Spago at Bellagio is Reliably Unremarkable

Spago has opened at Bellagio and we can confidently report the longtime Strip fixture is still sort of just okay.

Spago Bellagio

Spago has a new home at Bellagio. Water Grill will move into its former space at Forum Shops in 2019. Please keep up, there will be a quiz.

It was big news when Wolfgang Puck’s Spago announced it would relocate from the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace to Bellagio after a quarter century in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas media outlets reported the news with little interest in, or perhaps knowledge of, the backstory.

Specifically, business had flagged for several years at the Forum Shops location, and when the Forum Shops threatened to raise the restaurant’s rent, it was time to go.

During Spago’s heyday at Forum Shops, it was raking in an eye-popping $18 million a year, despite the fact only a handful of restaurants in Las Vegas make $10 million or more.

Spago set its sights on the Olives space in Bellagio. The space was freed up by another turn of events largely unreported, the decision by MGM Resorts to cut ties with the chef behind Olives, Todd English, following sexual harassment allegations. That’s also why the Todd English P.U.B. at Aria is now just The Pub. Props to MGM Resorts for taking a stand.

The glorious drama!

Spago opened at Bellagio on June 7, 2018, and we had to check it out, of course.

Spago Bellagio

Of course, we stopped by the bar first. Do you know this blog at all?

A news release about the restaurant opening said, “Spago is inspired by California living with its casual elegance and farm-to-table ethos. Wolfgang hand selects seasonal ingredients to create the restaurant’s market-driven menu, featuring the chef’s signature fare paired with modern technique and creative elements.”

Ah, news releases.

While the Spago menu offers many of the dishes created by Wolfgang Puck, what the release and news reports haven’t shared is Wolfgang Puck isn’t really involved in Spago restaurant at Bellagio anymore.

As has become the norm in Las Vegas with celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Giada de Laurentiis and Guy Fieri, the restaurants boasting their names are operated by the host resort, with licensing fees being the only real connection to the chefs. Ditto Spago.

That means employees of Spago at Bellagio are on the payroll of MGM Resorts. Does it matter? Maybe not, but it’s something to keep in mind when deciding whether to dine there or not.

As was the case at the Forum Shops location, Spago serves up reasonably good, but far from great, fare.

One of the restaurant’s claims to fame is the smoked salmon and caviar pizza. The basic version is $36, the kaluga sturgeon caviar version is (wait for it) $75.

Spago Bellagio

We’re all for indulging in Las Vegas, and this pizza might make a fine photo op, but if you think it’s worth $75, you’re Pucking nuts.

Other dishes are equally forgettable, including the $21 micro portion of spaghettini.

Spago Bellagio

Mama mia, that’s adequate!

There’s also the grilled chicken sandwich ($22). You know you’re in “meh” territory when the best thing about a dish is the fries.

Spago Bellagio

Well, it’s certainly food! Feel free to use that in your advertising, Spago.

Here’s the menu for Spago at Bellagio. While we found a menu for the restaurant online, it didn’t have prices. Which we’re sure is just an unintentional oversight.

Spago Bellagio menu prices

Fun fact: Sometimes Las Vegas restaurants share menus without prices so they can increase prices when business is heaviest. Like rideshare’s surge pricing, but with pasta.

Here’s a larger version of the Spago menu to reward you for reading this far.

We were convinced the signature cocktails would be a highlight of the otherwise humdrum offerings at Spago, and if you can get past the sticker shock, the drinks are plenty tasty.

It seems $22 cocktails are the new $18 cocktails. To be honest, we were just starting to adjust to $12 cocktails.

Spago Bellagio

Remember, you’re not paying for a cocktail, you’re paying for an experience. The experience of paying for an expensive cocktail.

Here’s the signature Out on the Tiles cocktail, with Chamucos Silver tequila, Aperol Aperitivo liqueur (made with gentian, cinchona and other words we don’t recognize), hibiscus, grapefruit juice and lime juice. A worthy addition to our collection of panty-dropper cocktails.

Bellagio Spago cocktail

The $22 price tag wouldn’t have been nearly as painful were it not for the fact Out on the Tiles is served in what amounts to a glass thimble.

An undeniably spectacular aspect of Spago is its view of the Bellagio fountains.

An outdoor patio makes it feel as though you’re part of the iconic show.

Spago Bellagio

This is about as Vegas as it gets.

A big plus for Spago is its excellent service and friendly, knowledgeable waitstaff.

It was refreshing when our waiter rolled his eyes at the fact straws are no longer provided at Spago, except upon request. When they were requested, this was the presentation. Note: We are not making this up.

