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Palm Springs' Best Restaurants for Dining in the Desert



Variety is the spice of life and it’s also the defining principal of the Palm Springs restaurant scene. Local restaurants offer a mix of flavors and styles sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. The Coachella Valley’s best restaurants range from the upscale and elegant to the hole-in-the-walls servings some of the desert’s best-kept secrets.

Most Palm Springs restaurant owners and chefs are as well known as their establishments, and it’s not uncommon to run into an owner or a chef while dining around Palm Springs. Many restaurants update their menus regularly, incorporating new trends, seasonally produce and customer requests to serve food that truly pleases the customer. A number of restaurants also incorporate prix fixe menus, allowing diners to sample a few of the chef’s new or signature dishes at a set price.

Local restaurants focus just as much on their ambiance as they do their dishes, often excelling in both. Restaurants are often inspired in their décor by modernism, retro style, old Palm Springs and the desert’s natural beauty. Restaurants like Le Vallauris offer outdoor dining on the tree-canopied patio, allowing patrons to enjoy dinner under the stars. Other restaurants, like Melvyn’s, remain true to their classic Hollywood roots, while restaurants Spencer's master the classics for all three meals of the day. These ten restaurants are just a sample of the variety found in the Palm Springs restaurant scene, and they offer some of the best dishes, ambiance and service found in the Coachella Valley.


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While Palm Springs might be more than 100 miles away from the ocean, locals can still enjoy fresh seafood at Pacifica Seafood Restaurant in Palm Desert. This fine dining restaurant offers fresh catches daily, and popular Pacifica dishes include the Surf 'n' Turf, which includes steak and lobster, and the Seared Ahi Tuna. For a seafood splurge, try the Butter-Poached Australian Lobster Tail, which is just as decadent as it sounds. Not a seafood lover? Don't fret--Pacifica offers plenty of beef, chicken and vegetarian options, too. For before- or after-dinner drinks, pull up a stool at the Vodka Bar, which boasts more than 140 different types of vodka from around the world.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Pacifica Seafood Restaurant offers the best of everything: dining, dishes and drinks.

Marissa's expert tip: Pacifica Seafood Restaurant is located on the upper level of The Gardens on El Paseo, an outdoor shopping complex with trendy labels like Bebe and anchor stores like Saks 5th Avenue. Plan to spend a few hours before or after your meal exploring the gardens and surrounding shops.

Read more about Pacifica Seafood Restaurant →




The Uptown Palm Springs district is known for its modernist architecture, retro art and chic d--cor. Now, a farm-to-table restaurant is blending the modern architecture that made the city famous with a menu inspired by locally sourced ingredients. After much anticipation, Workshop Kitchen + Bar opened in the historic El Paseo building on Palm Canyon Drive. Chefs and owners Michael Beckman and Joseph Mourani work with roughly a dozen local farms, many within an hour of the Coachella Valley, to source fresh ingredients for their rotating menu. Menu items include market veggie enchiladas, a huevos rancheros bowl and slow-roasted lamb tajine. A farmhouse-style table and a selection of large format plates allow patrons to meet new friends over a shared ribeye or grilled chicken. Combined with an alcoholic punch bowl that can serve up to 12 people, you're not likely to dine alone at Workshop.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Workshop Kitchen + Bar brings farm-fresh cuisine to the next level with both small plates and communal dishes.

Marissa's expert tip: Try the octopus carpaccio, Chef Michael Beckman's favorite dish. For large format dining, try the ribeye or whole grilled chicken. Don't miss the punch bowls that can serve up to 12 guests.

Read more about Workshop Kitchen + Bar →




TRIO Restaurant prides itself on being where Palm Springs eats and drinks--and for good reason. This trendy restaurant serves a variety of American dishes in a chicly decorated dining area that embraces Palm Springs' modernism roots. The dishes are well-prepared and elegantly served, but lack the pretentiousness often found in other dining establishments. The staff strives to make every diner's experience impeccable, from offering the perfect recommendations to being attentive throughout the meal. Best of all, TRIO tends to draw a rather friendly crowd, making it easy to make a few new Palm Springs pals in TRIO's bar area. This restaurant is perfect for families, couples and large groups.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: TRIO is consistently considered one of Palm Springs' top restaurants for both its food and service.

Local Expert tip: If you're looking for a spot to host a bachelorette party in Palm Springs, TRIO is it. Not only will the staff go the extra mile to decorate your table and tend to your party's needs, but you'll also be treated to a special bachelorette cake at the end of your night.

