Many, many years ago when I lived on the east coast I dined at Olives in Washington, DC and thought it was the best restaurant ever. Up until that point, however, I thought PF Changs was fine dining. This was back when I was fresh out of college and had no money and no clue about good food. The tuna tartare and risotto from that first visit opened my eyes to how amazing fresh food can be.

Fast forward to this year and I bring my wife and kid to Olives at the Bellagio for Mother’s Day. I’ve been to this particular Olives two or three other times and either I’m getting more difficult to please or their food is going downhill because we left disappointed. There are still some good items on the menu like the butternut tortelli. Fresh pasta is always amazing and top it off with a wonderfully rich and buttery sauce and you’ll swear off those crappy Italian chain restaurants for good. Don’t forget that you can order half portions of their pastas if you’d like to sample several dishes.

The disappointment started with the beef carpaccio. The serving size was so ridiculously large that it looked unappetizing. There was a huge softball-sized mound under the center of the beef full of greens and polenta. The dish was drowning in sauces that dominated the flavor and all of the wonderful savoriness of the beef was lost. Apparently someone thought that super-sizing it would make it better (it was large enough for 4-6 people). It didn’t.

The next disappointment was the ribeye special. The overcooked and bland steak had all the appeal of a choice cut, $2.99 special from your local grocer. They really should have been ashamed of serving that dish. It was one of the worst steaks I’ve had in a long time.

On a positive note, the view from the patio is gorgeous! If you can get a seat out there you’ll be treated to the Bellagio fountains and one of the better views in the city with the Cosmopolitan in one direction and Paris in the other. It can get really hot out there so go early for lunch or late for dinner. The atmosphere, service, and pasta saved this meal from being awful but I’m not sure if I’d bother coming back. It was a far cry from the meal that made me fall in love with food.

2.5 Stars

The Bellagio
3600 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 693-8181

Olives on Urbanspoon