With retro vibes, midcentury architecture, and stunning mountain vistas — not to mention weather perfect for chilling-by-the-pool days and jacuzzi or warming-by-the-fire nights in the winter and spring — Palm Springs remains a top destination for Southern Californians. Whether popping back in for a go-to favorite or to try a newcomer with outstanding burgers and cocktails, here are the 18 essential Palm Springs-area restaurants to hit during your next jaunt to the desert.Read More
The 18 Essential Palm Springs Restaurants
Where to dine in Southern California’s desert hideaway
The Copper Room
There’s fascinating history at the Copper Room. It all began in the 1940s when the film industry built an airport in Yucca Valley to accommodate cast and crew. There’s a nondescript former airport lounge that now serves classic cocktails, natural wines, and shared plates including a char su pork belly with rice, pickles, herbs, fried shallots, and lettuce that takes 45 minutes to prepare. It’s worth it.
Sandfish Sushi & Whiskey
Open since 2018, chef Engin Onural’s restaurant is a popular stop for locals and travelers, so make reservations far in advance to try Sandfish’s spicy tuna tostada, gyoza, kaarage fried cauliflower bao buns, or excellent sushi and sashimi.
Brad and Crystal Reihl took over the former JJ’s Mexican Oasis and restored its red leather booths and wood paneling to serve smash burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, wings, fries, and hefty gem salad with lemon, toasted panko breadcrumbs, and a surprisingly light ranch dressing of your dreams. Plus, there’s a full bar serving classic cocktails and a quality playlist with selections that feel just right.
Cartel Roasting Co
Attached to the hotel Arrive Palm Springs, Cartel Roasting’s interior may appear minimal, but serves some of the area’s best coffee whether the single-origin cold brew or latte.
Steps away the Arrive Hotel is a bright neighborhood gastropub that uses roll-up glass doors and plenty of wraparound patio space for breezy dining. 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 plus lots of craft beers.
Barely open a year, chef Omar Limon’s restaurant seamlessly made the move from pop-up to an essential modern Mexican spot for Palm Springs. Order the bluefin tuna tostada, skirt steak, cauliflower esquites, and bread with chile butter.
Short-order cooks are some of the most skilled in the business. Especially at Cheeky’s where it gets incredibly busy on weekends for the chilaquiles, waffles, gluten-free pancakes, or the birria hash with poached eggs served with daytime cocktails.
The Tropicale Palm Springs
This splashy pink restaurant reads Old Havana supper club and boasts a popular happy hour.
Try the meatballs, rice bowls, skirt steak asada, and the best-selling buttermilk fried chicken with succotash. Look for specialty martinis, tropical-inspired cocktails, and a fun brunch scene.
Sherman's Deli & Bakery
Serving Palm Springs since the 1950s, this traditional kosher deli includes the classics. Definitely go for the chopped liver, egg salad, blintzes, and latkes. Or try the house specialty, a latke sandwich with corned beef or pastrami. Take a stroll through the massive bakery case and grab a cheesecake to-go.
Tucked away from the busy Downtown strip is the Farm, a herb garden with a bougainvillea-filled courtyard where early menus include crepes, cheesy omelets, and brioche french toast. There’s charm in all corners with rustic wood tables, stringed lights, and a bubbling fountain to turn up the romance for the Friday through Tuesday prix-fixe dinner menu.
Monsoon Indian Cuisine
Don’t sleep on the fabulous Indian food at Palm Springs’ longtime South Asian restaurant. 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.
Peninsula Pastries Palm Springs
To make sure one can order pastries made with imported French butter and flour, get to Peninsula Pastries early. The display case is stacked with goods of the day including a stunning pear almond tart, chocolate croissant, and baguette.
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. The line is consistently long. Get to Townie early or settle in for a long wait.
Chef Tanya's Kitchen
This takeout-only plant-based 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.
Though challenging to secure a reservation, Bar Cecil is in high demand for a reason. Chef Gabe Woo prepares contemporary bistro fare that’s truly decadent with a smoked fish rillette, deviled eggs, salads, a smoked bone-in pork chop, oysters, caviar service, and a $50 martini.
For a reliable and solid daytime stop, head to Gabino’s in Downtown Palm Springs. Though traditional options with Nutella and banana are available, every crepe is made-to-order with fillings that aim to satisfy including one with chicken and pesto, or buffalo chicken. Check for seasonal specials though the simplicity of Gabino’s crepe with cheese blend and chimichurri cannot be missed.
Mr. Lyons’ glamorous dining room is pure Rat Pack at this modern take on an old-school steakhouse. Order an ice-cold martini, beef Wellington, or New York strip with a side of blistered cauliflower, seared snap peas, or kimchi fried rice. Don’t forget the signature burger with bacon jam.
At the Perfect Pint, the churned custards are crafted with attention to detail. Try the apricot cobbler, gluten-free horchata marzipan, or refreshing lemon blackberry streusel. Check Perfect Pint’s website for where to pick up pints on the go around the greater Coachella Valley.