Vegas is all about culinary diversity these days, but the Venetian/Palazzo complex literally has a dozen Italian restaurants. And it works, especially when you realize how many conventioneers want to hang out on a faux patio in the faux St. Mark’s Square noshing on pizza and pasta.
The newest offering, Miami’s Mercato Della Pescheria, sits in the space long occupied by Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio. Skip the patio and grab a table in the dining room; that’s the best place to experience this familiar yet worthwhile Italian cuisine. Antipasti, wood-fired pizzas, classic pasta favorites and steaks dot the menu, but Mercato Della Pescheria is a seafood restaurant, and the kitchen does it well. Start with cold-smoked Scottish salmon over fennel salad ($14), smoky roasted octopus ($16) or a crisp, lemon vinaigrette-coated seafood salad ($16) of cuttlefish, clams, octopus, shrimp and mussels. Spaghetti alla vongole ($25) or frutti di mare ($28) might leap off the menu for pasta fanatics, but my simple angel hair laced with crab, Calabrian chili, butter, lemon and breadcrumbs ($25) really hit the spot.
A rotating grilled seafood platter is a feast for the whole table, or pick your own favorite fish from a nice entrée selection including branzino ($35) and grilled Hawaiian prawns with sundried tomato salad ($30). If you’re really hungry, the Sardinian fisherman stew ($38) is a saffron-based broth brimming with those two sea treasures plus mussels, clams and little pasta beads known as fregula—hearty stuff.
Mercato Della Pescheria Venetian, 702-837-0309. Daily, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.