Il Corso Creates Authentic Italian Experience in Taste, Look

Executive Chef Mario Marfia imports many products from Italy



Il Corso Executive Chef Mario Marfia shows several cuts of premium gragnano pasta spread on drying racks.

Photo by Pamela Bieri

 

There is nothing to hide at Il Corso.

Even the restaurant’s name in Italian means the same as El Paseo in Spanish – or the Main Street.

This beautifully wrought, intricately imagined restaurant belongs on El Paseo - one of the most populated streets in the Coachella Valley.

Walk in and you’re initially struck by the high open loft ceilings, woven basket lights, and natural elements of recycled imported Italian stone, 100-year-old wood flooring - sourced from an old Italian farmhouse - plus tile, slate and marble.

In the kitchen, Executive Chef Mario Marfia brings an incredibly layered, authentic experience to Palm Desert’s newest restaurant. Marfia is also co-owner with Desert developer John Wessman.

Open seven months, Il Corso has drawn exceptional reviews for cuisine that offers wood-fired thin crust Roman-style pizzas, lunch time favorites of panini and innovative salads, appetizers such as Pomodoro y Burrata, and Mediterranean-inspired dinner entrees of seafood, shrimp, homemade meatballs, lamb, filets, chicken, imported pastas from Italy, and more.

“About 75 percent of our products are imported from Italy,” says Marfia. “Italian shrimp from the Mediterranean, Branzino fish, truffles, imported gragnano pasta, and pure extra virgin Italian olive oil.”

Marfia also owns Tiramisu, a small neighborhood restaurant in Palm Desert’s Palms to Pines center, and he has spent the past nine years going back and forth between California and Italy. His sojourns continually connect the two with innovation and authenticity.

At a recent visit, Marfia proudly showed several cuts of the premium gragnano pasta spread on drying racks, readying for the day’s lunch and dinner dishes.

He demonstrated two of his best sellers, sautéed Spanish langostino with tomatoes over tagliolini, and a grilled whole Branzino (pictured below) with fingerling potatoes, tomatoes and Kalamata olives in olive oil. He also created a focaccia pizza bruschetta with fresh tomatoes, garlic and shaved Parmesan cheese, and Di Stefano Burrata with heirloom tomatoes.

“Some of the dishes, like Branzino and sole, are fileted tableside,” says Beverage Manager Mimmo Di Biasi. “And what’s not on the menu, the chef can make.”

Marfia also bakes his own focaccia and ciabatta breads in different shapes, Italian cookies such as chocolate hazelnut and lemon vanilla, and almond biscotti for both restaurants, come from Il Corso’s brick oven.

A corner glassed floor-to-ceiling wine cellar holds more than 300 bottles of wines, says Di Biasi. “Wines are from California, Italy, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand – all over the world.”

One side of the restaurant is devoted to the bar and lounge area where happy hour starts from noon to close. The other side is the large main dining room and small private room closed off by a reclaimed wood sliding “barn door.” The bar’s colorful and illuminated glass wall of bottles separates the lounge and dining room.

At the rear of the restaurant is “Il forno,” the kitchen and pizza oven where a long marble counter serves customers wanting to sit and watch the chefs and pizziolas at work. A sidewalk patio overlooking El Paseo is accessed through large glass doors from the main dining room.

Il Corso, 73520 El Paseo, Palm Desert, (760) 341-6700

Like what you're reading? Then "Like" us on Facebook and "follow" us on Twitter.

 

VIDEO: Watch as Executive Chef Mario Marfia prepares some authetic dishes.

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Desert Guide
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Colt's Lodge Brings New Life to Palm Springs Accommodation Options

Colt's Lodge, a newly redesigned and renovated 11-room hotel located in Palm Springs' historic Deepwell Estates area, takes advantage of new owners Jon Nelson and Frank Young's design and theater backgrounds to create a fresh, new look.

Diane Best Helps Desert Town Show Itself at Inaugural Joshua Treenial Event

Joshua Tree's Diane Best will be among 50 artists from 15 countries who will showcase their work in the inaugural Joshua Treenial held at various venues over Memorial Day Weekend.

Trina Turk Turns 20

Louis Vuitton’s creative director, Nicolas Ghesquière, used the allure of the desert to unveil his Resort 2015 Collection, but Palm Springs' own Trina Turk has been designing and sharing the California lifestyle with the rest of the world for more than 20 years.

Workshop Kitchen + Bar Becomes Palm Springs' 1st James Beard Award Winner for Design

The rest of the world has taken notice of Workshop Kitchen + Bar after the Palm Springs restaurant has been recently awarded the city's first James Beard award for Outstanding Restaurant Design in the category of over 75 seats.

Homestead Modern Taps Into Cabin Retreat and High Desert Lifestyle

Dave McAdam of Homestead Modern is banking on the current wave of baby boomers who want to recapture the homesteader wave of 50 years ago in the high desert area north of Palm Springs.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

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.
GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest

Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest

Enter your “Cutest Pet” photo in the Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest. Online users will be able to like the Cutest Pet photos from six (6) categories.
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.
Edit ModuleShow Tags