Casting a Wide Net


Michael Mina was on hand last month to unveil a new look and a new menu at his namesake Bellagio restaurant. It was as much about rediscovering the room’s past as charting its future.
“I wanted to bring it back to a fish restaurant,” Mina said.

Las Vegas was introduced to the chef in 1998, when Bellagio opened its doors with a local incarnation of his San Francisco seafood restaurant Aqua as part of its groundbreaking dining program. The name was changed to Michael Mina two years later, when the chef split with his business partners and began to explore different culinary paths.

When offered the chance to reimagine the restaurant to coincide with its upcoming 20th anniversary, he decided it was time to return to his roots. So along with renovating the lounge area, and adding a private dining room with a view of Bellagio’s stunning Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, he undertook a menu reboot.

He describes the redo as “a fish restaurant with no boundaries.” And while the menu retains many of the chef’s signature dishes, available a la carte or as part of a Chef’s Tasting, the focus is on its Market Seafood menu. It includes caviar, cold and grilled shellfish platters, and raw bar offerings in crudo and toast form. For entrees, guests can select from a rotating selection of freshly caught whole fish, which is grilled as steaks, broiled or spice-crusted and fried.

“I always felt like this really should be the best fish restaurant in Las Vegas,” says Mina. “Because that’s what Aqua was about, and that’s where it all started.”