So iconic is Livreri’s Bella Napoli Italian Bistro that the famed names adorning street signs throughout the Palm Springs Valley—Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Dinah Shore—all ate there in their day. They all came—and keep coming!—for immaculate Italian food served in an elegant setting by a professional staff. How professional? Bartender Spencer’s been there for 31 years. One of the guys in the kitchen? 37.
The Livreri family tradition started in Palm Springs more than 40 years ago, when Jane “Mamma” Livreri and then-husband Alan made public her cherished family recipes. That fact alone makes Livreri’s the longest-running Italian eatery in the Valley. Remaining in that initial location for 35 years, they then moved to Palm Desert for eight. In 2013, Mamma took her well-deserved retirement. “My parents handed me the keys and said ‘Don’t screw up!’” says youngest son Robert, and he’s certainly done the dynasty proud.
Now located in Rancho Mirage at The Atrium—the commercial complex that also includes Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre, on Highway 111 between Frank Sinatra and Country Club Drives, across from the site where the desert’s only six-star resort hotel will soon reside—Livreri’s not only offers the absolute best Caesar Salad to be had anywhere in the Valley (anchovies crushed directly into the dressing, plus loads of garlic—not to mention chilled salad forks—are part of the secret) but antipasti, salads, soups, and pastas to rival anything made in the Old Country. Seafood, veal, chicken, even baby back ribs—it’s all there. Don’t leave this earth before tasting Robert’s meat balls, Veal Parmigiana, Ciopinno , or Steak Sinatra (a steal at $29). Truth be told, the entire menu is more than reasonably priced. You can pay more elsewhere if you’d like, but you won’t get better. Oh, and if pizza’s your thing, you need to know that Livreri’s New York style slices have been voted Best of the Valley literally dozens of times. All this, plus they deliver and cater!
If I were you, I’d start by spending time with Spencer in the bar at Happy Hour. Tell him Potter sent you. And go soon, because Livreri’s closes August 3 for its annual respite. But don’t worry. They’ll be back after Labor Day!