Il Corso - Palm Desert
Built to resemble a Tuscan village farmhouse, Il Corso’s Italian roots run deep. The father-son duo behind the restaurant — with locations in Palm Springs and Palm Desert — are both lifelong chefs born in Italy. Claudio Marfia hails from Tuscany. His father, Mario, is from Sicily. Together, they designed Il Corso from the ground up to bring an old-world vibe and authentic taste of the Italian countryside to the Coachella Valley.
The menu reflects the best flavors from both regions, with an emphasis on fresh and homemade ingredients. All of Il Corso’s pastas, breads, pastries, gelatos, and even a gluten-free pizza dough are made in-house.
Signature dishes include the thricecooked octopus appetizer — the younger Marfia’s favorite, which “cuts like butter” just like in the Sicilian seafront cafes of his youth. There’s also indulgent tableside service, from fresh cacio e pepe culled from a pasta wheel to the fiorentina per due, a 34-ounce rib-eye carved right before diners’ eyes.
The wine list represents every region of Italy, as well as selections from California, while the cocktail menu is more internationally inspired. One traditional Italian favorite is the Sgroppino, an afterdinner drink made with lemon sorbet.
While Il Corso’s food is unquestionably elegant, the atmosphere is as warm and casual as a family dining room. The open-kitchen concept lends a vibrant energy, not to mention a delicious array of aromas, to the farmhouse space.
Photography by Nate Abbott