HENDERSON, Nev. -- Just around the bend of the mountains in the
southeast Las Vegas valley lies Lake Las Vegas, less than an hour
and yet worlds away from the high-octane scene on the Strip and
The area is even architecturally distinct, with a terra-cotta
palette, arched doorways and oasis gardens adding up to a kind of
The good life here arises from a well-conceived convergence of
close-in views of the mountains and lake, homes priced in seven
figures, upscale shops, top-tier hotels, genteel entertainment and
Each of those dining establishments tucks into the landscape in
its own special way.
• Reflection Bay Golf Club inaugurated the Lake Las Vegas dining
scene in 1999 with an outdoors-loving restaurant then called La
Chandele and subsequently renamed Mira Lago.
The bright and airy space overlooks a popular patio, and diners
both inside and out enjoy a view of the lake and the mountains
The name change coincided with the arrival of critically
acclaimed chef Roland August, whose previous career as a Hollywood
actor took its final curtain call when he opted for an expanded
role in the culinary world.
The menu displays an international influence, including Italian
and Greek nods to the restaurant's Mediterranean context.
Mira Lago is open to the public, serving lunch Mondays through
Saturdays, brunch on Sundays and dinner Tuesdays through
Especially recommended: pistachio-dusted blackened prawn
appetizer and pork osso bucco with port wine mushroom reduction and
• The Hyatt Regency Lake Las Vegas debuted in 2000, introducing
the area to travel agents and meetings planners, and entering the
upscale dining ranks with Japengo, which translates to "land of
High-style design materializes as avant-garde china, exotic
accents and illumination from "Mediterraneanized" Japanese
lanterns, while window walls showcase yet a different view of the
lake and mountains.
There are any number of intriguing selections here, presented as
firsts, seconds and main courses, and all featuring an elegant
balance of the cuisines of Japan and the Pacific Rim.
But the centerpiece is the colorful counter manned by master
sushi chef, Fuji, who transforms the daily delivery of fresh fish
into savory works of art.
Japengo, a favorite of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Christopher
Walken when the Hyatt was the backdrop for the filming of
"America's Sweethearts," serves dinner Mondays through
Of note: woked spicy chicken with cashew nuts and sweet potato
strings, and the dessert platter.
• Early in 2003, the Ritz-Carlton
Lake Las Vegas opened its toney doors and sweetened the mix with
Medici Cafe and Terrace, which was just named one of "America's 20
Best New Restaurants" by Esquire magazine. What's more, this dining
emporium's pastry chef, Patrice Caillot, headed the winning team in
this year's National Pastry Team Championship.
The handsome room, a study in cream and honey and peach, goes
casual for breakfast and lunch and later softens the lights to
become an intimate setting for Mediterranean-inspired cuisine.
Service is also available on the patio, overlooking
Folded into a menu laden with first-class interpretations of
land and sea treasures is a delightful section of "comfort food."
Especially recommended: the "La Spontaneita" tasting menu with wine
• In late 2003, chef Roland August of Mira Lago extended his
talents to the Falls Golf Club by opening the Vineyard, which
welcomes folks to a cozy lodge setting and a patio that segues into
an outdoor living room complete with fireplace and comfy furniture.
The mountain panorama here is supplemented with a view of the title
falls and a pond.
August is managing chef at both locations.
At the Vineyard, along with signature entrees, August crafts
creative salads and panini; pizza and pasta; and desserts. An
unusual take on lasagna earns its low-carb designation by replacing
pasta with eggplant and adding a medley of other vegetables.
The Vineyard serves breakfast and lunch daily, dinner Tuesdays
through Saturdays. Especially recommended: The Big Ribeye (served
over what may be the best onion rings in the valley) and carrot
• In addition to the more casual offerings in both hotels, the
Casino at MonteLago Village features Tenuta's with a far-ranging
menu, while the Village itself is anchored by Como's, which is
overseen by chef Joseph Keller.
The Village is also home to Starbucks and Tutti-Gelati, soon to
be joined by the Chocolate Factory and Dublin's Irish Whiskey
With three more resorts in the blueprints and more eateries
heading for the Village, this is all just the beginning.
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