photo courtesy Tivoli Village

Tivoli Village, a unique mix of retailers and dining options, has gone through its growing pains with stores opening and closing as fast as the summer heat blazes across the barren desert. Even celebrity chefs shuttered their doors as the economy sputtered along. But times are changing…..With the reality of an NHL team whose practice facility is only a mile down the road, and an NFL team, the burbs are about to explode as players and their families call Las Vegas home. With an Italian Piazza atmosphere and the perfect mix of dining venue and boutique shops, many are now choosing to forgo the trip to the Strip and stay closer to home. 

One of our favorites that has made Tivoli home is Leticia’s Cocina and Cantina. Opening late in 2017 with little fanfare, Leticia Mitchell has taken her years of experience and passion at her original restaurant and has brought her Mexican cuisine magic to the Summerlin area. The spirit of Mi Casa Es Tu Casa envelops you as soon as you step into the warm and inviting entranceway filled with vibrant complementary colors, smiling calaveras, and colorful modern Mexican décor. Leticia’s warm and convivial nature translates to a carefully crafted menu on which she proudly boasts, “You can count on the freshness and authentic flavors in each dish that comes to your table. All our guacamole, salsas and tortillas are made to order with the freshest ingredients: no cans or processed ingredients.”

Begin with the warm and fluffy house-made tortillas, chips and complimentary salsas where each bite will place you on an exceptional culinary journey through the flavors of Mexico. The house specialty appetizer of Cochinita Pibil, tender marinated pulled pork draped in marinated onions and crema all nestled in a fresh house-made tortilla, is the perfect soulful bite. Another deeply flavored Leticia favorite that will please any palate are the Costillitas: pork short ribs braised in a bright assertive green tomatillo sauce, complemented with soft potatoes served with poblano white rice casserole, crema, cheese, rajas & refried beans and your choice of tortillas. All these dishes will need Leticia’s signature margarita as the drink of choice to keep you hydrated in Ole style. Leticia’s authentic regional Mexican style cuisine will warm your heart and will have your taste buds dancing. With a Mexican “Botanas” Viva Happy Hour, traditional and trending breakfast, lunch and dinner cuisine, Leticia’s Cocina and Cantina is the place to eat in 2018 for the entire family. 

Another culinary hotspot in Tivoli Village is the ubiquitous, Canter’s deli. Canter’s now takes 80 years of cooking up heaping mounds of pastrami and deli goodies, including their famous house-made pickles, to become a Vegas mainstay with locations both at Tivoli and The LINQ. Of course everyone must have one of the classic sandwiches served on fresh rye bread or another of their aromatic bread selections, with signature pickle, potato salad or coleslaw. Don’t forget an old school malted milkshake, a Canter cocktail or Brown’s Crème Soda to quench your thirst. Either dine in or line up and take it away at their impressive deli counter featuring freshly baked goods and a colorful array of salads, deli meats and desserts.

Hamptons is another casual dining spot good for a quick bite or a refreshing cocktail. Calling itself a “new American restaurant,” it now moves into another year within the Piazza. Some interesting menu items that may pique a dining newbie’s interest are the Avocado Fries, creamy on the inside but with a tender panko crust on the outside served with a zingy green goddess dressing. The Pan Roasted Idaho Trout as a main course offers a lovely filet accented with the simple kiss of lemon butter partnered with an ample side of tomato and fennel salad with a sherry vinaigrette. Try all three of the novel Kombucha concoctions where tart, sweet and sparkling all filter into three innovative cocktails: The Mule, Guava and the Strawberry. 

Tivoli does have great happy hours and specials along its restaurant row. As for the beer drinker and gamer, PKWY Tavern has an incredible 120 different beers on draft. When you become a member of the BREW T.E.A.M., after purchasing $50 beers you receive a $50 gift card. Directly across the way, Brio Tuscan Grille has been holding fast as the happy hour gathering place. The Beef Carpaccio with spicy mustard aioli and parmesan flat bread and the new Crispy Shrimp Brio appetizer paired with Porta Palo Merlot will have tongues tantalized. The best happy hour deal by far in the culinary mash up is at steakhouse and butcher shop Echo and Rig, boasting their $1.99 hot dog, steak and egg or shrimp cocktail with selected beers and wine specialties between 3-6 (daily) p.m. Dining, drinking, shopping or meandering, Tivoli Village may become your next go-to place to dine and dish throughout the New Year. For more information go to Tivolivillage.com.