Since changing the name and concept a year and a half ago, Mindy Reed’s Spanish-influenced Alicante restaurant in downtown Palm Springs has distinguished itself as a great place for tapas, wines, and late night dinners, featuring one of the few kitchens actually open and offering a variety of dishes until midnight.
The tiny patio café and bar, located next to the Historic Plaza theatre where the Palm Springs Follies reigned for 23 years, felt the benefit of its daily matinees and after-show crowds of hungry theater-goers.
With the Follies closed and the City of Palm Springs deciding what will happen next, Reed hopes another five-day-a-week entertainment company will take its place.
Meanwhile, Alicante turns its attention to summer patrons, a month-long fifth anniversary for Reed (pictured at right) as proprietor at this locale during June; and, of course Restaurant Week, May 30 to June 8. This year more than 100 restaurants, hotels and attractions have signed on for the Restaurant Week promotion. Participating restaurants are offering three-course, prix fixe dinners priced at $26 or $38 per person; tax, beverages and gratuity are not included.
- See related story: Restaurant Week Kickoff Creates Record-Breaking Excitement
What’s in a Name?
Named for a seaport in Spain, right on the Mediterranean, as well as a grape varietal, Alicante’s menu reflects this complex cuisine, influenced by cultures from Morocco to Italy, Spain and Greece. Reed’s own preferences dictated the subtle shift from an Italian restaurant to embrace the wider circle of Mediterranean cultures.
Alicante’s wine list is also predominantly Spanish because “when you want to experience the flavors of Spanish food and culture, Spanish wines are the way to go,” says Reed.
Restaurant Week Menu
Her three-course, $26 per person Restaurant Week menu starts with a bevy of soups, salads and tapas. A watermelon gazpacho or spicy, slowly braised Mediterranean chicken soup with couscous and Harissa lead off the appetizer choices, with a colorful roasted beet salad with jalapeno dressing, or Fulvio’s Italian sausage (made locally by TV anchor Patrick Evans) with roasted sweet peppers and mustard.
Two top-selling entrees appear on the Restaurant Week menu: Paella Alicante with chicken, shrimp, sausage, calamari, and mussels in saffron rice; and Basa fish, pan-seared with garbanzos, English peas, and Spanish chorizo in a smoky chipotle sauce.
The main dish-sized Ensalada de Verano con Salmon brings a colorful mix of greens, strawberries, orange segments, coconut, almonds and spicy vinaigrette with seared Atlantic salmon.
Don’t miss the apple slowly baked with Liquor 43 – a sweet Spanish liqueur made with 43 fragrant herbs and spices – cored and topped with vanilla ice cream. The banana walnut bread pudding with caramel sauce is another crave-able dessert.
Reed’s fifth-anniversary celebration deals at Alicante feature $5 happy hour wines and well drinks and tapas for $5 or less throughout June.
In addition to a full lunch and dinner menu, plus hot and cold tapas, breakfast is available daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with omelets and other egg dishes, and Mediterranean house specialties like Tunisian chickpeas and fried eggs, one of Reed’s favorites. A separate gluten-free menu is also available.
Alicante Spanish Mediterranean Cuisine, 140 South Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, 760-325-9464.