By Rebecca Perrings and Tricia Conover
As many know, the Venetian in Las Vegas has a wonderful indoor area called the Majestic Grand Canal where visitors can wander either on foot or by gondola (complete with a singing gondolier), but the sensation of being in Venice isn’t complete until you’ve enjoyed the culinary delights of Zeffirino’s.
Enter through the little side entrance to this family owned restaurant, the longest running in the Venetian, to be escorted by a delightful hostess to the second floor where the restaurant boasts views of the canal. There is an elevator as well, if needed. Being greeted by the wait staff in their Italian accents sends you on a mini sensory trip to Italy in this haven from the shopping and bustle of Vegas. The understated décor is a calming start to the experience with the 40 ft. tall handcrafted bar, comfortable lounges, and the many tables along the balcony overlook the shopping canal with its sights and sounds.
Proprietor, Vincent Scotto, and Executive Chef, Omero Bellu, are inspired by their Italian roots and ancestry to bring guests an authentic Italian experience. The restaurant is named for the famed Zeffirino Belloni restaurant family of four generations whose son, Gian Paolo, was called Pope John Paul II’s “The Pope’s Pesto Maker.” The family’s dedication sets the tone for the attentive, yet unobtrusive waiters.
The wine menu is extensive, as is the wait staff’s knowledge. The choices ranged from native Italian sparkling Franciacorta’s, a Veneto Amarone, through to Super Tuscans and Sicilian Nero D’Avola’s. Our choice was with a bottle of Feudo Zirtari, Terre Siciliane, a Nero D’Avolo/Syrah blend with aromas of jammy plum and smoke. But, Zeffirino’s does not shy away from offering every palate a special occasion choice like a 1997 Cristal Brut, Louis Roederer or a 1993 Royal Tokaji Essencia dessert wine.
Our visit to Zeffirino’s started with a special plate of savory small bites from Chef Bellu and an appetizer of refreshing Prosciutto di San Daniele con Melone. The salads and breads were fresh and fragrant. Scaloppina di Vitallo Zeffirino and the Lasagna all’Emiliana were our main course choices.
The tender veal Scaloppina was delightfully seasoned with a topping of freshly diced vegetables and a side of homemade fettuccine. The lasagna was generously prepared with homemade sausage and the Béchamel and Parmesan cheese sauce had chunks of tomatoes and a mild spicy zing. The Nero D’Avola/Syrah blended wine complemented the bold flavors in both dishes.
We ended this impressive dinner with the delectable signature “Dolci,” the “La Sfogliata,” layered puff pastry with Zeffirino’s Cream paired with an Inniskillin Vidal Icewine, with its apricot and peaches, marmalade and candied brown sugar flavors. The dessert was so light and creamy that it completed the feeling of being back in Italy.
Find this Wine: Inniskillin Vidal Icewine (375ML half-bottle) 2011
Don’t gamble on your restaurant choices in Las Vegas. Zeffirino’s quality cuisine will be memorable, as we can attest on this is our second visit. As a matter of fact, you don’t need to gamble at all to have fun in this exciting city.
Where to Stay
The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Where to Eat
Zeffirino Las Vegas
3377 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Suite 2095
Las Vegas, NV 89109
About Rebecca Perrings
Rebecca is a freelance travel writer based in Ohio and Florida. Her travels have led her to 5 continents. Follow the conversation on Twitter at: @TravelPerrings
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