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Roly China Fusion Palm Springs dim sum Chinese restaurant
Photograph: Stephanie Breijo

The 16 best Palm Springs restaurants

If you’re heading to this desert oasis, these are the best Palm Springs restaurants right now

Written by
Kai Oliver-Kurtin
Contributors
Kate Wertheimer
,
Sarah Medina
&
Stephanie Breijo
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With its star-studded history and amazing mid-century modern architecture, this sun-fueled mecca has a lot to offer—so it’s no surprise whatsoever that the best Palm Springs restaurants rise to the occasion, too.

Sure, you’re bound to spend most of your day lounging by the pool. But there are plenty of tasty restaurants and bars that deserve a spot on any list of fun things to do in Palm Springs. Most restaurants in town offer incredible take-out options and beautiful outdoor patios (especially for those who aren't ready for indoor dining yet), and there are plenty of splashy hotspots serving trendy poolside cocktails that just can’t be missed.

This is a town that plans ahead, so we recommend making dinner and weekend brunch reservations in advance (particularly during spring and fall, its busiest seasons). Keep in mind that many restaurants are on the smaller side (which means they tend to fill up quickly), while several of the best restaurants are located within hotels that are thankfully open to the public.

And while Palm Springs is known as the golf capital of the world, it's also famous for its date shakes—no visit is complete without an ice-cold shake with ample chunks of the sweet stone fruit. The Coachella Valley area supplies about 95 percent of the country's dates, making it a popular ingredient throughout Palm Springs’ kitchens.

Here, we’ve compiled a list of the best spots for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner for your next desert adventure to this glamorous resort town.

RECOMMENDED: The best hotels in Palm Springs

Best Palm Springs restaurants

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.

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Engin Onural, the restaurant’s chef and owner, blends traditional Japanese technique 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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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.

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.

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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.

  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • price 2 of 4

There’s everything from pho to pork vermicelli and bánh mì here, but there’s also Thai food, chili-braised osso buco, and lemongrass chicken meatballs that come served in a martini glass—in other words, 533 Viet Fusion has it all. Don’t miss their specialty, a Vietnamese spring roll wrapped in rice paper that’s sliced into pieces like sushi and filled with the likes of spicy tuna, pork belly, and lobster (their take on a BLT). Other signature dishes include herb-poached tiger shrimp, mushroom and soba noodles, and summer-inspired lobster claw salad studded with local dates. The pro move is to stop by during happy hour when select wines, cocktails, and “edible martinis” are only $5.33 a pop.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • price 2 of 4

The husband-and-husband team, chef Chad Gardner and artist Roly Paz, have doubled-down in Palm Springs. While their other restaurant, 533 Viet Fusion, stuffs lobster and local dates into Vietnamese spring rolls, their new spot fills a major hole in Palm Springs dining: dumplings. Called Roly China Fusion, the open and modern space serves up kung pao chicken, lobster dumplings in truffle butter, ginger-spiked pork-and-shrimp shu mei, plus other house-made dim sum delights. But this isn’t strictly a dim sum spot, and don’t expect pushcarts; it’s the type of restaurant that adds filet mignon to its pad see ew and lobster with kimchi to its fried rice—so ready your wallet accordingly, then dive in. 

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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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.

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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 honeynut 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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Currently Open to Hotel Guests Only

This gorgeous, breezy restaurant at the Resort & Spa 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.

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • price 1 of 4

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 provides 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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