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21 Essential Palm Springs Restaurants

Where to dine in Southern California’s desert hideaway

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If you haven’t spent a winter or spring weekend in the desert, there’s no time like the present, with weather perfect for chilling-by-the-pool days and warming-by-the-fire nights. Southern Californians are hitting Palm Springs in droves right now, which is good news for the city’s growing array of restaurants that, as they did here in LA, expanded outdoor seating during the pandemic before reopening dining rooms last year. Whether you want to pop back into a go-to favorite or try one of the many newbies on the scene, here are 21 essential Palm Springs-area restaurants to hit during your next jaunt to the desert.

Note that restaurants are listed geographically.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Boozehounds Palm Springs

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Dogs are encouraged at this massive new restaurant/bar/lounge with an expansive outdoor patio centered around welcoming both humans and their four-legged friends (dog menu included). The tropical-meets-midcentury space is filled with velvet banquettes, neon signs, plenty of greenery, and a wall dedicated to the owners’ pups. The Asian-influenced menu features some standout crudo, including Tasmanian ocean trout and Japanese yellowtail with charred tangelo, along with sharable plates and a smattering of entrees like the miso sea bass fish and chips. The cocktail program is extensive and features frozen and tap offerings as well. During the day, the lounge flips to an espresso bar and coworking space.

Sandfish by Engin Onural

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Throughout the pandemic, chef-owner Engin Onural pivoted to become one of the top takeout guys in town, sending diners home with carefully crafted hand-stamped boxes of his super fresh sushi nigiri, sashimi, and maki rolls, internationally influenced dishes from the kitchen, and Japanese whisky Old Fashioned kits. He’s since transformed his parking lot into a groovy mini container park, with plenty of open-air seating and a DJ on weekends. Or grab a table inside the sleek indoor dining room or adjacent street-facing patio.

1501 Uptown

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It’s been over a year since restaurateurs Chad Gardner (Roly China Fusion, 533 Viet Fusion) and Willie Rhine (Eight4Nine) banded together to flip the airy standalone space near the Arrive Hotel into a neighborhood gastropub, utilizing its roll-up glass doors and plenty of wraparound patio space for airy eating. The all-day menu features bar fare, like sweet-and-spicy wings, onion rings, and burgers, along with salads and entrees. There’s also a serious gin cocktail menu and lots of craft beers. Look for their new venture, Willie’s, in Rancho Mirage, which opened in February 2022.

Workshop Kitchen + Bar

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Here at chef Michael Beckman’s long-standing hot spot, you’ll find an array of innovative, vegetable-forward, farmers market-driven dishes like apple-and-yam soup and scarlet runner beans with collard greens and black garlic, as well as heartier offerings like shrimp and grits and steak au poivre, plus several wood-fired pizza options. Next up: Beckman brings an outpost to LA inside the former Odys + Penelope space.

Birba Palm Springs

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From the same crew behind breakfast juggernaut Cheeky’s and steakhouse Mr. Lyons, Birba is still bustling with its sprawling outdoor patio, excellent farm-to-table fare, and pizza that rivals any favorites back in LA. Keep it traditional with a margherita pie or go for something more adventurous, like the one with prosciutto, honey, and chile oil. The homemade pastas are worth a try too, while the Italy-focused wine list has plenty of worth selections.  

Tac/Quila

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The couple behind the French-inspired Farm is also running this popular modern Mexican spot along the Palm Canyon main drag. The bar boasts innovative margaritas, including versions made with date tequila, mezcal, and grapefruit. Meals might include a bright white fish ceviche, al pastor and carne asada tacos, and a variety of fajitas, nachos, and stuffed poblanos. The outdoor patio now spills out into the sidewalk and street, while an ample space out back offers even more seating options.

The Tropicale Palm Springs

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This splashy pink restaurant with an Old Havana supper club vibe has a perennially busy patio, especially during its fabled happy hour, when discounted food and bargain drinks are offered. The massive menu skews global with Moroccan lamb meatballs, ahi poke bowls, skirt steak asada, and the kitchen’s best-selling buttermilk fried chicken with succotash. Look for specialty martinis and tropical-inspired cocktails, and a fun brunch scene, too. 

