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The Digest: Birba

The Digest Birba 1

When you stay at the Alcazar in Palm Springs, they make it super easy for you not to leave their little bubble. You feel because you are so close to Cheeky’s that you will be immune to any of their line waiting dramatics so you’ll eat there every day and, after poolside hanging and drinking for the majority of the day, you’ll want an easy dinner–so why not go to Birba for fancy pizza? That’s exactly what you’ll do and that’s exactly the experience Alcazar wants you to have.

The Digest Birba 2

The place is one of the better restaurants in Palm Springs and one that people often recommend you visit since the restaurants in the area are either ridiculous or super fancy. Birba is an affordable, hip alternative to places like Mr. Parker and Workshop, both of which are great but aren’t quite cost effective if you are on a budget. The space is an indoor/outdoor rectangle that feels like you are dining on the extended patio of someone’s modernist house. The tables are all marble with clear orange chairs and everything is within eyeshot of Palm Canyon, which makes for great people watching.

Birba is more or less a fancy pizza place. They do have an extended menu of Italian goodies like meatballs, burrata, gnocchi, and more–but their main focus is fancy pizza. The concept is pretty clever given that people who are lounging by a pool all day and vacationing in Palm Springs are probably going to want to eat things that are within the reasonable side of the indulgence scale. That’s exactly how we ended up at Birba: we were hungry and lazily looking for a place to eat. One thing to note is you should probably swing by here after the sun goes down as their outdoor situation may be a little too steamy for eating hot pizza. We rolled in here around 6PM or 7PM and, while we didn’t bake, the hot weather did add a certain level of oddity to a dining experience.

The Digest Birba 3

The Digest Birba 4

That weirdness was mostly felt in our charcuterie board first course, which was great but complicated by environmental factors. As you go to eat cured meat in one hundred ten (Plus!) degree weather, you notice that the meat is cooler than the air. That doesn’t sound strange until you’ve experienced it. Nevertheless, they give you a good setup and smartly add in extras like fruit to pair and add to cool you down from the desert heat. We also recommend you order some wine to cool down, too. We tried a cocktail but, unfortunately, it was just OK: go for the wine since they have pretty generous pours and casually serve them in stemless tall tumblers.

The pizzas are great, too. We had two completely different stylings of the dish too: a chorizo and potato red pizza and a pancetta and egg white pizza. The two represent the popular pizza camps of red sauce versus white sauce, which we thought would be a suitable way to test their pizza skills. The chorizo, red version is basically a very sophisticated pepperoni pizza with mushroom and quiet potatoes: this pizza is basically the dream version of a Domino’s pizza I usually order and will now dream about if I eat it. The pancetta, white version was intensely savory and cheesy that had the indulgent–but delicious–egg addition atop of it. This should be a pretty hefty serving but it isn’t nearly as intimidating as you’d imagine it to be. It also should be noted that they have a seemingly homemade hot red pepper oil that every pizza should be slathered in. It added an extra umph to the chorizo pizza: they were made for each other.

As expected, the final link in the triangle of the ABC of Alcazar and the food family of Cheeky’s/Birba/Jiao didn’t disappoint. It’s a place to add to your list of, “Safe, cool places to eat in Palm Springs that feel like it could be in Los Angeles.” It’s pretty mellow and the environment is fantastic too. If you are staying at Alcazar or anywhere near the Palm Canyon strip, you should definitely add Birba to your list of places to eat. It’s a young and fresh pizza concept that does not disappoint–just make sure to go when it isn’t too hot out. Or just drink a lot of wine while you are there.

Please note: Birba will be closed from July 22 through August 27. Get more information on them here.

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