What makes a great Italian restaurant? For some it may be the antipasti, while for others it’s the quality of the wines and pastas that’s the sure-fire test. Holding up one dish is dangerous. Octopus? Lasagna? Cacio e pepe? Which one should be the barometer of a great Italian restaurant?
The steps we took to compile our most-recent ranking were as thorough and comprehensive as possible: we looked at restaurants that made it to our 101 Best Restaurants in America; we also recruited an illustrious panel of judges that included some of the country’s top food writers, critics, and bloggers to submit their suggestions, which we supplemented with our own choices, including previous years’ rankings as well as lauded newcomers. This list of hundreds of restaurants was then built into a survey that was sent out to more than 100 panelists, who voted for their favorites. The final ranking included a significant number of Italian restaurants, and to create this list we supplemented the Italian restaurants that made it into our final list of 101 with those that came in as runners-up and those that were featured on this year's list of the country's 50 best casual restaurants. Turns out there are many Italian restaurants worthy of renown in America, and two reside in Las Vegas.
When two-time James Beard Award-winning chef Paul Bartolotta, who'd made his name at Spiaggia in Chicago, was approached by Las Vegas hotelier and casino mogul Steve Wynn about opening a showplace restaurant at Wynn Las Vegas, he agreed on the condition that he could fly in the freshest possible fish and shellfish daily, directly from the Mediterranean. Wynn agreed — which is why, today, some of the freshest seafood it is possible to enjoy in America is found in the middle of the Mojave Desert. The choices in cool, multi-level Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, include not just the expected sea scallops, mussels, swordfish, and such, but also real Italian vongole (clams), Mediterranean spiny lobster, wild turbot, and more. Of course, there's good meat and poultry and plenty of fantastic pasta, too; among them, sheep's milk ricotta ravioli, handmade ribbon pasta, potato gnocchi, and classic Piemontese meat ravioli are all sensational standouts.
Bartolotta’s near-unparalleled freshness is so delicious, the restaurant snagged the #21 spot on our roundup, beating out Carnevino, who came in at #31. This means that – according to our experts – Bartolotta at The Wynn is the best Italian restaurant in Las Vegas.