Mario's Offers Plenty of Italian Food Options

Palm Desert location sets itself apart from family chain of restaurants



Chicken Piccata comes with a side of spaghetti marinara at Mario's Palm Desert, one of seven locations in the Coachella Valley.

Courtesy of Mario’s Italian Café

Mario’s Italian Café has locations in cities throughout the Coachella Valley. But if you thought all of those restaurants were created equal, you’re in for a surprise when you dine at the newest incarnation just down the road from the Westfield Palm Desert mall.

You’ll still find the same huge menu filled with Italian specialties, and walls hand painted with beautiful murals — the ones in Palm Desert depict scenes of the Amalfi Coast — that local artist Allison Mason has done for several of the restaurants.

But the Palm Desert café also has a separate banquet room that holds up to 80 people. Dubbed the Venetian Room, it’s decorated with colorful murals of Venice landmarks.

“This location also has a full bar and lounge area rather than just a main dining room,” says Peter Del Guidice, one of founder Mario Del Guidice’s sons. (Peter and his brother, Matthew, flank Mario in the large “Father & Sons To Serve You” photo you’ll see on the back wall of the restaurant.)

“We make everything — soups, sauces, meatballs, sausages, pizza dough — fresh on the premises,” adds Del Guidice. “So we offer a home-cooked meal, but we don’t charge a lot. You can enjoy almost anything on our menu for between $10 and $15 a person.”

And as Del Guidice pointed out to me, you have a lot of options to choose from. Mario’s Special pizza, which has everything on it — sausage, onion, black olives, mushroom, green pepper and pepperoni — is a good place to start.

“Our most popular seafood item is Cioppino, with mussels, clams, calamari, shrimp, and fish,” says Del Guidice. “It’s quite a dish.”

My friend and I went the traditional route — he ordered a flavorful, perfectly-cooked chicken piccata that came with a side of spaghetti marinara, while I couldn’t resist the draw of a big bowl of spaghetti topped with an equally large, fork-tender homemade meatball.

Del Guidice says their most requested pasta dish is the baked mostaccioli made with sausage, beef, garlic, fresh basil, mozzarella and ricotta cheese.

“It’s like lasagna,” he says, “but all tossed up together.”

“We also offer what we call our heavyweight contender because we refer to it as a half plate of food, but it really leans more toward a full serving. And all of those selections are $9.95 or less,” says Del Guidice. “It’s been the most popular category on our menu.”

The popularity of the new location is also gaining steam. “We greet customers every day who tell us how glad they are that we’re now here in the area,” says Del Guidice.

Mario’s Italian Café, 73155 Highway 111, Palm Desert, (760) 341-1130

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Desert Guide
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Mastro’s Delight

The menu at Mastro’s Steakhouse in Palm Desert is filled with different options, but the meats always catch my eye; they are available in many styles and portions with mouthwatering side dishes to choose from.

Holiday Dining Reaches New Heights at Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

If you are searching for a special dining experience over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season, perhaps you should look up to the Peaks Restaurant atop the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

Farmers' Markets Offer Options for Hungry in a Hurry

Did you know a full range of food choices exist at Farmers Markets across the Greater Palm Springs area for a fresh and local breakfast or lunch?

Tinto Palm Springs' Tapas are Back In Time for the Holidays

Tinto Palm Springs' newly re-designed space offers a more intimate dining and bar area with a mix of small top tables, café height communal tables, and bar seating to go along with the new small plate tapas menu designed for sharing.

Organic Wines are the Perfect Pairing for Desert Dining

Organics doesn’t stop at the plate as a growing list of eateries in the Greater Palm Springs area offer wines made with organic grapes so you can enjoy a meal from fork to glass.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Fashionista Friends

Fashionista Friends

Experience the glitz and glamour of Fashion Week El Paseo 2015.
2014/15 Best of the Best

2014/15 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
Edit ModuleShow Tags