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 feature dubbed Dining Confidential.
Anthony Esparza, the general manager of Carmine’s at the Forum Shops at Caesars, heads up operations at the massive restaurant. Before Carmine’s, Esparza was the general manager at Comme Ca at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and Fiamma Trattoria & Bar at the MGM Grand. He specializes in craft beers, bringing the Tour de Biere European craft beer program to Comme Ca and the Italian craft beer program at Fiamma. Here he shares three of his favorite restaurants in Las Vegas that he frequents when he’s not overseeing those huge family-style portions at Carmine’s.
Which restaurants do you turn to when you’re not working?
Due Forni, Lotus of Siam and Monta Ramen.
What dishes are most memorable?
Due Forni has the most amazing tartufo pizza with black truffle, parmigiano reggiano creme, fontina, roasted cremini mushrooms, over easy-baked egg on top that is broken and stirred into the pizza table-side. Hands down the best brick oven pizza in town.
Lotus of Siam has by far the best crispy duck in Las Vegas and a very extensive wine selection to choose from.
Monta Ramen for its tonkotsu-shoyu ramen with pork bone, special shoyu base and cloudy white colored broth. The broth is a mix of the Tokyo and Kyushu style blend. Then, I always add mustard leaf, butter and corn to it. Perfect remedy for a long day or any cold night.
Why do you enjoy going there?
Due Forni has a great atmosphere, personable service, great pasta specials and an extensive wine by the glass section.
Lotus of Siam has old school Las Vegas energy that I am drawn too.
Monta Ramen gives me the feeling of being in Japan. It also has tasty ramen broth, great energy and fast service if there’s not a wait out the door.
My ultimate favorite restaurant that recently closed was David Clawson. My wife Kori and I live within minutes from this amazing spot that was truly the best off-Strip restaurant in Las Vegas. I would dine there three to four times a month enjoying some of his signature dishes like the duck leg confit, fresh hamachi with pineapple salsa and the many dessert creations by David Clawson’s pastry chef Meg. The menu and specials were updated regularly, so we were always trying new dishes during every visit.