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 Romantic Dining because: Pacifica Seafood Restaurant offers plenty of aphrodisiacs, as well as one of the best patio views on El Paseo.
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.
This Californian-inspired restaurant at Rancho Las Palmas in Rancho Mirage embraces farm fresh ingredients and an onsite herb garden to create seasonal plates that impress diners all year long. The lounge and outdoor patio set an intimate mood for a night in the desert, where you can dine under the stars by the glow of the fire pit with a view of the San Jacinto Mountains in the distance. Start your dinner with a Blucrab Cocktail (jumbo lump crab, avocado, citrus and honey poppy seed emulsion) and a Burrata Salad before digging into more small plates like brie fondue and hamachi crudo. Vegetarian and gluten-free menus are available, too.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: BluEmber is perfect for couples who love to dance the night away after dining on fresh California cuisine.
Marissa's expert tip: Bring your dancing shoes; bluEmber offers live music that's sure to get you dancing by the fire pit after dinner.
Located at the Westin Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, Pinzimini is an upscale restaurant serving Tuscan-style cuisine. Opened in 2012 and headed by Chef Shawn Aoki, a long-time chef at the Westin property, Pinzimini serves up Italian entrees and small plates like antipastos, pizzas and paninis. Start your meal on a high note with a charcuterie plate and a glass of red wine, then dig into a small plate of polpo, or grilled octopus. If small plates sound good, you can opt for the Chef's Tasting Platter, which comes with the chef's choice of six plates. The linguine alla frute di mare and porterhouse for two are also solid choices. Pinzimini is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Pinzimini is a Tuscan-style restaurant made for romance, thanks to the cozy dining room and high-end Italian entrees.
Marissa's expert tip: Pinzimini's patio is pooch-friendly, so if your romantic weekend includes Fido, feel free to bring him along.
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 Romantic Dining because: Melvyn's Restaurant is the perfect romantic restaurant for lovers with a penchant for all things Rat Pack and Old Hollywood.
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.
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 Romantic Dining because: Spencer's Restaurant offers a romantic setting throughout, whether you dine inside or on the whimsical, tree-canopied patio.
Marissa's expert tip: Looking for the perfect place for a romantic rendezvous in Palm Springs? There's no better lunch restaurant than Spencer's.
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 Romantic Dining because: Copley's on Palm Canyon offers one of the most romantic garden patios in town.
Marissa's expert tip: Reserve a table in the garden for al fresco dining in the desert.
Boldly patterned textiles and carpeting, reflective ceilings, expressive artwork, and a tension between light and dark hues add a certain quirky elegance to this estimable hotel restaurant. Located in the famed Parker hotel in South Palm Canyon, dinner at Mister Parker's is sure to impress. Mister Parker's culinary signature is upscale bistro fare with a chic twist, as evidenced by duck confit with truffled potatoes, osso bucco with saffron risotto, beef short ribs, and pistachio-crusted rack of lamb. Choose your favorite main course following a starter of fresh oysters and finish up with a pear and almond tart and a splash of dessert wine.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Mister Parker's offers fine food and an intimate dining room at The Parker, a romantic hotel in South Palm Springs.
Marissa's expert tip: Grab a seat on the patio for dinner under the stars.
When it comes to farm-fresh cuisine, it doesn't get much fresher than ingredients handpicked from the restaurant's onsite garden. With that in mind, Chef Vince Cultaro at La Spiga Restorante serves one of the freshest menus in Palm Desert. He creates his menu from whatever is ready to be picked in his backyard garden, and with more than 5,000 feet of groves and vegetable gardens, there is a large variety of farm-to-table options at La Spiga. This Tuscan-inspired Italian restaurant serves dishes like veal with porcini mushrooms, burrata salad and authentic tiramisu. Aside from the onsite garden, La Spiga uses fresh produce and meats from local farms.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: La Spiga Ristorante Italiano offers an intimate setting, fine Italian cuisine and farm-fresh ingredients for a romantic evening.
Marissa's expert tip: Try the daily special, which is created based on which ingredients from the restaurant's onsite farm are ready for picking.
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 brunch menu includes upscale dishes like veal scallopini, beef filet with cognac truffle sauce and calf's liver. 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 a romantic brunch or catching up with friends, Le Vallauris is commonly considered one of the classiest dining options in Palm Springs.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Le Vallauris is one of the most intimate restaurants in the Coachella Valley, serving an unmatched menu of French cuisine.
Marissa's expert tip: Opt for a patio table, where you'll enjoy a romantic meal under a canopy of trees.