Giada Vegas – Restaurant Review

On August 18th, I had the immense pleasure of dining at Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis’s restaurant – Giada. Now, if you know me then you will know that I am a huge Giada fan. She is the chef I receive the most inspiration from for my cooking and it is her cookbooks that I turn to first when looking for guidance or a new recipe to try. I have even had the honor of meeting her at a book signing once – yes, she is that beautiful and yes, she is incredibly kind.

This love of Giada is shared by my amazing mother, Janet. We love to watch her shows on Food Network, make her recipes together, and most importantly – eat her recipes together! After Giada opened her Las Vegas restaurant at the Cromwell in the summer of 2014, my mom always said that if she could dine anywhere, she would love to try Giada Vegas.

Giada Mom and Me

August 18th is my mother’s birthday, and this year her birthday was one of special significance for a multitude of reasons. I wanted to do something out of the ordinary to celebrate her on this important birthday, so I surprised her with a trip to Las Vegas, a stay at Caesar’s Palace, and dinner reservations at Giada. I didn’t tell her where we were dining until right before dinner, and I loved seeing her face light up when I told her that we were going to finally try her top dining destination. Her birthday dinner could not have been better as our dining experience was one of the best either of us has ever had. Giada is a true treasure of restaurant. 

The restaurant itself is all at once airy, beachy, artsy, and warm; it is both classy and comfortable. The space is open and bright, boasting a curving wall of windows that provide a sweeping view of the Las Vegas Strip, including that water show at the Bellagio. The floors and tables are of warm wood, the chairs and booths upholstered with cream fabric and other beachy prints. The walls are adorned with old Dino De Laurentiis (her grandfather) Italian film posters and modern art pieces created by her friends (including some of the works that are seen in her own home on her cooking show). And each item that is placed on the table has its own character and feel that fits in with the rest of the restaurant. It is clear that Giada headed the design process from the wood grain of the tables to the cutlery and plate ware that adorn them.

Giada Bread

Now, I know what you are all here for – the food! I can tell you that our meal did not disappoint, it didn’t even meet expectations; it overshot the marks completely! We of course enjoyed glasses of a bright and refreshing Pinot Grigio and were treated to a complimentary bread course; this alone was incredible. You are served three types of breads from Giada along with a palette of bread fixings: Pecorino Flatbread that is crispy and cracker like, simple and traditional Italian breadsticks that provide a satisfying crackle and crunch, and the most amazing of all, Giada’s Rosemary Olive Oil Bread baked into a mini pot. The Rosemary Olive Oil Bread, airy and earthy, is meant to be smeared with a lemon mascarpone from the palette; it was so unbelievably delightful, I could have eaten five servings for just me. The Pecorino Flatbread was also stellar and of course, cheesy! This bread is best served with the fresh housemade pesto from the palette. This isn’t your average “here’s a basket of cheap white bread that may or may not be stale”; this is a full course of carby deliciousness…and it’s free!

Giada’s menu has a lot of variety – many different types of antipasti dishes, salads, pastas, and main entrees. We decided that we would try several antipasti dishes that we felt would give us a good variety of tastes.

Giada Artichokes

First, we had the Smoked Artichokes with a Lemon Aioli. They do wood smoking at Giada, and few things are better than a good wood smoked artichoke. The artichoke hearts were delectable in texture with a, well, smoky flavor. These were complimented by the aioli that was bright and tangy. This was the perfect vegetable course.

Giada Crostini

Next, we had the Pea Pesto Crostini with Prosciutto di Parma. If I see Prosciutto or Pesto on anything, I am inclined to order it; when I see them paired together, it is a done deal! Giada often makes crostini on her show and so we felt it was just right to order one. This particular crostini is one I have seen her make before, but have never tried myself. The crostini itself is perfectly crusty, the pea pesto creamy, sweet, and light which is perfectly balanced by the saltiness of the ribbon of prosciutto di parma folded on top.