The Heyday

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The duo behind this smash burger spot first gained a faithful following at Palm Springs’ Thursday night street fair VillageFest, later shifting to pop-up form. Now they’ve settled into a permanent space inside the Hilton hotel, where they sell Harris Ranch beef cheeseburgers, fried chicken sandwiches, and mushroom burgers on potato buns, as well as loaded fries and an impressive house salad.

This tucked-away patio bistro has become a brunch mainstay since lawyers-turned-restaurateurs Liz and Mark Ostoich took over the mostly outdoor eatery. The menu is full of jams, local produce, and really good French press coffee, plus staples of crepes, cheesy omelets, and brioche French toast. With its bougainvillea-covered trellis, rustic wood tables, strung lights, and bubbling fountain, the Provence-inspired venue is extra romantic after dark, when it offers a prix fixe dinner menu (Friday through Tuesday) that rotates monthly. French-infused highlights include parsley-celery root soup, purple endive and pickled artichoke salad, chicken paillard, and chocolate almond mousse cake. 

French Miso Cafe

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Owners Tomoko Jones and Eric Bovy, who hail from Japan and France respectively, have blended their cuisines to create this lovely little courtyard cafe. Lunch could be spinach-and-feta quiche with mixed greens, steamed mussels in coconut broth, or a salmon bento box. Come dinner, choose from a two- or three-course prix fixe meal with a menu that changes frequently and could feature options like seared filet mignon, crispy skin bass, or a silky tofu amuse-bouche. 

The Pantry at Holiday House

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With former executive chef Gabe Woo now at Bar Cecil, the patio restaurant at this chic blue-and-white-splashed boutique hotel is now under the helm of Sebastian Lowrey, whose resume includes a stint at Piatti in Mill Valley. The restaurant recently rolled out dinner service with entree additions like a Chilean sea bass with beurre blanc, pork chop over cauliflower puree, and the Pantry’s signature fried chicken platter. At lunch, try the killer tuna nicoise salad or hearty house burger. Hopefully, both Holiday House and sister property Sparrows will bring back their fabled communal dinners later this year.

Rooster and the Pig

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Chef-owner Tai Spendley has reopened his dining room and patio for on-site dining again, which means nightly lines for the inventive Vietnamese-American fare he serves at his no-reservations strip mall gem. As always, there are fun fresh rolls stuffed with the likes of shrimp and mango or lemongrass pork, signature fan favorites, including the crunchy jasmine tea leaf salad, pork belly fried rice, and panko-crusted chicken-stuffed curry bowl, and rotating specials.

Townie Bagels

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Lead baker and co-owner Andy Wysocki and co-owner Bill Sanderson started selling bagels out of their home and at the Saturday farmers market before opening this casual store in 2015. While the water-boiled bagels are some of the best in Southern California, the kitchen also puts out other baked goods every day.

Townie Bagels
Townie bagel sandwich
Matthew Kang

Chef Tanya's Kitchen

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Hidden away in an industrial complex is Tanya Petrovna’s bastion of meatless fare. This takeout-only spot offers a selection of sides, such as an eggless egg salad, smoked chicken pasta, and Moroccan-spiced cauliflower, while heartier offerings include entree-sized salads, sandwiches, and tempeh burgers. Over the past few years, Petrovna has rejiggered the small space to become a mini-market with produce, bottled dressings, her housemade seitan-based deli meats by the pound, take-and-bake lasagna, and plenty of plant-based desserts.

Bar Cecil

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The crew behind boutique hotels Sparrows Lodge and Holiday House transformed this former sushi spot last spring into a posh restaurant anchored by a wood and marble bar and wrapped in bold wallpapers and poppy art. In the kitchen, executive chef Gabe Woo is churning out contemporary bistro fare, putting his own spin on classics and incorporating seasonal ingredients from local farms. Think steak frites, roasted chicken with charred green beans, and grilled California artichokes with a house aioli. For a splurge, try the caviar-accompanied Fifty Dollar martini.

Gabino's Creperie

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This little-creperie-that-could has become a cult hit with locals, who wait at the window-service spot hidden in a South Palm Springs alley most days. Chef-owner and Palm Springs native Marcel Ramirez has created a menu of poultry-focused “craft crepes,” including barbecue chicken, chicken pesto, and turkey cheddar, plus a salad-stuffed veggie version all served in branded — and ultra-Instagrammable — paper cones.

