Seeking an outdoor experience for my mother's 79th birthday luncheon, we chose this bistro located on "The River," in Rancho Mirage. We 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. Visitors will find an eclectic menu of starters like oysters, quinoa-stuffed acorn squash, and fried zucchini. While the main courses include pizzas, salads, fresh seafood, burgers, and a variety of pastas.
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. My 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 curried chicken salad, and my father 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 even served a free dessert, for her birthday.