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The Bianca pizza topped with prosciutto and baby arugula.

Featured Article

A Recipe for Success

Discover what acclaimed Chef Carla Pellegrino is cooking up at Limoncello Fresh Italian Kitchen

Article by Heather Turk

Photography by Courtesy of Limoncello Fresh Italian Kitchen

Originally published in Red Rock City Lifestyle

One of Las Vegas’ “Top Chefs” is settling into her new home at one of the city’s finest Italian restaurants.

Former “Top Chef” Season 10 contestant Carla Pellegrino stepped into the kitchen of Limoncello Fresh Italian Kitchen last November as its new executive chef and partner. One of Las Vegas’ most renowned chefs, having previously worked at such remarkable Strip restaurants as Rao’s inside Caesars Palace and Bacio inside Tropicana Las Vegas, Pellegrino’s move to Limoncello, located at 8245 West Sahara Avenue, not only marks her return to Las Vegas’ culinary scene after serving as the executive chef of The Ahwahnee hotel in Yosemite National Park but also fulfills a long-standing wish of the celebrated chef to work alongside Limoncello’s owner, 20-year restaurateur Giuseppe Bavarese (Las Vegas’ Prosecco Fresh Italian Kitchen).

“I have been friends with Giuseppe for about 12 years, and we have always spoken about collaborating together,” Pellegrino said. “Last year, Giuseppe asked me if I would be interested in opening a restaurant in Los Angeles. A few phone calls later, he asked me about the possibility of returning to Las Vegas and invited me to spend the weekend with him and his wife, Jenny, to discuss Limoncello. I gladly accepted the invitation and loved what I saw. It felt right to join Giuseppe and Jenny on their venture, and I am happy I did.”  

Known for its authentic Southern and Northern Italian cuisine prepared with a modern flair, Limoncello serves an assortment of traditional Italian dishes nightly for dinner, including a variety of house-made pastas, succulent steaks, and whole grilled fish. Menu highlights include the delicious Burrata & Prosciutto San Daniele antipasto served with arugula and heirloom tomatoes; the homemade Gnocchi Norma sautéed with eggplant, grape tomatoes, and light marinara sauce topped with fresh mozzarella; and the flavorful Salmone ai Ferri topped with black olives, capers, and heirloom tomatoes. A selection of perfectly prepared pizzas is available, too, such as the Della Nonna topped with Italian sausage, shiitake mushrooms, and onion, and there is a menu of delightful desserts, like the refreshing Limoncello Flute: lemon gelato swirled with limoncello sauce and served in a champagne flute.

Unlike Pellegrino’s former Henderson eatery, Bratalian, which featured Neapolitan trattoria cuisine, Limoncello offers guests more of a sophisticated Italian steakhouse experience. Not only does the 8,000-square-foot restaurant have its own sommelier and modern wine cellar on site, but it also showcases several of its fresh fish selections on ice just off the main dining room floor. Nevertheless, Pellegrino has updated the casually elegant restaurant’s mouthwatering menu to include a few of her signature dishes.

“My new menu keeps with Limoncello’s concept — which is having a great variety of steaks and seafood — but includes some of the classic dishes known by my followers, such as my sweet and hot pork chops (the Cotolette di Maiale), my traditional marinara sauce and my Pasta & Fagioli soup,” Pellegrino stated. “Plus, I’m adding my unique touch to a variety of classic Italian dishes.”

Guests will typically find Pellegrino in Limoncello’s kitchen five days a week for about 11 hours each day, cooking for diners and developing new recipes.

“I love being in the kitchen and creating,” Pellegrino, who began cooking alongside her mom when she was just 10 years old, said. “I couldn’t be happier to be back in the kitchen where I can cook and create bonds with my staff.”

In addition to implementing seasonal changes to the menu throughout the year so that the staff is only “embracing the freshest and highest quality ingredients” available, Pellegrino plans to introduce a brunch menu at Limoncello in the future — once the restaurant finishes adding a patio for alfresco dining. Until then, Pellegrino hopes her foodie fans from all over the Las Vegas Valley head to The Lakes near Summerlin to check out what she is cooking at one of the city’s most impeccable Italian restaurants.

“I put a lot of thought and effort into my menus and dishes, and anyone who knows me knows how much I care,” Pellegrino concluded. “I’m excited for the community to experience that at Limoncello.”

My new menu keeps with Limoncello’s concept — which is having a great variety of steaks and seafood — but includes some of the classic dishes known by my followers.

  • Chef Pellegrino
  • Limoncello’s main dining room has a mural featuring ocean views of Italy’s Amalfi Coast.
  • Cotolette di Maiale.
  • 44-ounce Prime Tomahawk Steak.
  • Insalata di Mare made with lobster, crab meat, shrimp and calamari.
  • The Bianca pizza topped with prosciutto and baby arugula.
  • Branzino.