Spent this weekend in Indian Wells golfing & chowing with my brother and nephew. Had excellent dinners both Friday & Saturday.
Friday night was Ristorante Mama Gina in Palm Desert on El Paseo. Excellent food, great service. We had calamari fritti and beef carpaccio appetizers. Calamari was perfect, one of the best I've had. Carpaccio was also very good, sliced thinner than paper with shaved parmeasan cheese and some greens. I also had the butternut squash ravioli which was very tasty. Dinner for 2 with 2 beers & 2 glasses of wine was I think $84, $100 with tip, very reasonable for the quality of the food.
Saturday dinner at Johannes in Palm Springs, another excellent meal. Nice atmosphere, a little more casual than I expected (which is a plus for me). Service was very professional & friendly, food was terrific. I had the ahi tuna & avocado tartare app. with tobiko, crispy wonton & dribbled with wasabi & soy mustard sauces. 2 of us had the special "trio" with sliced filet mignon cooked perfeectly rare, & shrimp wrapped around scallops, with an excellent sauce. Brother had the veal scallopini, with spaetzle. All the food was fantastic. Dinner for 3 with drinks was around $240 before tip, again very reasonable for the quality.
Have to say after a few disappointing dining experiences in the desert (average food at high prices), these 2 places are both hits and will be on my "must return" list.