Ocean-to-table Italian dining in Las Vegas
From the sea straight to your plate — that’s been the modus operandi of Costa di Mare since the restaurant (formerly Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare) opened in 2005 within Wynn Las Vegas. Despite the name change, the mission remains intact: bringing you the day’s freshest catch, even if that day began halfway across the world. All of the fish and shellfish are wild caught and sustainably sourced, and many of the species on offer are not available anywhere else in the United States.
Popular Italian seafood dishes, impeccable pastas and a dazzling atmosphere will all make for a knockout dining experience in Sin City.
Dinner is well in hand with executive chef Mark LoRusso. The Culinary Institute of America graduate worked with chefs Thomas Keller and Charlie Palmer, both of whom he credits as mentors. A late 2015 reorganization caused many of Wynn’s chefs to swap kitchens. Now, as a full-time executive chef in house nightly, LoRusso looks to be increasingly reactive to the changing seasons and tides.
Talk about making an entrance: The Italian restaurant designed by Roger Thomas underwent a complete renovation in 2013, giving the two-story space a fresh Mediterranean influence with white walls dotted with colorful mosaic tiles.
Dine on the indoor upper level or follow your hostess down the dramatic staircase to the lower level, noticing as you go that the marine-inspired design in the carved wooden railing never repeats.
Overhead, the lighting fixtures have playfully been installed upside down to great effect. Table 66 — you know, the one at the very center of the staircase, directly beneath the fish chandelier — is still the place to see and be seen while you dine.
If the weather is fine, intimate seating in the enchanting lagoon-side cabanas go quickly, so reservations are key.
The ocean-to-table program at Wynn’s signature seafood restaurant has been established for years, reeling in as many as 40 to 50 species of fish daily — all line caught and never frozen — as well as crustaceans, including the massive langoustines that are often available only by request.
Returning guests accustomed to family-style dishes, such as the Las Vegas restaurant’s famous whole roasted fish, will still enjoy that service by way of the Gran Menu di Mare feast or the Doni di Mare (“Gifts of the Sea”) plated tasting menu. Adventurous diners and those who enjoy eating at the bar or grabbing a bite before seeing a show or hitting the clubs will appreciate the introduction of more a la carte offerings.
While the crucial ingredient — pristine fish native to Italy’s Ligurian, Ionian, Tyrrhenian and Adriatic seas — remains unchanged, LoRusso has introduced new preparations, such as crudo, the Italian answer to sashimi, which has gained popularity in recent years.
To experience it for yourself, try the mixed crudo tasting with cuttlefish, prawns, Sicilian amberjack and the chef’s selection of the day.
While it’s tempting and entirely possible to dine on seafood for nearly every course, LoRusso has also bolstered the menu with new pasta creations and more dishes featuring land-based animals (roasted organic chicken, seared filet with wine sauce).
LoRusso brought on pastry chef Maria Mac to execute a refined dessert menu that reflects Costa di Mare’s modern Italian perspective while maintaining Mac’s signature style of mixing textures and temperatures.
After dessert, get ready for a visit from the cordial cart, which is wielded by an expert and stocked with grappa, amari, digestivi, sambuca, port, Madeira and some incredibly rare bottles.
The Healthy Twist
Dining at Cost di Mare is an indulgence, but that doesn’t mean it has to be all together unhealthy.
Devoted vegans, you’re in luck, as Wynn restaurants property-wide offer exceptional plant-based menus with dishes created with help from vegan celebrity chef, Conscious Cook and Crossroads author Tal Ronnen. Costa’s vegan options include a salad, an appetizer, two soups, three entrées and even a dessert — a menu every bit as acclaimed as its heftier counterpart.