Patio dining at La Spiga in Palm Desert Our recent dining experience at La Spiga Ristorante Italiano started with an email from one of my clients. “You always do such a nice job reviewing local restaurants and I am interested in your opinion about La Spiga Ristorante Italiano in Palm Desert,” Julie wrote.

The truth is, my husband, Bill, and I stopped in one evening a couple of years ago when driving by. La Spiga was packed and - without having made a reservation (highly recommended!) - we went elsewhere and frankly forgot about coming back. You see, La Spiga is a hidden gem that’s tucked away from highway 111 in Palm Desert and, in our case, it became one of those “out of sight out of mind” cases.

Wonderful Patio Dining

Thank you, Julie, for jogging our memory. We simply loved La Spiga! La Spiga is a Tuscan-style villa that’s surrounded by rose gardens, herb beds and fruit trees. The patio wraps around the entire building, offering a lovely view of the nearby mountains. We highly recommend that you enjoy La Spiga’s patio (or deck as some refer to it) to maximize your dining experience.  Last night, most of the diners were, indeed, taking advantage of the lovely outdoor dining opportunity.

Our server, Aubrey, was fairly new to La Spiga, having been there just two months. But we could tell she was very well trained. It is indeed rare in this day and age for a restaurant to actually invest the time and effort to thoroughly train their wait staff.  Aubrey’s service was spot-on and friendly.

Calamari Worth Going Back For

For starters I ordered Calamari Fritti. It was crispy and served on a bed of marinated, julienned cucumbers, with a green tomatillo reduction. Bill and I agreed that this was one of, if not the best, calamari dishes we’ve ever tasted.  The calamari was prepared perfectly. It was not oily or greasy, nor was it chewy. What really set this dish apart, though, was the chef’s use of cucumbers and reduction sauce. Aubrey suggested that we take the chef’s recommendation and mix the elements with the calamari. In one word, superb!

Bill’s chose the artichoke with mascarpone soup of the day for his appetizer. The flavor blends were perfect and, frankly, we passed our starters back and forth between each other several times since they were both delicious.

Bring On The Pasta!

For his main course Bill choose the Pappardelle Con Ragu Di Buffalo. This entrée featured pappardelle pasta with Bolognese style in house-ground buffalo tenderloin with red wine reduction. Bill likes the health aspects of buffalo compared to beef, and this dish, again, was enjoyed from start to finish. A real highlight was having leftovers for lunch the next day!

Bing partial to seafood I choose the Risotto Al Pescatore. This dish featured an abundance of seasonal seafood with just the right amount of tomato sauce. Perfection for me personally would have been just a bit more risotto, but the abundance of seafood and wonderful flavors more than made up for it.

I think you’ll agree that La Spiga’s wine list offers a wide selection of wines across a wide array of prices.  Enjoy a glass with your Italian dinner or, better yet, share a bottle around the table; you won’t be disappointed!

In summary, the atmosphere and service at LaSpiga’s was top notch.  We will definitely be returning to La Spiga several times during the season. 

Chef owner Vince Cultraro and his wife/hostess Connie Cultraro, can certainly be proud of La Spiga.
La Spiga Ristorante Italiano is located at 72-557 Hwy 111 in Palm Desert. (760) 340-9318.

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