Outdoor Dining at Acqua Pazza
Seeking an outdoor experience for my mother's 79th birthday luncheon, we chose Acqua Pazza California Bistro on "The River" in Rancho Mirage. We'd read a positive review of the award-winning restaurant and were looking for an alternative to our usual go-to eateries in the area.
Acqua Pazza provided a genial outdoor dining experience with a sheltered patio right next to the artificial estuary that gives The River shopping district its name. Although its designers were probably not intentionally creating an ecosystem for waterbirds, the river is an attractive habitat for geese who wander about amiably seeking tidbits from visitors.
Mom is no different from most; she enjoys feeding birds and we all took part in sneaking bits of bread under the glass partition that separates diners from the water's edge. Geese waddled right up to us, accepting our handouts without fear. The waitresses asked us to stop; we secretly continued.
Meanwhile, our lunches were delicious. Mom and I had curry chicken salad and Dad ordered an omelet. Acqua Pazza is a bit pricey (I consider $15 for a salad somewhat steep) but the food was very fresh and served with flair. Mom was served a free dessert. We enjoyed our meal and would return again.
Visitors will find an eclectic menu of starters including soups and appetizers (oysters, quinoa stuffed acorn squash, fried zucchini, etc.), as well as main courses ranging from pizzas and salads to fresh seafood, burgers and a variety of pastas.
Prices: $7 to $25