By Bob Barnes
Amalfi by Bobby Flay, the celebrity chef’s first Italian concept, inspired by his travels to Italy and the Amalfi Coast, is now open nightly for dinner in the space formerly occupied by Flay’s Mesa Grill. The restaurant specializes in Southern Italian cuisine and fresh fish, and the space has been completely transformed. The décor now features a mix of organic fabrics, stone, wood materials and white and blue chairs lending an air of a beach setting.
A prominent feature is the fish and seafood display with an extensive rotating selection that changes often and is staffed by a knowledgeable fishmonger who answers guests' questions such as to its flavor, where it was sourced from and when it arrived. You can select a whole fish prepared grilled over charcoal or roasted served with Meyer lemon and capers, red pepper and Calabrian chile pesto or salsa verde.
Antipasti selections include charred octopus with pancetta and burnt orange, which was the most tender version this reporter has ever experienced: After being braised, soaked in olive oil, grilled and roasted it was easily cut with a fork. Pastas are made in-house, and I enjoyed the squid ink fettucine with lobster, shrimp, squid and fra diavolo; and the orecchiette—eggplant Bolognese with basil and ricotta. As fresh fish is a specialty, I opted for the striped bass filet with salsa verde, with a mild spiciness that harkened back to Flay’s previous Southwestern Mesa Grill. Seven desserts are offered, including Blueberry Panna Cotta and Lemon, Lemon, Lemon—a very lemony cake with custard and crisps.
Complementing the fare are signature cocktails like Campari Spritz with Selim Spumante, Cappelletti Aperitivo and soda; a wine list with 14 by-the-glass and about 200 bottle options mainly from the Campania region; and eight beers with a few gems like the Belgian Duvel and Chimay Blue and Italian Menabrea Ambrata.
As is to be expected in a fine-dining venue on the Strip, you’ll pay a premium price to help them cover their astronomical rent. If it’s any consolation (for now), locals can self-park for free for three hours.
The Bacchanal Buffet, launched in 2012 and the largest buffet in Vegas serving more than 500 items, had been closed since March, 2020, but in May reopened after a multi-million renovation to the décor, with a nature-inspired design with organic textures, pieced together wood forms and at the entrance a conglomeration of seashells.
As in the past, guests serve themselves in an all-you-can-eat format. Menu enhancements include dim sum food carts roaming the dining room; tableside lobster bisque; 100 new dishes like foie gras PB&J, cheeseburger bao, duck carnitas quesadillas, carne asada street tacos, mezze bar with Mediterranean dips, vegan items such as quinoa-stuffed baby sweet potatoes, Roman-style pizza and a wide selection of Laotian, Filipino, Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese specialties. There are seemingly endless dessert options like cinnamon bread pudding and tiramasu, but the most popular appeared to be the hand-scooped gelato with about 20 flavors.
Hours are 4-10 p.m. daily, but will be expanding soon. The price is $64.99 on weekdays and $74.99 Fri-Sun. Oftentimes there is a massive crowd, so consider making a reservation through Open Table.
The main dining room of Amalfi by Bobby Flay with views of the market seafood display. Rendering by Olivia Jane Design & Interiors.
The lounge and bar area of Amalfi by Bobby Flay at Caesars Palace. Rendering by Olivia Jane Design & Interiors.