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Il Giardino – A Hidden Gem

Handmade pasta and ravioli

Eat Like an Italian

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If you like Italian food, Il Giardino Palm Springs is the real thing. This Palm Springs Italian restaurant is located at 333 Indian Canyon, which doesn’t get the same foot traffic as central Palm Canyon, so you might miss it.  We advise you not to! The food is fresh, like what you would get at an Italian Mama or Grandmama’s home. It’s amazing authentic Italian cuisine right here in Palm Springs.

Owners Rosario Cultaro and his wife, Chef Teresa Attardi, are from Novara, a city in Northern Italy near Milan. However, they were originally born is Sicily, a southern Italian.

Chef Teresa Il Giardino

Let’s Talk Food

The menu brings all original family recipes to the kitchen. Chef Teresa learned to cook from her aunt, making traditional home-style Sicilian food. Because Sicily is close to the sea, many dishes feature seafood and pasta like ravioli. All very simple and healthy. Because they also lived in the north, she mixes in regional northern dishes like the risottos and polenta.

It’s the little things that can count. Novara is famous for gorgonzola, so the owners still order their cheese from their cousin in Italy.

When you look at an Italian menu, you’ll see it’s divided into several sections, one for each course. You don’t have to order every single course, but the general rule of thumb is to order at least two (and you can split one of them). So a couple, for example, might share one antipasti, order individual primi, and then share a secondi. The wonderful thing is it’s not in a straightjacket of starter, main course, and dessert like most restaurants.

Antipasti

Antipasti are a colorful and delicious way to set the stage for a coming feast. It basically means before the meal. There is a variety of choices to begin and get your appetite working.

Try the Polpette Al Sugo is beef and pork meatballs in a tomato sauce.  It is a classic Italian recipe and often made on Sunday with the family.  You can pair it with homemade focaccia bread topped with chopped tomato, basil and garlic. Or there’s the ciabatta garlic bread with mozzarella cheese.

For the vegetarian, order the oven baked eggplant roll filled with capellini pasta, mozzarella, and tomato basil.

il giardino meatballs in tomato sauce

Insalate

Enjoy authentic Italian salads at Il Giardino.

The burrata cheese with grilled tomato, red and golden beets, EVOO, and a drizzle of Modena balsamic is delicious. The La Caprese salad is also a favorite with fresh Fior di Latte (“the flower of the milk”) mozzarella, tomato, fresh basil, EVOO, and a splash of balsamic. Be sure to pair all those wonderful ingredients in one bite. Remember you can also share a salad.

il giardino Italian caprese salad

Primi

Primi is your first dish and is usually includes a selection of pastas. It’s generally a smaller portion than a traditional American size entrée. Don’t hesitate to ask your waiter for a recommendation about to eat.

This Palm Springs Italian restaurant makes all their sauces in-house. The Ravioli Della Nonna (grandmother) is a homemade ricotta filled ravioli with ragu of ground beef and pork. The recipe is from the owners grandmother, thus the name. The Cannelloni Florentina is oven baked thin rolled house-made pasta filled with spinach, a mixture of ground beef and pork, ricotta cheese, tomato sauce and béchamel.

For the vegetarian, order the potato gnocchi serves with homemade tomato sauce and mozzarella. There’s also angel hair pasta in a tomato sauce with cappers, Kalamata olives and wine. Feel free to ask your waiter for other option not on the menu.

il giardino ravioli

Their salsiccia, or house-made sausage used in the recipes, is a mix of  Sicilian and Northern together. The salsiccia is the family recipe from Sicily and Chef adds cream as they do in Novara, a Northern Italian city they lived for 24 years. Taste this when ordering the Penne Crema E Salsiccia Della Casa. It penne pasta with the salsiccia house-made sausage, cream sauce, mushrooms and grana padano cheese. This cheese has a similar taste to parmesan, but isn’t as crumbly.

There’s always the classic lasagna, which is a house favorite.

il giardino classic lasagna

Secondi

This is the meat, fish or vegetable main dish. Choices a Il Giardino include sea bass, veal, New Zealand lamb, salmon, chicken, shrimp and steak.

The Branzino Al Forno is a popular crispy and tasty baked sea bass, in a fresh lemon sauce.  The Cotoletta Di Pollo Valdostana is a chicken cutlet encrusted in breadcrumbs and baked in the oven served with tomato sauce, bacon and homemade spaghetti with pesto. Other choices include filet mignon, veal scaloppini piccata, baked salmon and sautéed shrimp with cheese tortellini.

il giardino sauted shrimp
Sautéed shrimp, lightly spicy sauce, cheese tortellini

Italian Dessert

A special mini off menu and special dessert are served every week. Owner and Chef Teresa makes tiramisu, a coffee and custard dessert.

tiramisu at il giardino

Or try the cannoli with ricotta cream stuffed in a crispy shell just as Chef Teresa learned to prepare in the tradition of Sicily.

il giardino connoli

Open Monday – Saturday, 5 – 9 pm

Call 760.322.0888 for reservations or reserve your table online

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