Nothing says "comfort food" quite like pizza, and at the stylish Ada's this favorite gets a make-over with seasonal ingredients and inventive combinations. The margherita is made with local mozzarella, Bianco tomatoes and basil, giving this traditional selection a bump in flavor. This is the place to get more adventurous with your pizza choices, however, with options like the pear and bleu cheese with spicy honey, bacon and caramelized onion, or the foie gras with duck confit, pistachio, truffle cheese and jam. You'll also find an excellent selection of pasta and antipasti plates. This intimately sized local gem is located in Summerlin at Tivoli Village, just a short drive from the Strip.
Recommended for Italian because: Ada's seasonal, artfully crafted pizzas and pasta make this restaurant a standout for Italian food in Las Vegas.
Terrisa's expert tip: Inside Ada's you'll find a hidden ice cream place, Best Ice Cream, which serves premium ice cream made using a classic old recipe and milk and cream from a dairy farm in Nevada.
The Bootlegger offers authentic Italian with a local family at the helm. Their location at the far end of the Strip has a homey feeling that includes plenty of signed celebrity photos and red leather booths. House specialties include lasagna, linguine and clams, seafood fra diavolo and osso bucco. A full range of pasta is offered, including spaghetti with meat sauce, baked penne, ravioli and fettuccine Alfredo. Steaks, fish and chicken dishes are also served, like the Pollo Angelo, boneless chicken breast sautéed in a sauce of lemon, capers and wine and served with fettuccine Alfredo. Open 24/7, The Bootlegger also features music each night in Old Vegas lounge style, adding to the restaurant's vintage Vegas ambiance.
Recommended for Italian because: Authentic Italian food and Old Vegas meet at the Bootlegger, where the dishes are hearty and the booths are red leather.
Terrisa's expert tip: The Early Dining Selections are served daily from 3 to 5 p.m. and offer lighter portions of the generous dinner entrees. Choices include dishes like baked penne, eggplant parmigiana, ravioli, or orange roughy and all entrees come with a salad.
A short drive west of the Strip takes you into the area in Las Vegas known as The Lakes, and in an office park area you'll find one of the city's hidden gems, Chef Marc's Trattoria. This Tuscan-style restaurant serves traditional Italian food, but they're always working on new creations as well. The veteran chef at the wheel of this neighborhood gem has created a menu full of Italian delights. Start off your meal with escargot, charred octopus or a charcuterie board before moving on to pasta e fagioli or heirloom salad. Entrees include Short Rib Malfatti (a lasagna using beef short rib), veal, chicken or eggplant parmesan, or seafood dishes. Daily specials include selections like house-made pasta, Italian wedding soup or a New York steak.
Recommended for Italian because: Chef Marc's Trattoria serves traditional Italian dishes as well as new creations, all full of fresh flavors.
Terrisa's expert tip: Chef Marc's Trattoria isn't easily visible from the street, and there's limited signage. The restaurant is located toward the back of the shopping and business center where it's located.
Nora's has been a popular local Italian restaurant for many years because of its warm atmosphere and great food. Just a short drive west of the Las Vegas Strip, locally owned Nora's offers a escape from the bustling activity along the resort corridor. The food here wins fans from residents and visitors, with a menu that includes everything from calamari to pizza. Popular dishes here include the Crazy Alfredo, with fettuccini, shrimp, chicken, sausage, mushrooms, roasted bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and jalapenos or the Alla Nora, a baked dish of spaghetti, eggplant and meat sauce with pesto and parmigiano cheese to finish. House specialties include osso bucco and rack of lamb. Be sure to make reservations as the restaurant is usually busy.
Recommended for Italian because: Nora's has been a locals' favorite for years with its home-style Italian dishes and welcoming ambiance.
Terrisa's expert tip: Lunch service is a little quieter than dinner and some selections, like sandwiches, are only offered at lunch. Prices are also less expensive as compared to dinner.
Italian food takes a step up at Scarpetta, with dishes guests will remember long after the dessert is done. An elegant and comfortable dining area is the perfect backdrop for this upscale interpretation of Italian cuisine. Spaghetti with tomato and basil is one of the restaurant's signature dishes, but other menu choices include the duck and foie gras ravioli, tagliatelle with lamb bolognese and truffle buratta, veal osso bucco or steak. A dessert and cheese menu offers a tempting array of sweets and fromaggi to end the evening, with tempting creations like the mascarpone cheesecake, Nutella Bomboloni and a tiramisu with traditional mascarpone cream plus a Scarpetta cookie and coffee gelato. In addition to the main dinner selections, guests can also choose from gluten-free, vegetarian and tasting menus.
Recommended for Italian because: Scarpetta's upscale Italian cuisine offers delicious, fresh interpretations of favorite dishes.
Terrisa's expert tip: Be sure to take a look at the premium cocktail menu, which offers a tempting array of specialty drinks made with top-shelf spirits and premium ingredients.
