Sin City is home to a lot of restaurants and bars, but there are tons of hidden gems that the majority of Las Vegans aren't unearthing. To help guide us to these potential discoveries, we've enlisted some of our city's food players to share their recommendations for a weekly feature dubbed Dining Confidential.
When a chef was born in Udine, Italy, you know he knows his pizza. Pierpaolo Pittia, the executive chef at Fiamma Trattoria & Bar at the MGM Grand, has worked at his share of Italian eateries here in Vegas including Valentino and Canaletto Ristorante at the Venetian and Terra Rossa at Red Rock Resort. He shares his favorite pizza joints and Italian restaurant that serve up a fine pie that he likes to visit on his days off.
Where do you enjoy eating when you’re not working at your own restaurant?
Canaletto Ristorante at the Venetian, Terra Rossa at Red Rock Resort and Settebello.
What dishes are most memorable?
Wherever I go, I like to order a Margherita pizza with tomato, mozzarella and basil. I like when a pizza is simple and light without too many toppings on it. This way, you can taste all the flavors. It also makes it easier to eat so when you grab with your hands the toppings don’t fall off and make a big mess. A second favorite of mine at Canaletto is the Quattro Stagioni, which is topped with mushroom, asparagus, artichokes and ham.
Why do you enjoy going there?
Canaletto is in San Marco Square at the Venetian. It’s a beautiful place to sit and eat and I am very familiar with it since I used to work there. I like the texture of the dough used to make the crust and it is cooked just the right amount of time to make it crunchy. It reminds me of traditional Italian cooking.
Terra Rossa uses a very different type of dough, a Tuscany-style in which the dough is stretched until it’s very thin creating a lighter pizza that’s not heavy. This is different than the classic Neopolitan pizza.
Settebello would have to be my favorite. Here they use real wood pizza ovens as opposed to the gas ovens used by the other pizza places. The use of real wood gets the flavor of the smoke into the pizza. This is how it is made in Italy. Cooking with a wood burning oven requires a certain level of experience. The oven must be kept at the right temperature; which cannot be programmed and the pizza must be cooked for the right amount of time. I admire the level of expertise that this restaurant demonstrates in creating authentic Italian pizza.
I like my pizza uncut. In Italy the pizza is brought to the table unsliced. This is traditional and authentic to Italy but creates an unusual and unpredictable dining experience in the United States in which diners are given utensils and can cut the pizza themselves. This makes the pizza take more time to eat creating more time spent at the table and more of an opportunity to talk with friends.
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Pierpaolo Pittia [Photo: MGM Grand]