Lunching large at Lago by Julian Serrano
Seldom has the noon meal been this pleasant—a gorgeous patio and a lakeside vista. What more could you ask? Perhaps a lovely chandelier overhead, a tasty cocktail and excellent food on the plate. At Julian Serrano’s Italian restaurant Lago in Bellagio, you have it all.
If you can’t score a patio table, no worries, Lago’s dining area still has gorgeous views of the lake and the Strip through huge windows, perfect for a leisurely repast. (And if you can’t make lunch, reserve a table for dinner—the fountain shows are spectacular from here.)
Start with that beverage—perhaps a Rosso Bellini will bring you joy. Prosecco, wild strawberry liqueur and raspberry vodka are topped off with an elegant caramel and a raspberry dusted in gold. If you must have a coffee, the Cafe Lago—a sweet concoction of Patron XO Cafe, hazelnut liqueur, espresso, rum and Valrhona chocolate—fills the bill and yet acts as a cocktail, too. A tiny chocolate spoon adorns the plate.
Although a lunch date may not strictly call for appetizers, it’s not wrong to dig into baked ricotta with roasted red peppers, drizzled with balsamic. It’s still creamy enough to spread, but the typical ricotta texture is enhanced by the baking procedure. Seafood salad with grapefruit dressing is kept light with a bit of vegetables.
Pizzas here are good-sized, though still manageable for one person, and all the thin-crust pies are all big on flavor. But much of the Lago menu is designed around smaller plates and shareable portions, so try a few options. The prosciutto, goat cheese and fig version and the margherita make a nice juxtaposition.
The paninis vary from polpettone to vegetarian, each with a different bread chosen for the sandwich. The vegetarian version layers goat cheese, arugula and pesto with roasted vegetables such as mushroom and yellow squash pressed between whole wheat—sounds simple, but it’s actually a little magnificent.
Lasagna verde brings together four cheeses and spinach; a smoky undertone pushes it over the top. You may want a little more—try braised pulled duck meat, bresaola, salmon or branzino. Sides of sautéed asparagus and rosemary potatoes are generous in size and big in flavor, too.
Desserts here may vary, but they are always beautifully plated. Limoncello curd with meringue and limoncello sorbet is tart and terribly good. Berry sorbet goes beautifully with shortbread and a variety of strawberries and other fruit.
So make a date for lunch—it’s sure to impress, and you won’t have to wear a tie (wouldn't hurt you.
Bellagio, brunch 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Sun., lunch 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Mon.-Sat., dinner 5-11 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., 5 p.m.-midnight Fri.-Sat. 702.693.8865