Italian food is one of the (arguably the) most popular ethnic foods in the country. Odds are no matter where you live, there’s a tried-and-true establishment nearby that satisfies your craving for spaghetti and meatballs and lasagna. But for a true next-level Italian experience, you must add Giada De Laurentiis’ self-titled restaurant to your list.

Giada’s specialty is Italian cuisine with a strong California influence. That means plenty of innovation is at work in the kitchen—and in the dining room. There are fewer restaurants in town with a more welcoming ambience. The spacious interior benefits from a pleasant combination of light colors and woods, and there's plenty to look at both inside and out. Not only do you have a panoramic view including Strip properties Caesars Palace, Bally’s and The Cosmopolitan, you have almost a front-row seat to the Fountains of Bellagio. You can also admire posters for some of the movies produced by Dino De Laurentiis, Giada's grandfather. This is a restaurant you'll look forward to frequenting again and again.

And Dino’s cinematic achievements as a producer aren’t just on the walls—the cocktail list, which is presented on digital tablets, includes tributes like The Destroyer (Conan the Barbarian), La Strada and Barbarella. Highlights include the sweet-but-smooth bourbon-based Serpico and lemonade-flavored Cosmopolitan Bianco. As you sip and gaze, a bread plate gives you an idea of the wonderful things to come—herbed flatbread and a large roll served with accompaniments like butter, roasted capers, sea salt and pepper and pesto.

Antipasti is served tapas-style, so get ready for some serious sharing. Popular selections include orzo meatballs, fritto misto (shrimp and calamari) and bacon-wrapped dates, but feel free to explore the menu. Seafood lovers must not miss the charred octopus, perfect in texture and well complemented by a sweet potato purée and olive salad. Vegetarians will appreciate the loving care that goes into the roasted eggplant Parmigiana, served in long slices with smoked scamorza cheese. You cannot go wrong with any of Giada’s pizza creations, but the margherita is strongly recommended, a light, flavor-packed combo of Campari tomatoes, basil and mozzarella.

Good luck choosing from the mind-boggling array of main courses here. The soups and salads alone are satisfying and flavorful, but the pasta dishes are just too good to ignore. There’s something here for everyone—you’ll be fighting your vegetarian friend for a bite of the rigatoni with vegetable Bolognese (it tastes like the meat-based version!), and lobster ravioli practically melts in your mouth while its wonderful combination of seafood, lemon and Brussels sprouts dances around on your tastebuds. If it’s meat you’re after, head straight to the veal chop saltimbocca, stuffed with gooey fontina cheese and prosciutto. There’s a lot here, but we dare you to stop eating once you’ve started. In our opinion, it cannot be done.

Save room for dessert, because Giada’s menu is easily one of the best on the Strip. The tiramisu cheesecake is a thing of beauty, a tower of mascarpone, chocolate cheesecake, caramel and espresso chiffon. And after trying one of Giada’s lemon ricotta cookies, you won’t be able to think about much else.

The Cromwell, 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. & 5-11 p.m. daily, brunch 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Fri.-Sun., lounge 9 a.m.-midnight daily. 855.442.3271