Before the turn of the millennium, Bellagio altered the landscape of Las Vegas dining when it built world-celebrated chef restaurants overlooking its iconic fountains. The tradition of delivering award-winning, lakeside epicurean experiences continues as it debuts Lago by Julian Serrano – a contemporary, Milan-inspired Italian restaurant concept.
“I remember when I was approached about opening my first Bellagio restaurant, Picasso, in front of some ‘wild fountain.’ It was unheard of at the time, but the potential was undeniable,” said Serrano. “Lago is a continuation of what Jean-Georges [Vongerichten], Sirio [Maccioni], Todd [English] and I started here – executing exceptional, thought-provoking cuisine in a setting you can’t find anywhere else in the world.”
Boasting a new outdoor patio with arguably the most spectacular views of the world-famous fountains, Lago’s cutting-edge space is inspired by Italian Futurism – the sweeping artistic and cultural movement of early 20th century Italy.
The entire space is injected with a colorful pulse, from a bold 1,500-square-foot mosaic map of Milan at its entrance to the sleek marble mixology counter greeting guests with a one-of-a-kind cocktail program. The dining room, designed by the award-winning Munge Leung, features large arched windows maximizing views of the scenic fountains to ensure every table is the best seat in the house.
“I want to stretch guests’ perception beyond their typical Italian experience by creating a feast that exhibits today’s culinary culture and showcases all of the exciting possibilities with Italian cuisine in the 21st century.” - Chef Julian Serrano
At his third Las Vegas restaurant, Michelin-starred Serrano lets his expertise shine through an extensive menu of small-plate masterpieces built to encourage guests to experiment and explore.
• Crudo Elegante – Crudo di Pesce marries raw seafood with the flavor of fruits and vegetables. Lago offers its own creations like the Salmone with anchovies and the Tonno (aka Tuna), paired with a seasonally changing citrus.
• Maestro Vegetariano – Serrano’s flair for vegetarian gastronomy progresses with indulgences like Risotto cooked with red wine and burrata cheese; or the Carciofi Fritti, a beautiful preparation of fried artichokes served with mint pesto.
• Pastas con Panache – Throw status quo out the window as Lago’s pastas showcase elite culinary skills and artistry, which dazzle the senses like the Calamarata, little calamari-pasta rings from Gragnano in Naples delicately stylized with squid sauce.
• Piatti Grandi – Serrano hasn’t limited Lago to small plates. The menu also boasts an indulgent section aimed at the hearty eater with creations such as the Piedmontese beef tenderloin with gorgonzola cheese or the Bistecca one-pound ribeye trimmed with sea salt.
“The food element in Lago’s cocktails allowed me to express my creativity and imagine a unique drinking experience that delivers on all different levels of tastes.” - Bellagio Master Mixologist Ricardo Murcia
All of Lago’s libations include a food component that complements the flavor of each cocktail. Bellagio Master Mixologist Ricardo Murcia has designed Italian versions of classic cocktails sporting intricate garnishes, handmade by the resort’s skilled beverage team.
• A Caramel Nest with Golden Raspberries – Murcia’s prediction for a crowd favorite is the Rosso Bellini. This elegant cocktail boasts a beautiful caramel nest holding a golden raspberry hovering over a refreshing mixture of Hangar One Raspberry, Toschi Fragoli Wild Strawberry Liqueur, prosecco, raspberry syrup and fresh lemon juice.
• Edible Cocktail Sphere – The Sgroppino features an intricate frozen sphere, comprised of prosecco, lemoncello, lemon sorbet and cocoa butter, which explodes with flavor with each bite. This creation rests atop a scoop of lemon sorbet meant to be mixed in the surrounding prosecco as soon as guests are finished savoring the sphere.
• Pineapple Cone with Mini Fruit Pearls – Lago’s Mojito delivers tastes of Tuscany with tropical fruit juices, Vermouth and Prosecco. The drink is garnished with an edible cone made from dried pineapple and filled with mini passion fruit pearls comprised of passion fruit puree, sugar and agar agar (vegetarian powder).
• Caper Berry Stuffed Chorizo – Lago’s leather-aged cocktail comes in the form of the “Serrano Negroni” aged in a special leather botarron handcrafted in Spain by the world famous Jesus Blasco. The libation consists of Bellagio’s hand-selected Woodford Reserve Double Oak Bourbon, Cynar Artichoke Bitter, Cinzano 1757 Sweet Vermouth and Campari before being garnished with an extraordinary chorizo stuffed with caper berries.
• Italian Chocolate Cookie – Lago has three delectable dessert cocktails such as the Tiramisu, an alluring concoctions of St. George NOLA Coffee Liqueur, Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, Tiramisú Liqueur, Marscapone Cheese, vanilla ice cream and cold espresso topped with Chocolate Curls and an Italian Chocolate Cookie.
“Chef Serrano’s small plates take on Italian cuisine drove me to find vintages from lesser known regions of Italy offering tremendous value and most importantly providing an impeccable complement to Lago’s cuisine.” - Bellagio Director of Wine and Master Sommelier Jason Smith
Wine connoisseurs will delight in Lago’s wine menu featuring 750 bottles from highly sought-after labels such as Sassicaia and Gaja as well as to hard-to-find small production Italian varietals like Nebbiolo and Sangiovese. The collection also offers a large collection from vineyards in California and Oregon.
Lago is open from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. nightly and is located off the casino floor next to Hyde Bellagio.