CASA DI AMORE
By Vegas Food Nerd
When I think of a vintage Las Vegas experience, instantly – images of Sinatra, Sammy, neon signs, and big, cozy, dark supper clubs are conjured up in my brain.
That is one small part of living here that can be a bit depressing at times. An historic town we are not. When something gets too old here, we just knock it down and make way for the next big mega resort. That makes visiting spots like Casa Di Amore such a wonderful departure from the standard restaurants that you typically find on the Strip – it is so refreshing in a flashback kind of way. I found this place with a friend, completely by accident – and the minute we walked in the door, we knew we had found a true Las Vegas gem.
The interior is dark, romantic, and feels like you are stepping back in time immediately upon walking through the door. If you are a tourist, don’t worry about getting there – if you call them and book a reservation, they will send a limousine directly to you to bring you to the Casa in V.I.P. style, right from your hotel. When we walked in and saw this intimate little place and its distinctive clientele, we knew we had navigated ourselves into the right place. Personally, it felt as though we had walked smack into a mob movie scene that Scorsese was directing. Dark leather booths, red accents, Sinatra photos, and other vintage Vegas images decorate the brick-walled restaurant. The night we were there, a rat pack throwback singer was on a small stage serenading the crowd for the night. I wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised to see Joe Pesci or De Niro walk in and sit right down next to us.
The menu is just what you’d expect. They have succumbed to current dining trends and offer Vegan, and gluten-free options for those following specific diets. That’s where the “trendy” ends, with the rest of the menu featuring good old-fashioned Italian-American family favorites, like Osso Bucco, Lasagna, Antipasto, Pasta, Scampi, and much more. You can even opt to get your pasta served “family-style” in a large serving bowl that you can share at the table.
Over the course of many visits to this Vegas throwback, I’ve tried several dishes and truly enjoyed many of the menu items. Then, upon researching for this article, I learned that a frequent Monday visitor to Casa Di Amore is none other than Paul Bartolotta (only one of our city’s most esteemed Italian chefs!) Monday is a popular day to try this place, because on that day they offer 50%-off of all wine. The restaurant is also closed on Tuesdays, so remember that when you visit. Now back to the food.
I’m a big fan of their Chicken Française, a thinly pounded chicken breast with a lemony white wine garlic sauce, served with mushrooms, artichokes, and a side of pasta. And a big judge of any Italian cook is their meatball, so it was a must to order the standard Spaghetti and Meatballs. Were they as good as our Nonna’s? No, but pretty darn good. Another standout for us was the Stuffed Pork Chops. They stuff the chops with Italian greens, mozzarella, sausage, and prosciutto, served alongside their signature twice baked potato and some veggies.
Basically, you are going to leave here in a food coma. And if you don’t, you’ve done something wrong. Oh, but don’t fall into your coma too soon – you don’t want to pass up their dessert menu. They feature Cannolis, a decadent Chocolate Soufflé, a Spumoni Bombe, Crème Brulée, and our personal favorite, their Tiramisu.
The service, it is important to say as well, was perfect. They were very attentive and on top of their game. It’s the go-to spot for honest Italian food served with care, while transporting you back to the sixties – a time many in Las Vegas miss and romanticize. As their slogan proudly says: “Vegas The Way It Used To Be” – it is a welcome feeling to sit back and imagine you really are back in that era – and to feel a part of it… just a bit, was a pleasure.
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