By Raymond Bill

With the hot summer rapidly approaching, many of my favorite restaurants will be closing or limiting their hours of operation. There are a few places that will not only be open through the off season, but will also flourish. One particular restaurant that caters to locals and tourists alike, offering high quality Italian cuisine at a casual price, is Giuseppe’s Pizza and Pasta in Palm Springs. This cozy eatery features true Chicago style comfort food that will leave you craving more! On a recent visit, I was able to try a few different menu items and I was not disappointed.

A few close friends have been raving about Giuseppe’s for a couple years now and I was very skeptical that one could find authentic Chicago Style pizza here in the desert. I considered this a challenge. My date and I would arrive at prime time to find a full restaurant, with the aromas of garlic and herbs in the air. I was in heaven. We were seated inside to admire the framed pictures of scenic Chicago hanging on the walls. We were promptly greeted by our server and offered a beverage. Giuseppe’s offers a full bar with specialty cocktails, like the delicious Moscow Mule I enjoyed, as well as a very reasonably priced wine list. We took our time with our drinks before sharing a few appetizers.

The Calamari is crispy and surprisingly tender for such big pieces. One appetizer that stood out was the Bruschetta. Unlike the ever familiar yet traditional approach of topping bread with tomatoes, garlic and herbs, this dish was prepared in a bowl and served with slices of a thin pita bread. The tomatoes were sweet yet savory with roasted garlic and a chiffonade of basil. Delicious! We followed our appetizers with small dinner salads. The Caesar was perfect and the house salad was complete with julienned beets, garbanzo beans and red onion. We were filling up but I had to try the pizza and pasta.

Our eyes widened as our entrees were placed before us. Eggplant Parmesan and Chicken Picatta, both with spaghetti and vegetables, were our selections. The Eggplant was incredible! Cheesy, melty goodness! The chicken was very tender and the picatta sauce was delicate with just a touch of lemon. We would also taste a couple pastas including the Bolognese with large chunks of ground meat in a tomato sauce. The Tiger Shrimp Scampi was rich with flavor and had just the right amount of spice in it. The entrees were not only delicious but the prices are half of what you would expect at a fine Italian restaurant. Who needs a white table cloth anyway? But wait! What about the pizza? Well although we were full, we ordered a small pie to try and then take with us. Topped with Italian sausage, this pizza was spot on! My girlfriend felt like she was back in Chicago from the first bite! The food and service were both deserving of two thumbs up! We finished our meal by sharing an order of Tiramisu, and it was quite impressive! Creamy and sweet, this dessert alone is worth the trip.

Giuseppe’s is the sister property of Bar and the new Smoketree Supper Club (which I will be visiting very soon) as they share the same owner. Giuseppe’s is located in the Smoketree shopping center at Palm Canyon and Sunrise. Open for lunch and dinner, this will be your new favorite spot for true Chicago style Italian favorites! Check out their menu at www.giuseppesps.com

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