Credit: Nathan Cox
Credit: Nathan Cox

9 Italian Restaurants in the Coachella Valley for Your Fix of Pizza and Pasta

These Local Hotspots Serve Up a True Taste of Italy

After a weekend of rock climbing, stargazing and appreciating everything the desert has to offer, you and the crew will be hankering for something carby and delicious. Luckily, you’ll find a plethora of amazing restaurants in the area, and if there’s one thing these restaurants do well, it’s authentic Italian cuisine. We’re talking perfectly crafted hand-pulled pasta noodles and food reminiscent of your time abroad in Sicily. Palm Springs has become quite the culinary destination as of late, so make sure you carve out some time to indulge at the best Italian restaurants in between your desert excursions!

 

Ristorante Mamma Gina

Credit: Nathan Cox

A historic eatery in the heart of Palm Desert, Ristorante Mamma Gina has been serving local desert patrons since 1986. This Florence-inspired restaurant sits in a prime location: tucked within the Gardens on El Paseo and its host of name-brand stores, making Mamma Gina the perfect place for dinner after an afternoon of shopping. Here, diners will find authentic Florentine cuisine with a modern twist. Most of the menu showcases dishes made with recipes from the original Mamma Gina, such as the caprese salad, made with heirloom tomatoes, burrata cheese and their housemade balsamic dressing. Other favorites include the Fettuccine alla Mamma Gina, made with homemade fettuccine and wild porcini mushroom sauce imported from Italy. They also have one of the best happy hours in the desert, which can now be enjoyed seven days a week from 4 p.m. to close. They even have filet mignon on the HH menu!

 

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Local Insight: To view Ristorante Mamma Gina’s full dinner menu, click here.

Location: Palm Desert

 

Birba

Birba is the ideal place to dine for a laid-back, alfresco dinner. Now open for over a decade, Birba serves up craft cocktails, homemade pizza and pasta. Ingredients are sourced from farms right in Coachella Valley, so everything is as fresh as can be. Each month, Birba picks a local charity that aligns with their values and creates a special pie; 100% of the proceeds from that pizza goes toward the cause. October’s charity pie is made with bechamel, fontina, gorgonzola, pear, arugula, white onion and a drizzle of honey.

Location: Palm Springs

 

Trilussa Ristorante

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Find all your favorite Italian dishes at Trilussa, a lively restaurant in Cathedral City with offerings like chicken piccata, veal cacciatore and lasagna Bolognese. Locals rave about their olive tapenade–and for good reason. They have a daily happy hour from 4-7 p.m., where you can order dishes like tortellini carbonara, minestrone soup, beef carpaccio and pollo parmigiana at a discount! Make sure you order one of their specialty cocktails, which are only $9 during happy hour. You can’t go wrong with the Coachella Mule, made with Tito’s, limoncello, agave and ginger beer.

Location: Cathedral City

 

Enzo’s Bistro and Bar

You can get more than just Italian food at Enzo’s Bistro and Bar—you can even play one of Italy’s most well-known sports: bocce ball! Get a game in at the outdoor bocce ball court or hang out by the fire pits before your meal. Enzo’s romaine wedge salad, made with a balsamic vinaigrette, marinated olives, crisp pancetta, Roma tomatoes and crumbled gorgonzola, is not to be missed. Neither is their Melanzana parmigiana stack, which is made with sauteed eggplant rounds and layered with pomodoro, ricotta, mozzarella, parmigiana Reggiano and fresh basil. 

Locations: Rancho Mirage, La Quinta

 

Pinzimini

Credit: Greater Palm Springs CVB

Located in the Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort & Spa, Pinzimini serves modern Tuscan-style dishes and shareables like pizza, paninis and antipasti all day long. You can dine fireside or come early for breakfast, which is helmed by James Beard-honored Executive Chef Joel Delmond. If you do stop by in the a.m., you’ll have to order their mascarpone and berry French toast. For lunch and dinner, the shrimp scampi linguine and the pork shoulder with chestnut mash are some of the most popular dishes. They also offer a wide selection of cocktails as well as cognac, scotch and bourbon.

Location: Rancho Mirage

 

Giuseppe’s Pizzeria

Credit: Hashtagz Media

For hearty Italian without the hefty price tag, Giuseppe’s is your best bet. This cozy, no-frills family-owned establishment is perhaps best known for their hand-tossed pan pizzas and Chicago-style deep dish. For some ultimate Italian comfort food, you can’t go wrong with an order of their garlic cheesy bread, served with a generous heaping of their housemade marinara sauce. Pizza possibilities here are almost infinite—you can build your own or go for a specialty pie. They also have a full bar, so you can grab a local craft brew or glass of wine to complement your meal. 

Location: Palm Springs

 

Riccio’s Steak & Seafood

Riccio’s has been serving Italian cuisine in Palm Springs for over 30 years. If you’re a casual diner, the patio has a great view of downtown Palm Springs, whereas the interior is a little more elegant and cozy. They do seafood well too, so you can’t go wrong with the cioppino or paella. Riccio’s also has a huge variety of martinis for you to choose from, such as the Limoncello Tini and Bellini Tini. They even have a Lobster Martini, made with Maine lobster, mango chunks and mango rum.

Location: Palm Springs

 

Il Corso

For fine Italian dining, look no further than Il Corso. This restaurant has a gorgeous modern design that’ll transport you straight to a Sicilian villa as you sip on fine wines, Italian-style martinis and decadent dishes. The grilled lamb chop, served with roasted potatoes and spinach, is one of their most-ordered plates, but their pizzas, which are made in a gourmet wood-fired oven, are also rave-worthy. Psst—if you order takeout, they’ll throw in a panna cotta on the house with a Yelp check-in! 

Location: Palm Desert

Sammy G’s Tuscan Grill

Credit: @Pavloom

Ideally situated in downtown Palm Springs, Sammy G’s merges traditional Italian cuisine with California flair. You’ll be greeted with the scent of fresh tomato sauce and aromatic cheese as soon as you step inside. The wild mushroom ravioli is one of their most popular dishes, made with sauteed mushrooms and a rich marsala cream sauce. The Tuscan pizza is also worth ordering, consisting of cauliflower crust, artichoke hearts, Daiya vegan cheese, cherry tomatoes and zucchini. Thursday through Saturday nights are the best times to visit–that’s when the lounge becomes alive with live music and dancing. 

Location: Palm Springs

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