This is James Beard Award–winning chef Julian Serrano’s first new venture since opening his namesake restaurant at Aria in 2009. Overlooking the Bellagio’s dancing fountains, Lago, which opened in April 2015, encourages small-plate exploration of dishes such as shrimp-stuffed calamari and Roman gnocchi with blue cheese.
Other highlights include sashimi, with cedro-marinated shrimp, and tuna with blood orange. For those craving larger portions, there are the piatti grandi selections, including a one-pound, bone-in rib eye, tender red-wine-braised veal shank, and even a whole, roasted suckling pig. Pastas are equally inventive, with baked cannelloni stuffed with pulled short ribs. Conversation-worthy artisan pizzas include the Nduja, topped with Gorgonzola and spicy calabrese; and the Bianca, covered with smoked provolone and arugula.
Vegans and vegetarians may gravitate to chef Serrano’s truffle-style mushrooms or his caponata—a sweet-and-sour Sicilian eggplant dish. Serrano’s creations can be enjoyed inside, surrounded by the Milan-inspired Italian Futurismo decor, or on the open patio overlooking the Bellagio’s lake. In addition to a 750-bottle wine list, Lago’s glass-and-chrome mixology counter serves cutting-edge libations, including innovative leather-aged cocktails. (702.693.7111, bellagio.com)