Polipo alla Griglia at Il Corso.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRANDON HARMAN
Il Corso may be tucked into the heart of downtown Palm Springs, but stepping foot in the restaurant will transport you all the way to the Italian countryside. Chef and owner Claudio Marfia and his father, Mario, designed the eatery to echo the Tuscan wood-and-stone farmhouses of the younger Marfia’s youth.
The food, too, draws inspiration from Tuscany. Add the flavors of his father’s Sicilian hometown, and you have a recipe for a menu that’s rich with expertly prepared seafood, housemade pastas, and tender meats.
Marfia began developing Il Corso’s offerings long before the restaurant’s first location opened in Palm Desert in 2014. He identified his favorite dishes while working at Italian restaurants in his early days as a chef, then lent each plate his personal touch. “It’s like a playground,” he says of crafting the meals that keep customers coming back to Il Corso time and time again.
Those include chimichurri-topped lamb chops and a melt-in-your-mouth grilled octopus appetizer. Guests also love the sumptuous branzino and the spaghetti scoglio, a pasta dish mixed with clams, mussels, shrimp, and calamari in a silky and spicy tomato sauce. The restaurant receives seafood deliveries six days a week.
Whichever dish diners choose, they can couple their selection with one of dozens of Italian and Californian wines or a classic libation.
The Marfias’ attention to ultra-fresh ingredients and balanced flavor pairings makes for a truly special dining experience — as does their clear passion for bringing customers joy. In true Italian fashion, Marfia says, “we do everything with our heart.”
Il Corso also has a location in Palm Desert.