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Where to Eat and Drink Around Palm Springs

Where to Eat and Drink Around Palm Springs

Where to Eat and Drink Around Palm Springs

By Lesley Balla

There’s an amazing hotel resurgence happening right now too. The Spanish hacienda-inspired Triada opened in late 2014, but its Iluminata restaurant and bar and lounge only opened this month. The highly anticipated Arrive is soon to debut in the hip Uptown Design District (Ezra Callahan, Facebook’s sixth employee, is one investor), bringing a new restaurant, Reservoir Kitchen & Bar. The swank Parker Palm Springs is turning a banquet room into a new 60-seat Mexican restaurant, Normalitas, set to open this spring. And the Sparrows Lodge, a small, rustic-chic spot that’s equidistant from the Ace and Saguaro but couldn’t be more different, plans to add more dining options for guests. New owners brought together an investor pool that includes the one and only Thomas Keller, so you know it will have to be good.

Remember, in high season, when things like the Palm Springs International Film Festival(January) and Modernism Week (February 12-22) bring thousands to the desert, it’s tougher to find rooms and restaurants are bustling. If in relaxing mode, there are great deals during the spring and summer, especially during Restaurant Week (May 29-June 7). And if you’re going Coachella (April 10-12 and 17-19), plan on being overrun everywhere in town (people need a place to crash and play between the two weekends!). Whatever the game plan, here’s where to find sustenance. 


The Edge Steak House

The Edge Steakhouse and State Fare Bar & Kitchen

The two restaurants inside the slammin’ new Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage are close enough to Palm Springs proper to add to any itinerary. First of all, they both have a killer view of the valley below, clear across the Coachella Valley and Little San Bernardino Mountains. The newest is Edge, a classic steakhouse with modern twists, where tony locals and hotel guests are going for huge dry-aged steaks (21, 35 or 60 days, all aged on premises), bone-marrow flan, grilled lobster, pork chops, decadent side dishes and a solid wine list. Prices are as steep as the edge of the mountain it’s perched on, but it feels worth it. Service far surpasses what you usually encounter in the desert. State Fare is the all-day restaurant with a fabulous patio, a good burger and other comfort staples, and a great breakfast buffet (for $28) on the weekends.

Tip: Both spots have bars for cocktails, especially State Fare, which has a pretty large lounge. Don’t miss the barrel-aged Negroni or old fashioned at either.

68900 Frank Sinatra Dr.; 760-321-8282

Workshop Kitchen + Bar

Workshop Kitchen & Bar

Workshop Kitchen & Bar

Since debuting in the summer of 2012, this stunning spot has been heralded as much for its approachable seasonal menu as for its high design. It has everything that would make a homesick Angeleno proud: octopus carpaccio, housemade pickles, wood-fired pizzas and huge shareable bone-in rib-eyes. The cocktails aren’t anything to sneeze at either; we’ll take another Carrot Painkiller, please. Dishes not to miss include venison-neck shepherd’s pie; shaved Brussels sprouts with pomegranate and pecorino; and glazed black cod. Brunch is extremely popular for dishes like frittatas with walnut pesto and arugula; blue crab eggs Benedict; and duck huevos rancheros (served on Sundays from 10 AM-2 PM). 

Tip: For Angelenos who love Workshop so much but can’t always get to the desert, the team, including chef and owner Michael Beckman, is planning to open a Los Angeles restaurant in the Arts District. Look for it in 2016.

800 N. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760-459-3451


This felt like one of the first new Palm Springs restaurants to cater to what we all love: seasonal ingredients and bacon. The menu changes weekly, but there’s always a bacon sampler available in flavors like ginger-sesame, jalapeño and apple-cinnamon. The Uptown Design District spot bustles with locals and visitors taking up every translucent orange chair in the place. Staples like smoked salmon soft scrambles; frittatas with egg whites, greens and feta; and buttermilk and fresh corn pancakes are reasons to go.

Tip: While breakfast is served all day, a lunch menu kicks in at 11:30 AM, adding dishes like fried chicken sandwiches with bacon, slaw and fried onions, and green goddess salads with tuna conserva, potatoes, green beans and avocado.

622 N. Palm Canyon; 760-327-7595




From the folks behind favorite breakfast and brunch spot Cheeky’s, this small space is sleek and modern with long couches and fire pits on the garden patio, a small bar and fresh, seasonal global eats. The menu changes pretty regularly, but the bresola and farro; egg, panchetta and spring onion pizza; short rib and celery root ravioli with brown butter; braised lamb shepherd’s pie; and swordfish conserva are all hits.

Tip: The owners also turned the aged Pepper Tree Inn into a chic boutique hotel, Alcazar, with sleek all-white rooms befitting the Design District. Both Cheeky’s and Birba are adjacent to the property.

