Daniel's Table presents a menu that rotates regularly.
PHOTO BY BRANDON HARMAN
Daniel Villanueva’s passion for cooking germinated at a young age, when he would watch his grandma in the kitchen. Now, at Daniel’s Table, he works with farmers from the Coachella Valley and beyond to create ingredient-driven recipes that change weekly based on what is in season. “I focus on small businesses, small ranches, and what’s readily available based on season and weather,” Villanueva says. The menu includes freshly made meals that everyone can enjoy, from fish to red meat to vegan fare. Everything is prepared over firewood and an open flame.
68327 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Cathedral City
Co-owners Oscar Vazquez and Natasha Garcia love brunch so much the restaurant industry veterans and longtime friends decided to launch a concept restaurant around it. Offerings include coffee with Irish cream and mimosa flights, omelets and Benedicts, overnight oats, and açaí bowls. The fun environment and friendly service is a bonus.
68718 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Ste. 101, Cathedral City
The brainchild of Sammy Pace, an old-school restaurateur who is also responsible for Sammy G’s and Trilussa Ristorante, this modern Italian-fusion hot spot serves a true taste of Italy. Chef Scott Robertson, who has cooked for the Obamas, helms the kitchen, while master mixologist and manager Mike Mogavero promises quality cocktails and has a knack for suggesting great wine pairings. Favorites include lasagna with Pace’s family meat sauce, lobster ravioli, and desserts like spumoni and torta della nonna.
69034 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Cathedral City
Azucena’s Raspados y Ice Cream
PHOTO BY MOLLIE KIMBERLING
Azucena’s Raspados y Ice Cream
If you’ve never had Mexican shaved ice, known as raspados, Azucena’s is the perfect spot to initiate yourself. The family-owned raspaderia prepares the sweet and sometimes spicy treats the traditional way: A machine shaves large blocks of ice into snow, which gets topped with housemade syrups crafted with fresh fruit and a bit of sugar. Flavors run the gamut from kiwi to coconut to the ever-popular mangonada, loaded with mango chunks, topped with chamoy (a sour fruit sauce) and Tajín (chili-lime salt), and commonly served with a tamarind straw.
68420 Ramon Road, Cathedral City
El Asado Meat Market & Mexican Grill
At El Asado, butcher to belly is the new farm to fork. This unassuming meat market doubles as a grill with a menu of — you guessed it — grilled meats and fusion Mexican fare. Ingredients like bone marrow and scratch-made sauces (the pipián is a specialty) make this spot a cut above other taco shops. Feel like doing your own cooking? El Asado brings in an assortment of premium cuts, including beautifully marbled wagyu, Prime tomahawks, and Duroc pork belly. The market also vends tortillas, cilantro, onions, and all the necessities for a taco night at home.
27800 Landau Blvd., Stes. 103 & 104, Cathedral City
What’s better than a milkshake on a hot day? A monster shake on any day, regardless of the temperature. Dazzle the senses with over-the-top treats loaded with epic extras like doughnuts, cotton candy, and entire candy bars. Dole soft serve, fruit smoothies, and chocolate-dipped bananas round out the menu.
68718 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Ste. 300, Cathedral City
PHOTO COURTESY TONY'S BURGERS
This no-frills burger joint and bar slings almost three-dozen beefy varieties, ranging from the classic with special sauce to the monstrous Hulk burger (for superheroes only, the menu claims). All are stacked tall and served with pickle spears and yellow peppers on the side. Fresh-cut fries come in a wealth of flavors — yellow curry, truffle, blue cheese, and garlic are just a few — but you’ll also find fried avocado slices and made-to-order sweet potato fries on the menu, as well as a wide assortment of non-beef options like chicken sandos and shrimp tacos.
35903 Date Palm Drive, Cathedral City
Luchador Brewing Company
Housemade suds and seltzers pair with Tijuana-style street food at this brewery in downtown Cathedral City with 15 rotating taps. Named after lucha libre (Mexican wrestling), Luchador serves lunch, dinner, and a tasty south-of-the-border-inspired weekend brunch. Beer-friendly bites include tacos, wings, nachos, and bacon-wrapped dogs first made popular at the brewery’s flagship location in Chino Hills. Patrons order their eats from a full-size food truck built into the space.
68510 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Ste. 140, Cathedral City
ASK A LOCAL
Chef and owner Daniel’s Table
1.) Why ingredients matter: There’s so much food out there that’s just not good for us. If I’m going to do a restaurant, I’m going to make it the best. Making it the best is sourcing the best, cooking the best, and serving the best.
PHOTO BY NATE ABBOTT
2.) Cooking with fire: I believe fire is better because it’s original, how we started cooking thousands of years ago. I spend more money acquiring firewood, but I don’t cut corners. To me, it’s a no-brainer to cook on firewood — that’s how we were designed.
3.) The message behind the meal: I want guests to leave full of joy, pleased, healthy, better. If they leave better than when they came in, that makes me happy because they know they got the best.