Yes, the food offerings at Coachella this year are going to be really good (like really, really good), but, unless you're committed to camping there all weekend (let us know how that goes), you're going to have to depart the fabled fairgrounds at some point – and that might involve eating. Luckily, there are more excellent options this year than ever before, especially in hipper-by-the-minute Palm Springs proper (where many off-campus dwellers will be probably be staying). From sushi to sandwiches to fancier farm-to-table fare, here's a comprehensive list of where to dine during Coachella this year.Read More
20 Coachella Dining Options in Palm Springs
If you're heading to Palm Springs for Coachella, you're going to want to check out these eateries.
dish Creative Cuisine
What began as a little restaurant in a less-than-ideal Cathedral City shopping center quickly became a beloved spot for locals and a destination for visitors thanks to lawyer-turned-chef/owner Joane Garcia-Colson's wildly inventive cuisine that borders on molecular gastronomy (not to mention her nightly parade of out-of-the-box amuse-bouches and palate cleansers). Unsurprisingly, dish outgrew its old home and, at the beginning of the year, opened its newly designed 100-seat space at the reincarnated Don the Beachcomber building in the foot-traffic-friendly Uptown Design District. In addition to a dinner menu anchored by whimsical plates like cauliflower risotto, a beet salad with feta mousse, and organic Coq au vin with thumbelina carrots, there's now a full bar with a notable list of craft cocktails mixed with housemade syrups and sodas.
Birba is bustling for a reason – it pretty much has it all. There's a sleek, open-air bar, gorgeous outdoor patio dotted with uplit, well-priced farm-to-table fare, and pizza that rivals any favorite back in LA. There's an excellent margherita, but things get much wilder than that with variations including tuna conserva and capers; local dates and gorgonzola; and braised greens with Serrano chiles. They've recently upped their homemade pasta offerings too and added a rotating band lineup every Thursday night. Look for the owners (who are also behind breakfast-and-lunch spot Cheeky's next door) to open modern steakhouse Mister Lyons soon. [Photo: David Broach/David Richey]
Despite the fact the closest ocean is 120 miles away, there's indeed good sushi to be had in the desert, though many of the area's existing spots are lacking in atmosphere and heavy on fluorescent lighting. Gyoro Gyoro, run by a giant Tokyo-based restaurant operator, manages to get it all right with a glitzy indoor-outdoor eatery and dauntingly large menu that will please both sushi purists with its top-notch nigiri choices and those who love their spicy tuna rolls tempura-fried and drizzled with three kinds of sauces. There are also a few dozen Yakitori skewer choices ranging from Brussels sprouts to beef tongue.
Workshop Kitchen And Bar
When LA chef Michael Beckmen partnered with restaurateur Joseph Mourani to open a trendy spot with "industrial chic" décor and a farm-to-table focus on local ingredients and craft cocktails back in 2012, it was big news for a city once full of aging steakhouses and ill-made Old Fashioneds. Three years later, its gargantuan communal table is still full. Small plates – the sous vide octopus carpaccio with pickled cauliflower or the shaved Brussels sprout salad with pomegranate hazelnuts, for example – tend to spotlight fresh flavors more than the bigger plates … though that cacao-dusted elk rack for four might be worth ordering just to say you did.
Hacienda Cantina & Beach Club
At night, Palm Springs' new day club (sure to be packed during a certain upcoming music festival) turns into a modern Mexican cantina inside the adjacent sprawling restaurant with multiple bars, splashed with Day of the Dead-style artwork. Try one of the platters of tacos stuffed with adobo grilled steak, fried Mexican shrimp, or carnitas, or opt for more bikini-friendly fare like honey-citrus white fish ceviche or a cilantro-crusted salmon. If you'll be extending your stay, Hacienda offers up $3 tacos and margaritas accompanied by a DJ every (Taco) Tuesday night.
