I have been hearing much buzz around town about a little pizza place in Palm Desert that is drawing large crowds with their authentic Napolitan pizzas and extensive wine list. This little El Paseo gem is known as Piero’s Pizza Vino. I have tried pizza at other pizza restaurants that boast the best in the valley and I have learned to stay away from their “Italian village” themed establishment because of their poor food quality and even poorer management. I was optimistic and the payoff was huge!
In the heart of downtown Palm Desert, Piero’s Pizza Vino is fun from the moment you walk in. With a large open kitchen and an energetic staff, I knew I was going to have fun no matter how the food turned out. My date and I were greeted like family as soon as we entered the double doors. The place was packed but we managed to find an intimate table for two on the patio where we could “people watch” while enjoying our evening. The menu is intimidating at first because there are just so many selections, but the servers are eager to make a genuine recommendation or two if you cannot decide. We began with a few appetizers and a bottle of Chianti.
Our first dish was a lightly battered and fried ricotta cheese stuffed zucchini blossom with a touch of honey for a unique sweetness. We also enjoyed fried artichoke hearts (clearly fresh and not canned) paired with fried goat cheese, served with a tomato dipping sauce. These paired quite well with the Nipozzano Chianti Classico Riserva. I noticed the wine list offers selections from all around the world and the general manager, Melissa, has labeled her favorites. She knows her stuff, but we’ll get back to that.
Entrees arrived as we were engaged in conversation with the table next to us, a pleasant French couple bursting with energy and personality. It is always a treat to make new friends here in our community. Inspired by a wonderful meal at Trattoria Tiramisu, my date ordered a pizza topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, imported prosciutto and fresh figs. I received the Capricciosa pizza, topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, prosciutto, mushrooms, artichokes and black olives. The pizzas are generously portioned and the dough is incredible! We definitely had leftovers but they were just as good for lunch the next day!
Before dessert, Melissa offered us a couple tasting of wine from her top picks and all I can say is, “Wow”. I was impressed at not only the large selection of affordable wines, but she has managed to find some wines that will please even the most discerning palettes. But this is not the best kept secret at Piero’s. This title goes to their most decadent, creamy Cheesecake, a recipe shared by their very own, Omar Diaz. Don’t waste your time visiting a factory when you can find the best right here. I was warned that it is better than… well, you get the idea. Research is pending. I think I will start with dessert next time!
With great success and a proud reputation found in Mama Gina’s, the owner has struck gold again with this little piece of Italian heaven. Located at 73722 El Paseo, they are open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Check out their menu online at www.ppizzavino.com or call 760-568-2525.