Best Restaurants Rancho Mirage
Credit: Nathan Cox

6 Iconic Dishes You Need to Try at Wally’s Desert Turtle in Rancho Mirage

From Roasted Rack of Lamb to Light and Puffy Soufflés, These Dishes Will Make Your Mouth Water

Known for its swaying palms and panoramic mountain views, Rancho Mirage is one of Southern California’s most coveted destinations. With a plethora of stunning resorts, world-class golf courses and luxurious dining experiences, it’s easy to see why. But in this sea of desert delights, one iconic restaurant stands out from the crowd: Wally’s Desert Turtle.

Debuting in 1978, founder Wally Botello set his sights on bringing an innovative yet nostalgic fine-dining experience to the Coachella Valley, and more than 40 years later, that vision stands true. From the moment guests are seated within their spacious and opulent dining room, visages of the desert’s iconic history and rich flora and fauna fill their senses, letting patrons know that they are in for a treat. But the flurry of decadent, gourmet dishes that are whisked from kitchen to table are ultimately what define Wally’s. So grab a fork and prepare to dig into the six iconic dishes at one of the best restaurants in Rancho Mirage.

 

1 | Sauteed Imported Dover Sole

One of the signature creations of Wally’s original head chef, Jean-Louis Jalouneix, the dover sole is nothing short of amazing. Sauteed in either a buttery lemon meunière sauce or a warm and nutty amandine and served with a choice of seasonal roasted vegetables or Wally’s creamy mashed potatoes, the sole encapsulates the soul—pun intended—of this iconic restaurant, bringing harmony between land and sea by achieving the seemingly impossible: serving fresh, melt-in-your-mouth fish in the heart of the desert. The subtle blend of fresh herbs and lemon with the richness of classic French sauces and preparation make this dish a one-of-a-kind marvel that can only be experienced at Wally’s Desert Turtle.

 

2 | Wally’s Soufflés

Of course, no experience of French cuisine would be complete without a warm and fluffy selection of authentic, artisanal soufflés—Wally’s are nothing short of exceptional. Offering a wide selection of flavors, including everything from bright and fruity bananas Foster to dark and rich Grand Marnier, the soufflés at Wally’s are one of the most popular desserts in the entire Greater Palm Springs area, with visitors coming from far and wide to get a taste of French culinary excellence. Handmade, baked until fluffy and golden and dusted with a light coating of powdered sugar, each soufflé is a work of art that dazzles even the most discerning of palates, making it the perfect treat for those cold winter nights in the desert.

 

3 | Escargots of Burgundy

Best Restaurants Rancho Mirage
Credit: Nathan Cox

Another staple on any French menu, nothing brings together that coveted blend of authenticity and innovation quite like the escargot at Wally’s Desert Turtle. Prepared and served classically in the shell, the escargot are bathed in a rich blend of butter, garlic and fresh herbs that gives it a rich and decadent flavor while still remaining bright and herbaceous. Pair it with an oaky chardonnay and you have a duo that is sure to send taste buds soaring. If you are among the many patrons who have never delved into this delicacy before, Wally’s is an introduction that surely will not disappoint. 

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4 | Wild Mushroom Soup

Credit: Nathan Cox

If you’ve ever spoken to a long-time patron of Wally’s, they will tell you all about the incredible creation that is their wild mushroom soup. Harnessing the comforting power of velouté—one of France’s “mother sauces”—the wild mushroom soup utilizes an assortment of porcini, shiitake and oyster mushrooms to create a soup bursting with rich umami flavor. The bone broth base pairs perfectly with the fragrant and rich mushroom medley to bring warmth and comfort to guests, making this the perfect pre-entree introduction to the decadent and inventive dishes served at Wally’s.

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5 | Superior Farm Roasted Domestic Rack of Lamb

Once you’ve satisfied your initial cravings with some escargot and soup, it’s time to dig-into the incredible array of entrees served at Wally’s. While there are many that stand out, none quite compare to their famous roasted rack of lamb. Sourced locally from the heart of California, Superior Farm provides Wally’s with a sustainably sourced lamb, acting as the perfect, tender base for this incredible entree. From there, the rack is roasted to perfection and served with a rich eggplant caponata, adding a bit of Sicilian flair to complement the gorgeous protein selection. Pair it with sangiovese to round out the French-Italian culinary innovation and you have an entree that will capture the essence of innovation that is at the heart of Wally’s menu.

 

6 | Catelli’s Farm Classic Calves Liver

Best Restaurants Rancho Mirage
Credit: Nathan Cox

If lamb doesn’t tickle your fancy, then the other entree we’d be remiss not to highlight would be the ever-popular Catelli’s Farm Classic Calves Liver. Tender, juicy and deliciously rich, this unique delicacy is served with a bright sherry gastrique that brings out all the umami flavor of the dish while also adding a sweet yet subtle flair to the entree. Topped with applewood-smoked bacon to round out the salty and savory elements of the plate and served with caramelized onions and mashed potatoes, the liver, while daunting to some, is a dish that is crafted with precision and care at Wally’s—the rave reviews from those who have indulged say it all.

Wally’s Desert Turtle
71775 Hwy 111
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
760.568.9321
@wallysdesertturtle

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