Disclaimer: Those who follow regularly know that due to health reasons and food sensitivities, I’ve not been able to eat out in a few years. Cue the tiny violin. BUT I stand by my tried & true picks, not just for the food but for the atmosphere too. These places will make you feel like you’re in Palm Springs: happy, relaxed and inspired. I also still get to enjoy a drink at these spots, so don’t cry for me Argentina.
I’ll note which ones are great for the décor too and very Instagrammable with an *.
My Top 10 Restaurants in Palm Springs
These are my favorite places to eat in Palm Springs, otherwise known as the spots I love hanging out and recommend time and time again, my tried & trues.
Craving thin-crust pizza? Birba is your spot! I love the outdoor garden setting under the olive trees and palo verdes. Their cocktails are great too. Birba also offers gluten-free pizza (but note it is made in the same oven as the regular pizzas).
This is my favorite Mexican restaurant in the world. It’s more like Tex-Mex, which I love. While it certainly seems touristy with its downtown Palm Springs location, it also attracts locals and is the good kind of touristy: fun, with live music! Get the enchiladas suizas and thank me later. Too tired to eat out from all the sun you soaked up by the pool? You can get take-out in the back!
Craving a complete throwback and want to dine where the Rat Pack caroused? Melvyn’s at the Ingleside Inn is your spot. The waiters are generally octogenarians dressed in tuxes and serve dishes tableside such as Steak Diane or a Wilted Spinach Salad. The ice-cold martinis are generous pours, more so than elsewhere in Palm Springs, I’ve heard due to the fact that they have an old grandfathered-in liquor license. Not up for a full meal? At least pop in for a drink at the bar and enjoy the piano player and blue-haireds getting down on the small dance floor. This place is an experience. Note: While most places in Palm Springs are pretty casual, gentlemen need to wear pants and a jacket.
This is my favorite spot in Palm Springs to grab drinks, dinner or brunch with friends. The décor is by the one and only Jonathan Adler, who designed the The Parker Palm Springs hotel, and it’s infinitely Instagrammable. Along with yummy nibbles – I love the burger, the tacos, the chocolate decadence French toast and blueberry pancakes — I also adore that if it gets cold at night, they have heat lamps and blankets that they bring you. Cozy! The service can sometimes be slow, but you’re on Palm Spring time, so sit back and enjoy.
While they do serve dinner, this is a spot I love most for brunch and lunch. Designed by the genius Kelly Wearstler, The Avalon is a boutique hotel with a main building and cute little bungalows (stay in the bungalows!). We’ve loved eating in the gazebo over the years (that’s an insider tip – most people don’t know to ask) and soaking up the laidback chic setting that makes you feel like you’re in heaven. Faves: Chi Chi Quiles!
Did we hit the jackpot on amazing designers lending their talents to Palm Springs hotels and restaurants?! The Colony Palms hotel was designed by Million Dollar Decorator Martyn-Lawrence Bullard in the spirit of Morocco. The hotel’s restaurant, The Purple Palm, lets you dine amidst the atmospheric setting, while you take in the San Jacinto Mountains, pretty people playing in the pool, and misters keeping everything sexy.
We love Jake’s fresh California cuisine for brunch, lunch and dinner. But TBH, I mostly love it for dessert, and by dessert, I mean for their ginormous slices of the best cake of your life. The cakes are actually made by Over the Rainbow Desserts in Palm Springs, and they are life-affirming. Insider tip: Right next door is one of my favorite vintage stores in Palm Springs (and the world): The Frippery. Happy shopping!
Starving for breakfast and need a bacon flight and mimosa stat? Cheeky’s is your spot. The line can be long, so be sure to put your name on the list as soon as you arrive. It’s almost always worth it. That said, if it’s an hour wait and you need food pronto: consider Jake’s or Chi-Chi at The Avalon for close-by brunch faves.
The pink chairs drew me in – hello Instagram! But the drinks are fun and the food is good. Not great, but good.
I don’t know many people who know about this place. The food is good, but the views are GREAT. Escena is located on a golf course, so most people eating here are eating after a round of golf. In addition to lunch, Fred Baby and I also love going around sunset for dinner, and always remark on how it makes us feel like we’re in Hawaii. I LOVE the chips and dip they serve at lunch only. It’s also pretty kid-friendly. Note: They have a great happy hour deal, but you have to enjoy it inside at the bar, so miss out on the views.
14 More Palm Springs Restaurants I Enjoy
I’ve shared my Top 10 Restaurant in Palm Springs, but in no way is that an exhaustive list. It IS the list I turn to most when making recommendations for those visiting Palm Springs for the first time and seek that quintessential Palm Springs experience. But what about other places to try? Perhaps you’ve hit up everything on that list and want to branch out.
Here are 14 more restaurants I’ve also enjoyed over the years. They may not have made my Top 10, but they’re still pretty great.
It’s fun to take your photo against the pink wall outside, and the food is good. I prefer sitting on the back patio and used to love their fried chicken.
We come here for one thing: the fish tacos!
It’s not fancy or atmospheric, but it sure does hit the spot when you’re craving pad thai or tom yum soup.
