Sunday, November 28, 2004

Osteria Del Circo - The Bellagio - Las Vegas

Visit Osteria Del Circo's website here

Date of visit, Thursday 25th November 2004, 8pm.(Thanksgiving Night)

It wasn't planned. All we'd had to eat all day was a bag of SouthWest peanuts. We were hungry, in Las Vegas, on Thanksgiving night without a dinner reservation. Traipsing from one place to the next looking for somewhere without a set menu and a spare table, we eventually stumbled upon Circo where there just happened to be a spot for two at the bar. We grabbed it without even pausing to double check the menu.


The gaudy decor should have been a warning sign. This is Vegas, Everything is over the top. Show without substance. Circo is no exception. I find the large red and white balloon lighting decorations particularly ugly. I think Circo should spend less on the decor and more on getting a better chef.


This is Vegas. Vegas is good at parting you with your money. Consider a wine list, as thick as a bible, where it is impossible to find a wine under $50 a bottle. Pair this with unenthusiastic, personality-deficient bartenders who when asked for wine advice clearly have no vino knowledge whatsoever. I had to do my usual, random price-range/name-pick method. We ended up with a bottle of ZD Pinot Noir 2001 at $69. Thankfully it was very good. (It appears to retail between $25 and $29 a bottle).


Insalata Mista $12
Bland, under seasoned, unexceptional.


Taglia Tonno $17
Described as lying on a bed of intriguing sounding pearl orzo which turned out to be nothing more than plain barley. What a let down! The tuna didn't taste the freshest. A little dry and slightly chewy, too fishy tasting. Again, unexceptional.


Pizza Margherita $16
You've guessed it - unexceptional. Crust not crispy enough by far.


Sformatino with white truffles $35
Possibly the most expensive appetizer I've ever ordered. You'd think at that price they could at least manage to get the delicate moulded custard out of it's cooking container in one piece. I can't believe they served it broken and mushed up like this. The potato crisps adorning the top were stale and chewy. Yes, really! I had trouble even cutting one of the chips in half with my knife and fork. Unforgivable for food charged at such premium prices. Shocking.


Bomba di Cioccol $14
Sure it looks pretty. But how did it taste? Unmemorable. I can't even remember what flavour it was. If I hadn't taken a photo, I think I might have forgotten I'd even had any dessert.


Conclusion Total Damage for the dinner as described (+ two premium drinks) = $201 before tip. Daylight robbery for such an uninspired meal!
At least they served Hangar One Vodka , my favourite, and the only place in Vegas we found who stocked it, plus we got to meet Harvey, from New York, one of the youngest-looking fifty year olds we've ever met. We all made the good times, because Circo didn't do it for us...

Osteria Del Circo - The Bellagio - Las Vegas


  • At 29/11/04 09:56, Blogger Amy Sherman said…

    Wow! $12 for a green salad! Thanks for the head's up on a place to avoid in the future. Live and learn I guess. Next time try Nobu, overpriced yet somehow worth it.

  • At 29/11/04 10:31, Blogger Sam said…

    Yes - this place was a total rip off. I wouldn't have minded if the food had bowled me over. We did have one pretty good and more reasonably priced meal at the restaurant of a certain 'celebrity chef' which i will get round to writing up eventually. I would like Nobu, I am sure, always intended to try the one in London, but it's very hard to get Fred to eat that kind of food, so we ususally stick with more Western style choices. I did, however, manage to get him into one Eastern place in Vegas, more about that later too...

  • At 30/11/04 22:51, Blogger claudine said…

    oh, man -- what a disappointment! sorry about the letdown, sam... i think we are truly spoiled in the bay area, don't you think?

    (btw, this is claudine from http://www.winterjade/delectation)

  • At 1/12/04 10:53, Blogger Sam said…

    Hi Claudine

    You know it could've been more of a disappointment. It as a spur of the moment thing. If I'd planned it and looked forward to it, then it would have been much worse. But despite the food/service not being up to scratch, we were in Vegas, baby, having a good time and not a Turkey in sight!!
    (the whole purpose of the excercise was to have fun escape the turkey!) I am pretty critical of restaurants, maybe more so than I shoul dbe, but it does annoy me to pay huge prices for food that is certainly sub par.
    Yes - we are spoilt here in the Bay Area - I read your reports of Piperafe and Manga-doodah, and especially would love to try Piperade one day...!

  • At 8/5/05 10:41, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am so sorry that you didn't enjoy your meal (my name is Michel and I am the chef at the restaurant) please come back next time you are in Vegas and I will personally cok you a free meal of your choice.
    I cannot be held responsible for the dessert as it's one of those that comes straight from the freezer, all I do is pop it on a plate.

  • At 8/5/05 22:48, Blogger Sam said…

    Wow! I am astounded. Thank you very much. Now you give us a good excuse to come back to Vegas very soon.
    We are dying to see Elton John, so we will try and sort something out.


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