Shanghai Reds Bar & Grill
This sliver of a bar behind downtown's main drag is the perfect spot for a few beers, a bucket of peel and eat shrimp, and the valley's best fish taco. But if you're hungry for more, there's also everything from cioppino to crab enchilladas When the bar's too crowded (and it often is), grab a table on the outdoor patio, which, thanks to a recent expansion, now has a lot more room for enjoying the live bands that play on their new stage a few nights a week. Happy hour food prices start at 8 p.m. every night and all day Sunday.
With Coachella behind you, decompress at the Colony Palm Hotel's pool-adjacent eatery with striking mountain views, a thankfully peaceful dining room, and sophisticated fare including pan-roasted diver scallops with parsnip cream and duck breast with huckleberry gastrique. The cocktail program's a fun one: The Old Fashioned gets a rosemary infusion and a drink called the Purple Gang mixes vodka, lemon, muddled grapes with a Pinot Noir float.
Iron Chef Jose Garces's once-cavernous restaurant at the Sagauro hotel has been transformed into a cozier, more intimate tapas bar since undergoing a four-month renovation last summer and reopening in late 2014. The menu's now focused on more traditional tapas and pintxos – think plates of Spanish cheese and jamon; grilled chorizo; and sizzling shrimp sautéed in garlic and lemon. The bar offerings have been revamped too with a wider variety of both Spanish and domestic wines by the glass and a new cocktail program with an emphasis on Spain's favorite spirit, gin. Groups can order an entire bottle No. 209 served alongside high-end Fever-Tree tonic and an array of botanicals for infusing.
There's something about an evening on the palm-dotted patio that makes you feel like you're on vacation (and offerings like lemongrass basil mojitos and pineapple jalapeno margaritas certainly don't hurt). An inside seat at the chic "Coral Seas" lounge is often just as good, especially on Tuesday and Thursday nights when a live jazz trio sets up. The menu ranges from pizzas to Asian-style salmon to buttermilk fried chicken with a killer happy hour from 4 to 7 nightly and all night on Wednesdays.
Simon Kitchen + Bar
Vegas-based chef Kerry Simon took over the restaurant at the year-old Hard Rock Hotel last September, reopening it as Simon Kitchen + Bar, a lobby-adjacent space filled with giant circular booths, leather-upholstered bar stools, and a wall-size photo of Simon peering out at diners. The refreshingly reasonable menu is a good blend of comfort and soul food with oxtail and black rice risotto, chicken thighs paired with a citrus chimichurri, and fried green tomatoes served with a lump crab-flecked vinaigrette. Though the $5 happy hour menu sounds great, the fact that it's only available for 55 minutes a day makes it kind of a fake-out.
El Mirasol Regional Cuisines
Strong margaritas, excellent mole, a dining room that hasn't been updated since the '80s, and an occasional Suzanne Somers sighting? What's not to love? While El Mirasol's owners opened a newer, shinier location with a lovely courtyard near the trendy Uptown Design District a couple of years back, the tried-and-true original spot south of town on Palm Canyon, with its perennially packed patio, is still the locals' favorite.
King's Highway at Ace Hotel & Swim Club
The roadside-diner-esque eatery (that was once a Denny's in a former life) housed inside the hipster Ace Hotel recently got a menu refresh courtesy of the guys behind the eatery at Downtown LA's Ace location and the Brooklyn bistro Five Leaves.The menu's now more grownup with international-inspired comfort food offerings of buttermilk fried jidori chicken and a pork belly-pozole dish in an orange-chili broth. The place also just installed a new coffee bar for serving Stumptown on the go. Because AC/DC is that much better when you're caffeinated.
Executive chef Chad Shaner and owner Patrick Service (whose grandparents founded Palm Springs' longstanding Mexican restaurant Las Caseulas) met while working for Danny Meyer in New York, where Shaner served as sous chef at Union Square Grill. They partnered to open this Italian spot a stone's throw from the Ace last year and hired fabled local designer Christopher Kennedy to create the modern room with concrete floors, subway-tile walls, and a super-cool collection of lamps strung from the ceiling. The casual menu features eggplant parm sliders, sausage-and-pepper pizzette, and handmade pastas. (Don't miss the ricotta gnocchi with kale-walnut pesto.)
