Wolfgang Puck brings world-famous Spago to Bellagio
Much has been made of the legacy of Spago in Las Vegas. Wolfgang Puck is acknowledged as the first celebrity chef to take up residency on the Strip when the restaurant opened at The Forum Shops at Caesars in 1992. His cool California cuisine concept has been hailed as the restaurant that began an all-out dining boom along Las Vegas Boulevard, now one of the most dynamic places to eat on the planet.
But one element of Spago’s majesty has been overlooked. It was the first and remains one of the strongest spots to somehow attracts as many locals as Vegas visitors, and considering how infrequently natives make the trip down to the Strip, this might be the ultimate decider of restaurant glory. Puck himself recently pointed out that Spago Vegas was populated with nothing but locals in the beginning, which made all the difference.
Now that Spago has reopened at Bellagio, the resort that similarly pioneered a new level of across-the-board culinary excellence when it opened 20 years ago, Puck and company are ready to welcome returning and new guests from the neighborhood or far-away places to a fresh new experience. A bright and brilliant new look designed by his wife Gelila Puck in collaboration with Massimiliano Locatelli and Annamaria Scevola of CLS Architetti offers clean lines and modern touches that serve as a canvas for Spago’s signature cuisine. And the restaurant wisely takes inspiration from its surroundings, specifically the iconic Bellagio fountains, which Puck likens to a movie screen. With massive windows, two lakeside private dining rooms and a cozy patio for close-up views and an alfresco option, the design couldn’t be more complementary.
The menu retains the favorite dishes that have amassed their own following over the years, signatures like veal Wienerschnitzel with marinated cucumbers and fingerling potato salad, the dill cream-topped smoked salmon pizza and delicately flavored, seasonally perfect pastas. Offering the ideal bites at the right time—inspired by the California farm-to-table ethos—is always a key ingredient, which is why you should order tender baby beets with citrus yogurt, pistachio, marinated feta and mint, as well as the beautifully fresh sweet corn agnolotti with sage and parmigiano-reggiano cheese.
Crispy skin black sea bass melts in your mouth, augmented with lovely little touches like sweet pea purée, confit shallot and lemon froth. Saffron risotto with Santa Barbara spot prawns is another creamy delight Baja kanpachi crudo is an all-new creation from Spago’s executive chef Mark Andelbradt, tiles of fresh amberjack with pickled radish, creamy avocado, yuzu gel and hibiscus-infused ponzu. It’s a tastebud-awakening opener that could progress quite nicely into a grilled prime New York steak with Yukon gold potato purée and red wine-glazed shallots.
Spago’s cuisine is flexible, fancy enough for a true fine dining experience or comfortable enough for a casual yet memorable meal. Versatility is another reason why it remains a hit with all comers, and yet another factor is consistency. Spago executes all throughout the menu, which you’ll recognize when you taste dessert. Make the seasonal choice of The Cherry or The Strawberry, fruit confit whimsically shaped into its more familiar form, or perhaps the Spiked Lemon with yuzu cream, chiffon cake, citrus mousse and crisp meringue.
Bellagio, 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 702.693.8181