Real Fresh, Real Italian
The restaurant opened in July 2012 at The River in Rancho Mirage, a “sibling” of Michael’s on Naples Ristorante, and of the first Michael’s Pizzeria, both of which are based in Long Beach. Angelenos and Long Beach patrons can’t get enough of these Italian treasures — Michael’s on Naples and Michael’s Pizzeria were named Zagat® Guide 2013 best Italian restaurant and best pizza in Los Angeles, respectively.
Michael’s desert location has already garnered a loyal following. General Manager Pietro Luca Bordignon, born and raised in Italy, is delighted to share his knowledge of all things Italian. “My passion for food comes from family,” explains Bordignon. “My grandmother was a chef and everything she made was absolutely fresh and delicious.”
The Michael’s restaurants are owned by founder Michael Dene, Carl Dene, Massimo Aronne and Martin Howard. Executive Chef David Coleman creates the menus for each location.
“One of the best compliments we get is when customers tell us they feel like they’re eating in Italy,” says Bordignon. “We want them to experience real Italian food.”
The menu changes according to what is grown locally and available. Part of eating healthy, especially when eating out, is choosing food with fresh ingredients and minimal processing, and few — if any — preservatives. Using local, seasonal fruits and vegetables helps support local growers while promoting the benefits of eating what’s fresh — from farm to fork.
Stretching 40 to 60 pounds of house-made mozzarella each day, Michael’s uses the fresh cheese for their signature Margherita D.O.P. (Denomination of Origin Protected) pizzas, as well as in their housemade lasagna.
In addition to Napoli-style pizza, Michael’s offers a variety of delicious options that cater to most diets — from small bites on the antipasti menu featuring farmer’s market vegetables and specialties like arancini oxtail and saffron to savory salads with such delectable ingredients as shaved fennel, artichokes, goat cheese, pine nuts and arugula or winter root vegetables, pancetta and roasted pumpkin seeds. Entrees feature a host of fresh ingredients — with several choices for vegetarians. And for that occasional splurge, dessert options are made in-house daily, including house-made gelato and an unforgettable almond cake with rosemary sauce, among other choices.
Berkeley resident David McMullen, a recent visitor to Michael’s Pizzeria, couldn’t help but gush about the gnocchi with braised oxtail. “It’s like they reached up and scooped out a bit of heaven.”