By Tracy Dietlin
While there are many fabulous restaurants in the Coachella Valley, there is one that keeps me going back week after week and that is Stuft Pizza. The original La Quinta location was doing so well that owner John Bertram decided to open a second location a little over a year ago at the Westfield Palm Desert Mall.
Obviously that was a good decision. When I spoke to Bertram a few weeks ago he mentioned they might be opening a third location. There are several things about Stuft Pizza that has made it so successful: consistently delicious food, an extensive menu sure to satisfy the pickiest of taste buds, stellar service, great prices and a commitment to their customers.
It’s not easy to have such a large menu and always get every dish right, but Stuft pulls it off. I can attest to this personally as my husband and I eat there at least once a week and sometimes more. I have never had a bad experience there, which continues to amaze me every time we dine there.
Let me start by saying that they have the best calamari in town hands down! I’m not a fan of the round as I prefer the meaty calamari steak fries that Stuft serves, accompanied by a special tartar sauce and a chili sauce both perfect for dipping.
Stuft also offers quite an extensive wine list that includes several of my favorite reds and whites by the glass. And here’s another thing that sets them apart: their wine pours are bigger than anywhere else! If I’m drinking wine I want it in a big glass and an ample pour! They refer to it as the Stuft 8 oz. signature pour.
A few of my favorite items are the ahi tuna poke stack, the beet salad (I get mine with a piece of salmon on top), the fish tacos, spaghetti with meatballs (tender and delicious), green bean fries, pepper crusted Ahi steak, sea bass piccata and the crispy fish sandwich.
They even do a filet mignon to perfection; served with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Asparagus with a Mushroom Demi-Glace. But my new favorite is their scallops! This is a specialty item on the menu so I can’t guarantee the availability. But if you’re a scallop lover like I am you have to try these.
We even ordered food to be delivered from Stuft by Postmates and the Cajun chicken & shrimp pasta and the crispy fish sandwich arrived hot, fresh and delicious.
And of course, you can’t go wrong with any of their pizzas. You can order the classics, build your own or be adventurous and try one of their signature pizzas like the lamb and curry, one of my favorites.
While I usually pass on desert, I just can’t seem to say no to Stuft’s peanut butter blondie or gluten free brownie. I prefer mine accompanied by a snifter of Hennessey, which is served in the large snifters and again with a heavy pour.
So hopefully I’ve said enough to make your taste buds tingle and get you to Stuft. Both locations are open daily from 11am until 9:30pm. Happy Hour is from 3-6pm daily with house wines at 4.00 per glass, draft beer 16 oz. for 2.50 or 25 oz. mug for only 3.75 and well drinks for 4.00. They also have great lunch specials. For more info or to check out their menu go to: stuftbarandgrill.com. Locations: 72840 Highway 111 in Palm Desert in Westfield Mall or 78015 Main St. in La Quinta.