Our eyes widen when we see a photo of a beautiful destination from where we long to breathe the air. Our hearts smile when we experience a new location so stunning that no picture can do it justice. And when we reminisce on the memories that occurred in those places, our faces wear a glow filled with an infectious energy. There is a true joy that comes from traveling that most people can only understand if they’ve experienced it. Someone who wears that glow well is chef Bobby Flay when he gets into conversation about his yearly vacations to the Amalfi Coast. Being drawn into the heart of Italian coastal culture for the last 20 years, Flay has become inspired and enlightened by the people he has met and the food he has tasted. Flay talks to CELEB about his new restaurant Amalfi inside Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, which reflects his genuine passion for Italy.
Flay Loves Lunch At Lo Scoglio
The superstar chef takes a trip to the Amalfi Coast for two weeks every year. He shares, “the Amalfi Coast is a way of life, it’s a place that, I don’t work. I go there to kick back and let my body breathe for a second. I go to a small town called Nerano, between Positano and Capri. There’s a restaurant called Lo Scoglio that I’m just obsessed with.”
Lo Scoglio is a family run business that has a 200 year-old farm just up the hill where they get all of their fruits and vegetables. Flay spends three hours eating lunch at Lo Scoglio almost every day, taking in every flavor. “I just love them as people,” he gushes. “I look forward to eating lunch every day. And the woman who owns it, Antonia, says to me once, because I was there every day for lunch, ‘can I ask you a question?’ I say ‘sure.’ She asked ‘why is it that every day you order like it’s a wedding?’ And I respond, ‘because I want to eat everything you cook.’ He dives more into the details, “it’s like, you’re sitting on the sea, literally, and the local fishermen bring whatever they catch. Anotnia brings me into the kitchen and her brother’s a chef, his name is Tommaso de Simone, and he’s says, ‘what do you want to eat?’ And I pick a fish. It’s just an amazing way to enjoy your life.”
Inspiration That You Can Taste
“I’ve been inspired by certain dishes on the Amalfi Coast,” he says, reflecting on Amalfi’s menu.
“The dish I think about most is the spaghetti zucchine. I take spaghetti Nerano—with toasted zucchini and parmesan cheese—and I make a pesto out of shishitos and then I finish the pasta with it so it has a little bit of a bite.” The master chef is known for his passion for full-flavored fruit, motivating him to include it in these dishes. “I can find chili peppers anywhere in the world, whether it’s in Italy or Southwest or Mexico or wherever. I use a lot of Calabrian chilies in my food here. Things that have a little bit of a bite to them. When you’re eating it you know, there’s definitely a left turn of flavor,” Flay shares.
Guests will find a range of dishes on the menu from flavorful and light antipasti such as the Shellfish Fritto Misto with Meyer lemon aioli and pistachio pesto, and Charred Octopus with burnt orange and pancetta. There are also a rich selection of pasta dishes including Squid Ink Fettuccine with lobster, shrimp and Fra Diavolo sauce and, Scialatielli with scampi sauce and basil—another favorite of the chef.
The Big Debut Of Amalfi By Bobby Flay
This Amalfi Coast inspired restaurant will take you traveling across the world and have you leaving with the infectious glow you might’ve been daydreaming about. “Opening Amalfi at Caesars Palace has allowed me to showcase my passion for the Amalfi Coast and the fresh flavors the region is known for,” Flay says. “Our team has created an incredible experience that brings everything I love about the Amalfi Coast to the Las Vegas Strip, from the various seating areas to the coastal cocktails, to the fresh fish market to all the seasonal flavors we are showcasing on the menu.”
The centerpiece of the Amalfi experience is the fresh fish and seafood display, inspired by Amalfi’s coastal markets and staffed by a fishmonger, who is available to answer questions—from where the fish is from, when it arrived in Las Vegas and more. You can order a whole fish such as golden snapper, red snapper, black bass, branzino, Carabinero shrimp, among others. Then, the selection is prepared—grilled over charcoal or roasted al forno and served with the choices of Meyer lemon and capers, red pepper and Calabrian chile pesto or salsa verde.
The interior design of Amalfi is timeless. It immediately takes you to the Mediterranean with it’s natural tones and touches of greenery. It has four unique yet cohesive spaces that emphasize on the most special elements of this destination.
On June 18, to commemorate the debut, Flay was joined by Sean McBurney, regional president of Caesars Entertainment, as well as Caesars’ CEO Tom Reeg and president and COO Anthony Carano, and business partner Laurence Kretchmer as they toasted with Amalfi Spritzes.
Amalfi is in the former location of Flay’s legendary restaurant Mesa Grill. Flay says, “Mesa Grill had an amazing run for 16 years. As busy as it was on the first day, it was on the last. But, you know, my partners here at Caesars were like, ‘do you want to do something different?’ I was like, ‘sure.’ You know, my passion for the last 20 years has been Italy, personally. But I’ve never had an Italian restaurant. To be able to bring my passion to life, in a place like this, is really a blessing.”
Additional Reporting by Melinda Sheckells