There aren’t lot of sure things in Vegas, but a new restaurant in The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace is about as sure as they get.
This winning Italian restaurant recently opened with little fanfare, moving into the space formerly used by Planet Hollywood restaurant (which has relocated to an upper floor in another part of the Forum Shops).
Carmine’s occupies a mind-bloggling 28,000-square-feet, and as you roam around the massive eatery, it feels like there are four or five separate restaurants in one.
The entire space is decked out with 7,500 framed photos and pieces of original artwork, and the ceilings are adored with a variety of distinctive, old-timey chandeliers.
But the star of the show at Carmine’s is the food, served up family style. The giant portions are perfect for sharing, and all the items on the menu are proven crowd-pleasers because they originated at other Carmine’s locations.
There are two locations in New York City, one in New Jersey, another in D.C. and yet another in the Bahamas. And not just because the owners needed an excuse to visit the Bahamas. Probably.
As an indication of the popularity of other Carmine’s locations, one spot in New York City served 1.2 million people last year, making it one of the most successful restaurants in America.
While the portions are large (understatement of the year), the prices are relatively small, especially for fare on The Strip. The average tab is $30 per person, a far cry from most fine and casual dining restaurants in Sin City.
There’s a variety of Italian favorites, with the penne alla vodka being the most popular dish, and with good reason. The pasta is cooked to al dente perfection, and the sauce tastes like it was made by someone’s grandmother, just without all the guilt.
You can check out the full menu at the official Carmine’s site.
The successful track record of the Carmine’s family of restaurants means there will be no shortage of specials in addition to the usual menu. There are 195 specials (three a night) ready and waiting to make their Las Vegas debut.
Overwhelmed by the size of the offerings? No worries. Carmine’s offers a unique service: You can check your leftovers! That’s right. It’s like checking your coat. Your goodies are kept refrigerated so you can go shopping and pick them up on the way out.
As far as we know, Carmine’s is the only restaurant in Vegas to provide this service, and we love the idea.
You’ll find a variety of antipasto, pasta, seafood or meat entrees, of course. We tried the stuffed mushrooms, fried calamari, shrimp scampi with linguine and chicken lemon and butter. All crowd-pleasers.
The desserts that follow may cause an acute case of sensory overload. That includes the colossal Titanic dessert. This $29.95 monstrosity of decadence will crush your dessert cravings, as well as future cravings you haven’t even had yet.
Carmine’s has an unassuming atmosphere, and the service is truly top-notch. Small touches like free wi-fi, phone recharging stations built into the eye-popping bar, and mouthwash provided in the restrooms (there’s a lot of garlic going on), means Carmine’s has already moved up our list of favorite Italian restaurants in Las Vegas.
Our advice for getting the most from Carmine’s is simple: Pace yourself.
Enjoy a few more exclusive photos from the new Carmine’s restaurant Las Vegas at the Forum Shops inside Caesars Palace.
Carmine's Restaurant Las Vegas