Trio Palm Springs
Photograph: Rachel Golden

The 18 best restaurants in Palm Springs

Heading to the desert? Whatever your reason for venturing to the iconic Palm Springs, don’t miss out on its stellar culinary scene.

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SoCal natives see it as a sleepy town to lay out by the pool all day, gamble, maybe even play some golf, if that’s your thing. But Palm Springs is so much more than that. There’s the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, perfect for the family, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which features spectacular desert views, and of course, some of the best restaurants in Palm Springs.

Restaurants of all kinds abound in this historic Hollywood getaway town. From the times when Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin would visit to new, refreshed spaces, food options abound in the desert.

Yes, you can still get your margaritas on sun-drenched but water-misted patios and all-day brunches to nurse hangovers, but don’t sleep on the award-winning restaurants, the Asian-fusion fare or the craft cocktails.

Oh, and on your way out of Palm Springs, don’t forget to stop by the famous Hadley Fruit Orchards store for a date shake, fresh dates, and anything date-related. The Coachella Valley supplies ninety-five percent of the country’s dates, so don’t miss out on trying some of the freshest, best dates you’ve ever had.

Whether you’re in town for a special occasion, a fun getaway or even an extended stay, read on to find the best places to brunch, lunch, or dine in style in Palm Springs.

Looking to stay? Check out the best Palm Springs hotels and the best Airbnbs in Palm Springs

Best restaurants in Palm Springs

No one in Palm Springs does Modern American cuisine more beautifully—or in a more stylish setting—than 4 Saints. This seventh-floor rooftop restaurant, located at the Kimpton Rowan Hotel, has a sleek and sultry dining room coupled with incredible mountain views and a show-stopping patio. The menu is a mix of small plates, entrees, and grilled meat that highlight California ingredients—standout dishes include roasted beets with pistachio butter, charred maitake mushrooms with grits, and their 14-day dry-aged steaks. For those who like sauce with their steaks, the house-made mushroom au poivre should not be missed.

Engin Onural, the restaurant’s chef and owner, blends traditional Japanese techniques with modern global touches. The result is one of Palm Springs’ hottest—and most genre-bending—dining spots. Sashimi, carpaccios, and seasonal goods (shoutout to Sandfish’s stuffed zucchini blossoms) take the form of tostadas, aguachiles, or sushi, and are best enjoyed with cocktails flecked with desert-foraged herbs. Looking for something a little more straightforward? There are classic hand rolls and nigiri, not to mention one of the area’s best whiskey collections.

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Looking for Italian food in an oh-so-coveted al fresco setting? There’s no better spot than Birba, a modern eatery that serves pastas, pizzas, and creative cocktails beneath a flowering tree with romantic string lights. Though it’s the ideal outdoor dinner date spot in Palm Springs, Birba’s friendly staff and breezy ambiance make it a great choice for family-friendly dining as well, no matter the weather (the fire pit at the center of the courtyard makes for an especially cozy night). The most popular dish, Nonna’s Meatballs, is a must-order in our book, but Birba has options for everyone’s dietary needs (including cauliflower or gluten-free crust for the pizzas) and a menu that changes every few months to keep you on your toes.

A throwback to tennis and racquet clubs that flourished in Palm Springs in the 50s and 60s, Sands Hotel & Spa's Insta-worthy decor is reason enough to swing by—and if you need an excuse to visit, head to The Pink Cabana, the hotel’s on-site restaurant. Serving up a fresh take on Mediterranean cuisine with bold Moroccan flavors, menu highlights include a lamb shank tagine, harissa chicken, and a shareable mezze platter. Don't skip out on the Mediterranean wines and refreshing seasonal cocktails as you take a break from the desert’s oppressive heat.

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This quaint French-inspired restaurant is continually busy during brunch hour, so arrive early! Known for its farm-to-table cuisine, popular items like their homemade jam uses fresh, handmade ingredients. French pressed coffee and loose-leaf tea served in a lovely garden patio or stucco-walled interior transport guests to a café in Provence. Unmissable items include sweet crepes like the citron with lemon, butter, and sugar or the Bretonne omelet with smoked salmon, goat cheese, raw spinach, and scallions. Also open for dinner (reservations strongly recommended) on the weekends, guests can expect a prix-fixe menu the chef creates daily. An amuse bouche and palate cleanser sets you up for chilled yellow corn soup, pan-seared scallops or duck à l'Orange. Finish your meal with desserts like a chocolate custard cake or mango cheesecake. 

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No visit to the desert is complete without some solid Mexican food. From the same owners as FARM, Tac/Quila is a Michelin Guide restaurant, which uses fresh ingredients to produce its authentic cuisine, in a chic yet warm and welcoming environment. A favorite amongst locals and visitors alike, start your meal off with the famous flight of four tasting-size margaritas served on a small wooden plank. No syrupy drinks here, these margaritas incorporate fresh pineapple, cucumber, watermelon and more. For food, the al pastor and carnitas street tacos are delectable. There are even tasty options for vegans, including the jackfruit enchiladas and huitlachoche tamales, which are filled with the famous mushrooms and epazote, and topped with a vegan cilantro-jalapeño aioli sauce.

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What was once a historic movie theater in the ‘20s is now a stark, concrete space with plush booths, minimal lighting, and a spacious courtyard. Called Workshop, this restaurant is actually a James Beard Award winner for best restaurant design—and it’s also a thoughtful and exciting dining experience in the midst of an otherwise touristy stretch of Palm Springs. Serving Modern American small plates made with ingredients from local farms (most of which are within an hour of Palm Springs), dinner is on the fancy side and is undoubtedly the way to go if you’re looking for a perfect date spot.

