Italian Smackdown – SIRIO v. CIRCO

The question needs to be asked: Which is the better Italian restaurant: Circo or Sirio?

The answer is: It depends.

If it’s top flight Italian cheeses and salumi you’re after, Sirio gets the nod. Lamb chops have you licking your chops? Then you won’t find better ones than Chef Vincenzo Scarmiglia’s Pecorino Romano crusted loin ones at Sirio.

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Do all things soupy and seafood-y get you salivating? Then Circo Chef Michael Vitangeli probably gets the nod for his elegant compositions of branzino and various summer fish concoctions.

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Pastas are a dead heat…although we might have had the most perfect risotto of our lives at Circo last month.

Desserts? Circo reigns supreme over all other Italians in town…mainly because they’re all French…although Sirio seems to be improving its sweets with every visit.

Both wine lists are excellent, but again, Circo’s has a certain breadth and depth that can only be acquired after thirteen years in business, while prices are a tad less at its fratellino down the street.

Sirio deserves props for its casual cafe, while there’s no denying the playful, colorful elegance of Adam Tihany’s Circo design — which recently received a subtle-but-effective facelift. ELV thinks if he were going to propose to someone,* there would hardly be a better table in town than by one of Circo’s windows, but if a group of friends wanted to indulge in an Italian food bacchanalia, sitting beside the salumi/cheese counter of Sirio would be his first choice.

Service at both is excellent…even if you’re not ELV.**

Sirio seems more meaty and Circo feels more fishy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a transporting experience by venturing into the other’s realm.

In other words, it’s a toss up. So, as a tiebreaker, we decided to compare the hotness of the respective sommeliers.*** The Food Gal® voted for M.S. William Moss at Circo whilst ELV prefers Kathleen Thomas at Sirio (remember, we’re talking concupiscence here, not wine knowledge).

Guess whose website this is?

Sirio wins by a culatello slice!

The last time ELV paid for a meal in a Sirio Maccioni restaurant, Bill Clinton was President….so bribery played no part in this evaluation.


In the Aria Hotel and Casino

3730 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89109



In the Bellagio Hotel and Casino

3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89109-4303



* When pigs fly.

** Many an undercover diner has raved to ELV about the service at both establishments.

*** Eating Las Vegas uses nothing but the most advanced, objective and scientific methods when rating restaurants.

3 thoughts on “Italian Smackdown – SIRIO v. CIRCO

  1. JC we love Circo, I took a group of very good customers there 8 or more years ago during a convention. Been there at least 20 time since and never has the food not been outstanding along with the service and the wine recommendations.

    My bride and I go there often on Sunday evenings when our weekend guest have gone home. We almost always get a table by the window and it is quite romantic eating and drinking fine food & wine looking out at the fountains. Steverino really built a great fu$%^&g place in 98!!!

    Have one more comment about Italian since spending 3 weeks there in June. Went to Parma last night for the first time. Damn John we had an absolutely great time. Chef Marc took care of us personally, very good food, great $50 Chinati and the Prosciutto on the antipasti platter was the best I have had in the city, better than Carnivinos! The Gnocci with the truffle cream was the best I have had anywhere including Italy.

    Keep up the great coverage, BTW it is a lot of work following you around to all these places but but I don’t mind this kind of work.


  2. If you don’t have taste buds or don’t like food with any flavor then this is your spot. I went here with my wife for our anniversary. It was a friday night and the place was nearly a 1/3 full @7PM. That should have been our first sign that something was up with this place, but we decided to proceed with our meal. For appetizers my wife ordered the beef carpaccio with red pepper coulis, arugula and parmesan. I had the smoked swordfish carpaccio with frisee, and pistachios. The greens on our apps came out undressed, no olive oil, vinaigrette or and kind of dressing, forbidding the dish’s true potential from being displayed. On my app all I could taste was the smoked fish, over powering everything else on the plate. The pistachios were unrecognizable (almost powdered-like) and the dish just felt/tasted incomplete and amateurish. 

    Entrees my wife had the Dover Sole with cauliflower and mashed potatoes. I ordered the rack of lamb with pistachio crust. The Dover sole was presented and de-boned table side which is always a treat. She liked the fish but I thought it was overcooked since it didn’t melt in your mouth and became ever more noticeable when I tried it without the sauce. The cauliflower and mashed potatoes were appalling.. Down right nasty and shocking that a place charging $$$ for food would serve such garbage. The potatoes were cooked and lightly mashed, then mixed with a little bit of pine nuts and garnished with micro greens. Not one hint of butter, salt or pepper. Definition BLAND, want-to-throw-it-in-the-chefs-face-disgusting! The cauliflower tasted like it had been blanched in unseasoned water and had as much flavor as the potatoes and probably my napkin.

    My lamb chops were also inexcusable and completely fowl. There was so much fat left on the chops that I honestly never had a single bite of the meat with the crust. Easy 50/50 ratio of fat left on the chops. The semolina gnocchi were also disgusting and midway through my entree I stopped because I felt like I was going to be sick. 

    Our meal was graciously taken care of through a friend who works at the hotel, and when our entrees were cleared we immediately asked for the check. The server asked if we would like any dessert, but since how horrible our meal had gone we decided gellatto from JP would be the best choice. The staff mentioned that our friend picked up the bill and asked if we wanted to change our minds. We declined their offer and exited that grotesque shit hole. 

    As for the service, we had about 4 waiters. Never knew which one was our main waiter and they did a horrible job presenting and selling the items on the menu. Only one of them had a personality and we thanked him for his humor as being the best part of our meal. We tried to remain as polite as possible since our meal was free, and left without mentioning anything to the gm or chef. I wish we could have, but I didn’t want our friend to think we were ungrateful and receive any word of our unhappiness.

    Sirio is shocking! Shockingly BAD!! I never knew or could conjure up, that a restaurant on the strip on a Friday night could fuck food up as bad as this place. The feeling was reaffirmed the next morning which I spent praying to the porcelain god and pondering vegetarianism. I wouldn’t wish our meal on my worst enemy. This place could seriously be on the next season of restaurant nightmares.

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