Don Vito’s—New World Italian in an Old World Atmosphere

Once you are seated at Don Vito’s, you’ll notice windows looking out into the South Point casino. Otherwise, you’d have no clue of your whereabouts, as this secluded enclave from the bustling gaming area creates a relaxed and elegant Old World atmosphere with floor-to-ceiling curtains, wall murals of classical Italian architecture, rich earth tones of rust, gold and red and soothing music.

Room Chef Matt Rios has headed the kitchen for five years and has held fine dining positions as far back as 1987 at longtime Vegas restaurants The Tillerman, and also at Stefano’s at the Golden Nugget; and before coming to Don Vito’s at Primo’s Steakhouse at the Suncoast. Chef’s menu contains Italian favorites with some creative touches. Appetizers include Stuffed Mushrooms filled with sausage, spinach and cheese; caprese-style Fresh Tomato & Mozzarella Salad; and my favorite, which is a large enough portion that it could serve as your meal, Grilled Shrimp with cannellini beans, shallots and basil. Entrée winners are Lobster Ravioli, an incredibly rich treat with black ink pasta filled with lobster and served in a saffron cream sauce; Rigatoni Vito—a mix of sausage, peppers, onions, pepperoncini and black olives in a marinara sauce; or you might want to opt for one of the nightly specials, which on the night I visited included a generous 14 oz Rib Eye crusted with espresso and topped with herb butter.

You definitely won’t leave hungry, as all entrées come with soup or salad and bread infused with sundried tomato, but if you still have room, several dessert options await, such as Cannoli filled with mascarpone, Bailey’s and Kahlua; Crème Brulee enhanced with Nutella; and S’mores with graham cracker crumbles, toasted marshmallow, caramel and chocolate ice cream.

With satisfying Italian cuisine in a comfortable environment and at a price point appetizers under $10, most entrees under $20 and desserts $5-6 that is a bargain for the high quality you receive, it’s not surprising that Don Vito’s has a large following of loyal customers, several of whom come more than once a week.

Don Vito’s is open nightly for dinner from 5 p.m.

The Salted Lime at Aliante Casino + Hotel + Spa Continues to Be a Magnet for Both Locals and Tourists

The Aliante Casino + Hotel + Spa opened in 2008 and is in the unique position of being situated close enough to the LV Motor Speedway to draw in a fair share of tourists, near enough to Nellis Air Force Base to draw in our honored military and also being the only locals casino in the far north/central quadrant of the Vegas Valley.

Located just off the casino, the décor of The Salted Lime is a mix of orange and red hues and wood tables with very comfortable padded chairs. The Mexican restaurant is fronted by a wraparound bar, which turns out specialty margaritas such as the Blood Orange with Patron Silver, blood orange puree, lime and agave nectar; and the El Spicy Pink made with Cazadores Silver, Monin Spicy Mango Syrup, watermelon puree, lime and agave nectar.

The star of the appetizer menu is the Bacon Wrapped Shrimp, which are skewered and attractively presented to form a teepee shape. A close second goes to the Carne Asada Fries, a huge mound tossed with parmesan, carne asada, jack and cheddar cheeses, jalapenos, sour cream and pico de gallo, a portion so large it could serve as your meal.

The rest of the menu contains traditional items, with an assortment of tacos, enchiladas, burritos and sizzling fajitas a huge platter, which comes in options of chicken, carnitas, steak or shrimp along with some non-traditional dishes like chicken or pork chops marinated in a housemade chipotle honey sauce.

Another non-traditional item is the Oreo Churros, a new menu item that is stuffed with the inside cream of everyone’s favorite cookie.

Judy Ridenour, who has been a server here for five years, says her clientele are a 50/50 mix of tourists and locals. What is surely attracting them are prices that average around $10 with serving sizes so large that many customers split their entrees, which come with rice and beans; and an all-the-time happy hour with mega-shot margaritas for only $4.

Also worth mentioning is the resort’s ongoing jazz, R&B and funk concerts held in its state-of-the-art Access Showroom and poolside during the warmer months. Coming up are Average White Band on Sept. 10, Brian Culbertson on Oct.14-15 and Roman Street on Oct. 16.

The Salted Lime is open for dinner nightly from 4 p.m.