In a city that loves to brunch, Cheeky’s is a Palm Springs institution. Yes, there’s always a line and yes, it’s always a bit of a scene. But this place has been churning out consistently fresh and inventive brunch fare for years, and there’s a reason it’s a favorite of both visitors and locals alike. Go ahead and put your name down, then start figuring out your order—trust us, it’ll take a bit of time. The place is known for its rotating bacon flight, custard-style scrambled eggs, fresh-corn pancakes, house-made pastries, and its spicy (and stiff) Bloody Mary. The menu’s seasonal selections change weekly, while the classics have been going strong for around a decade—no matter what, don’t leave without a $1 shooter of their house-made frozen yogurt.

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This beloved Vietnamese American spot takes no reservations and almost always draws a crowd. It’s worth the wait, though, for snacky small plates (like crispy wood ear mushroom spring rolls) and shareables (like lemongrass pork and shrimp rice noodles) that rotate to keep things fresh. As for refreshments, cool down in the desert heat with Vietnamese iced coffee, fruit-forward cocktails, and sparkling wines.

All-day breakfast? Count us in. Located inside the stunningly designed Parker hotel, Norma's is an open-air patio restaurant serving a large menu of brunch staples with cheeky names. Think omelets, frittatas, benedicts, pancakes, French toast, sandwiches, salads, and more. Huevos rancheros is arguably their most popular dish, topped off with a breakfast cocktail, juice, coffee, or wine. Sit and stay awhile since breakfast is served here daily until 10pm. 

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Grab a seat on the patio (yes, there are water misters to keep you cool) at the always buzzing TRIO restaurant, serving modern American cuisine including pork chops, skirt steak, and short rib. The prime rib special on Fridays always draws a big crowd at this Palm Springs staple that has been around for more than 12 years. TRIO offers a daily happy hour, dinner, weekend brunch, and a three-course prix fixe menu. If you're here during happy hour, be sure to get an order of bacon-wrapped Coachella Valley dates with gorgonzola, served with a jalapeno aioli. 

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Seventy-five years in and this swanky spot is still at the top of the city’s food chain. Despite a few modern touches to the 1945 original, Mr. Lyons feels like the classy steakhouses of yore—one that wined and dined long-ago locals like Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope and frequent visitors like Marilyn Monroe. Today, it still boasts the classics (think steak frites, prime rib, mac and cheese, shrimp cocktails, and wedge salads) while its new chef, Shad Newton, offers a lighter touch with vegetable-forward options like vegan chopped salad and honey nut squash. It’s all the glamour and vintage charm of a steakhouse during Palm Springs’ heyday with enough of a twist to keep things fresh. Just here for drinks? Don’t miss Seymour’s, a well-designed speakeasy hidden behind a curtain near the entrance.

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This gorgeous, breezy restaurant at L'Horizon serves up continent-crossing fare. We’re talking prawn croquettes with XO sauce, market salad with Korean cucumbers, confit duck leg with maple and scotch egg, and scallops with jicama, chili oil and saffron cream. If you’re looking for a bright and chipper breakfast or some upscale outdoor dining, this spot ticks all the boxes.

Everything the Ace Hotel does is unnervingly cool, so it’s no surprise that their Palm Springs diner is one of the city’s most photographed (and beloved) hangouts. Formerly a Denny’s, the retro-style diner got a full makeover, including the food. The menu hits the spot whether you’re looking for a full meal (double cheeseburger, fried chicken sandwich) or a snack (grilled eggplant spread, date shakes) between pool lounging and a night on the town. If you’re in town on a Monday, stop by for Fabulous Bingo with the always-fabulous host with the most, Shirley Claire.

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Believe it: There’s a full-service OG kosher deli in the middle of the desert. Sherman’s is an old-school originator that serves all the traditional favorites, including thick-cut pastrami and a matzo ball soup so good you’ll even be tempted to order it on 90-degree days. There’s always a line (if you’re unlucky, you might be waiting outside in the sun), so try to hit this spot early in the morning or just before closing.

  • Bakeries

Aspen Mills is known for its bread, but good luck walking out without one of its deli sandwiches, too. This local favorite has been baking with stone-ground wheat flour for more than 20 years, and now you can find their pillowy loaves in more than 30 flavors at around $5 each. Their sandwiches, which of course come between slices of their just-baked bread, include options like the Aspen (turkey with lettuce and onion on cranberry loaf) and the Coachella (a veggie option on nine-grain), while the pastry case of fresh-from-the-oven muffins and cookies provide even more of an obstacle for those who just walked in for some sourdough.

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Previously called The Purple Palm, this stylish spot in The Colony Palms Hotel sports California dishes that almost always involve the freshest of organic veggies. Lounge poolside on the patio as you snack on blackened shrimp tacos, lobster rolls, and duck fat fries while sipping on sangria, spritzes, and barrel-aged cocktails. Looking to have a drink with a side of golden desert lighting? Stop by for The Colony Club’s Sunset Hour, where you’ll find $5 draft beers, $10 highballs, $12 specialty cocktails, and a handful of shareable plates for a portion of the price.

Tucked into the lovely little Sparrows Lodge, The Barn Kitchen is a casual American eatery that offers daily lunch and dinner. Choose from easy-but-elevated options like cauliflower steak, avocado toast, burgers, or a charcuterie and cheese plate. You can dine at the communal table or in an oversized patio chair—take your pick. This place feels like a true hidden oasis, away from the bustle of downtown and perfect for relaxing with a cold drink on triple-digit days.

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