Renowned Chef Julian Serrano Bids Adieu to Iconic Las Vegas Restaurant Picasso After 25 Glorious Years


In an evocative admission of the immutable passage of time, celebrated chef Julian Serrano has announced the closing of his venerable Las Vegas dining destination, Picasso, located within the hallowed halls of the Bellagio. Following an illustrious 25-year tenure, the closure comes as part of a nuanced shift towards retirement for the culinary luminary. This melancholy announcement came via a press statement from MGM Resorts, sparking nostalgia among loyal patrons and food connoisseurs alike.

Serrano, a distinguished victor of the coveted James Beard Award, took home the title of Best Chef Pacific in 1998 and Best Chef Southwest in 2002. Additional changes now see the seasoned chef stepping back from the heat of Bellagio’s Lago kitchen, where he previously played the role of maestro.

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In a heartfelt expression of gratitude, Serrano expressed his appreciation towards the MGM Resorts’ team. “I want to thank the team at MGM Resorts, who I have collaborated with over these 25 years to create something truly special at Picasso,” he shared. Ensuring his culinary legacy continues, Serrano affirmed his ongoing involvement at Julian Serrano Tapas at Aria, where he “remains at the helm”.

Under Serrano’s skilled hand, Picasso blossomed into a gastronomic beacon since its opening in 1998. The restaurant was notably the first in Las Vegas to be nominated by James Beard for the Best New Restaurant award. Drawing further acclaim, Picasso was among the early Nevada honorees of the Forbes Five-Star Award, and a scarce few within Las Vegas were adorned with two Michelin stars.

As one era draws to a close, a new chapter is set to commence. Enter stage, celebrated Spanish chef José Andrés. He recently publicized his plans to open his fifth Las Vegas Strip restaurant at The Shops at Crystals in Aria Campus this summer, aptly named Bazaar Mar. Personalizing its profile, the new restaurant promises Spanish-inspired seafood and tapas.

This new endeavor is not Andrés’ first foray into the culinary kraal of Las Vegas. The renowned chef kick-started his journey by opening Jaleo, China Poblano, and é by José Andrés simultaneously at the Cosmopolitan in 2010, followed by Bazaar Meat at the Sahara in 2014. Additionally, he intends to unveil a sixth venture soon at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.

Various eateries across Las Vegas are anticipating a flurry of activity, including the reopening of Lotus of Siam, a popular Thai cuisine restaurant, and the introduction of Southern Style Eatery Louisiana, a soul-food venture helmed by Chef Fred Howard. Meanwhile, California Noodle House is now serving up meals downtown and Tex Mex, located on the proposed site of the Tilman Fertitta casino resort, is slated for demolition. Finally, China Mama is preparing to open a new location, while health authorities have temporarily closed the Jamaican VYBZ Bar & Grill due to a significant number of demerits.