Del Rey

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Located at the South Palm Springs boutique hotel Villa Royale, Del Rey is a decidedly dark and sexy space with an oak and black marble bar and tiled fireplace — plus a back patio — serving serious cocktails. (The Baby Sledge, with Aperol and mezcal, is a fave.) The menu skews heavily Spanish with patatas bravas, garlic shrimp, grilled skirt steak with piquillo peppers, and manchego flatbread.

El Jefe

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The tequila bar and restaurant at the Saguaro hotel continues to serve hip crowds seeking creative Mexican fare ... now on an attractive covered outdoor patio facing the hotel’s garden courtyard. While tacos like the shrimp and chorizo, carne asada with tomatillo-avocado sauce, and crispy Baja-style mahi rule the day, the El Jefe nachos are still a decadent dish worth the splurge. Taco Tuesdays (and Thursdays) are especially popular, thanks to $5 tacos. This spring, the hotel plans to open a new concept inside El Jefe’s former lobby-adjacent space.

Mr. Lyons

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The swanky steakhouse filled its labyrinth of outdoor patios with new and expanded seating areas, but recently reopened its glam dining room, too. Order up icy martinis, craft cocktails and meat-centric fare — including such classics as a New York strip and a wedge salad — in addition to a serious array of sides, from crispy Brussels sprouts to creamed spinach. And don’t forget the Mr. Lyons signature burger with bacon jam.

King’s Highway

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The roadside diner within the Ace Hotel Palm Springs is always a good go-to for a standout breakfast; among choices are the salmon lox plate, chia pudding, and biscuits and gravy stacked with eggs and pork sausage. Come dinner, expect an array of salads, small plates of shareable dips and spreads, and a handful of entrees including steak frites and branzino. Grab a booth inside the bustling dining room or take a table by the pool for your open-air enjoyment. Catch live jazz every Wednesday evening.

Counter Reformation

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At this stylish Jonathan Adler-designed wine bar tucked in the back of the Parker hotel, a standout selection of wines is poured by staffers who know their stuff. Pair the vino with an impressive array of small plates by executive chef Herve Glin, including foie gras macarons, sauteed hen-of-the-woods mushrooms over watercress puree, and a caviar-and-quail egg brioche toast, plus piping-hot and addictive baguettes. Visitors who aren’t staying at the hotel can only get onto the property with a dining reservation, so make sure to snag one before heading over. 

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Boozehounds Palm Springs

Dogs are encouraged at this massive new restaurant/bar/lounge with an expansive outdoor patio centered around welcoming both humans and their four-legged friends (dog menu included). The tropical-meets-midcentury space is filled with velvet banquettes, neon signs, plenty of greenery, and a wall dedicated to the owners’ pups. The Asian-influenced menu features some standout crudo, including Tasmanian ocean trout and Japanese yellowtail with charred tangelo, along with sharable plates and a smattering of entrees like the miso sea bass fish and chips. The cocktail program is extensive and features frozen and tap offerings as well. During the day, the lounge flips to an espresso bar and coworking space.

Sandfish by Engin Onural

Throughout the pandemic, chef-owner Engin Onural pivoted to become one of the top takeout guys in town, sending diners home with carefully crafted hand-stamped boxes of his super fresh sushi nigiri, sashimi, and maki rolls, internationally influenced dishes from the kitchen, and Japanese whisky Old Fashioned kits. He’s since transformed his parking lot into a groovy mini container park, with plenty of open-air seating and a DJ on weekends. Or grab a table inside the sleek indoor dining room or adjacent street-facing patio.

1501 Uptown

It’s been over a year since restaurateurs Chad Gardner (Roly China Fusion, 533 Viet Fusion) and Willie Rhine (Eight4Nine) banded together to flip the airy standalone space near the Arrive Hotel into a neighborhood gastropub, utilizing its roll-up glass doors and plenty of wraparound patio space for airy eating. The all-day menu features bar fare, like sweet-and-spicy wings, onion rings, and burgers, along with salads and entrees. There’s also a serious gin cocktail menu and lots of craft beers. Look for their new venture, Willie’s, in Rancho Mirage, which opened in February 2022.

