10 Best Breakfast Restaurants to Kick Off Your Day in Palm Springs
By Marissa Willman
Palm Springs Local Expert
One of the first things people notice when they come to Palm Springs is the casual atmosphere. You won't find the constant rush or hustle of the big city here, and that goes for breakfast, too. While plenty of local restaurants offer traditional breakfasts for the early-risers, many swap breakfast menus for brunch experiences on the weekends. Whether you're spending a day in downtown Palm Springs, taking the family to The Living Desert or hitting The Shops on El Paseo, there are plenty of brunch choices to start your day off right. From hearty breakfast fare to upscale French cuisine, Palm Springs offers a brunch that's sure to fit your palette.
If you're starting your day in downtown Palm Springs, you can choose between LULU and Cheeky's, both popular brunch joints on Palm Canyon Drive. Open from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., brunch is a Cheeky's specialty. The menu rotates weekly to showcase new twists on seasonal ingredients, but the ever-present staple that causes long lines outside this chic white restaurant? The five-piece bacon flight, sure to be the highlight of your brunch. At LULU, you can enjoy a Sunday prix fixe brunch menu with mimosas or bellinis from the ultra-modern dining room.
Outside of Palm Springs, the Grove Artisan Kitchen offers a Sunday brunch buffet with an expanded continental menu and mimosas. If you're planning a day on El Paseo, stop by Cafe des Beaux-Arts for brunch on the patio.
10 John's Restaurant
Don't let the neon sign on Palm Canyon fool you--this no-frills restaurant does breakfast right, making it one of Palm Springs' best breakfast gems. When you walk into John's, order off the wall menu at the front counter and grab a seat. Settle into a booth and wait for your food to be delivered to your table, and prepare to dig into a generous helping of your favorite breakfast fare. From pancakes and French toast to omelettes and breakfast melts, John's has something for everyone. Be ready for leftovers, as you might not be able to finish the generous portions in a single sitting. ((760) 327-8522)
Located at the iconic Parker Hotel, Norma's is a classy breakfast restaurant in Palm Springs. Inside, white-painted brick and hardwood ceilings and floors add great texture to this spare restaurant, which also sports leather chairs and booths. It and the outdoor patio (great for people-watching) are prime terrain for sampling exquisite breakfast dishes like banana-macadamia nut flapjacks, a seared rock lobster and asparagus omelet, huevos rancheros, and crepes. Should money be no expense, try the lobster frittata, which comes in two versions: With an ounce of Sevruga caviar, it's only $100; with 10 ounces of the stuff, the price leaps to $1000. Good morning! (760-770-5000, 760 321-4630)
8 Clementine Gourmet Market
A longtime local favorite, Clementine Gourmet Market and Cafe is the perfect spot to kick off an inspired day in Palm Desert. This Mediterranean-inspired cafe blends co-owners Christophe and Jennifer Douheret's respective French and Italian upbringings under one orange roof. Locals love breakfast at Clementine, which offers fresh baked breads, gourmet breakfast paninis and indulgent Nutella croissants. The breakfast menu also includes smoked salmon on toasted levain, baked egg ficelle boats and granola parfait cups. Farmhouse tables allow you to meet new friends over coffee, and after breakfast, you can browse the retail area to take home a taste of the Mediterranean. Breakfast is served from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. everyday except Sundays, when breakfast is served all day. ((760) 834-8814)
7 Grove Artisan Kitchen at Miramonte Resort & Spa
Located in the relaxing Miramonte Resort and Spa in Indian Wells, Grove Artisan Kitchen is known in the Coachella Valley for its use of local and homegrown produce. Chef Robert Nyerick uses citrus from the resort's groves and fresh produce from his onsite herb and vegetable garden to create artisan dishes like golden tomato gazpacho, fattoush salad, cannelloni florentine and free-range roasted chicken served with roasted root vegetables. Chef Nyerick works with local growers to source fresh ingredients, including local ranch-raised meats and Pacific seafood. Combined with Chef Nyerick's passion for using traditional, time-honored preparation techniques, the farm-to-table menu at Grove Artisan Kitchen is a study in simple, locally sourced elegance. (760-341-7200)
6 LULU California Bistro