Spago Bellagio straws

“Straws by request only” is easily our “Most Annoying Thing About Las Vegas” for 2018.

Also classy is the option for guests to choose either black or white napkins.

As is the law, the place is a tad loud, but that’s a good sign as it means the Spago name still pulls in a decent crowd. Spago, by the way, translates as “string” in Italian.

Designer Gelila Puck (Wolfgang’s wife) collaborated with architects Massimiliano Locatelli and Annamaria Scevola of CLS Architetti to create a bland space you and your kids probably could’ve decorated better.

Spago Bellagio

Then again, who are we to say this is boring? We are not an interior designer, we are a blog. And barely that, come to think of it.

If you decide to try Spago (we’d strongly suggest the nearby Lago restaurant instead, but you know how strong-headed you can be), expect to work up an appetite first.

Spago is in Bellagio’s shopping promenade, nearly a quarter mile (about 1,100 feet) from the main hotel entrance. No joke. It’s across from Tiffany & Co. and near Bottega Veneta, whatever that might be.

While Spago didn’t knock our socks off, it’s certainly not bad, and may just be what you’re looking for when you’re visiting the Bellagio Conservatory or the world’s largest chocolate fountain at Bellagio Patisserie, formerly Jean Philippe Patisserie.

Let us know what you think of Spago at Bellagio, and “Bon apetite!” or some other cliche people use in the last sentence of articles.

Spago at Bellagio

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29 thoughts on “Spago at Bellagio is Reliably Unremarkable

  1. Raphael Fiore

    This looks super ordinary, what a disappointment!

    And sorry, what‘s with all this super small plates for horrendous prices???

    Thank you for this report, wanted to give it a try on octiber but now I will for sure pass on this one.

    1. Barbara Laney

      How refreshing seeing an honest write up of a very unremarkable restaurant, especially desserts.

      1. Scott Roeben Post author

        Thanks. I feel like this falls on the current ownership, not that Puck is out of the equation. There’s less at stake.

  2. Bryant

    So my wife and I ate at Spago at the Bellagio around the middle of June after the opening. It was our first time eating there, but we quite enjoyed the meal, service, and view. We both had NY strips which I felt were reasonably priced for the size (I think 20 or 24oz) in the $50s and were cooked and served to perfection. It’s not the best steak i have every had but it was certainly up there. The dessert however, was the most impressive looking dessert i have ever seen. It was the “spiked lemon” and looked like you would have seen it in Mad Max. Impressive visually and was also tasty! Overall, it was American farm to table fare, though the service was excellent and the food we had was both reasonably priced for the Strip and enjoyable.

    1. Edward

      I have to say my experience, and I have been a couple of times, is quite the opposite. It is more in line with Bryant’s review.
      The food, the service and the venue itself are much better than when it was in the forum shops. It is pretty close to Spago Beverly Hills in its overall appeal and presentation.
      Is it expensive? Yes it can be, but you are paying for food and an overall experience. if your goal is to get in and get out go to the Pepper Mill.
      As a side note they are not perfect, especially as they are training the “Olives” staff on the ” Spago” menu and approach, but how they respond to the hiccups in these first few months of operation is how they will be defined..a steak was not cooked to perfection, the server identified it before we did, and it was replaced immediately. The GM then came over to personally apologize and offer some items as we waited for the new steak. The new steak was perfection.

      It is also an iconic brand built by an iconic chef who has been able to stay at the top while catering to the masses.
      I was there the night the VGK lost their last game in the SC Finals. WP came-in and made the rounds to every table before sitting down with friends to enjoy a meal. JLO happened to be in the house that evening as well..she waited for him to say hello and take pictures with every other guest before they shared some time together.

      I have plans to go back soon.

        1. Edward

          I don’t know what exactly you mean by ” it’s not WP’s restaurant anymore”…he was there during pre-opening, training, and menu development…It is absolutely very corporate, but from everything I saw and heard from the staff, he is pretty involved.

          1. Scott Roeben Post author

            I mean it’s not his restaurant. It’s his name on the place, but it’s a licensing deal like other celebrity chefs have (like Gordon Ramsay). They sign off on the menu, but otherwise, they make token appearances and aren’t involved with the operation (that’s now in the hands of MGM Resorts).


    Ugh. Spago clearly just a generic brand now in the food world like Kleenex or Band-Aid. It’s the sort of generic “high class” food name that Ethyl and Elroy from Kansas will recognize, and drag the kids into for the “splurge” meal on their once in a lifetime trip to Vegas.