Workshop Kitchen + Bar

Here at chef Michael Beckman’s long-standing hot spot, you’ll find an array of innovative, vegetable-forward, farmers market-driven dishes like apple-and-yam soup and scarlet runner beans with collard greens and black garlic, as well as heartier offerings like shrimp and grits and steak au poivre, plus several wood-fired pizza options. Next up: Beckman brings an outpost to LA inside the former Odys + Penelope space.

Birba Palm Springs

From the same crew behind breakfast juggernaut Cheeky’s and steakhouse Mr. Lyons, Birba is still bustling with its sprawling outdoor patio, excellent farm-to-table fare, and pizza that rivals any favorites back in LA. Keep it traditional with a margherita pie or go for something more adventurous, like the one with prosciutto, honey, and chile oil. The homemade pastas are worth a try too, while the Italy-focused wine list has plenty of worth selections.  

Tac/Quila

The couple behind the French-inspired Farm is also running this popular modern Mexican spot along the Palm Canyon main drag. The bar boasts innovative margaritas, including versions made with date tequila, mezcal, and grapefruit. Meals might include a bright white fish ceviche, al pastor and carne asada tacos, and a variety of fajitas, nachos, and stuffed poblanos. The outdoor patio now spills out into the sidewalk and street, while an ample space out back offers even more seating options.

The Tropicale Palm Springs

This splashy pink restaurant with an Old Havana supper club vibe has a perennially busy patio, especially during its fabled happy hour, when discounted food and bargain drinks are offered. The massive menu skews global with Moroccan lamb meatballs, ahi poke bowls, skirt steak asada, and the kitchen’s best-selling buttermilk fried chicken with succotash. Look for specialty martinis and tropical-inspired cocktails, and a fun brunch scene, too. 

The Heyday

The duo behind this smash burger spot first gained a faithful following at Palm Springs’ Thursday night street fair VillageFest, later shifting to pop-up form. Now they’ve settled into a permanent space inside the Hilton hotel, where they sell Harris Ranch beef cheeseburgers, fried chicken sandwiches, and mushroom burgers on potato buns, as well as loaded fries and an impressive house salad.

Farm

This tucked-away patio bistro has become a brunch mainstay since lawyers-turned-restaurateurs Liz and Mark Ostoich took over the mostly outdoor eatery. The menu is full of jams, local produce, and really good French press coffee, plus staples of crepes, cheesy omelets, and brioche French toast. With its bougainvillea-covered trellis, rustic wood tables, strung lights, and bubbling fountain, the Provence-inspired venue is extra romantic after dark, when it offers a prix fixe dinner menu (Friday through Tuesday) that rotates monthly. French-infused highlights include parsley-celery root soup, purple endive and pickled artichoke salad, chicken paillard, and chocolate almond mousse cake. 

French Miso Cafe

Owners Tomoko Jones and Eric Bovy, who hail from Japan and France respectively, have blended their cuisines to create this lovely little courtyard cafe. Lunch could be spinach-and-feta quiche with mixed greens, steamed mussels in coconut broth, or a salmon bento box. Come dinner, choose from a two- or three-course prix fixe meal with a menu that changes frequently and could feature options like seared filet mignon, crispy skin bass, or a silky tofu amuse-bouche. 

The Pantry at Holiday House

With former executive chef Gabe Woo now at Bar Cecil, the patio restaurant at this chic blue-and-white-splashed boutique hotel is now under the helm of Sebastian Lowrey, whose resume includes a stint at Piatti in Mill Valley. The restaurant recently rolled out dinner service with entree additions like a Chilean sea bass with beurre blanc, pork chop over cauliflower puree, and the Pantry’s signature fried chicken platter. At lunch, try the killer tuna nicoise salad or hearty house burger. Hopefully, both Holiday House and sister property Sparrows will bring back their fabled communal dinners later this year.

Rooster and the Pig

Chef-owner Tai Spendley has reopened his dining room and patio for on-site dining again, which means nightly lines for the inventive Vietnamese-American fare he serves at his no-reservations strip mall gem. As always, there are fun fresh rolls stuffed with the likes of shrimp and mango or lemongrass pork, signature fan favorites, including the crunchy jasmine tea leaf salad, pork belly fried rice, and panko-crusted chicken-stuffed curry bowl, and rotating specials.

