Lago Restaurant at Bellagio Is What Makes Vegas Vegas

When you think about quintessential Las Vegas experiences, Lago by Julian Serrano at Bellagio has to be on the list.

Lago made its debut at Bellagio resort in Las Vegas on in April 2015, and we finally got around to giving it a try. From the view to the cocktails to the food and service, Lago exemplifies all the things Vegas gets right, and why Sin City continues to be an unmatched travel destination.

Lago at Bellagio
Let’s drink and eat and ogle dancing fountains, but mostly that first thing.

We are not a food expert, so we have no idea who Julian Serrano is, but we love his restaurant and bar. Emphasis on bar.

We’d heard about the great dining at Lago, but the signature cocktails made our visit utterly unforgettable.

Lago cocktail
Let’s start with the Rosso Bellini, topped with a “Golden Caramel Nest.” It’s so pretty, you’ll be tempted to not eat it, which would be a crime against caramel. And nests.

Most of the signature cocktails at Lago are in the $16-20 range, so if you’re looking for cheap hooch, this isn’t the place. This is the place, however, for delicious temptations prepared expertly by a team of bartenders who can truly call themselves “mixologists” without irony.

We loved every single concoction we tried, and every single one more than qualified as Vital Vegas-certified panty-dropper cocktails. Which is not an actual designation, but probably should be.

Our dinner companion not only agreed about the cocktails, but added, “It’s not just the cocktails, this whole place is a panty-dropper.” Duly noted.

The Smoked Peach Margarita is pictured below, with hand-selected Herradura Double Barrel Reposado tequila, house-smoked Pallini Peachcello liqueur, lime juice, vanilla-thyme syrup and a smoked sea salt rim.

Lago at Bellagio
This cocktail gets our vote for most adorable accessory, Mezcal peach compote in a sea salted-lime agave cone.

Lago has the added benefit of having spectacular views of the famed Bellagio fountains.

It’s well worth dining off hours just to be ensured you can request a lakeside table. They run the length of the restaurant indoors, and there are a few choice tables on the restaurant’s patio. Even when it’s brisk out, heaters make it perfectly comfortable to dine outside.

Lago at Bellagio
A tip can help facilitate a seat overlooking the Bellagio, but it’s not required. Just arrive early for your reservation and let the staff know you’re willing to wait for a prime spot.

The Bellagio fountain shows run every 15 minutes, and they are glorious no matter how many times you have have seen them before.

While the view of the fountains is great facing Bellagio, they’re also spectacular with The Strip in the background, including Bally’s (trees perfectly block the view of the CVS), Paris Las Vegas and Planet Hollywood.

Lago at Bellagio
It doesn’t get any more Vegas than this without rhinestones and tassels.

There’s a certain revelry among your fellow diners when the fountain shows begin. Lago is a hit with international visitors, so you’re likely to hear them singing along with Celine as she belts out “My Heart Will Go On” or Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli sing “Time to Say Goodbye.”

Lago is an Italian restaurant, and if you’re a world traveler you’ll know that right off the bat when you see the restaurant’s colorful entrance. The mosaic design was inspired by an aerial map of Milan, which we’re fairly sure is a city in Italy. We are American, so our knowledge of other countries isn’t what one would call on point.

Lago at Bellagio Las Vegas
We would not have guessed “roadmap of Milan,” but we don’t get out much.

We do, however, know Lago restaurant serves up a variety of creative dishes sure to satisfy those who love the classics (that would be us) as well as foodies interested in sophisticated, elevated takes on 21st century Italian cuisine (everybody else).

Start off with some fancy cheese, the Burrata. Burrata’s outer shell is mozzarella, and the inside is a mixture of stracciatella (made from Italian buffalo milk in the province of Foggia) and cream, which gives it a soft, spreadable texture. Burrata, by the way, is Italian for “buttered.”

All of which serves to remind us it’s often as important to know how about Google than food.

Lago at Bellagio
Insider tip: If you’re trying the Burrata, also ask for an order of “carta” bread. “Carta” means envelope in Italian, and the bread is paper thin (like an envelope, presumably), a perfect complement to the cheese.

The focus on small plates at Lago means the dishes are meant to be shared, so order away.

We also tried the Polpette di Carne, or tomato braised beef meatballs. They weren’t as good at the meatballs at Pizza Rock, but that’s an impossibly high bar.

Lago at Bellagio
Meatballs, or polpette, are rarely if ever served with spaghetti in Italy. You’ll survive.

Two dishes in,  it’s time for another incredible signature cocktail, the Sicilian Gin and Tonic. This tempting libation has Bulldog dry gin, San Pellegrino Aranciata Rossa, Kaffir lime leaf, blood orange pearls and diamond ice.

Lago at Bellagio
We were going to make a blood orange pearl necklace joke, but didn’t want to ruin the moment.

Next up was the cannelloni, with pulled short ribs, parmesan fonduta and tomato sauce.

Lago at Bellagio
Some Italian enchilada action.

Rounding out our meal was the Al Cipollotto E Speck. For us commoners, that’s a small pizza with pork (the speck part), buffalo ricotta and cipolline onions.

Lago at Bellagio pizza
If you call them “pizzettes,” there are no calories. According to experts we just made up.

Small plates are surprisingly filling, yet despite that, we’re always up for dessert.

We wrapped up our tour of Milan with Dujotto, with vanilla cremeux, Gianduja mousse, caramelized hazelnut, chocolate financier and nocciola gelato.

Lago at Bellagio dessert
You could spent the next 20 minutes looking up all those terms, or just trust us when we say it’s worth saving some room.

Our excellent waiter, Fabio, twisted our arm into having another dessert, Cermino al Carmello, with chocolate mousse, passion fruit and caramel glaze.

Lago at Bellagio
Gold leaf is created by the practice of “goldbeating,” which could explain why it always seems so relaxed.

Between the stellar signature cocktails, excellent small plates and Bellagio fountains, Lago proved itself to be a singular experience and one we look forward to having again soon.

Find out more about Lago Restaurant at Bellagio, and if you’re in the mood for a mid-Strip indulgence that truly makes Vegas Vegas, add Lago to your Las Vegas must-do list.

Lago at Bellagio