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 first page of the menu — antipasti and pizzettes — because there are some gems among them. The lobster arancini starts creamy with a touch of sweetness and finishes with a spicy kick. Taleggio and an olive tapenade are paired beautifully for a salty hit. The hard pecorino cheese is complimented by the sweetness from apricot preserves. The thin, delicate prosciutto di parma is accompanied by two types of mustard — one sharp and pungent and another that is slightly sweeter.

Both pastas we tried showcased Giada’s California-Italian hybrid cooking — pastas that don’t have the heaviness of stereotypical Italian fare. Well seasoned and creamy risotto was mixed with crab and sat between two beautifully seared scallops. Giada’s famed spaghetti can challenge for the best in town. The hints of citrus worked, giving the dish a light and fresh profile.

There’s a dessert cart they roll around, but according to our waiter it’s only available to those who order the tasting menu. The rest of us are only presented a menu to choose from. The apple tart is a decent option, with apples prepared three ways, atop a flaky pastry foundation with brown butter frangipane, cinnamon gelato, and gold flakes on top.

They also have a kids menu available for those that want to bring their little ones. We brought ours and he loved his noodles and had a s’mores gelato ice cream sandwich for dessert. For $11 kid’s get their choice of entree and the ice cream sandwich. Quite a bargain compared to what other restaurants on the Strip will charge kids.

The casual elegant atmosphere is perfect for special nights outs or just hanging out with friends in a somewhat upscale environment. Despite the celebrity chef hype, Giada proved to be a surprisingly good restaurant that exceeded expectations and delivered an unforgettable dining experience.

5 Stars

The Cromwell
3595 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 777-3777

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