Read more about TRIO Restaurant →


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If you're in downtown Palm Springs and looking for fresh lunch options, be sure to stop by Jake's Palm Springs. Named for the owners' beloved West Highland Terrier, this popular restaurant is known for its fresh fare and superior service. The pet-friendly courtyard is also perfect for a leisurely lunch filled with people watching. For a hearty lunch, try the chicken milanese sandwich, a breaded chicken breast served with melted gruyere cheese, greens and dijonaisse on a ciabatta roll. Be sure to check out the custom cocktail menu, too, which includes a cactus pear margarita and Bloody Mary served with horseradish-infused vodka.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Jake's Palm Springs has a fine continental dining menu, a beautiful al fresco dining area and an epic dessert case that can't be beat.

Marissa's expert tip: Save room for dessert. You won't want to miss the peanut butter cupcake, a Jake's special drizzled with Bailey's, or the coconut cake, which is soaked in amaretto.

Read more about Jake's Palm Springs →


Melvyn's Restaurant


If you've ever wondered where Hollywood stars like Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor dined after shooting their latest films, head to Melvyn's at the Ingleside Inn. No detail was overlooked in the design and decoration of Melvyn's, which exudes old world charm. Guests are given a glimpse of Old Hollywood's glamour as they step back in time when entering this swanky restaurant. The dishes at Melvyn's range are just what you'd imagine Old Blue Eyes himself dined on (think Steak Diane, filet mignon stuffed with oysters and wilted spinach salad) and are served by waiters in classy white jackets. After dinner, grab a Manhattan at the bar, appropriated named Casablanca, and enjoy live music from the piano bar.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Melvyn's Restaurant is one of the only in the desert where your maitre'd wears a full tuxedo to pour your wine and prepare dishes tableside.

Marissa's expert tip: Dress up and bring your dancing shoes. This high-class dining experience spills onto the dance floor in the evening as hits by Elvis and Frank Sinatra ring out from the piano bar.

Read more about Melvyn's Restaurant →


Le Vallauris Restaurant


Le Vallauris is one of the finest culinary destinations in Palm Springs. Located just off Palm Canyon Drive in a historic ranch-style house, Le Vallauris specializes in five-star dining and first-class service. The menu includes upscale dishes like wild boar pate, Maine lobster ravioli and seared whitefish with mustard sauce. Dine inside surrounded by tapestries and Louis XV furnishings or head to the outdoor patio for one of the best al fresco dining options in the desert. Covered by a canopy of lush trees and surrounded by fragrant flower bushes, the outdoor patio is an elegant option for lunch or dinner. Perfect for date night or dinner with friends, Le Vallauris is commonly considered one of the classiest dining options in Palm Springs.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Le Vallauris Restaurant serves the most elegant French cuisine to be found in Palm Springs.

Marissa's expert tip: Learn to make seasonal gourmet dishes from the master chefs themselves at the restaurant's monthly cooking demonstrations. Once a month, the executive chef and head pastry chef create a special menu and demonstrate how to prepare it on the canopied patio.

Read more about Le Vallauris Restaurant →


Copley's on Palm Canyon


Star power is on call at this Uptown Palm Springs restaurant; not only was it a hangout for Cary Grant, but it's also under the masterful tutelage of celebrity chef Andrew Manion Copley, and it attracts personalities like Anderson Cooper. Diners can't get enough of the romantic, open-air patio in the garden, and the sublime cuisine, informed by Copley's tenure at restaurants across the globe, includes Muscovy duck breast, seared Scottish salmon, lobster pot pie, and tandoori chicken breast. A broad wine list arranged by type promises an appropriate accompaniment. Terrific service is a pleasant perk, as is the onsite herb garden.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Copley's on Palm Canyon is one of the desert's best choices for fine contemporary cuisine, and the garden dining can't be beat.

Marissa's expert tip: Sign up for one of the monthly cooking classes held throughout the season (October through May).

Read more about Copley's on Palm Canyon →


Spencer's Restaurant


If you're searching for a lunch restaurant soaked in quintessential Palm Springs style, make a reservation at Spencer's Restaurant. This award-winning restaurant in Palm Springs serves American fare influenced by French and Pacific Rim cuisine, and attracts locals, tourists and celebrities alike. At midday, the express lunch option--served with soup or salad, bread, an entree and pastry, is perfect for a filling midday meal. Other options include a lobster club sandwich, wild mushroom ravioli, an Ahi tuna nicoise salad. Reserve a table on the canopied outdoor patio to enjoy a Palm Springs lunch surrounded by Mount San Jacinto, palm trees and sunshine.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Spencer's Restaurant has continually won praise for its fine dining menu and unbeatable ambiance.

Marissa's expert tip: Looking for the perfect setting to get some business done over lunch or have a romantic rendezvous in Palm Springs? There's no better lunch restaurant than Spencer's.

Read more about Spencer's Restaurant →


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Meet 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...  More About Marissa

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