By Pamela Bieri
Celebrating its seventh year, the Tropicale has just been voted one of the Best 100 Restaurants in America by Open Table diners and is the valley’s hottest go-to spot for its fabulous bar scene and innovative world cuisine. This former auto body shop-turned-tropical hotspot is the incredibly imaginative work of three entrepreneurs: Rob Kuenzi, Executive Chef Tony Di Lembo and Ranz Wienert.
The Tropicale’s seasonally changing menus reflect creativity in its panorama of world flavors and fresh organic products. In the kitchen along with Culinary Institute of America trained Chef/Owner Tony is Chef de Cuisine Scooter Kanfer, who brings her talents from an impressive array of restaurants. Scooter’s style, techniques, and philosophy harmonize with Tony’s regarding fresh, organic, and locally sourced products. Together they produce weekly specials that have become a large part of the restaurant’s culinary success, often spawned from a trip to the local market.
“All of our meats are grass fed; poultry, free range; fish are sustainably line-caught; and our lettuces, tomatoes, berries, and produce are all organic,” said Chef Tony. “Even most of our wines are farmed sustainably. This shift has come about because we are all eating this way ourselves.”
Reminiscent of old Miami and mid-century Palm Springs’ themed dinner clubs, the patio lounge and outdoor bar meander around olives trees, with lush foliage and tropical furnishings — misted in summer and heated in winter.
Live jazz by renowned musician Derrik Lewis’ trio Tuesday and Thursday 5:30- 9:30 p.m. Happy hour nightly from 4 to 7 p.m. and all night Wednesdays. Weekend Brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday Sushi features sushi, hand rolls, sashimi, sakes, and Japanese beer. Dinner is from 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 11 p.m.
Right next door, Tropicale’s owners recently built and opened The Copa, a stunning nightclub and performance venue that hosts celebrity entertainers for ticketed shows and afterwards transforms into the hottest dance club in the valley, complete with laser lights and state-of-the-art sound. Ticket and show information can be found at www.copapalmsprings.com. Doors open at 6 p.m. and DJ nightly at 9 p.m. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
• Crispy Bacon Wild Stone Crab Cake
• Jack Daniel’s BBQ’d Baby Back Ribs
• Tangerine–Glazed Mandarin Calamari
• Thai Rice Noodle Green Papaya and Crispy Squid Salad
• Chilled Blue Crab Organic Iceberg Wedge Salad
• Southern-Fried Chicken Salad with Roasted Peppers & Corn
• Imported Prosciutto, Artichokes and Fontina
• Grilled Yucatan Chicken Sausage and Jalapeño
• Pan-Roasted Jumbo Prawns with Coconut Rice
• Grilled Elkhorn Ranch Prime Filet Mignon a la Forestiere
• Roasted Boneless Organic Half Chicken with Creole Pan Sauce
• Paul Hobbs, Chardonnay, 2009, Ulises Valdez, Napa
• Walker Station “Ritchie” Chardonnay, 2011 Sonoma
• Brancott, Sauvignon Blanc, Estate B, 2011 New Zealand
• Flowers, Pinot Noir, 2011, Sonoma
• Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec, Flora Springs Trilogy 2010, Napa
• Robert Craig, Zinfandel, 2011 Howell Mountain, Napa
• Tropicale’s Coconut Martini
• Pineapple Jalapeño Margarita
• Black Cherry Lemon Drop
• Lemongrass Basil Mojito