Castelli’s Ristorante in Palm DesertSep 9th, 2011 | By Lindsay | Category: This and That
Early last week, one of my mom’s friends told her about a Palm Desert-area eatery named Castelli’s Ristorante that he had just dined at the previous evening. While he was lauding the place’s authentic Italian fare, he happened to mention that its walls were decorated with hundreds upon hundreds of photographs of the various celebrities who had been spotted there over the years. Well, once my mom heard that she immediately called me up to see if I was aware of the establishment. Amazingly enough, I was not! I, of course, just about died of excitement upon hearing those two magic words – “celebrity photographs” – and quickly added the place to my Coachella Valley “To Stalk” list. And while we were in the area this past Sunday night, I dragged my parents and the Grim Cheaper right on over there to grab a cocktail.
Castelli’s Ristorante is a very old school-style eatery that closely resembles my former San Fernando Valley-area favorite Vitello’s, which, as I mentioned last week, drastically changed its menu (and not for the better) earlier this year. But I digress. With its wood-beamed ceilings, dark lighting, lace curtains, Rat Pack music and painted frescos, walking through Castelli’s front doors I was instantly transported back in time and, like one reviewer on Yelp stated, I half expected to see Tony Soprano sitting at a nearby booth. The restaurant, which is owned and operated by brothers John and Michael Castelli, first opened over 23 years ago and, thanks to its authentic, fresh-cooked Italian cuisine, has been going strong ever since.
Since we had already eaten dinner at the La Quinta Cliffhouse shortly before hitting up Castelli’s, we sadly did not order any meals while there, but the menu looked absolutely amazing. And once I heard that the place served cannoli (I learned today that “cannoli” is actually a plural noun, the singular form of the word is “cannolo”), I just about died and promptly ordered up a serving. Amazingly enough, I had actually never sampled a “cannolo” until this past June and have been absolutely obsessed with the ricotta cheese-filled desert ever since. Because I am diabetic, I can only have them on special occasions, but, let me tell you, my cravings for them are so strong I feel like I a pregnant woman! And I have to say that Castelli’s cannoli were some of the BEST that I have ever had. Oh my god were they good! My dad liked them so much, in fact, that he ordered up a second serving immediately after we had finished the first.
The best part about Castelli’s – even better than its cannoli – though, had to be its celebrity photographs. Oh, the fun that my parents, the GC, and I had roaming around the restaurant trying to figure out who was who in each of the pictures. We even had the waiters running around trying to help us out. Just a few of the luminaries who adorn Castelli’s walls include Martin Short, Bob Hope, Burn Notice’s Jeffrey Donovan, Kevin Nealon, Gary Valentine, Norman Schwarzkopf, Dick Cheney, Robert Wagner, Stefanie Powers, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Dick Butkus, Joe Pesci, Sylvester Stallone, Craig T. Nelson, Dennis Franz, Emmitt Smith, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Sinise, Jerry Lewis, Kurt Russell, James Caan, Dennis Farina, Hal Linden, John O’Hurley (aka “Mr. Peterman” from Seinfeld), and sportscaster Chris Berman. I think it goes without saying that I cannot more highly recommend stalking this restaurant! In fact, I think it is safe to say that the place is my new favorite Desert eatery.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!