Bringing the Best in Hospitality to Las Vegas

By Cyndi Graham

The vibes exuded when walking into Ada’s show guests that it will be not only good, but crazy good. Inviting and friendly with a laid-back feel, the cozy atmosphere makes diners want to hang out longer than usual. It was clear that thought was put into every detail of the restaurant. Even the paint color that adorns the sign is an ecopaint consistent with the rest of Ada’s called Kind Green.

The restaurant is managed by the lovely Sonia Stelea, who spent much of her career in the high-end restaurants of Chicago and San Francisco. A leap of faith brought her to Las Vegas, and a two-hour interview with Chef James Trees led to her opening and running the bar program at Esther’s Kitchen. There she was given the opportunity to flex her creative muscles, making the cocktails a central part of the experience at the Arts District Italian restaurant. While larger cities are still dominated by men, Las Vegas is ahead of the curve when it comes to female bartenders.

“We all agreed that having a stronger, more balanced presence with women is what we needed,” says Stelea. “We are very mindful to hire women, because I have seen people struggle. I feel very supported here.”

Given the opportunity to run this sequel to Chef Trees’ runaway hit restaurant, Stelea was encouraged to build a strong female presence at Ada’s. That begins with the celebrated namesake of the restaurant, Ada Coleman. “Coley,” as her customers nicknamed her, was a master mixologist who mixed her first Manhattan in 1899 and soon after became head bartender at The Savoy in London in 1903. Coley left her legacy as the original creator of the “Hanky Panky” cocktail that tops Ada’s cocktail menu list.

It is hard to resist a cocktail from the gin cart, which offers tableside spirit-forward cocktails, a treat you will not want to miss. The idea behind the gin cart cocktails at Ada’s is to enhance each individual gin’s elements.

“People have a certain idea of what spirits taste like,” says Stelea. “The reality is, advancements have been made and you have very creative people making spirits. The hard job of crafting a great gin is done for us, with a wide range of flavors.” The brilliance of Ada’s creative cocktails may make you wonder if you are even drinking liquor, because the cocktails are created to let the natural flavors of each individual gin shine.

As for the food, every dish will not just be enjoyed, but devoured, filled with unique flavors. Special attention was given to the creative pizza menu. Popular choices include the foie gras pizza, topped with duck confit, pistachio butter, truffle cheese and jam and the market salad, featuring peaches, hazelnuts, ricotta and mustards, that you cannot leave without trying. It may be a favorite salad you’ll find yourself craving.

For dessert, you will be hard pressed to only pick three of the ice cream flavors for the triple scoop, but be sure to indulge with a sample of the flavors that Best Ice Cream offers at the artisan ice cream counter inside Ada’s.

Stelea attributes the atmosphere in Ada’s to “the genuine personalities and humanity in the team,” she says. “There was a huge emphasis on ‘team mentality’ when we hired. It’s people being good people.” It’s easy to feel that care was put into making Ada’s be the kind of restaurant that attracts good vibes.

410 S. Rampart Blvd, #120