We have lots of friends, who claim Workshop as their favorite restaurant in Palm Springs. While the interiors are very cool, I personally find them a bit cold — much more New Yorky — and prefer to eat outside. That said, it did win a James Beard award for design! We’ve had the whole fish and it was quite good.
I’ve only had happy hour nibbles here and dinners as part of special events. But the happy hour food was very good and I know many people love Mr. Lyons for their steaks. The design is cool too, dark and moody, and I love their floors.
You know the rainbow colored hotel in Palm Springs? Which seems to have been made for Instagram? This is the restaurant inside! And their tacos are pretty delish. Fun Fact: The chef was on Top Chef.
I’ve only had drinks here, and while my margarita was pricey at $17, it was also REALLY good. This is the restaurant at L’Horizon hotel, which is beautiful. But when I was last there, the service was a little off and not warm and friendly. But it’s meant to be one of the nicest meals you can have in the desert.
The Ace is a hipster paradise, and it’s quite Instagrammable as well. If you’re feeling casual, King’s Highway is a roadside diner for the cool kids.
Craving comfort food? This is your spot. While there is nothing pretty about Sherman’s, it IS the place to head if you want Matzo Ball soup or a sandwich as big as your face. They also have a big dessert case, which is hard to resist.
When my family visits, they love coming to Ruby’s for their delicious chocolate milkshakes. The chicken fingers and fries are also SO good. Great spot to go with kiddos. I would KILL for a shake right now.
This is another primo spot for burgers, fries and shakes. Also good for kiddos.
Similar to Melvyn’s, this place is a complete throwback. Also sporting waiters in tuxes, it’s an old-school fancy spot for French fare. I prefer Melvyn’s more, but it is nice that you can sit outside here and feel like you’ve traveled back in time.
This is the fancy restaurant at The Parker Palm Springs. Also designed by Jonathan Adler, it’s dark and moody and groovy. I prefer Norma’s because I love to eat outside – I’m an al fresco girl through and through – but if you’re in the mood for a clandestine tryst – and a good steak — this is your spot.
Another great brunch spot. This place is definitely on the indulgent side. I still think of the blackberry custard French toast I once had at their Palm Desert location. Now there’s a Palm Springs location too.
14 NEW Restaurants in Palm Springs To Check Out
Wanting to check out the new and raved about restaurants in Palm Springs? Me too! I haven’t had the pleasure of eating at these spots, but I’ve heard great things from locals and friends visiting from out of town.
Note: Some of these restaurants have now been open for a few years, but they’re still new-ish or new to me.
People literally line up to eat here, as they don’t take reservations. But also because it’s said to be some of the best food you can find in Palm Springs. It’s in an unassuming strip mall, so it’s more about the food than the ambiance.
I can’t believe I haven’t visited this spot yet. The Sands hotel is Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s new Palm Desert hotel and a pink-lover’s dream. Can’t wait to get over to The Pink Cabana soon for drinks!
When we shot the cover of the Palm Springs City Guide at Holiday House, a preppy-chic hotel designed by Mark D. Sikes in classic blues and whites, Palm Springs insider Steven Henke told us that they now host lunch and dinner here on certain days. As in they have Fried Chicken Fridays and Taco Tuesdays! It’s small so call ahead to make sure there’s room, but it sounds fun + deelish.
The Sparrows is another Palm Springs hotel I can’t believe I’ve never been to. Again, Steven Henke told us how great their meals are here. They have Chicken Wednesdays and Steak Saturdays, family style suppers for a select number of guests. Like The Pantry at Holiday House, the seating is very limited and goes first to those guests staying at the hotel, so call ahead.
Elmer’s is in no way new — it’s been around since 1960! — but I’ve never been, so it’s new to me. Our friends Grasie and Damien love this old-school spot for German pancakes, crepes and the like.
My friend Alle raves about this spot for great Mediterranean.
A new spot in the back of The Parker, this is an intimate 20-seat “shrine to wine” designed by Jonathan Adler. Maybe I need to stop writing this post and head over to this wine bar that also serves small plates now? Twist my arm…
Oh how I wish I could eat at this petite spot specializing in one thing: hot dogs! The wallpaper is ridiculously cute and fun.
If you like beer, this seems like a spot worth checking out. Plus their menu seems really diverser and interesting.
I’ve heard great things about the new hotel Villa Royale and apparently the Del Ray, their bar/restaurant is fun too. Have you been?
This is a truly new restaurant in Palm Springs and the sushi is said to be great.
The Arrive Hotel is fun and now they have a Wexler’s Deli too. LA is known for their Wexler’s Deli outposts, so it’s fun to know we have one in the desert too if you’re craving good nosh.
I still haven’t been IN The Rowan, the new hotel in downtown Palm Springs…with a rooftop pool! Their restaurant 4 Saints is on the rooftop and looks beautiful and tasty..
Also in The Rowan Hotel, albeit at ground level, the Juniper Table website says: “Southern California’s bounty enhanced by flavors of the Mediterranean.” Color me intrigued.
What Do You Think?
Did your favorite place to eat in Palm Springs make the list? Did I miss any? LMK!
Also, now I’m STARVING! Where should we go?
PHOTOS by FRED MOSER
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