By Kathleen M. Bennett
Johnny Costa was born in Naples, Italy, and has been a chef and restaurant owner for more than 36 years in the Palm Springs area. His authentic Napolitano, family-inspired recipes are recreated fresh every day — from pastas and marinara sauce to fresh fish and meats complemented by flavorful sauces.
The atmosphere takes you back to a nostalgic era you only see on film — a romantic setting with soft lighting, dark woods, candlelit tables, and cozy booths, with the Rat Pack and Italian music playing in the background. Many celebrities and entertainers have frequented the restaurant over the years; and in the 1970s, Johnny was one of the few chefs hired by Frank Sinatra to cook for him at his estate.
Every dinner begins with freshly baked Italian rolls and focaccia bread served hot from the oven. Each entrée is complemented by a choice of minestrone soup or a crisp house salad. For starters, try the antipasto for two or the clams or mussels in marinara sauce, a local favorite. Entrées are accompanied by fresh vegetables or a side of pasta and marinara sauce. Menu favorites include linguini with clams or mussels, eggplant Parmigiana, veal mushroom, lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, of course, Steak Sinatra!
Johnny combines the freshest of ingredients to create mouthwatering tastes. If your palate is in the mood for pasta, sample the spaghetti and homemade meatballs for an authentic taste of Italy. Start your evening with Johnny’s signature “Costa-Politan” or choose from a selection of many fine Italian wines, signature martinis, or after-dinner drinks. Don’t miss happy hour at the full bar or enjoy an espresso after dinner while choosing from a selection of desserts, including Johnny’s homemade tiramisú.
Open for dinner nightly at 5 p.m., closed Sundays. Reservations are recommended. Enjoy outdoor patio dining with views of the mountains. Private dining is available for groups, with ample parking in back on Indian Canyon Drive or on Palm Canyon Drive. Heart — Healthy Menu selections endorsed by the International Heart and Lung Institute. Voted “Best Italian Restaurant” 2011 and 2012 by Palm Springs Life readers.
Johnny Costa’s Ristorante
440 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262
• Mussels or Clams Marinara
• Calamari Fritti
• Costa Caprese
• Escargot Francaise
• Veal Saltimbocca
• Cioppino Bouillabaisse
• Eggplant Parmigiana
• Steak Sinatra
• Chicken Piccata
• Linguini with clams or mussels
• Seafood Portofino
• Homemade Tiramisú
• Homemade Crème Brûlée
• Torte di Mele
• Coccolato Mount Vesuvio
• Limon Cheesecake
• Assorted Italiano Cookies
• Spumoni and Assorted Gelato
• Fruit Bomba Sorbet
• Castello Banfi, Brunello di Montalcino
• Barolo, Marchesi
• Amarone, Santi
• Gattinara, Travaglini
• Ruffino, Ducale, Riserva, Classico
• Villa Antinori, Chianti Classico Reserve
• Tignanello, Toscana
• Villa di Capezzana, Carmignano
• Caymus, Cabernet Special Selection
• Ruffino, Orvieto, Classico
• Castello Banfi, Gavi
• Cakebread Cellars, Chardonnay
• Santa Margherita, Alto Adige, Pinot Grigio