Viva Las Vegas: Part 2


A trip to Vegas is not complete without a visit to at least one celebrity-run restaurant.  I got the chance to try two! The first one I chose was China Polabano. China Poblano Open since 2010, China Poblano is located inside the Cosmopolitan hotel, the celebrity chef behind this is a new concept where Mexican and Chinese cuisines collide is Chef José Andrés. Andrés is a native of Spain who has been cooking since the age of 12. He is an internationally recognized culinary innovator. Andrés now owns restaurants in many cities including: Washington D.C., Beverly Hills, Dorado, South Beach and Las Vegas. When I first read about this place, I was intrigued how the two very different cultures came together to form a restaurant, honestly it really didn’t make sense to me -- how do tacos and noodles work together?  Our reservation was on a Thursday night and we arrived around 6pm. When I got to the front of the restaurant I understood the concept, there were two different kitchens with one shared dining space. The restaurant is full of vibrant bright colours, weaving in hints of Asian and Mexican décor including masks and projected images on the walls. There was only an exhibition-style kitchen for the Mexican side.

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We decided get the full experience and orders items off the both menus. Our server explained to us that our food may arrive at different times because there were two kitchens. In the end, it worked out and we had a steady stream of food arriving at the table. Here’s what we had:

  • Guacamole and chips
  • Hot and Sour Soup – (“Don’t Be Jealous” hot and sour soup/ pork/tofu/bamboo shoots/ dried mushrooms)
  • Sui Mai (Lucky 6 /scallops/ beef siu mai)
  • Golden Pigs (pc fried delicate steamed buns/Chinese barbecue pork/ condensed milk)
  • Taco (Pancita al Pastor pork belly/ shaved pineapple/guajillo)

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Overall, we thought the food was average. The guacamole and chips were very good and I also enjoyed the hot and sour soup -- it was a very generous portion and it had the right balance between spicy and sour for my liking. The atmosphere is very unique and was something that is worth experiencing. Giada The second celebrity-run restaurant we tried was Giada De Laurentiis’ first ever five-star restaurant, Giada is located on the 2nd floor in the Cromwell. Laurentiis is an Italian-born American chef who studied at the famed cooking school, le Corden Bleu. She eventually started her own catering company and became a food stylist. In 2003, she landed her first show on the Food Network called Everyday Italian.  Since that time she has created other shows, become a mentor and judge on the show Next Food Network Star, written a cookbook, and partnered with Target to launch her own line of food and kitchenware. We had originally reserved for dinner but ended up switching to lunch instead. We arrived around noon and felt at “home” right away. A large wall-unit is the backdrop for the entrance of the restaurant where the shelves are filled with Giada’s hand-picked items. The design is very sleek and modern with little bursts of colour. The restaurant is located on one of the busiest intersections on the Vegas strip (Flamingo and Las Vega Blvd) offering a spectacular view of the Bellagio fountain. Knowing this, we asked for a table near the window where we could have a perfect view and also enjoy the al fresco experience.

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We ordered:

  • Orzo Meatballs with parmesan pomodoro
  • Coppa Salami with house made fig mostarda
  • Margherita Pizza with oven roasted campari tomatoes, mozzarella, basil
  • Italian Farro tuscan kale, cabecou goat cheese, tender farro, bing cherries, cucumber, mint vinaigrette
  • Chocolate Tiramisu Chocolate Zabiaone & Espresso Soaked Ladyfingers
  • Zeppoles Citrus Infused Italian Doughnut
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Overall, everything was excellent. Our favourites were the Orzo meatballs, Italian Farro salad, and the Chocolate Tiramisu. The Italian Farro salad was something that I would highly recommend to anyone coming here. It was nothing like I have ever tried before. I have to admit, I didn’t really know what farro was but was a nice change from the typical salad on most menus. It was the perfect mix with saltiness from the goat cheese, texture created by the mix of farro and the cucumber and then the slight tartness of the cherries. The mint vinaigrette was light and not overpowering. The service was excellent here; they really hit the mark ensuring the highest level of customer service. Our server was very knowledgeable about the menu and our food came fairly quickly. We saw the manager going from table to table making sure everyone was enjoying their meals. This is perfect for anyone that is looking for great food, and a great spot to stop and have a break from the hustle and bustle of the Vegas strip below.