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“A fine "pesce spada"”

Il Corso Palm Desert
Ranked #25 of 303 Restaurants in Palm Desert
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian
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Restaurant details
Dining options: After-hours, Dinner, Reservations
Description: Chef Mario Marfia and Developer John Wessman meld their talents and bring a unique Italian dining experience to El Paseo in Palm Desert. We offer genuine Italian hospitality, authentic Italian dishes including homemade pastas, gourmet wood oven pizza, seafood and roasted leg of veal. Chef Mario also prepares nightly specials from all over Italy like the world's best gnocchi, incredible meat dishes, Italian-style martinis and signature cocktails, and a wonderful variety of desserts and fresh salads. If you call ahead, Chef Mario will prepare his lasagna, tripe, spaghetti allo scoglio, or any other of your favorite dishes. Chef Mario was born in Sicily and learned his skills working as chef in the Mediterranean. He uses those cultural influences to prepare truly unique and special dishes each and every day. Save room for the ultimate light and tasty homemade desserts.
Reviewed 4 September 2018

Il Corso is the relatively new sister-ship to the charming Tiramisu, which is only a few blocks away, but here the smallness and dark intimacy of the older restaurant gives way to lightness and quite a bit more space. The food is up-scale Sicilian-Italian with well-prepared seafood, veal and pasta dishes; their branzino (sea bass) is a regular specialty, the grilled and breaded swordfish (pesce spada) is a worthy treatment of that very Sicilian dish, and the linguini neri allo scoglio (pasta blackened by squid ink) is only occasionally found in Italian-American restaurants. Il Corso is not for the faint of wallet (those who don't own Amazon stock) and one would have to practice serious self-denial to keep the cost below fifty dollars per person (tax and tip included). However, it is not the price that loses a star for me, but, unlike Tiramisu and the nifty Mama Gina just down the elegant El Paseo where the waiters are both highly professional and mostly Italian and where my query concerning "pesce spada" is met with a courteous answer in Italian, at Il Corso the servers are most accomodating and desirous to be helpful, but they are not the real thing. Not enough to keep me away, but I prefer the sister-ship. Eh, Ciao.

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Thank John F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (276)
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3 - 7 of 276 reviews

Reviewed 15 July 2018

This is definitely an upscale Italian restaurant. It's a 4.5 star. The dining room and bar are stunning spaces. There is also outdoor dining on El Paseo. Since I have taken so long to write a review I have no idea what anybody ate. I do know that we all were very happy with our choices. The sommelier was helpful with a wine choice and the service was very gracious as it should be in fine dining. We had a very relaxing meal. Our table was ideally situated in the front corner to allow conversation. It appears that it can get quite loud in other areas of the dining room. Since we were in the desert to visit friends from Georgia who winter there, it was so nice to be able to converse without having to shout to be heard. I would definitely recommend Il Corso and go back myself. Be warned that it is a little pricey but the food and service seem to warrant the prices.

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Thank MaryLouise H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Claudio M, Owner at Il Corso Palm Desert, responded to this reviewResponded 20 July 2018

MaryLouise, thank you for coming back to leave this even after a lot of time has passed since stopping in. Looks like you all had a wonderful and relaxing meal. Hope you'll be by again when back in Palm Desert.

Till next time,
Il Corso Team

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Reviewed 10 July 2018 via mobile

Tired of always going to Mama Ginos? Give this place a try if you want some lux Italian.

Pros
-Legit house made fresh pasta
-Hot bread with olive tapinade is awesome
-Variety of sharable first courses, and yes you should order one.
-excellent wine list, although we brought wine, see cons
-Service is excellent, intelligent, and classic Palm Desert.

Cons
-$35 Corkage, that's just greedy.
-Dirty bread dish, dirty dish for my sea shells, and I got spilled on. (Still 4 stars should be saying something...)
-Flavors while amazing lacked 5 star balance. (Delicious fried squash blossom, but I couldn't taste the bloom and the outside was soft. Go to Pizzeria Mozza for 10/10 squash blossoms)

Yes, you should come try Il Corso when you want some classy italian.

Thank Anthony P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Claudio M, Owner at Il Corso Palm Desert, responded to this reviewResponded 14 July 2018

Anthony, thanks for this thorough review that includes both things you love and things we can work on. We know we're capable of providing a five star experience next time, so hope to see you back soon!

Sincerely,
Il Corso Team

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Reviewed 1 July 2018

we had diner with some friends. the food was ok not spectacular but some of the prices were really sspectacular. the sevrice is ok not especially wonderful for the level of restaurant they think they are. some of the dishes are more than adequate, others portions are much too small for such a price. and, they are not consistent in terms or replacing silverware..

Thank Barbara M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Claudio M, Owner at Il Corso Palm Desert, responded to this reviewResponded 5 July 2018

We wish your experience was a little more enjoyable. You'll have to come by again soon so we can prove how wonderful our service and food can be.

Thank you,
Il Corso Team

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Reviewed 8 June 2018

This is a beautiful, modern design restaurant in the heart of El Paseo in Palm Desert. The menu is large and diverse. The first thing you notice is that it's in Italian with English "subtitles", and I think that's the idea. It's almost like being in a contemporary restaurant in Italy. Please don't expect everything drowning in red sauce. The service was excellent. At the start of the meal our waiter was quick to get our drink and wine orders in. Then, gave us plenty of time to talk and go over the menu. I was with a very slow eater and nothing arrived ahead of schedule. The wine list is heavy with Italian wines. It is summer, and I was a little sorry that there wasn't a white, summer, Italian wine featured. The wine list is heavy on reds as you might expect. The restaurant makes everything on premises, so I was relieved to find out that their gelato is NOT as sweet as many gelatos in Italy. A great evening.

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Thank Todd2PS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Claudio M, Owner at Il Corso Palm Desert, responded to this reviewResponded 14 June 2018

Sounds like a great evening indeed. We love your attention to detail during your visit and are thrilled you enjoyed everything. You'll have to come by for more pasta, wine, and gelato soon.

Kindly,
Il Corso Team

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