    I’m sure MGM realizes too that, just like Olives before it, the food doesn’t really have to be that good as long as you’ve got that fountain view pulling people in no matter what. Can see people packing this place in while another “celeb chef” restaurant with GREAT food like Jean George Steakhouse at Aria not 10 minutes away may struggle. Such is the strip food scene, as John Curtas would no doubt say.

  4. Linda Jones

    Might pop in for a drink later this month. Based on this blog (?) and the menu, I’ll likely take my appetite elsewhere ?

    1. Mr. Hand

      …and she looks so lonely there sitting all by herself. Not only do the millennials not like to gamble but I guess they also don’t like to…..

  5. Marie

    I do enjoy your writing style and insights. This site has been on my “must visit” list for several years now.

    However, I cringe every time I see you refer to “panty dropping” cocktails. That’s just not cool.

    1. Scott Roeben Post author

      I appreciate the feedback. These are consensually-dropped panties. What’s uncool about that?

      1. alex

        First off, it’s pretty clear how you feel about sexual harassment. You’ve lauded the casinos that have severed ties from partners who have become embroiled in sexual harassment.

        But, while you see the subject of the joke as giving consent, that’s not the accepted definition of the term panty dropper. From the Urban Dictionary: “A chick drink, usually concocted with nefarious intentions.”

        In the end, I know you’re not advocating getting women drunk to get them into bed. So, this joke isn’t make me not read your blog. But, it does make me cringe a bit.

        1. Scott Roeben Post author

          I appreciate the feedback. I don’t tend to rely on Urban Dictionary for how things are defined. My interpretation is more playful, and is more part of the mating ritual. It might be an outdated ritual, or at least term, though, so I might just have to retire it. Thanks for taking the time to share that thought, as it’s come up before. I’m not attached to it, but don’t want to dump it if it’s just a case of political correctness, as this blog isn’t that.

  6. EnuffBull

    “Well, it’s certainly food! Feel free to use that in your advertising, Spago.”

    I come for the articles, the news, the sights and the reviews… but I stay for the snarky photo captions! Kudos to the talent.

  7. CW

    More food reviews, please. Don’t mind paying, but hate it when the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. Anyone have anything good (or not so good) to say about entrees other than the NY Strip steak? Thanks.

  8. Jason

    I saw this article after wanting to do some research after eating there. I wish I would’ve seen it before I ate there.
    For starters the hostesses were extremely rude, i made a reservation on opentable but my greeting was they had no tables. I mentioned I had a reservation on open table and they said well we can put you in the table upfront. It was lunch I ordered a sandwich, the fries were not hot they were at room temperature. I mentioned it to the waiter and he said aren’t they just delicious, I said they are not hot and he answered with they are made fresh daily.
    Then they forgot to put my points on my mlife card though I gave it to them and asked them to. And they told me I had to go to the MLife rewards desk to do it with the receipt. MLife rewards desk told me to could have done it afterwards.
    My sandwich was ok, but for $24. you expect an amazing sandwich with hot fries.

    1. Scott Roeben Post author

      Sorry to hear that. Yeah, while the previous location wasn’t spectacular, it was reliable. The change in ownership didn’t do it any favors from what I can tell.

  9. Dwondermeant

    When the original Spago opened in Ceasers Forum shops it was a game changer
    Wolfgang a legend cannot police that many units
    The one in Venitian was tragic
    Eventually the quality of the food went into the toilet into most of his units
    Spago and Maui in the Four Seasons was very good when I was there 4 years ago
    I’m there in a few months and will return as it’s the only unit that’s closer to what he use to do well
    I sadly avoid typically anything with Wolfgang’s brands as they are a shadow of what they once were
    Servers are green in many of their units and don’t know much about what Wolfgang’s legacy is
    He’s a genius but just hasn’t been able to stick with what he does best or be able to get the talent to produce what his vision his and execute
    It’s more of a tourist trap

    1. Scott Roeben Post author

      Agree. He’s now selling off these restaurants (including at Bellagio) and doing a licensing deal like Gordon Ramsay and others.

  10. Michael

    It’s easy to put down long-term players like WP but in the end he’s had the same creative team for a very long time, they constantly travel the world, utilize test kitchens, change things up all the time, and have some of the best cooking talent anywhere. The WP team is at the helm of every aspect of the new Spago, despite what folks have to say about “the licensing deal” they clearly know very little about except for what they generalize. The bottom line – the food’s fantastic, the room’s beautiful, the outside patio is the bomb, especially for brunch, and the product overall is as reliable as a WP location always is. I’ve had great meals in 6 cities in 3 countries in the last 3 weeks – I make it a point to know and enjoy good food. This latest Spago is great. As expected.


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