By Denise Ortuno

Casual, comfortable and delicious, Mario’s Italian Cafés have been bringing the best in traditional Italian dishes to the Coachella Valley for over 40 years, making us want to mangia, mangia!

If you live in the Coachella Valley and love Italian food, chances are that you’ve dined at one of Mario’s Italian Cafes 7 locations. And if you haven’t, there’s really no good excuse as there is probably one down the street from where you are right now. The family owned collection of restaurants first opened in 1972, by patriarch Mario Del Guidice, and over the years has spread across the desert filling up patrons with delightful Italian fare.

My neighborhood Mario’s is just a couple miles away from my home in Bermuda Dunes, and I think the quaintest out of all of their locations (just my personal opinion). The unconventionally shaped space kind of reminds me of something out of Disneyland, with painted murals depicting Italian style scenery, twinkle lights and swoony Italian themed music swirling around the dining room. It certainly has a romantic feel, but also perfect for family gatherings.

Recently, I discovered my new favorite dish from Mario’s. My boyfriend and I usually get repeat items such as their Bolognese Pasta, or Pizza Slice lunch special ( 2 slices of New York style pizza with one topping, and an individual house salad for only $6.95), and of course a couple of their huge glasses of chianti. But then one night a friend of ours came by our house and brought over some pizza from Mario’s. It was so good that we had to make a special trip there just to get one of our own, and while we were there, some salad and you guessed it, a couple of huge glasses of chianti…and let’s not forget, some Tiramisu.


The pizza that wowed us was their Margarita Pizza. The specialty pizza is comprised of simple ingredients of tomato, fresh Mozzarella and Romano cheese, garlic and basil. But there is just something about the combination that makes it a classic, and oozes with amazing flavors, and Mario’s does an incredible job of creating it. Our friend who introduced us to Mario’s Margarita Pizza, mentioned that she orders it a special way, which we mimicked in detail on our visit there. We added extra garlic and tomatoes, with the crust crispy, and it came out perfect! Of course, if you’re not into garlic, or on a special date, you might not want to go the extra garlic route. But if you do, I highly recommend it, plus you get the added bonus of repelling those pesky vampires.

We added a couple of refreshing house salads to go with our fabulous Margarita Pizza, and the goblets of wine. For dessert, we had to have Mario’s creamy and decadent Tiramisu, which served as an excellent completion to our dinner. Besides pizza, Mario’s has a myriad of other scrumptious Italian dishes to satisfy, including Antipasto Salad, Chicken Marsala, Veal Picatta, Shrimp Scampi, Linguini & Clams, Spaghetti,  Lasagna, Cannelloni and whole lot more.

Mario’s Italian Cafés have become a Coachella Valley staple, with excellent food, comfortable atmosphere, and warm inviting vibe. Making it an easy choice to relax and get your mangia on!

Mario’s Italian Cafés are located across the Coachella Valley, for details visit