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Treat your eyes, tastebuds at these outdoor dining spots

Updated April 8, 2021 - 9:58 am

Ever since Mon Ami Gabi made a big splash in 1999 with its Strip-side patio at Paris Las Vegas, al fresco dining has been a hit here — especially after a year of COVID-19, when almost any place with a spare strip of pavement added outdoor tables.

One of the newest, most scenic and biggest spots is at Becca’s Restaurant & Lounge, which opened early last fall at 12656 Southern Highlands Parkway in Tuscan Highlands.

“It’s huge,” co-owner Winnie Schulman said. She’s not exaggerating. It’s 12,000 square feet — equal to several average-sized houses — and wraps around the development’s resort hall, home to Becca’s dining room, an esports lounge and a fitness and health club. Divided into a veranda and wine garden, the patio provides both sunlit and shady spots, tables with water and fire features, an Italian wine cart, lushly landscaped grounds and views of a megaresort-style pool area just off the terrace.

Schulman said she knew the outdoor space would be popular.

“They feel so confident going out there in the air,” she said, “having that security to dine.”

Becca’s menu leans heavily to small plates and pizzas, with entrees, salads, pastas and more. beccarestaurant.com

Casa Calavera, which opened in March with Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, also has an extensive outdoor space, which stretches into the resort’s pool area. Representatives of restaurant owner Hakkasan Group said they wanted the Virgin spot to mirror the feel of their original Casa Calavera in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, which is on a beach. Hence the “toes-in-the-sand” seating at the new one. The restaurant specializes in Mexican cuisine made with authentic ingredients but geared to American tastes. hakkasangroup.com

Al Solito Posto, a new spot from James Beard Award finalist James Trees, has a 40-seat covered patio facing Tivoli Village’s scenic fountains and serves classic Italian cuisine with creative twists, such as beef carpaccio with garlic truffle aioli and mushroom arugula in addition to the requisite capers and olive oil. alsolito.com

Sister spot Ada’s Wine Bar, which serves charcuterie and small plates as well as favorite vintages, has a shaded patio overlooking some of Tivoli Village’s verdant landscaping. adaslv.com

Project BBQ, a permanent food truck moored at the new Circa resort in downtown Las Vegas, has a view of the Main Street Stage and action along Fremont Street and serves house-smoked meats, such as the street tacos with chopped brisket, barbecued chicken or smoked pulled pork. circalasvegas.com

A number of local restaurants also have expanded and/or improved their outdoor dining areas.

Park on Fremont at 506 Fremont St. recently renovated its spaces, adding more greenery and an upgraded sound system. Offerings include The Seattlelite, a burger with brie, pinot noir-glazed mushrooms, caramelized onions, baby wild arugula and coffee-spiked mayo. parkonfremont.com

The outdoor area at Carson Kitchen at 124 S. Sixth St. has expanded from the landscaped courtyard behind the restaurant to encompass the rooftop terrace as well. There you’ll find such dishes as bacon jam with havarti and a toasted baguette, or black rice and oxtail risotto with Parmesan cream. carsonkitchen.com

Esther’s Kitchen at 1130 S. Casino Center Blvd. has individual dining tents through June 1. The patio area is complete with turf, loungers and a fire pit. House-made pasta is a specialty, such as Mafalda Nero, with lobster, fennel, truffle and lemon. estherslv.com

Forte Tapas at 4180 S. Rainbow Blvd. has restyled its patio with a European vibe, designed to evoke a lounge on the Black Sea beaches of the chef/owner’s Bulgarian homeland. It serves dishes such as mini sweet peppers stuffed with seasoned ground pork topped with a yogurt-dill sauce. barforte.com

Green Valley Ranch Resort has introduced “The Backyard at Sundown” and Red Rock Resort has “Crimson in Bloom,” both of which take advantage of the resorts’ extensive landscaping, and which serve small bites and charcuterie. greenvalleyranch.com; redrockresort.com

And don’t forget restaurants that have long had the most scenic outdoor dining areas in the valley.

Marche Bacchus and Americana, both in the plaza at 2620 Regatta Drive, have serene views of Desert Shores’ Lake Jacqueline. Specialties include seared foie gras with lingonberry jam and brioche for the former, braised Colorado lamb shank with broccoli rabe and creamy truffled polenta for the latter. marchebacchus.com; americanalasvegas.com

Summerlin’s Vintner Grill at 10100 W. Charleston Blvd. has an elegant area with flower gardens and grapevines, illuminated Moroccan lanterns hanging from trees, two illuminated cabanas, gas lanterns, firepits and lighted candles on each linen-topped table. Bouillabaisse with mussels, clams, shrimp, snapper, calamari and scallops is one of the menu’s many offerings. vglasvegas.com

Hawthorn Grill and Jade Asian Kitchen & Noodles at the JW Marriott offer stellar views of the Resort at Summerlin’s Zen-evoking landscaping. The dinner menu at Hawthorn Grill includes braised beef short ribs with roasted root vegetables and sweet potato; Jade has sushi, teppanyaki and such standards as General Tso’s Chicken. marriott.com

Bouchon at The Venetian overlooks the pool at the resort’s Venezia Tower, with extensive trees and other plantings. Steak Bouchon, grilled eye of the rib and sauce Bearnaise with french fries, is one of the modern takes on French cuisine offered by award-winning chef Thomas Keller. thomaskeller.com

In Henderson, Kitchen Table at 1716 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway has a courtyard with cabanas and palm trees. Breakfast and lunch selections include Croque Madame. Also available is tableside preparation of dishes such as guacamole and omelets for parties of four or fewer by reservation with 24 hours notice. kitchentablelv.com

And Mimi and Coco Bistro in Montelago Village, which serves dishes such as Dover sole, rack of lamb and veal Provencal, has a shady patio overlooking Lake Las Vegas. mimicocorestaurant.com

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Sheldon Adelson, the late chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., which operates The Venetian.

Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at hrinella@reviewjournal.com. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

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