On the Strip in Las Vegas
It's rare that we dine on the strip, even rarer that we enjoy ourselves. But Canaletto is a restaurant that we have patronized a whopping 3 times since we moved here in 2006. And each time, we've been pleased with our experience.
Tonight, though, was the first time we've dined there since I have become a Vegan. The last time we were there, in February of 2007, I was a lacto-vegetarian. It's very very simple to be lacto-vegetarian at an Italian restaurant... so I was a little nervous about the vegan options. Would there be any? Like every other restaurant experience I've had since beginning this blog, I went into the night thinking like not only a vegan, but a critic.
Canaletto: let the show begin!
We began by downloading the lunch/dinner menu pdf provided on the Canaletto homepage. At first glance, there doesn't seem to be much, but once I started reading the actual descriptions of the dishes, my fears all but disappeared. There were plenty of vegetarian options & many which could also be "made" into vegan entrees. My husband called to make the reservation & asked specifically that a note be made that his "wife is a vegan". The host taking the call kept referring to it as a "milk allergy" and although my husband adamantly insisted that I not be treated like I had an allergy but someone with a specific lifestyle choice, even our waiter tonight mentioned my "milk allergy". Well, whatever. I'm out for a nice meal, not to spread the "word".
Actually, let's go back to that for a minute: our waiter (whose name was Vito, though I think the waitstaff is handed out names & coached on Italian accents upon hiring) was very helpful in answering my questions about certain entrees. He even said, "I know you cannot eat dairy, so we will be extra careful for you. It makes you sick?" Well, yeah, sure. I did appreciate the extra care he took to write "NO CHEESE" on my order.
What did I order? I had the Bruschetta Calda for an appetizer and Paccheri alla Melanzane e Scamorza.
BRUSCHETTA CALDA Grilled Il Fornaio ciabatta served with sauteed roma tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil and extra-virgin olive oil $7.95The Bruschetta was wonderful - the tomatoes roasted & just warmer than room temperature, the right amount of basil & a healthy dose of garlic. The Melanzane required me to ask for "no cheese" which the waiter was obviously very receptive to. But once it arrived, I had my doubts - something white & of odd texture was in my eggplant... My husband, instantly sensing that I was apprehensive about what was on my plate, reached over with his fork (clean!!) and tasted a bit for me. He raised his eyebrows, "I can't believe it! That's the eggplant!" And it was - this gooey texture was the eggplant, roasted to perfection. Wow. I'm going to have to readjust my eggplant expectations...
PACCHERI ALLA MELANZANE E SCAMORZA Large pasta tubes tossed with smoked mozarella and tomato sauce topped with sliced eggplant $17.50
Everything was divine, the service was paced slower than most restaurants I've reviewed here, but tonight it worked: we had a baby sitter and all the time in the world to enjoy ourselves. For the two of us, we spent under $100 for appetizer, entrees, wine & espresso. Not a bad deal!
Canaletto is one of those places that the atmosphere is not better than the food, this is a place we love to take our guests and now that I know "going vegan" is easy there, we'll be going back!!
hours: Sun-Thu 11:30am-11:00pm
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
CANALETTO VEGETARIAN MEALS:
*Many of these can easily be made vegan by removing the cheese
Formaggi dal Veneto
Crostini di Polenta (remove you sausage & salmon options)
Soup & Salad:
Minestrone (made with vegetable stock)
Insalata di Pere (pear salad)
Insalata di Bietole (beet salad)
Vermicelli al Pomodoro
Paccheri alla Melanzane e Scamorza