Giada Dates

Our final antipasti dish was out of this world: Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Gorgonzola and Spicy Italian Sausage. Do I even need to describe this one? Salty and smoky bacon balances the sweet dates which is contrasted by the tangy gorgonzola cheese which is then kicked up by the spicy sausage which is again balanced by the sweetness of the dates. This dish packs a real depth of many different flavors and is one that I will see in my dreams from this day forth. ORDER THEM!

For our main courses, we decided to go with two different types of pastas. Giada is such a champion of pasta and I have never made a Giada pasta recipe that I haven’t liked; we simply felt obligated to enjoy pastas as our mains, and we are both ecstatic that we did!

Giada Spaghetti

I ordered Giada’s signature Spaghetti. Served with perfectly cooked, succulent jumbo shrimp, the spaghetti is tossed in a lemon mascarpone sauce with crispy capers. This was a dish worthy of the Olympian gods. Perfect for the hot Vegas summer evening, this dish was bright and fresh, but also very luxurious and decadent. If you are completely torn on what to order from Giada’s menu, you really can’t go wrong with this signature dish!

Giada Pappardelle

Mom ordered the Pappardelle with Pork Ragout. Pappardelle – a thick ribbon-like pasta – is one of our favorite shapes of pasta and everyone likes a good ragout so we thought this would be a good pasta to try. We couldn’t believe how beautifully composed this dish was. The ragout was superbly savory with lots of notes from the top-grade pork, aged pecorino, fresh tomato sauce, and the herbs and spices that help to comprise it; all perfectly coating the satisfyingly thick pappardelle noodles. Though one might think a ragout over thick noodles a bit more on the heavy side, the dish is surprisingly light while still remaining decadent.

Both of our pasta dishes were divine – and this is coming from two Italian-Americans who grew up making pasta all the time.

Giada Cookies

With it being mom’s birthday, we were treated to a plate signed with “Happy Birthday” in chocolate sauce and two of Giada’s favorite cookies – Chocolate Peanut Butter and Meyer Lemon. Like everything at Giada, the cookies are made in house and are reminiscent of the lighter, airier types of cookies that you will find in Italian bakeries. It was a very nice little treat…but of course, these were not enough for a birthday celebration!

Giada Tart

We had to order something off the dessert menu – and the Chocolate Tart was a no brainer. Enjoyed with two Americanos (brewed with imported Italian espresso), the chocolate ganache tart with notes of hazelnuts and topped with fresh black berries and served over a raspberry cream sauce was an indulgent and beautiful dessert worthy of my mother on her special birthday! I was ready to order another one, but had to resist!

In summary, dining at Giada in Las Vegas was a fantastic experience that I will always remember. It was the perfect place to celebrate my mom on this birthday of importance. The warm and inviting atmosphere, the unrivaled service, and the heavenly dishes made our time at Giada a smile-invoking and memorable experience. “Experience” – this is an important word here because that is what Giada Vegas provides; it’s more than a nice a meal and a view, it is full dining event that is as pleasing to the eyes, ears, and spirit as it is to the tongue and the stomach.  I recommend Giada to anyone in Las Vegas that is looking for spectacular food and a wonderful time. Thank you to Giada and staff for such a treat of an evening!

Learn more about Giada Vegas here: http://www.giadadelaurentiis.com/vegas/

Also, learn more about Giada herself here:  http://www.giadadelaurentiis.com/

Note: Giada is a very in demand restaurant, so be sure to book reservations weeks or even months in advance; my reservations were for a Tuesday and I made them a month and a half out. Also, plan to fork out for what you fork down; Giada is an expensive restaurant, but you must remember that it’s not just the food; it’s the ambience and the service. You don’t just go to Giada for a meal, you go for an experience, just plan a bit financially if you aren’t rolling in the doe!

Giada Signature

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Recipe Review: Giada’s Creamy Linguine with Lobster and Bacon | Johnny La Pasta

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