By Sharon Apfelbaum
Merging contemporary art and California casual cuisine, Lulu comes with good genes. Located in a building that once housed a major art gallery, it’s now the centerpiece of downtown Palm Springs, with an au courant menu to match the cool modernist design.
Defined by sweeping staircases, the vast, highceilinged space is lit by crystal chandeliers wrapped in pastel acrylic shades — a yin-yang reminder that traditional and cutting-edge culinary art work together here, all sprinkled with historic Palm Springs glamour. Water bubbling up in a thick glass column and walls of sparkling mosaic tile create a welcome entry, reflecting the joy of a happy staff, headed by General Manager Willie Rhine. Astoundingly, in its first year, Lulu was named one of the top 100 “hip” restaurants in the United States by OpenTable.
Lulu took a cue from sister restaurant Acqua Pazza, another appealing venue at The River at Rancho Mirage. Acqua’s expanded, shaded waterfront terrace offers diners a view of the Santa Rosa Mountains. A high-arched ceiling gives the restaurant an elegant scale. Warmly painted walls, newly refined interior seating, large tilted mirrors, and a new sound-absorbing ceiling create a delightful dining experience.
Both venues boast a lively atmosphere, scenic al fresco dining, and the same extensive menu designed by powerhouse Chef Arturo Casillas. The wide-ranging breakfast and brunch menus; huge California bistro selections; multiple award-winning, affordable threecourse feasts; early bird and all-day/all-night happy hour specials make for exciting choices. Plus, gluten-free and vegetarian menus are notably featured.
Be sure to save room for dessert: Perhaps the spectacular Floating Island, a feast for the table served in a Titanic-size champagne glass, or the talk-of-the-town flourless triple chocolate cake. While it’s rumored that “there’s always a party at Lulu,” either restaurant makes for a great celebration.
Acqua Pazza and Lulu are open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner from 8 a.m. until late evening.
Lulu California Bistro
200 South Palm Canyon Drive, corner of arenas, Palm Springs, CA 92262
Acqua Pazza California Bistro
1800 Highway 111, The River, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
• Tower of Avocado and Ahi Tuna Tartare
• Quinoa-stuffed Acorn Squash
• Pear and Bleu Cheese Salad
• Mushroom Soup
• Pan-Seared Maine Sea Scallops
• Filet of Fresh Salmon
• Lobster Salad
• Filet Mignon
• Domestic Kobe Beef Burger
• BBQ Baby Back Ribs
• Four Cheese Baked Ziti
• Thin-crust Pizzas
• Gluten free and Vegetarian Menus
• Flourless Triple Chocolate Cake
• Floating Island
• Gelato Fantasia
Featuring more than 50 traditional and innovative breakfast dishes
• Pancakes, Waffles, French Toast, Omelettes and more
• 5 Eggs Benedict dishes
• Smoked Salmon Omelette
• American Crêpe Maison
• French Scramble with Boursin cheese
• Extensive wine cellar
• Hand-picked specialty imported beers
• More than 100 vodkas and tequilas