622 N. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760-327-5678


We all know that some of the best restaurants are at the hotels in PS, and this is one of the few with a celebrity-chef name attached to it. From Iron Chef winner Jose Garces, Tinto got a bit of a facelift recently, making a formerly large space a lot more intimate. It’s dark and sultry, a perfect spot to steel away for a glass of Granacha or a well-adorned herbal gin and tonic and a plate of Iberico jamón, possibly the only place in the desert that serves it. The menu has been pared down a bit as well, with some not-to-miss dishes like the grilled octopus with potatoes and paprika-spiked chorizo grilled a la plancha.

Tip: The fun and frolicking El Jefe, located just off the lobby, is a great casual spot for tequila, tacos and other Mexican-inspired street food.

1800 E. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760-322-1900

Appetito Deli

Literally just a hop and a skip from the Ace Hotel, a couple of Danny Meyer alums (one whose family has operated desert stalwart La Casuelas) opened this chic little spot for high-end yet rustic Italian food. Everything that can be is made in-house: pastas, cheeses, charcuterie, sauces and more. Good menu options include focaccia topped with oven-dried tomatoes, clams and pancetta; marinated octopus with lima-bean salad; linguini with clams; ricotta gnocchi with kale pesto; eggplant parm sliders; and profiteroles for dessert There’s a full bar, which means one thing: Negronis.

Tip: Order at the counter and the food will be delivered to your table. If it’s in the evening when the temps are dropping, grab a seat on the large patio. The San Jacinto mountains make a lovely backdrop.

1700 S. Camino Real; 760-327-1929

Smoke House Bar and Grill

Smoke House Bar and Grill

Smoketree BBQ Bar & Grill

This isn’t the easiest restaurant to find, but it is very close to the Saguaro and Ace, so it’s worth a scamper to seek it out. Tucked in a strip mall — but really tucked, behind the new burger joint and pizza place, past the vegetarian restaurant, sort of in the middle of the complex — you’ll probably smell the smoke before you find it. That’s because the smoker is outside; if you eat here during the day (great lunch deals, like pulled-pork sandwiches with coleslaw or brisket smothered in BBQ sauce and cheese), you’ll see the chef come out and grab trays of meat to take inside. Create your own plate of smoked pulled pork, brisket, tri tip, beef and pork back ribs, chicken and andouille sausage links. The creamy mac ‘n’ cheese is pretty dynamite. There’s a full bar with an emphasis on mezcal, tequila and whiskey cocktails.

Tip: The same owners own Guiseppe’s, the homey Italian spot out front, and Bar, a hip newish bar in Downtown Palm Springs.

1775 E. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760-778-6521

Dish Creative Cuisine

Dish Creative

Dish Creative

This Cathedral City restaurant recently relocated to the PS Uptown Design District, which seems a more fitting venue for chefs Joane Garcia-Colson and Michelle Heinrich’s modernist approach to seasonal cuisine. Hints of molecular gastronomy make their way on the menu, but not in such an egregious way to make it a turnoff. Standout dishes include mushroom spaetzle with smoked goat cheese and brined lemon; duck done three ways with blackberry gastric; and a pretty beet salad with colors that pop against the slick purple and gray decor.

Tip: The bar has its own menu with nibbles such as fried green olives with spicy yogurt dipping sauce and Korean-style ribs with pickled vegetables. Cocktails take notes from the food menu, many with housemade syrups, sodas and tinctures like ginger beer, strawberry-rhubarb syrup and caramelized grapefruit purée.

107 N. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760-322-7171


Hidden in plain sight in downtown Palm Springs — seriously, you’ll walk by the small sign pointing toward the Wedding Chapel at least three times before realizing that’s where you should go — but that’s part of the charm. The gardenlike setting oozes charm, with a lovely shaded patio and small rooms with fireplaces. The French countryside aesthetic carries over to the menu, which features crêpes, omelets, French press coffee, croque madams and monsieurs, mimosas and more. The duck omelet is such a hit, it might not be available on each visit, but any filling in the fluffy eggs will do. Sweet and savory crêpes are spot on. Open for breakfast and brunch daily.

Tip: Owner Gabriela Olivia recently opened the swank Hester Lounge just a few steps away, next to the Hard Rock Hotel. Think chandeliers, velvet sofas, hand-chipped ice, live music and DJs.


Bootlegger Tiki

6 La Plaza; 760-322-2724

Bootlegger Tiki

​Super-small but fun to find in the Uptown Design District — just look for the tiki torches — this is an all-out tiki experience with sweet, fruity and very boozy cocktails. Located in the same space as the original Don the Beachcomber restaurant that opened in 1953, it’s a modern take on the classic with thatched palm walls, blowfish light fixtures and some racy aloha art. Happy hour has half-priced drinks from 4-6 PM.

Tip: The tiki bar is owned by the duo behind the adjacent Ernest Coffee shop (if you need your Stumptown fix, get it here). The two spots actually share a patio, and when the tiki bar opens at 4 PM, the coffee shop transitions into a beer and wine bar with charcuterie plates and more.

1101 N. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760-318-4154

See the original article here Zagat.com

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An Insider’s Guide

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