By Denise Ortuno

Cozy and quaint ambiance abounds at Mimmo’s Italian Restaurant and Bar in Palm Desert.

Opened in 2012 by Mimmo and Victoria Di Salvo, in the heart of Palm Desert off of Hwy 111 and San Pablo, sits the quaint restaurant with big flavor. Beneath the green awning houses an enclosed patio which ushers guests into the compartmentalized restaurant, with three cozy dining rooms, and an ultra-intimate bar.

Guests are greeted graciously by Mimmo himself, when he’s not visiting his guests personally at their tables. The restaurants flow is reminiscent of being in someone’s home, comfortable and un-pretentious, with the heavenly aromas of incredible Italian food swirling in the air.

The emphasis of the menu at Mimmo’s is to use the freshest of ingredients. They are proud to make homemade items such as their bread, raviolis, sauces, sausage, dressings, desserts and addicting tapenade, which is served at the tables along with their homemade bread in lieu of butter ( although butter is offered upon request).

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Mimmo stays true to his Sicilian heritage, bringing traditional dishes to his guests. For appetizers, enjoy a selection of salads such as their crisp Mimmo’s Caesar (with their homemade dressing and anchovy’s), Insalata Caprese (tomato slices, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, E.V.O.O. and balsamic reduction) or Toscana (mixed organic greens, crumbled blue cheese, pear slices, walnuts, dried cranberries and balsamic vinaigrette). Other starters to get your appetite revved up include their Calamari alla Marinara (calamari sautéed in lightly spiced marinara sauce), Italian Sausage (homemade with ground pork and fennel served with a honey mustard sauce), and Grilled Polenta with Wild Mushrooms (polenta triangles topped with a wild mushroom cream sauce), among others.

Main course selections are vast, with a variety of pastas, seafood and meat dishes to choose from. If pasta is your thing, you will be delighted with items such as their Ravioli al Granchio e Vodka (house made ravioli stuffed with sautéed crabmeat and ricotta cheese, in a tomato vodka sauce), Spaghetti alla Vittoria (Kalamata olives, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, touch of demi-glace), Linguine alla Vongole ( fresh clams, tomato or white wine sauce),  classic Spaghetti and Meatballs “Della Mama (pork and beef meatballs in their house marinara sauce), plus many others.

Mimmo’s veal dishes options are impressive, comprised of Veal Scaloppini Marsala (mushrooms and Marsala wine), Veal Scaloppini Piccata (lemon, capers, white wine), Veal Scaloppini alla Sicula (eggplant, tomato sauce and mozzarella) plus many more. Their amazing, fall off the bone tender Osso Bucco ( veal shank slow braised in celery, carrots, and red wine), is occasionally offered as a special, and is a must! If you’re leaning towards a seafood item, try their Wild Sand Dabs (lemon, capers and white wine), Scallops with Red Bell Pepper Sauce, or Shrimp Scampi ( capers, butter, garlic white wine).

All of their dishes pair nicely with a selection of wine from their extensive wine list with many Italian offerings. The staff’s expertise in wine knowledge is most helpful in making a selection.

One of the great things about the dishes at Mimmo’s, is that they are not oversized. They follow a healthy European guideline of well portioned sized meals, not too big, not too small. Of course this mindfulness leaves plenty of room for dessert, which Mimmo’s has many of. Fun, out of the box desserts include their Bongo Bongo (little pastry puffs filled with a ricotta cream filling and topped with chocolate sauce), and Bomba (spumoni ice cream shaped like a dome with a hard chocolate shell) plus others including scrumptious Tiramisu.

For an exceptional Italian dining experience with memorable charm and a cozy ambiance, Mimmo’s Italian Restaurant and Bar “e perfetta!”

Mimmo’s Italian Restaurant and Bar is located at 73-540 Hwy 111, Palm Desert, 92260

For reservations call 760-346-9712, www.mimmospd.com

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