Deep in the heart of the Greater Palm Springs Oasis is a sweet little Italian family restaurant to which I had the very good fortune of being invited last week. Tucked away into the Pavilion Plaza at Bob Hope and Gerald Ford Drives in Rancho Mirage, Sabatino’s Ristorante Italiano opened last fall, offering traditional food of the Neapolitan (read, “Naples”) region of Italy, with each recipe created by former Frank Sinatra chef Alberto Sabatino. Sadly Alberto is no longer with us, but his culinary traditions are still carried on by his charming wife Ana and her business partners Sam and Karen.
Career waiter Pietro (who proudly states his age as 81, “from the old country”), took gracious care of us as he helped my guest and I find the perfect foods to match our moods. Your choice of soup or salad is included in the price of the entrees, but a list of flavorsome appetizers—not to mention a la carte soups (the minestrone was really tasty) and small and large salads—are also offered. My friend was in monster meat mode and nothing less than the huge Veal Chop special would satisfy him. Served with sautéed mushrooms, asparagus, and zucchini, this dish made him one happy camper. I had a hankering for seafood, so the tasty Cioppino (the Italian version of Bouillabaisse) did the trick, since it was overflowing with clams, mussels, shrimp, halibut, scallops, and calamari in a rich tomato-based broth.
The room was full of diners enjoying everything from a glass of Chianti and classic cocktails to a wide selection of veal, chicken, and beef main courses plus a plethora of pizza, pasta, and risotto choices. (The Pappardelle Romagna looked particularly enticing to me. Note to self for my next visit.) A single slice of Tiramisu provided our meal with that oh so necessary sweet finish.
This comfortable, well-priced restaurant is the kind of find I love to share. Good food, fine wine, and pleasant service will bring me back for more. www.sabatinosranchomirage.com