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Jan 21, 2009 01:58 AM

LAS VEGAS - 2 Requests. 1) Red Sauce Italian 2) Mexican

Heading to Vegas first week of March fo a stag. The groom to be is a chef, loves classic red sauce Italian (Thick Meaty Lasagna, Meatballs) and Mexican food.

For that style Italian, I see that Bootlegger's and Battista's got most of past praise. Is this still the case, is there somewhere else we should look?

For Mexican, the only reco I got from a friend was Diego @ the MGM Grand. Any other suggestions? Hole-in-the-wall is ok, in fact, encouraged.

We would prefer to stay close to the Strip or Downtown.

Thanks in advance

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  1. Do not go to Battista's. That's my first recommendation. You might consider Rao's in Caeser's....very classic NY Italian. My husband, who also is very fond of that style, really loved it.
    For Mexican, there is also Isla's on the strip, which is in the TI, and which I think is a bit more fun than Diego's....

    3 Replies
    1. re: lvnvflyer

      Thanks for the info.... one question on your rec's is prices. Rao's is listed as $$$$, that seems high for Red Sauce.

      I left it out my main post but we'd like to get out of there for no more than $40 USD (pre-tax/ tip, but including 1 drink, at least). We hail from Canada so are paying a 25% premium in excange as it is.

      1. re: newJJD

        thanks, that helps. I think the Carlucci's rec below is a good is a real time warp of a place. Rao's is not cheap, although I think it is cheaper than a lot of the Italian places on the strip.

        Another place you might consider is Maggiano's, in the Fashion Show Mall (which is on the Strip next to the TI). It's part of a chain, it's true, but is great for groups, serves traditional Italian family style, and I think would be well within the price point you describe. It's also an easily accessible location, and from it you can go to the Wynn, Encore, Venetian, etc.
        For Mexican, you might consider venturing off the strip out to Lindo MIchoacan, which is festive and has solid food; it's also quite reasonable. Downtown is Dona Marie's Tamales, but I am not a tamale fan so I've never been.

        1. re: lvnvflyer

          Dona Maria's is good, but I don't know if it would fit as a stag destination for a chef. Maybe for a cheap and tasty lunch.

    2. Best hole-in-the-wall Mexican can be found at La Mexicana on Twain and Decatur. It's not too terribly far from the Strip, especially if you have a rental car.

      Diego qualifies for the worst food experience I've ever had on the Strip. Steer clear. The food sat under a heat lamp and by the time it made it to us, the meat had dried out.

      1. Battista's is expensive for what it is.
        Do try Bootlegger, great food for a great price.

        1. For red sauce Italian, I'm a bit partial to Carluccio's, on Tropicana a couple miles east of the Strip. It's in the same strip mall as the Liberace museum. With the exception of the martini list, I think the menu hasn't changed since the place opened in the 1970s... Veal Francese, anyone? It's red sauce Italian, one of the few times you actually WANT the menu to be dated. Nobody's messed with the recipes, and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if there's an old codger who's been in the kitchen since they opened. The food itself is decent. It's classic red sauce Italian- the meal is going to be heavy, and if you're expecting a culinary revelation you're completely in the wrong place. Prices are very reasonable; pastas are about $9, chicken dishes are mostly $14, veal and seafood mostly $16. Service is... relaxed. People are friendly, and the food takes its time getting to your table. As for atmosphere... the place was designed by Liberace himself, and looks like it. Kitsch and bling are king at Carluccio's, with twinkly lights embedded in the dining room ceiling, and a piano lounge that simply must be seen to be believed.

          1. red sauce - bootlegger bistro, pasta mia, my latest try - JR's ( way off the strip ) . one of these days i'll try the italian place in the rio but i guess it's as $$$ as Rao's. btw - the meatballs at Rao's - top notch !!

            mexican - definite hole-in-the-wall props to la mexicana but it's not your standard taco plate with beans and rice kinda place , it's more like an indoor taco truck spot. what are you looking for in mexican ? margarita's factor into the decision ?