Born in Avellino, Italy, and raised in Brooklyn, Pasquale Ciampa and his two brothers shared a love of great fare and culture instilled in them by their parents. All three now exercise that love of Italian cuisine in their own culinary endeavors, with Pasquale bringing authentic Italian recipes to Las Vegas by way of Spaghetti and Company. Homemade beef meatballs, simmered in marinara, and freshly baked italian bread set the tone for the expansive menu, filled with Old World delicacies topped with ricotta and parmesan, alongside New World buffalo wings and New York–style pizzas and cheesecake. A rustic dining room and light-strung terrace surrounds guests as they toast with Sicilian-style pies, and kids clamor to the kitchen to craft their own masterpieces during pizza parties.
When the neon lights illuminate the midnight sky of Las Vegas, the cooks at Monte's Pizza Restaurant are still hard at work. They dart about their kitchen, checking on saucepans of marinara and bubbling pots of angel hair pasta before showering dough in creamy ricotta cheese, fresh basil, and plump sausages and loading pies into fiery ovens. Others layer crusty rolls with meatballs, steak, and salami before turning their attention to juicy slabs of baby back ribs sizzling on grills. Throughout the week, this kitchen staff keeps late hours, making its restaurant a popular spot for late-night carousers or sleepwalkers dreaming of enchanted meatballs that will grant them eternal beauty.
The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.
When chef John McKibben first opened Grape Street Cafe in 1997, his small restaurant took a back seat to a large front-of-the-house retail area where customers could purchase house-made sauces, salads, and high-quality wines. Though the concept quickly transitioned to focus on the fresh, house-made dishes flying out of his kitchen, McKibben has held on to his retail license and continues to encourage his diners to finish their meal by picking up a bottle of wine to go or commissioning a self-portrait painted with balsamic vinegar.
With the exception of a handful of rotating nightly specials, the menu has stayed largely the same, and Chef McKibben credits the cuisine as the eatery's 14-year secret to success. Dinner finds the shop's signature hot sandwiches, creamy pastas, and pizzas sharing top billing alongside nationally inspired entrees such as a baked Alaskan halibut topped with lemon beurre-blanc and Colorado lamb in a sweet-and-sour mint glaze. However, the diverse menu is designed to complement the restaurant?s real draw: its extensive wine selection. Up to 90 vinos are available by the glass each day, with selections that hail from as near as Napa and as far away as Mosel, Bordeaux, Rioja, and Mos Eisley.
Pasta and horsepower. Though it may not be a run-of-the-mill pairing, at Dal Toro Ristorante the two are not incongruous. After all, if anything can get the blood pumping like the timeless rides of Dal Toro Exotic Cars, with which the traditional Italian restaurant shares an address (the two are adjacent to each other in the Palazzo Hotel and Casino), it's chef Fiorenzo Trunzo's Spaghetti fra Diavola. Sautéed whole Maine lobster and baby shrimp bathed in a brandy tomato sauce, sumptuous as a Rolls-Royce. Or perhaps it's the filletto roquefort, another star of the dinner menu, which pairs a prime filet mignon with a rich roquefort cheese sauce. Or the sautéed Mediterranean sea bass, oven-finished and drizzled with white wine-lemon sauce.
At lunchtime the menu takes a lighter turn, but day or night the setting for chef Trunzo's culinary creations remains the same. Marbled entrances and mosaic fountains lead the way to a dining room of cherry-red chandeliers and plush, red-and-gold-striped booths. Outside, wicker chairs line a patio located a mere meatball's-throw away from buzzing Las Vegas Boulevard. Once diners have twirled their last forkful, they enjoy complimentary admission to the car showroom, where they can ask the custom 1939 Studebaker about life before Interstates.
Layer upon layer of cheese and a touch of tomato sauce blanket each thick yet airy crust baked to crispy perfection inside a rectangular tin. This Detroit-style pizza may not be as widely lauded as its Chicago and New York counterparts, but the square pies pack just as much flavorful crunch. Northside Nathan’s team loads crusts with classic Italian toppings such as sausage, capicollo, meatballs, mushrooms, anchovies, salami, and roma tomatoes. Equipped with the recipes of his parents, who opened their own pizza parlor in Detroit during the 1960s, Todd Malinowski brought the square-pan pizza west and opened Northside Nathan’s Detroit Pizza in the late 1990s. The eatery has since expanded to a second location, where Todd continues to toss the same dough that has earned him a spot on the Best of Las Vegas list for best pizza twice. The Malinowski family also piles fresh and hearty ingredients into a septet of Detroit-themed sandwiches, such as the model T and the cadillac.