A Las Vegas favorite for almost 30 years, this family-owned restaurant is famous for its fine Italian cuisine created from time-honored family recipes. House-made sausages, family-recipe meatballs and legendary osso buco are prepared from all-natural meats. Safe Harbor Certified seafood and freshly made pastas and sauces provide the foundation of Ferraro's lunch, dinner and late-night menus. Many of its mouthwatering dishes can be made gluten free, and gluten-free pasta and pizza is available for an additional charge. Whole wheat pasta is available, too, and all of the pastas are house-made every day. For dessert, be sure to try the classic Tiramisu; crepes with Nutella, Mascarpone, hint of orange zest and gelato or the Cioccolatissimo, hazelnut chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, ice cream and yogurt.
Recommended for Italian because: Family-owned Ferraro's has been serving flavorful Italian dishes for decades and their delicious food is still winning new fans today.
Terrisa's expert tip: Ferraro's Ora Sociale is their happy hour, which happens daily from 4 to 7 p.m. in the bar, lounge and patio. Along with wine, beer and cocktail specials, guests can enjoy a host of dishes for under $10.
Ol' Blue Eyes was the inspiration for this classy Italian restaurant at Wynn Las Vegas, and the results would make the legendary performer happy. The inviting space features several pictures of Frank Sinatra, and the menu includes several of his personal favorites, like spaghetti and clams and osso bucco. Starters include the expected antipasto, as well as octopus, caprese and caviar. Pasta choices include the Lasagna Bolognese, risotto or the gnocchetti with Osetra caviar, lemon creme fraiche and leek emulsion. Fish, veal, chicken and beef dishes are all prepared with an Italian flair, including the Osso buco "My Way," braised veal osso bucco, saffron risotto Milanese and gremolata.
Recommended for Italian because: The well-crafted Italian dishes at Sinatra include some of the performer's favorite dishes as well as many other notable selections.
Terrisa's expert tip: Guests can see Sinatra memorabilia in the restaurant, like his Grammy awards and his 1954 Acadmy Award for best supporting actor in "From Here to Eternity."
Rao's first restaurant was in New York, and its outpost at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas serves the same authentic Southern Italian food its customers adore. The interior design features a replica of the original 12-seat NYC restaurant, plus additional seating areas on a patio, at the bar and in private dining space. The atmosphere evokes a homey feeling, and the food is most often described as almost home-cooked. You'll find every kind of Italian dish on the menu here: antipasto, meatballs, linguini and clams (red or white sauce), all types of pasta dishes, steaks, shrimp scampi, Sunday Gravy (only on Sunday with limited availability) and a host of other dishes.
Recommended for Italian because: Rao's famous Italian food is full of authentic flavors, and the Las Vegas version of the NYC original stays true to the famous restaurant's style.
Terrisa's expert tip: Getting a reservation at the original New York City Rao's is virtually impossible, but reservations for the Las Vegas location are much easier to come by.
Buddy "Cake Boss" Valastro may be best known for his baking, but Buddy V's Ristorante shows off his skills as a talented chef. Diners are treated to a taste of the Valastro family's beloved heirloom recipes, in a setting reminiscent of the Sunday dinner atmosphere at Buddy's grandmother's house. Offering new twists on Italian-American classics and family favorites, the flavorful menu features the family's takes on all the classics, like My Dad's Bucatini Carbonara, Nonna's Lasagna Al Forno and Lisa V's Linguine & Clams. Menu must-tries include Grandma's Meatballs and the Valastro Sunday Gravy made with meatballs, sausage, lamb, pork and a bowl of rigatoni.
Recommended for Italian because: Buddy V's Ristorante features classic Italian dishes prepared from family recipes.
Terrisa's expert tip: Happy Hour happens daily at Buddy V's in the bar and lounge from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Guest can enjoy $5 beer and wine and $6 small plates.
Esther's Kitchen is a modern, farm-to-table style Italian restaurant with a fresh take on food that's been a hit with diners since the restaurant opened. Fans of seasonal, artisanal fare will find a lot to like at this popular downtown spot, which enjoys consistent acclaim because of its flavorful dishes. Describing their food as "seasonal Italian soul food," Esther's Kitchen delivers a menu full of house-made pastas - spaghetti, chitarra, rigatoni, bucatini, you name it - house-made bread, an unrivaled meat and cheese board and pizzas. While dinner is standard sit-down service, lunchtime is informal, with orders for salads, sandwiches, pastas and pizzas placed at the counter and delivered to the table. Esther's Kitchen is named after the woman who taught the chef to cook, and Esther's home-style touch is apparent in every part of the restaurant, from the food to the inviting atmosphere.
Recommended for Italian because: With fresh, seasonal Italian food, excellent service and a welcoming ambiance, Esther's Kitchen continues to get rave reviews from critics and guests.
Terrisa's expert tip: On Saturday and Sunday, Esther's serves brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., offering a menu full of traditional brunch favorites as well as Italian dishes like pizza and pasta.