Modernism meets the restaurant scene at LULU California Bistro in downtown Palm Springs, the funkier, modern version of Acqua Pazza in Rancho Mirage. With sleek mid-century modern design and chic artwork, LULU has a modern vibe that embodies the spirit of Palm Springs. Seating includes the circular bar area, two floors of indoor seating and a patio boasting the best views for people watching in Palm Springs. Specializing in California cuisine, LULU offers a 3-course, prix fixe brunch on Sundays. The menu includes dishes like seafood benedict, Russian paninis and French crepe maison. If you're looking for a brunch experience with atmosphere and character, head to LULU California Bistro in Palm Springs. ((760) 327-5858)
5 Café des Beaux-Arts
If you're planning on spending a day checking out the designer boutiques on El Paseo, be sure to stop in at Cafe des Beaux-Arts for a French-inspired lunch. The Parisian patio is one of the most popular in Palm Desert, and inside, you'll enjoy a quaint interior sprinkled with fine French art. This charming cafe serves casual French fare ready to be savored during a long lunch. Options include a brie burger, croque monsieur, linguini diabolo and cold poached salmon. If it seems like the servers know everyone's name, it's because they usually do. Most of the patrons are longtime regulars. (760-346-0669)
4 Wilma and Frieda's
Nothing will ever compare to the dishes your grandmother used to make for you as a child, whether you were brought up on her top-secret meatloaf recipe or an oh-so-creamy mac and cheese. But you can come dangerously close at Wilma and Frieda's, a Palm Desert breakfast and lunch restaurant that deconstructs classic comfort food dinners to create dishes like griddled meatloaf and eggs and a five-cheese mac and cheese. Serving their own special roast from local java joint Koffi and an impressive presentation of pastries from the in-house pastry chef, Wilma and Frieda's is a must-try when in Palm Desert. (760-773-2807)
3 Pinocchio In the Desert
While the Forever Marilyn statue has been getting a lot of attention for celebrating the iconic actress in her most famous pose, this downtown restaurant has long been celebrating with a life-sized statue of the blonde bombshell. With large portions and reasonable prices, breakfast at Pinocchio's in the Desert is one of the best values in town. This local favorite serves breakfast staples like omelettes, buttermilk pancakes and eggs benedict. Try a protein heavy breakfast off the egg menu, which combines eggs with your choice of bacon, sausage, corned beef hash, ham steak or pork chops. The extensive eggs benedict menu includes salmon, lox and lobster. ((760) 322-3776)
2 Spencer's Restaurant
A casually elegant restaurant, Spencer's features Four-Star American fine cuisine with a French and Pacific Rim influence, prepared under the direction of Chef Eric Wadlund. Nestled at the base of soaring Mt. San Jacinto, Spencer's glamorous decor and mountain views are the perfect backdrop for a stylish, elegant and comfortable brunch. Two phenomenal patios, one with gigantic ficus trees, and the luxurious interior created by renowned Los Angeles restaurant designer, Dodd Mitchell, provide a visual feast. The Sunday brunch menu caters to everyone, serving everything from sushi rolls and liver and onions to seven different types of benedict and stuffed waffles. The brunch menu also offers plenty of gluten-free options for those with food sensitivities. (7603273446)
On any given morning, there's usually a crowd waiting to get into Cheeky's in Palm Springs. Before you let that deter you from eating here, know that anyone who's eaten at Cheeky's will tell you there's good reason for the wait. As one of Palm Springs' most popular brunch spots, Cheeky's focuses on transforming ordinary breakfast items into extraordinary dishes with creative additions, such as French toast with red currants and mascarpone. The menu at this farm-to-table changes every Wednesday to keep regular diners on their toes and incorporate seasonal produce. Don't mind the line--wait for a table at Cheeky's to discover the best breakfast in town. ((760) 327-7595)
About Marissa Willman
Marissa Willman moved to the Coachella Valley in 2001 and loves discovering the best that the desert has to offer. As a Palm Springs local, Marissa enjoys sharing her knowledge of this desert destination through her travel writing. In a previous life, she worked as an English teacher in South Korea and spent months traveling throughout Asia. Today, Marissa prefers to explore her backyard in Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley, while occasionally jetsetting as her wanderlust strikes.
Read more about Marissa Willman here.