Giada De Laurentiis on her new restaurant: I've had a lot to learn

Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis' restaurant opened in Las Vegas Tuesday.

Located in The Cromwell hotel overlooking The Strip, her namesake restaurant, Giada, is the hottest ticket in town.

"It's all a learning experience, especially since it's my first restaurant, and I've had a lot to learn."

But the TV chef turned restaurateur said launching her first restaurant wasn't easy.

"It's been a labor of love, and sometimes more labor than love," De Laurentiis told "I don't have any other restaurants so it's my very first baby and like any person might know, their first child is very special to them and so this place is very near and dear to me."

The menu features De Laurentiis' signature Italian-style cooking, with dishes like a seven-ounce filet with salsa verde and crispy polenta ($42) and a whole roasted chicken for two ($55). There's also an antipasto and pizzetta bar and, of course, pasta. The pasta dishes are spelled out phonetically, a nod to De Laurentiis' famous Italian pronunciations.

"I've become known for my phonetic ability to really say Italian words a certain way and people have really fallen in love with that, so I thought it would be something unique to have on the menu," De Laurentiis said. "I really wanted a takeaway, I do that in my shows, and I wanted to basically do the same thing in my restaurant."

The launch of Giada has hit some snags, including delays in opening and the recent firing of executive chef Arturo Moscoso just two weeks before opening.

"It was hard for me to find someone that could kind of take my vision and execute it," De Laurentiis said. "So we switched executive chefs and now I'm extremely happy with who I have."

Kurtess Mortensen, a veteran chef who oversees restaurants at the Flamingo, The Cromwell and the Quad, is the interim chef while she looks for a new one.

"It's all a learning experience, especially since it's my first restaurant, and I've had a lot to learn," she said.

De Laurentiis said she's especially pleased with the space at The Cromwell, which only recently reopened its doors in May 2014 as a luxury boutique hotel on The Strip, saying it has a "homey feel."

"It was an opportunity of a lifetime to build out the space I've always dreamed of having with an unbelievable view of the Strip and the Bellagio fountains," De Laurentiis said. "I think that everybody has a preconceived notion as to what they’re going to see and when you see the amazement on people’s faces and the excitement - that to me is everything."