Townie Bagels

Townie Bagels
Townie bagel sandwich
Matthew Kang

Lead baker and co-owner Andy Wysocki and co-owner Bill Sanderson started selling bagels out of their home and at the Saturday farmers market before opening this casual store in 2015. While the water-boiled bagels are some of the best in Southern California, the kitchen also puts out other baked goods every day.

Townie Bagels
Townie bagel sandwich
Matthew Kang

Chef Tanya's Kitchen

Hidden away in an industrial complex is Tanya Petrovna’s bastion of meatless fare. This takeout-only spot offers a selection of sides, such as an eggless egg salad, smoked chicken pasta, and Moroccan-spiced cauliflower, while heartier offerings include entree-sized salads, sandwiches, and tempeh burgers. Over the past few years, Petrovna has rejiggered the small space to become a mini-market with produce, bottled dressings, her housemade seitan-based deli meats by the pound, take-and-bake lasagna, and plenty of plant-based desserts.

Bar Cecil

The crew behind boutique hotels Sparrows Lodge and Holiday House transformed this former sushi spot last spring into a posh restaurant anchored by a wood and marble bar and wrapped in bold wallpapers and poppy art. In the kitchen, executive chef Gabe Woo is churning out contemporary bistro fare, putting his own spin on classics and incorporating seasonal ingredients from local farms. Think steak frites, roasted chicken with charred green beans, and grilled California artichokes with a house aioli. For a splurge, try the caviar-accompanied Fifty Dollar martini.

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Gabino's Creperie

This little-creperie-that-could has become a cult hit with locals, who wait at the window-service spot hidden in a South Palm Springs alley most days. Chef-owner and Palm Springs native Marcel Ramirez has created a menu of poultry-focused “craft crepes,” including barbecue chicken, chicken pesto, and turkey cheddar, plus a salad-stuffed veggie version all served in branded — and ultra-Instagrammable — paper cones.

Del Rey

Located at the South Palm Springs boutique hotel Villa Royale, Del Rey is a decidedly dark and sexy space with an oak and black marble bar and tiled fireplace — plus a back patio — serving serious cocktails. (The Baby Sledge, with Aperol and mezcal, is a fave.) The menu skews heavily Spanish with patatas bravas, garlic shrimp, grilled skirt steak with piquillo peppers, and manchego flatbread.

El Jefe

The tequila bar and restaurant at the Saguaro hotel continues to serve hip crowds seeking creative Mexican fare ... now on an attractive covered outdoor patio facing the hotel’s garden courtyard. While tacos like the shrimp and chorizo, carne asada with tomatillo-avocado sauce, and crispy Baja-style mahi rule the day, the El Jefe nachos are still a decadent dish worth the splurge. Taco Tuesdays (and Thursdays) are especially popular, thanks to $5 tacos. This spring, the hotel plans to open a new concept inside El Jefe’s former lobby-adjacent space.

Mr. Lyons

The swanky steakhouse filled its labyrinth of outdoor patios with new and expanded seating areas, but recently reopened its glam dining room, too. Order up icy martinis, craft cocktails and meat-centric fare — including such classics as a New York strip and a wedge salad — in addition to a serious array of sides, from crispy Brussels sprouts to creamed spinach. And don’t forget the Mr. Lyons signature burger with bacon jam.

King’s Highway

The roadside diner within the Ace Hotel Palm Springs is always a good go-to for a standout breakfast; among choices are the salmon lox plate, chia pudding, and biscuits and gravy stacked with eggs and pork sausage. Come dinner, expect an array of salads, small plates of shareable dips and spreads, and a handful of entrees including steak frites and branzino. Grab a booth inside the bustling dining room or take a table by the pool for your open-air enjoyment. Catch live jazz every Wednesday evening.

Counter Reformation

At this stylish Jonathan Adler-designed wine bar tucked in the back of the Parker hotel, a standout selection of wines is poured by staffers who know their stuff. Pair the vino with an impressive array of small plates by executive chef Herve Glin, including foie gras macarons, sauteed hen-of-the-woods mushrooms over watercress puree, and a caviar-and-quail egg brioche toast, plus piping-hot and addictive baguettes. Visitors who aren’t staying at the hotel can only get onto the property with a dining reservation, so make sure to snag one before heading over. 

Related Maps