New and Notable in Las Vegas this Winter

When most people think of Las Vegas, they think of summertime pool parties. I think of crisp air, sparkling decorations, and holiday cheer. Winter is a magical time to visit Las Vegas and there are some notable new openings that you should check out on your next visit!


Cipriani at the Wynn

Don’t be fooled by the modern, nautical décor at Cipriani, the glamour of the restaurant comes not from its design, but the flawless service and classic Italian dishes. Notable classics include the original carpaccio alla Cipriani and decadent crowd favorite - baked tagliolini with ham. Also delicious are the Risotto alla primavera and the baccala mantecato (creamy codfish) with fried polenta. The Chilean Seabass "alla Carlina" is another standout, the fish more soft and buttery than any I’ve had. To drink, you have to try a Bellini, of course. The white peach-puree and Prosecco cocktail was createdby Giuseppe Cipriani Sr. in 1948 at his original Venice location, Harry's Bar. While the food is incredible, what really makes Cipriani standout is the service. Not only is the service impeccable, but they also pride themselves on being invisible. You may not notice your glass being refilled or your silverware being changed, since the service is so elegant. As soon as you think of something you want, your server will appear, as if they employ mind readers. You probably can’t miss the fresh tablecloth being put on your table for dessert and coffee though! Speaking of dessert, try their famous vanilla meringue or some made to order gelato. That’s right – the gelato isn’t just made daily, but right to order so it is as creamy and fresh as possible.


Spago at Bellagio

Do you remember when Las Vegas became a culinary hotspot? When not just the most talented and famous musicians would take up residency on the Strip, but also the top chefs of the world? It actually started with Wolfgang Puck and his legendary flagship restaurant Spago, originally in The Forum Shops at Caesars for 25 years. Now having moved the spectacular spot in front of the Fountains of Bellagio, Spago has a view worthy of its food. For us in San Diego, the California fare won’t feel too exotic, but the preparation will still wow. The menu changes constantly, but some examples of the thoughtfulness behind the dishes include the half dozen hooper island mermaids and kusshi oysters. The reasoning for this combination was to allow you to compare and contrast the east coast and west coast styles, awakening your palate to start your meal. If you are lucky enough to visit Spago during truffle season, they offer up several delightful dishes to showcase truffles. Their housemade pasta dish, for example, served simply with cream sauce and truffle, is brought out with a glass cover, lifted tableside to let you experience the aroma of the truffles as part of your dining experience. The Spiked Lemon is as much art as art as dessert, forming Japanese Yuzu cream with chiffon cake and citrus mousse in a yellow lemon shell with meringue spikes. The layering of lemon flavors contrasting the sweet and the tart is a delight, along with the fun of the tableside cutting of the lemon.


Opium at the Cosmopolitan

First, get ready for a lot of “Uranus” jokes at this space-themed variety show in the Cosmopolitan. From the creators of Absinthe, Opium is a nonstop joyride of surprises aboard the OPM 73. The spaceship’s cast of characters bring tricks, songs, raunchy humor, and even a love story to the 85-minute show. A house band keeps the energy up while the performers keep you on the edge of your seat.  The “cruise director” Harriet starts off the show with an impressively funny sketch comedy and crowd interaction. From there, expect the show to get even dirtier with a sword swallower with fellatio jokes, a nymphomaniac nurse going topless, a robot who saves the ship with his penis, and a Latino with a whip that gets the biggest gasps of the show. In all, the show is a success with the right combination of storytelling, tricks, and filthy fun.


Michelle Stansbury is a food enthusiast and the founder of Eat, Drink, Be SD, sharing the best restaurants, bars, and happenings in San Diego.