Lago by Julian Serrano creates a lakeside reverie
In case the only Italian you know is “vino,” the word “lago” means “lake,” making it the perfect choice for Julian Serrano’s lakeside restaurant at Bellagio. Serrano’s elevated take on classic Italian dishes is rivaled only by the stunning view of the iconic Bellagio Fountains. For a special dining experience, reserve a patio seat for the full effect and watch the artfully orchestrated fountain show while savoring dishes created with the same level of creativity and attention to detail.
With cocktails as gorgeous as the fountain show itself, it’s hard to go wrong. Opt for Instagram fodder like the Rosso bellini that will please your tastebuds and your followers. Equal parts sweet and tart, this beautifully balanced cocktail is refreshing with Hangar One raspberry vodka, strawberry Fragolì liqueur and lemon juice. A caramel nest cradles a fresh raspberry atop this concoction.
Serrano’s Spanish roots peek through with the imported Iberico ham de Bellota, aka pata negra. Paired with an acidic and tangy tomato mixture and thin flatbread, the simplicity of this dish allows the Iberico pork to really shine in all its salty and creamy glory.
Though Lago is Serrano’s first Italian restaurant, he serves up the country’s classics like a native, with a panache all his own. His unique take on caprese tops heirloom tomatoes with mozzarella di bufala, basil and extra virgin olive oil, with a dash of caviar for a luxuriously fun texture.
It’s easy to craft an entire meal from Italian classics at Lago, but it’s hard to choose just one of the freshly made pasta dishes or pizzas. Luckily the restaurant’s small plates style is ideal for sharing. The cipollotto e speck pizza features cipolline onions, with flavorful cheeses holding their own underneath salty shaved speck. Fresh herbs on top help marry the other elements of the pizza.
Al dente linguine al pesto radiates freshness with a basil-forward flavor as earthy and vibrant as its gorgeous green color. Rich Parmesan blends with thinly sliced almonds for a creamy and crunchy flavor combination that highlights the vegetal pesto.
It doesn’t get much more traditional than osso buco and Lago’s version features a side that serves to perfectly augment this classic’s flavors. A decadent red wine-braised veal shank sits atop polenta al formaggio—the cheesiness accentuates the rich meatiness of the dish. It’s served with a piece of bone marrow that’s like a decadent shot.
Cap your meal off with a sampling of Lago’s desserts. The nocciola is after-dinner cappuccino in dessert form. Lusciously rippled coffee-tinged chocolate mousse is served with a chocolate wafer and rich caramel brittle. Lago’s unique take on Black Forest cake features brandy-soaked cherries amid a palate-cleansing dark chocolate that wakes up your tastebuds. Crunchy chocolate crumbles are juxtaposed against the silky smoothness of the mousse encircling the cake and cherries, offering the perfect punctuation to your meal.
Bellagio, 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Sun., 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m.-midnight Fri.-Sat., brunch 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Sun. 702.693.8865