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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

[Las Vegas] Maggiano's Little Italy

Review Location
(Inside Fashion Show Mall)
3200 Las Vegas Blvd South ,
Las Vegas, Nevada

This reataurant was on the list of retaurants to eat at even before we got here. Mike, who has eaten here before and was also in Vegas with me Canada weekend made a bold statement that  "Maggiano's is the best Italian food ever". When our other friend Curtis agreed, I knew I had to get my camera and food blog taste buds ready for this meal!

Maggiano's is a chain restaurant with locations all over the United States. Unfortunstely no locations in Canada yet! The one we visited was in the Fashion show mall next to Wynn and Encore Hotels. 

Maggiano's isn't exactly fine-dining, but it does have a pretty nice ambiance for a family style restaurant. It has full panoramic glass windows around the perimeter of the dining room, showcasing an awesome view of the Wynn hotel and that part of the strip. While we were there, two violinists went around the restaurant playing songs for each table. And to top it off, our server was so kind and helpful!

The menu here is also pretty interesting and worth a mention. Along side the regular a la cart menu, they also have a "family style" menu. Basically you choose several items from a predetermined set, and for a fixed price per pereson, you can order as much of any item you want! Its kind of like "all-you-can-eat" but for only the few items you choose. We ended up going for this option and ordered the light family dinner that comes with bottomless portions for 2 appetizers, 2 salads, and 2 pastas.

Caesar Salad - A traditional Caesar salad of romaine lettuce, croutons and shaved parmesan. Served with Caesar dressing.

Maggiano's Salad - Iceberg and romaine lettuce, crumbled bleu cheese, crispy prosciutto and red onions. Served with our signature house dressing.

You probably can't tell by the picture, but these salads are massive! The Caesar salad was pretty typical, but the Maggiano's salad might've been one of the best salads I've ever had. The signature house dressing was a spicy-sweet vinaigrette, and paired with the crunchy prosciutto bits, it was almost addictive! I think I ended up eating an entire bowl (meant for four people) by myself! Quite possibly my favourite part of the meal. I know, a salad!

 Crispy Zucchini Fritte - Strips of zucchini hand battered with Japanese bread crumbs and fried to a golden brown, served with a zesty lemon aioli cream sauce.

Calamari Fritte - Crispy calamari, served with marinara sauce

Both these appetizers were nothing short of amazing, especially the Crispy Zucchini Fritte. The waiter said that this was their most popular appetizer and I can see why. It was deep fried with a crumbly crunchy batter on the outside, and went so well with the dip. The sauce tasted like a spiced up ranch sauce with a lemony kick. Despite both appetizers being deep fried, it was not at all heavy. In fact it didn't feel oily at all, and was dry to the touch despite coming out at a hot temperature. To top all that goodness off, the portions were massive. While everything is technically "bottomless", I don't see why anyone would need to order another portion of appetizers. This was enough appetizer to feed 6-8 people!

Linguine and Clams with White Clam Sauce -Linguine tossed with fresh clams, basil and tomatoes, served in a white clam sauce

Our Famous Rigatoni 'D' ® -Rigatoni pasta, herb-roasted chicken, mushrooms and caramelized onions, tossed in a Marsala cream sauce.

 To be honest before the pastas even came, I was already stuffed from salad and apps! The pastas came in a more reasonable size, and I guess its justifiable after those other larger portions. In my opinion, I didn't feel the pastas were as drool-worthy as everything that came before it.  The rigatoni was definitely the better of the two pastas. It was cooked perfectly al dente, and held the creamy Marsala sauce well. The chicken I found was just slightly dry, but the mushrooms and caramelized onions were fantastic. The linguine on the other hand, was not that great. The sauce was very watery, and it didn't help that linguine pasta doesn't hold sauce well. The white clam sauce itself tasted like fishy ocean water. There weren't too many clams, and the entire dish was just a big pile of sodium (perhaps they used real ocean water? =P). I would steer clear of this pasta for future visits.

Aside from the linguine, I really enjoyed the food here. I have to admit, it is some of the most memorable Italian food I've had in a long time. Up for running to be the "Best Italian food ever" in my books! Definitely recommend coming here if you're ever in the vicinity of a Maggiano's and are craving a massive, not too fancy meal of delicious Italian food. Buon Appetito!

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