On the Strip: Factory Kitchen

It’s pasta season. The Strip’s newest Italian sensation is Southern California transplant the Factory Kitchen (The Venetian, 702.414.1222), open for lunch and dinner along the Venetian’s evolving Restaurant Row. The original trattoria in downtown L.A. is known for fantastic flavors, and the Vegas restaurant is already hitting all the right notes.

Start with the Peperu, sweet and spicy peppers stuffed with cheese and doused with vibrant arugula oil, then move on to a plate of beer-battered, lightly fried baby leeks, butternut squash and chickpea fritters. The handmade pastas are a serious highlight, especially the Mandilli di Seta, authentic “handkerchief” egg pasta in Ligurian almond and basil pesto.

For a seasonal option, experiment with the Modenesi, tortellini with aged prosciutto di Parma, mortadella and pistachio topped with shaved winter black truffles. This fantastic Factory is not a run-of-the-mill red sauce joint, and it’s just what the Strip needed. –Brock Radke

Off the Strip: Mabel's BBQ

Mabels BBQ

Mabels BBQ

Las Vegas hotels chased after celebrity chef Michael Symon for years but the Palms finally snagged him. And Cleveland’s favorite restaurateur really wanted to bring his own style of barbecue to Vegas, so that’s what you get at Mabel’s BBQ (Palms, 702.944.5931), a bustling bar and eatery that keeps its smoked meats as pure as possible. Your best bet for your first visit is to feast family style and order favorites by the half-pound: brisket, maple and mustard-glazed pork belly, spicy kielbasa sausage, tender pork or beef ribs and even smoky chicken wings in Alabama white sauce. –Brock Radke

#trending: The Sand Dollar Lounge

Sand Dollar pizza

Sand Dollar pizza

The Sand Dollar Lounge (3355 Spring Mountain Road, 702.485.5401) is known for live music and stiff bourbon cocktails, but the local favorite now serves pizza from a small kitchen that used to be a corner office. Each pie is about 10 to 12 inches, made with fermented dough and cooked with a crunchy crust in roughly four minutes. Choices include “The Incident” cheese pizza and the “Boars on Parade” covered with cup-and-char pepperoni and fennel salami, but feel free to design your own. –Rob Kachelriess