Palm Spring’s Alicante – A Desert Health Review

Olive Tapa

When restaurateur Mindy Reed, owner of award-winning Zin American Bistro, was looking to rebrand her second restaurant, Zini Café, her top priority was to satisfy leading requests from her customers.

First on the list was a name change as Zin and Zini often created confusion when meeting friends. Second was the menu. “We see more and more people moving towards healthier choices, smaller plates and specific dietary preferences,” said Reed. “So that was a leading consideration.” Thirdly, was the desire for late night dining. “We heard many tourists as well as locals comment on the lack of restaurants offering late night dining when desert weather is often its best.”

The result is Alicante, a casual and friendly indoor, outdoor café serving Spanish Mediterranean-inspired cuisine focusing on fresh offerings and a large variety of hot and cold tapas. The vibrant restaurant located in the heart of Palm Springs serves dinners until 11pm Sunday through Thursday and until midnight Friday and Saturday. In addition, they offer separate gluten-free and vegetarian menus to make choices easier for these customers. “We had so many requests – and offer such a large variety of both – that we thought individual menus were the answer.”

alicante-02-300x197And indeed they are. No need to browse through a full menu of enticing entrees to find what you can eat. The entire menu is just for you. And if your guests enjoy a wider variety, the main menu will not disappoint.

We were captivated by the concept and immediately began sharing a variety of small plates. From the Ensalada de Verano salad with strawberries, oranges, almonds, coconut and goronzola cheese to the citrus marinated olives with fresh mango…so much flavor in each selection! Unique tapas combinations include the grilled artichoke, asparagus, fried egg, Serrano ham and Manchego cheese, and the grilled calamari stuffed with Spanish chorizo, fried parsley and capers. Each dish was pleasantly spiced and kept the taste buds dancing.

alicante-03-300x223Our friendly server, Patrick Gonzales, has celiac and proudly calls himself Mr. Gluten-free. He provided input on Alicante’s menu and is partial to their selection of gluten-free pizzas. The prepared dough is made with rice, corn and quinoa and offered with Italian, pesto chicken and vegetarian toppings to name a few. Many dishes contain cheese, but will be made dairy-free upon request.

It’s no surprise that Alicante also boasts a large array of international wines considering that Zin is the winner of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for six consecutive years. Predominantly Spanish, French and Italian varietals are listed by price simplifying this selection as well ($6 glass/$20 bottle, $8/$30 and $10/$40).

alicante-04-253x300Alicante is overseen by Zin’s Executive Chef, Christopher Bowman, who has established himself as one of the premier chefs in the Coachella Valley. Reed adds that she and Chris really wanted to create an affordable menu that captures the diversity of food and wine from the Mediterranean coast in a way that encourages guests to try something new each visit.

They have succeeded at that! Alicante is welcoming, warm, and fun with a diverse menu designed for today’s health conscious diner (and their friends!).

Alicante is located at 140 S. Palm Canyon Drive. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily from 11a-11pm Mon – Thurs.; 11a – midnight Fri; Sat. 10a-midnight; and Sun. 10a-11p. Summer specials include a 3 course $19 prix fix menu available from 4p-6p and Sunday is Spanish night featuring a variety of fresh paella dishes. For more information visit AlicantePS.com or call (760) 325.9464.
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