes time to order, pick your favorite location and get ready for a fine experience.
My wife and I were on our way to a performance at the Dolby Theater and had extra time, so we got in line at the pasta station. I ordered the Pappardelle Con Funghi with house-made wide ribbon pasta, mixed mushroom ragu and Prigiano Reggiano that is aged for a full year.
The combination of mushrooms and cheese was incomparable. My wife enjoyed Mezzelune Ai Carciofi, an enticing combination of artichoke-filled ravioli, orange zest and pistachio. One of the best memories with both of these dishes were the freshly made noodles that were perfectly cooked – a little al dente with a slight crunch.
They also feature paninis like a prime rib edition with black pepper, extra virgin olive oil, provolone, and fresh bread. Pizzas by the slice are also available at a space just next to the pasta kitchen.
A quick warning: the night we were there the line was long so be sure to leave plenty of time if you are on your way to an event at T-Mobile or the Dolby.
The dessert area has a long list of gelatos that are made daily. They are light, creamy and go down easy.
Great-looking pastries are also enticing. The only criticism is they really don’t have too many breakfast goodies. It would have been nice to pick one up for breakfast the next day.
The Italian grocery space is chock full of imported products ranging from noodles to sauces. Cookies and dessert items are also nicely displayed.
There aren’t too many spots that feature caviar, but Eataly has a collection of Calvisius offerings. The company is named after a small town situated between Venice and Milano. They produce twenty tons of eggs per year.
You will have to visit many times to get the full experience of Eataly. But once you get the hang of it, it will remind you of a vacation in Rome.
Eataly, Park MGM Hotel and Casino, 3770 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas. (702) 730-7617. Delivery Available. www.eataly.com.