The foodies of Palm Springs are already flocking to the new SO.PA just days after the unique alfresco dining eatery opened its doors at L’Horizon Resort and Spa. Part of the allure of being able to dine under the stars, the other is the already being raved about cuisine of Chef Giacomo Pettinari, formerly of the famous and legendary El Bulli in Spain. Critics are describing is as refined decadence and gushing over the wow-factor décor of designer Steve Hermann who add such flourishing finishes as a central fire pit, custom fountains, Lindsey Adelman chandeliers, and a long walnut community table.
SO.PA is sort of like WeHo, SoHo and NoHo, an abbreviation of South Palm where the restaurant is located. Foodies who follow Chef Pettinari know he grew up in Loreto, Italy on the Adriatic Coast. He began his career unbeknownst to anyone at the young age of 14 when he entered the Panzini Culinary School—one of the top culinary schools in Italy—graduating at 19. He moved to London where, at the age of 20, he worked for two years with the famous Chef Fabio Trabocchi, in the two-star Michelin-rated restaurant, Floriana. It was there where he learned the art of fine dining and the Importance of presentation. From England he moved on to Barcelona and worked with Ferran Adria at El Bulli, who invented molecular cuisine and is considered to be one of the best chefs in the world. Now a real globetrotter, Pettinari hit Thailand to learn the art of sushi before arriving in Los Angeles at the age of 26 where he cooked with world-famous Valentino chef/owner Piero Selvaggio becoming Valentino’s first Michelin Star at age 28.
“I keep one eye on the past, one eye on the future. I want there to be a global influence that mixes foods of the past and future,” says Chef Pettinari. He makes his food exactly as his mom always did: “Keep the flavor real and authentic.”
Pettinari’s creations that are attracting diners by the drove include a decadent Poached, Hudson Valley Foie Gras Au Torcions With Sweet Preserved Baby Black Amarena Cherry, Ricotta Cheese and Orange Blossom Water Gelato and Baby Mache and Squid Ink Potato Pillows with a Crustacean Reduction, the food is light, healthy and prepared with organic and local ingredients as much as possible. To really enjoy his gourmet cuisine SO.PA offers an eclectic selection of wines plus tantalizing grand finale desserts.
SO.PA is located at the legendary Hollywood glam, L’Horizon Resort & Spa Palm Springs, 1050 East Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, 760-323-1858. It is open for three squares every day.