With retro vibes, midcentury architecture, and stunning mountain vistas — not to mention weather perfect for chilling-by-the-pool days and warming-by-the-fire nights in the winter and spring — Palm Springs remains a top destination for Southern Californians. This is good news for the charmingly quirky city’s growing array of restaurants. Whether you want to pop back into a go-to favorite or try one of the many newbies on the scene, here are the 21 essential Palm Springs-area restaurants to hit during your next jaunt to the desert.Read More
The 21 Essential Palm Springs Restaurants
Where to dine in Southern California’s desert hideaway
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. The duo’s latest venture Willie’s is located at Rancho Mirage.
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 chilled melon soup and scarlet runner beans with collard greens and black garlic. There are also heartier offerings like steak au poivre. Workshop Kitchen + Bar opened its long-awaited Los Angeles location in August 2022.
Colony Club Restaurant
This luxurious restaurant is giving “Don’t Worry Darling” vibes in the best of ways. The restaurant showcases retro Art Deco dining style with well-priced entrees; for breakfast, drop by for a pool-side brioche french toast and a bloody mary. For dinner, options range from deviled eggs to caviar service and a prime New York strip steak served with bone marrow gremolata.
The Tropicale Palm Springs
This splashy pink restaurant with an Old Havana supper club ambience 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 meatballs, rice bowls, skirt steak asada, and the kitchen’s best-selling buttermilk fried chicken with succotash. Look for specialty martinis, tropical-inspired cocktails, and a fun brunch scene.
Sherman's Deli & Bakery
This neighborhood favorite has served the community since the 1950s and holds it down some 70 odd years later. Favorites from this traditional deli and greasy spoon include chopped liver and egg salad, Sherman’s Philly, beef n’ latkes, and, as one would hope, a classic grilled cheese. End a meal here the correct way with a slice of cake or cheesecake from the sprawling bakery case.
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, string 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.
Monsoon Indian Cuisine
Don’t sleep on the fabulous Indian food at Monsoon. Offering reasonable prices, a full lunch buffet, and lots of options for vegetarians, drop by this Palm Springs restaurant for standards like samosas, chicken tikka masala, and palak paneer.
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.
Chef Tanya's Kitchen
Tanya Petrovna’s bastion of meatless fare is hidden away in a sleepy strip mall. This takeout-only spot offers a selection of sides, such as an eggless egg salad, smoked chicken pasta, and Moroccan-roasted 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, house-made seitan-based deli meats, take-and-bake lasagna, and plenty of plant-based desserts.
The crew behind boutique hotels Sparrows Lodge and Holiday House transformed this former sushi spot into a posh restaurant anchored by a wood and marble bar covered in bold wallpapers and poppy art. In the kitchen, executive chef Gabe Woo prepares 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 house-made aioli.
The swanky steakhouse has a glam dining room that harkens back to the Rat Pack days of yore. Order up ice-cold martinis, craft cocktails, and meaty fare — including such classics as a New York strip — 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.
The roadside diner within the Ace Hotel is always a good go-to for a standout breakfast; among choices are a salmon lox plate 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 stripped bass. 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.
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. 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.
Tommy Bahama Restaurant, Bar & Store
While it’s not required to wear a floral-print button-up shirt or dress at the Tommy Bahama rooftop restaurant in Palm Desert — it certainly does help to set the mood. This isn’t quite the always-sunny, forever-breezy coastal waters restaurant that one might assume from the advertising, but that’s okay. Here it’s all about grilled fish, big platters of coconut shrimp, and just enough sweetness in each cocktail to make drinkers ask for another, and another, and another.
While the shop itself isn’t much to experience, the value of Perfect Pint comes from its flavored creations. Here the churned custards are crafted with love and attention to detail, with options like apricot cobbler, a gluten-free horchata mazapan, and refreshing iterations like a lemon blackberry streusel. Check Perfect Pint’s website for where to pick up pints on the go around the greater Valley, to take home and enjoy in peace.
There may be no busier brunch place on the planet than Cheeky’s on a Saturday morning. Part hangover hangout, part family-friendly staple, this is the 15-year-old spot for chilaquiles, waffles, big plates of pancakes, and heavy cups of morning coffee in Palm Springs.
So.Pa is the kind of white tablecloth joint that doesn’t pull punches on flavor and isn’t interested in just doing big-plate brunch for the weekend crowds. Chef Michael Hung, previously of spots like Faith & Flower in Los Angeles, turns out sturdy California fare with plenty of Asian influence, from gazpacho with marinated crab to duck leg confit.
Bootlegger is already a Palm Springs icon, the kind of tiki experience that people will drive hours for. The place is a beautiful mix of kitsch and heart, backed by strong, flowery drinks, a great party atmosphere, and a drinks list that’s long enough to keep the regulars engaged.
Guillermo’s is an in-the-know spot for the local set, the kind of Coachella Valley micro-chain that has been serving reliable Mexican fare and strong drinks for a couple of generations. Always start with a margarita, some ceviche, plus tortilla chips and guacamole of course.
La Quinta Cliffhouse
There’s something special about the longstanding Cliffhouse in La Quina. Tucked into the side of a rocky hill and 30 minutes east of Downtown Palm Springs, it hovers somewhere between camp and cozy with an outstanding happy hour and notable views. Opt for oysters, prime rib, or the sunset dinners where two courses run $25 from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Azúcar Restaurant and Bar
Back in 2017, the La Serena Villas boutique hotel went through a big renovation and introduced the now-popular Azucar. The all-day spot has 38 seats overlooking the pool along with rooftop dining while serving grilled swordfish tacos, a poblano pepper stuffed with manchego and Dungeness crab, and a toffee brownie.