photos courtesy Elaine and Scott Harris

Las Vegas has long been known for its classic Italian cuisine but surviving and thriving in the competitive culinary world is tumultuous—many come and go with little or no fanfare throughout Vegas’ constantly changing restaurant culture. There are those who by sheer will, determination and gracious hospitality stand the test of time, serving award-winning cuisine year after year. Pasta Mia East and West proprietor and Chef-Owner Armando Martinez has done just that, continuing to garner brilliant reviews for his Northern Italian cuisine starring his pasta and linguine with fresh mussels and other dishes that have spanned three decades and yet, continue to satisfy a new generation of discriminating diners. 

Walking in, guests can’t help but notice the immaculate linen-adorned tables and the quaint garden patio. Huge floor-to-ceiling murals featuring pastoral Italian scenes set the tone for an authentic Italian experience. Martinez joined us at our table and discussed his many years in the industry. “I have been in this business for over 30 years,” he smiled. “I was an opener for the renowned Piero’s Italian Restaurant. Over the years I have been fortunate enough to serve Celine Dion, Andre Agassi, Brooke Shields and many other celebrities and noted locals, but it has been the dedicated families that keep coming back that have kept me in the kitchen these many years,” Chef Armando added. 

Being inspired by Martinez’s sincerity and passion, we were in great anticipation to see what gastronomic delights were in store for us as he retired into his kitchen to prepare our dining experience. Knowing some of the dishes that have been on the menu for decades, our palates eagerly expected serious culinary skill as the famous Lasagna Bolognese arrived at our table signaling the beginning of a memorable evening. 

Another ideal way to begin is the Mozzarella Caprese Salad featuring vibrant fresh tomatoes, house-made mozzarella, spicy authentic olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette and fresh basil. Chef Armando’s superb chicken dishes whether its Marsala, Parmigiana, Vesuvio or Piccata, are all beautifully composed, dictated by time-tested ingredients and dedicated culinary practice. Being known for house-made pasta, Pasta Mia’s classic Penne alla Vodka with thinly sliced pancetta ham in a creamy tomato sauce and of course—a touch of Vodka—is a must-try. A gift from the sea, the Orange Roughy Francese, an alchemic blend of delicate fish filets adorned in white wine, lemon and butter is simple but supremely satisfying and one of the most requested menu items. Another brilliant entrée choice is the Pollo Pizzaiola. The juicy chicken breast sautéed with generous garlic, capers, oregano, fresh basil and red bell peppers accented in a light tomato sauce pairs beautifully with many of the fine Italian or American wines offered on Pasta Mia’s thoughtful wine list. For the grand FINI, Pasta Mia's own Cheesecake is a defining way to end the evening. 

Chef Martinez splits his time between Pasta Mia West and Pasta Mia East. The menus are essentially the same, featuring authentic Northern Italian cuisine night after night. Pasta Mia East has a charming full bar and an outstanding happy hour. Regulars stop in year after year to partake in a very reasonable bar menu serving Garlic Bread ($1.99), Meatballs ($5.99), fresh Caesar Salad ($4.99), Fried Calamari ($5.99) and even Steamed Clams ($8.99). For a libation there are many choices from Domestic Beer ($3), Imported Beer ($4), Red & White House Wines ($4) and even Well Drinks ($5). And to add to the experience, enjoy live music at Pasta Mia East as well. 

Both locations will take you on an exceptional time-tested culinary journey. You can taste dedication and passion in each bite. No matter what part of town you may be in, East or West, Chef Armando’s award-winning Northern Italian cuisine will have you coming back year after year. 

Pasta Mia West – 4455 W Flamingo Rd.

Pasta Mia East – 1955 East Tropicana Ave.