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Fall in Love, Italian Style, at Il Giardino

il Giardino lazagna

 

 

Palm Springs has always been a tastemaker, from breezy resort wear to mid-century modern flair. Taste is celebrated, exalted, and amplified at Il Giardino Palm Springs, a hearty slice of heaven nestled in downtown’s soul.

“Everything is housemade,” declares Rosario Cultraro, who owns and operates the charming ristorante with his wife, chef extraordinaire Teresa Attardi. He sings the words “house” and “home” as interchangeable melodies in an orchestra of inclusion, welcoming guests as if they were members of his own famiglia.

Il Giardino
Owner Teresa Attardi

An Italian Transplant

“We are from Novara, near Milan,” he narrates. “It is famous for gorgonzola, which we still get from our cousin in Italy.” This tantalizing trek brings the signature cheese from the cradle of European cuisine to the tables of our grateful hometown. A highlight of Cultraro’s menu is the pear salad with walnuts, graced by the aforementioned gorgonzola goodness that harkens back to his childhood.

When asked why he moved to Palm Springs, Rosario answers bluntly, “The weather.” So, we all have the SoCal heat to thank for cooking up this culinary gem in Palm Springs.

iL Giardino Palm Springs & Family

But Cultraro didn’t leave behind the flavors and family that nurtured his passion for serving robust dining experiences. “We go back to visit every year,” he chimes, explaining that his relatives gather annually for a bonding session – not only with each other but also with the luscious landscape of his homeland. Cultraro uses these pilgrimages as research sojourns to drum up fresh ingredients, which he routinely exports to Palm Springs for another year of excellence aplenty.

“Except for produce,” he quickly adds, “which we get fresh locally.” Oh, don’t worry; we can taste that truth for ourselves, Rosario!

Il Giardino

A Touch of Cream

Cultraro then turns the conversation over lovingly to his wife Teresa, who expounds upon her most beloved dish: salsiccia. “It’s my creation,” admits Ms. Attardi. “I mix Sicilian and Northern together. The salsiccia is my family recipe from Sicily, and I add the cream because even though we usually use tomato sauce, we lived in Novara for 24 years already. I just want to mix a little bit of Northern Italy when I do this, so I add the cream.”

Her husband interjects to praise Teresa’s homemade sausage, the star of her salsiccia. Their words dance together like the charming elements of their delectable dishes, simmering into a perfect mélange of whimsy and welcome.

As Teresa returns her focus to the evening meal at hand, Rosario resumes his front-of-the-house duties. “Our food is fresh, like what you would get from your Mama or Grandmama.” He embraces his ancestors with his bouncy delivery and honors them with his bountiful example. Il Giardino Palm Springs is a love letter to Italy, written in sauce and signed with affection. The understated eatery is a monument of rich textures, luxuriant aromas, and deliciousness by the mile.

But don’t take our word for it; just listen to the maestro of mmm.

Il Giardino

“You must try it at least once, then you can decide for yourself.” Cultraro’s confidence is well earned, as is his place on the Palm Springs gourmet map. He and Teresa have crafted a venerable reputation, but their humility shines through.

Our official interview ends at this point, but the love keeps flowing like vintage vino. Rosario invites us, and by extension, you (the reader), to stop by anytime. “We are ready for you.”

Are you ready for a taste sensation that transcends borders, generations, and expectations? Then book your table with Rosario and Teresa today at iL Giardino Palm Springs.

Il Giardino

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