Papa Pinny’s Pizzeria

This small, locally owned mom-and-pop-type shop has several tables to dine in. You’ll be surrounded by lots of Chicago memorabilia hanging on the walls as you look through a menu that isn’t limited to pizza. There’s plenty of other Italian-American dishes ranging from pastas to calzones to sandwiches and chicken wings. The pizza is pretty… Continue reading Papa Pinny’s Pizzeria

Precinct Pizza

Located right near the terminal 2 cruise port in Tampa, in an area with other shops and restaurants, Precinct Pizza was a logical place to grab a bite before heading to the airport and back home to Vegas. Everything about this place screams NYC — all the decor, the menu, the indifferent service. The Big… Continue reading Precinct Pizza

La Cucina

La Cucina is located on deck 12 of the Norwegian Jade, past the buffet towards the back of the boat. Our first specialty dining experience of the cruise was on day 6. Surprisingly, the restaurant was only about a 1/3 full when we went. It wasn’t that large of a space, but nicely decorated to… Continue reading La Cucina

Pizza Nova

It’s a CA chain, but it’s convenience (across the street from our hotel) won out over going somewhere I knew would be better. Plus, it’s kid-friendly and on the water with a good view. All good points to bring your kid here as opposed to some other place that would be fancier and superior. This… Continue reading Pizza Nova

The Station 66 Italian Bistro

Station 66 Italian Bistro was, by far, the best dining experience of our trip through northern Arizona. I loved everything about this place. Service was top notch,the interior is spacious and cool, there’s an outdoor patio with music, and most importantly the food and drinks were great. Wine and beer flights are available for $15… Continue reading The Station 66 Italian Bistro

Farmer’s Bottega

Farmer’s Bottega is a beautiful space with its vintage feel, exposed pipes, brick walls, and edison bulbs. As appealing as that may be, the menu is even more enticing. I had trouble deciding if I should come here for brunch or dinner. Brunch won out. Every good brunch needs some good cocktails and the bacon… Continue reading Farmer’s Bottega

Pasta Idea

It’s a small, locally owned spot with freshly made pastas that far surpass what can be found at Buca di Peppo a couple blocks down. Pastas are made fresh every morning and the flavors and execution are better than what can be found at most sit down establishments off the Strip. There hasn’t been much… Continue reading Pasta Idea


Originally known as more of a pizza place, Wildcraft has broadened their menu to offer other Italian-inspired fare along with an enticing brunch. Even with their expanded menu, their pizzas are still quite good. Their crust is almost like a sourdough crust, crisp and firm in all the right places. The carnage pizza ($18), in… Continue reading Wildcraft

Chef Marc’s Trattoria

I loved Chef Marc’s old restaurant Parma, but was underwhelmed by my experience here back in January. The breading on the calamari was a soggy, limp mess. Lettuce in the Caesar salad wasn’t dried properly making it a watery disaster. The malfiata/deconstructed lasagna was unremarkable. The sauce was lacking in flavor and the whole dish… Continue reading Chef Marc’s Trattoria

Market Grille Cafe

Opened by an Italian chef, Greek wife, and their family, Market Grille might be best experienced for dinner. Lunch is more casual and quick with customers ordering at the counter, while dinner consists of table side wait service. It may not be the fanciest spot but the quality of the food had me wondering why… Continue reading Market Grille Cafe

Trattoria Reggiano

You may not know the name Frank Bonanno, but chances are you’ve eaten in one of his food courts in an MGM property or grabbed a quick bite at one of his franchised fast food spots like Johnny Rockets, Haagen-Dazs or Nathan’s Famous. Trattoria Reggiano is Bonanno’s foray into a more upscale concept, with their first… Continue reading Trattoria Reggiano


Lago, Julian Serrano’s third Las Vegas restaurant, occupies the other end of the spectrum from his first — Picasso. While the latter celebrates works from the past in an upscale environment, Lago takes a more casual approach in an often criticized modern setting that is reminiscent of the headquarters of some evil villain from a… Continue reading Lago


Simply put, one of the best meals I’ve had in a while. After recent disappointing meals at other Italian spots on the Strip this was a huge relief. Cocktails, named and inspired after the movies of Giada’s grandfather Dino De Laurentiis, are excellent and reasonably priced for the Strip at $15 each. Don’t overlook the… Continue reading Giada

Portofino by Chef Michael LaPlaca

I’m a fan of Italian. I love pasta and all the carbs that follow. But after a disappointing meal at Fiamma and now a mediocre meal at Portofino I’m willing to forsake the cuisine all together. Portofino, the restaurant formerly known as Onda, at the Mirage is a beautiful and intimate space ornately decorated with… Continue reading Portofino by Chef Michael LaPlaca

Sirio Ristorante

***Update: business closed*** This place may lack the buzz of other restaurants on the Strip (although it’s backed by the Maccioni family who have Le Cirque in the Bellagio, not to mention their iconic place in New York) and they don’t have the best location (away from most foot traffic and tucked away in an… Continue reading Sirio Ristorante

Peppercorn Grille

Located right in the Big Bear Lake Village, it’s a location that’s sure to attract tourists and maybe some locals too. It’s a free standing tudor style building with it’s own parking lot. We stopped by for a late lunch so it wasn’t tough getting a spot. The interior is fairly small, but intimate and… Continue reading Peppercorn Grille

Buddy V’s Ristorante

The arrival of Buddy Valastro’s first restaurant and the subsequent opening of his first west coast outpost of Carlo’s Bakery has breathed new life into the obscure corner of the Venetian/Palazzo formerly occupied by First Food and Bar. Partnered with famed restaurateur Elizabeth Blau, they did a nice job renovating the former First Food space.… Continue reading Buddy V’s Ristorante

Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana

Settebello, you let me down! There was one item that I had every intention of ordering and it wasn’t there. That item was a budino, an Italian pudding-like dessert. It’s simple, but when done right it’ll make you wonder why you haven’t had it sooner. Of course, Settebello is known for their pizza rather than… Continue reading Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana

Panevino Deli

Located on Sunset across from the airport, I’ve driven by Panevino plenty of times but didn’t realize until recently that they had a separate space that serves as their cafe/deli. It’s got the feel of an upscale cafeteria with plenty of tables and long counters with displays of food. They offer many choices of salads,… Continue reading Panevino Deli

Pasta Fresh

***Update: business closed*** I like the concept of the fast casual pasta restaurant. The national chain Noodles and Company does a decent job, and The Mac Shack is the local equivalent. Pasta Fresh has much more potential because it’s a smaller, chef-driven concept that emphasizes quality ingredients and house-made pasta created from scratch each day.… Continue reading Pasta Fresh


At first glance you wouldn’t think that an upscale restaurant located in the same strip mall as Subway and Golden Spoon along a not-too-busy road in Summerlin would fare well. But judging from my visit one Sunday night, I might be wrong. There aren’t many non-casino, white linen, restaurants in the area (I can’t recall… Continue reading Mastrioni’s