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A New Taste of Italy at SAHARA Las Vegas

The highly anticipated Balla Italian Soul has officially opened.

Balla Italian Soul Brings New Italian Flavors to Las Vegas

There’s a new spot for Italian dining at SAHARA Las Vegas, and it comes with some serious pedigree. Balla Italian Soul is the latest restaurant to open at the hotel, and it’s helmed by James Beard Award Winner Chef Shawn McClain.

“Opening another restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip is a dream, and we are so honored to be part of the iconic and reimagined property that is SAHARA Las Vegas!” McClain told us. “Balla Italian Soul is located right off the Las Vegas Strip, open and inviting to the casino floor—making the perfect spot for guests to pop in for a bite or cocktail.” 

Chef Shawn McClain at Balla Italian Soul Las Vegas | WHERE Traveler®
Chef Shawn McClain at Balla Italian Soul (Courtesy SAHARA Las Vegas)

The Menu

“At Balla, our menu embraces the lighter side of Italian Cuisine. We focus on in-season vegetable dishes, handmade pastas and pizzas, and preparations that honor purity of great seafood,” McClain said of the restaurant’s delectable menu. “With freshness, quality and flavor—we believe ‘Italians Do It Bitter’—and have a carefully curated bar program that incorporates classics, including signature Negronis and Spritzes, along with an Italian-forward wines-by-the-glass list and selection of domestic and Italian beers.”

The menu at Balla Italian Soul features both savory and sweet items that will tantalize your taste buds. Menu highlights include Lamb Tartare, Squid Ink Shells and Pork Delmonico. For those with a sweet tooth, there are decadent desserts like Bombolini and Panna Cotta. No matter what you’re in the mood for, Balla Italian Soul has something for everyone. 

Balla Italian Soul Menu Selection Las Vegas | WHERE Traveler®
Balla Italian Soul Menu Selection (©Bronson Loftin)

“Guests can expect a rotating assortment of dishes when they visit Balla since our dishes focus so heavily on seasonal preparations,” McClain told us. “We created the menu with ingredients top-of-mind, bringing a unique twist to the classic dishes guests know and love.”

In addition to creating a menu with unique flavors and traditional items, McClain also has numerous favorites of his own. “There are so many to choose from! Some favorites are the Shellfish Toast with clams, mussels, calamari and n’duja sausage; the Squid Ink Shells with puttanesca, mint and squid; the Whole Roasted Seabream with lemon, capers and wild greens; and the Baked Lumache with gorgonzola and fontina; and Tiramisu for dessert. As far as cocktails, I love the Bella Paola with Hendricks Gin, Carpano Blanco, Grenadine, Lemon and Lavender Syrup.” 

Balla Italian Soul Spread Las Vegas | WHERE Traveler®
Balla Italian Soul Spread (©Bronson Loftin)

The Atmosphere

In addition to the delicious food, Balla Italian Soul also boasts a gorgeous setting. The restaurant is located on the casino floor of SAHARA Las Vegas, so you can enjoy stunning views of the Las Vegas Strip while you dine. The space has been designed to evoke the feeling of a chic Italian trattoria, with an open kitchen, warm lighting and cozy booths.

“Designed by Las Vegas’ innovativo design, Balla Italian Soul is light, bright, and ready to celebrate,” McClain said of the space. “A glass charcuterie station welcomes diners into the classically-styled bar area. The bricked ceiling, reminiscent of Roman wine cellars, frames showpiece brass light fixtures. Wood and brass fixtures follow diners back to the main dining area, anchored by lit olive trees and Italian photography. Balla Italian Soul sits directly on the Las Vegas Strip, with seating for 120 diners. Balla’s private dining room seats 12.”

Balla Italian Soul Dining Room Las Vegas | WHERE Traveler®
Balla Italian Soul Dining Room (Courtesy SAHARA Las Vegas)

“The entire Balla menu feels like an ode to Southern Italy. My family lived in Sicily and Spain, and my parents had a deep appreciation for European and Southern Italian culture that was ingrained into my childhood. It’s something that’s always been a part of my family and translates into the way we approach Balla – focusing on the southern style of cooking – lighter, brighter, fresher,” McClain told us. Whether you’re looking for a romantic dinner for two or a night out with friends, Balla Italian Soul is the perfect place to indulge in some truly fantastic Italian cuisine. 

Bar at Balla Italian Soul Las Vegas | WHERE Traveler®
Bar at Balla Italian Soul (Courtesy SAHARA Las Vegas)