With so many new restaurants opening each season here in our valley, it can be easy to overlook the staples that have been here for many years.  This season, I hope to revisit some of my favorites from last year to see what it is that keeps them popular among locals.  When I think of a local’s restaurant, I immediately think of Chapelli’s in La Quinta.  Looking for an up-scale ambiance with a casual yet comfortable flair, I knew Chapelli’s was the perfect place to dine.

We were offered a genuine welcome from whom I would call their maître d’ extraordinaire, Corey.  Dressed to impress, this young man has class and etiquette and treats each guest like VIP.  The dining room was full and people were still arriving, having to wait at the bar.  This unassuming gem at the end of a strip mall is no longer a best kept secret.  My guest and I began with a cocktail while we were greeted with an antipasto plate and fresh bread.  It was nice to receive attentive service without feeling rushed.

While the entrees we selected were to be served with the choice of soup or salad, we opted to begin with a couple Italian classics.  The caprese salad was light and fresh; a perfect start to our meal.  We shared the carpaccio as well and the beef was fresh, tender and complimented with a delicious basil sauce.  The portions were generous and either one of our appetizers would have been great to share before our salad and soup.

There was much anticipation for our entrees as the table next to us received their meal.  The aromas were captivating and I found myself staring, wondering if I had made the best dinner selection.  Then, my Veal Picatta arrived along with my guest’s Mahi Mahi Puttanesca, which was their nightly special.  The Veal was very tender, served over spaghetti with a savory lemon caper butter sauce and steamed vegetables.  This has to be one of their most popular dishes!  The Mahi Mahi was clearly fresh and flaked apart, topped with a sauce of fresh tomatoes, onion, capers and garlic.  Our meal and service was simply superb.

Entrees include their homemade cinnamon raison bread pudding, topped with a vanilla sauce.  We shared one as the meal was quite filling but it took everything in me to keep from ordering the spumoni which I had enjoyed so much on my last visit.  Chapelli’s is one of my favorites because it provides the whole package: Great food, good service and value!


Located in the Ralph’s Shopping center off Calle Tampico and Washington, Chapelli’s is open nightly from 5pm to 8:30pm.  Space is limited so be sure to reserve a table by calling 760-564-9835 and view their menu at www.chapellisrestaurant.com


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