December 26, 2008

Canaletto

Canaletto at the Venetian Resort, Hotel, Casino
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 $7.95

PACCHERI ALLA MELANZANE E SCAMORZA Large pasta tubes tossed with smoked mozarella and tomato sauce topped with sliced eggplant $17.50
The 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...

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!!


CANALETTO

hours: Sun-Thu 11:30am-11:00pm
Fri/Sat 11:30am-12:00am

Phone:
(702) 733-0070

The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109


CANALETTO VEGETARIAN MEALS:
*Many of these can easily be made vegan by removing the cheese

Antipasti:
Bruschetta Calda
Caprese Calda
Formaggi dal Veneto
Crostini di Polenta (remove you sausage & salmon options)

Soup & Salad:
Minestrone (made with vegetable stock)
Insalata Balsamico
Insalata di Pere (pear salad)
Insalata di Bietole (beet salad)
Insalata Canaletto

Pizza:
Margherita
Pizza Fresca

Risotto:
Risotto Filante

Primi:
Vermicelli al Pomodoro
Paccheri alla Melanzane e Scamorza
Casonzei All'Ampezzana

6 comments:

Nikki J. said...

Yummo! If only I’d been vegan back when I visited Vegas. I’ve come across awesome vegan food at restaurants that wouldn’t normally appear on veg friendly listings, but simply ommit the cheese to great satisfaction. This happened at an Italian place in San Francisco where we ended up eating one of my all time favorite marinara sauces.

Anonymous said...

Just to let everyone know, I just called the restaurant to verify and all of their pastas have eggs in the noodles. Definitely not vegan.

Lisa + Friand said...

Thanks for checking in to that. At the time I visited the restaurant, I was a very new vegan (only a few months into it) and not aware that some pastas contain eggs. Updates like this are essential to keeping my entries accurate - especially those from a time when I wasn't as keyed into the "hidden" ingredients.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

just so everyone knows, i work at canaletto and only the fresh made pastas have eggs. the imported pastas do not contain egss. thanks for the great review and vito is in fact an italian man from milan! lol

Lisa F. said...

And thank YOU "anonymous" for that insight!! I only know that during my visit I told the server that I was vegan & he assured me my meal contained no animal products. This, I'm assuming, is because it was an imported pasta, as you say.

I do put a lot of trust in servers, managers & chefs to give me the right information when I'm in my seat.

For an interesting read, check out the review of Todd English: Olives where I am certain I actually received pasta sauce with sausage in it because the server couldn't be bothered to pay attention to my requests.

Thanks for the tip!!

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