Smoke Tree BBQ Bar + Grill
The third venture for the family who also owns the nearby Italian spot Giuseppe's and cocktail hot spot Bar launched with a grill-your-own concept last year before rejiggering the place into a true barbeque joint. The meaty menu of mesquite-smoked dishes features pulled pork, baby back ribs, Andouille sausage, and brisket along with a vast array of Southern-inspired, belt-loosening sides (hello, potato salad and creamed corn!) and a standout cocktail menu with plenty of mezcal to keep with the smoke theme. For those who need to boost their BBQ game, the restaurant offers grilling classes every Wednesday.
Chad Gardner, the executive chef and owner behind Palm Springs' always-in-demand catering outfit Dash and Handful, recently bought this longstanding pho spot on the south end of town. Though much of the offerings are staying the same, Gardner and team are giving the menu more of a Vietnamese-fusion focus with adds like a Bau Bau vegetarian salad with curried tofu and a chicken-lemongrass meatball pho with ginger-infused broth.
The Venue Sushi Bar & Sake Lounge
Born in Buffalo and raised in Turkey, Engin Onural somehow learned to create stellar sushi – first at stints as a sushi chef at a few nearby resorts, and, over the last four years, as chef and owner of The Venue, a sleek spot on Palm Desert's tony El Paseo where Onural, a sake sommelier, has also put together a solid list of sake offerings, too. You can stick with the extensive nigiri menu or take advantage of his experimental rolls like "Fish & Chips" made with white fish tempura and served alongside Asian-spiced fries. During Coachella, festival-goers just have to show their wristband to get 15% off food.
State Fare Bar & Kitchen
The new Ritz-Carlton's restaurant boasts a rotating menu showcasing ingredients sourced from the Coachella Valley (though the crowd favorite prime burger, topped with Fiscalini Hopscotch cheddar and onion-bacon jam and served on a pretzel roll doesn't seem to be going anywhere.) If you're looking for higher-end, The Edge, a glass-walled, cliffside steakhouse that houses its own dry-aging recently opened on the premises as well.
Wilma & Frieda
After raising more than $50,000 via a Kickstarter campaign a couple years back, this breakfast-and-brunch spot took over an upper-level space in Palm Desert's posh outdoor shopping center The Gardens on El Paseo, offering a creative (though rather meat-centric) menu, including its signature meatloaf and eggs and short rib eggs benedict. And everything is housemade, from the biscuits and gravy to the English muffins to the strawberry jelly. There's also an espresso bar and a case full of sky-high pies and saucer-sized cookies for sale that will fill you up just looking at them.
Cork & Fork
Yes, you've seen a lot of these dishes before – short rib grilled cheese, coconut-curry mussels, grilled romaine salad – but the food is excellent and perfect for sharing, the menu's extensive (there's even a list of vegan offerings) and the kitchen doesn't usually have a problem making modifications (unlike some places we know.) The tucked-in-the-back-of-a shopping center spot also has a solid wines-by-the-glass list with several offered by the 3-ounce pour for flight fun.
TKB Bakery & Deli
TKB got quite the media boon earlier this year when Yelp ranked the family-run deli in Indio fourth on its top 100 places to eat in the entire country, thanks, in part, to the glowing reviews locals have been giving the place for years. The selection is dizzying. They're known for Mexican meatloaf on jalapeno foccacia, though their red chili chicken sandwich with homemade chipotle sauce is the most popular menu item. And there are plenty of classic offerings too, along with several items with wacky semi-celeb names. (A Ruben Stud-er, anyone?) Just a few miles from the fairgrounds, the place (which makes nearly everything, including all the breads, from scratch) couldn't be more convenient, and it recently added Saturday hours.