Dining Around the Christmas Tree in Greater Palm Springs

There is a restaurant out there for every occasion to make the holiday meal special

Lori Cohen-Sanford Restaurants


Whether you want a quiet and traditional dinner out for two or plan to enjoy the Christmas holiday with a group of friends or family, one of the greatest gifts is finding the right mix of food and ambiance to make it a holly-jolly holiday meal. Here are some restaurants across Greater Palm Springs ready to host you and yours for the holidays.


Lively Group Dining with Festive Trimmings

Wally’s Desert Turtle in Palm Desert offers a 3-course holiday menu priced at $68 (with a $28 fixed menu for kids) and live jazz music on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Great for groups and family-friendly, enjoy fine dining in their spacious dining room or request a private room for a larger celebration. www.wallysdesertturtle.com


photo courtesy of lulu california bistro

Enjoy entrees like Filet Mignon and Chicken Florentine in a casual, yet modern décor setting ideal for groups and families.


Lulu California Bistro in the heart of downtown Palm Springs is a popular place to dine year-round for visitors and locals alike. A 4-course holiday menu is offered on Christmas Day priced at $45, with an option for kids priced at $22.50. Enjoy entrees like Filet Mignon and Chicken Florentine in a casual, yet modern décor setting ideal for groups and families. www.lulupalmsprings.com


photo courtesy of trio

Chocolate Mint Martini, anyone?


Trio claims to be “where Palm Springs eats” and in keeping with this promise,  the doors will be open on Christmas Eve and Day with their full menu plus a Prime Rib Special and some enticing holiday cocktails (Chocolate Mint Martini, anyone?) for those who take their “holiday spirits” seriously. Midcentury décor and a welcoming and lively atmosphere makes this a great choice for a relaxed holiday meal. www.triopalmsprings.com


photo courtesy of eight4nine restaurant

Cinnamon orange duck breast.


Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge is a welcomed addition to the Uptown Palm Springs dining scene, and they will be open Christmas Day featuring a special holiday 5-course menu priced at $58 per person. The dramatic white and fuchsia interior featuring local artists and photographers will be dressed up with midcentury holiday trimmings for diners looking for a vivacious vibe. Choose from entrees like Mesquite Smoked Prime Rib, Sourdough Crusted Chilean Sea Bass or Cinnamon & Orange Duck Breast. www.eight4nine.com

Workshop Kitchen + Bar is offering an a la carte menu with holiday favorites like Grilled Duck, Kumomoto Oysters and holiday cocktails like Cognac Eggnog or a Tiki Toddy. www.workshoppalmsprings.com

Tinto at the Saguaro Hotel in Palm Springs will offer a 4-course menu priced at $75 on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Enjoy Christmas dining in the style of Basque cuisine, featuring hearty fare from Spain and France. The intimate dining room or outdoor patio fitted with fire pits will transport you to Spain for the holidays. http://Palmsprings.tinto.restaurant.com

Catalan in Rancho Mirage will be open on Christmas Eve with a full menu and a special 2-course Holiday Prime Rib menu priced at $38. Live Spanish guitar will provide the background music with traditional Spanish and Christmas entertainment. www.catalanrestaurant.com

WP Kitchen & Bar in Palm Desert will be open Christmas Eve with full menu and a holiday a la carte menu for a casual and fun option on El Paseo, lit up for the holidays. http://wolfgangpuck.com/restaurants/casual-dining/WP-Kitchen-Bar/PalmDesert


photo courtesy of le vallauris

Tropical Fruit Panacotta from Le Vallauris.


Romantic & Quiet Fine Dining

Le Vallauris in Palm Springs is has long-held a reputation for fine dining and classic French cuisine. The cozy French countryside-inspired interior and romantic outdoor patio encased in hedges and strung with lights makes this a truly special, fine-dining gem. The restaurant will serve a 3-course holiday menu on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, priced at $79. Select from starters like the Duck Charcuterie Plate, and savor an entrée like Grilled Pacific Sea Bass and end with Tropical Fruit Panacotta. www.levallauris.com


photo courtesy of johannes restaurant

Roasted Half Duck at Johannes.


Johannes in Palm Springs brings the traditions of Austria to the table with a 3-course Christmas Eve and Day menu priced at $75 and an option for children priced at $32. If your idea of a holiday meal includes a cozy atmosphere with casual and warm holiday décor you can select from Northern European items like Potato & Leek Soup, Roasted Half Duck and Chestnut Flan. Frohe Weihnachten Und Schone Feirtage. www.johannesrestaurants.com


photo courtesy of mastro's steakhouse

Mastro's Seafood Tower.


Mastro’s Steakhouse Palm Desert will be open on Christmas Day with their full menu available and an upscale, intimate setting that fits the bill for special dining for couples or groups. Live piano music will create a festive background and private rooms are available for groups. Start with a holiday-inspired martini and ease into traditional, beefy, steakhouse favorites or indulgent options such as the Seafood Tower and share the decadent Lobster Mashed Potatoes. www.mastrosrestaurants.com

Mr. Lyons Steakhouse will be open with a full menu on Christmas Day for those wanting an intimate setting to celebrate at a reinvented Palm Springs landmark. Private dining for groups is available. www.mrlyonsps.com

Melvyn’s at Ingleside Inn will offer Christmas Eve and Day dining with a 3-course menu priced at $50. Known for its history as host to many Hollywood stars of years past,  the live piano and dance floor are a draw for those wanting to hold on to this treasured past. Collars required and tableside service is a highlight. www.inglesideinn.com


photo courtesy of vicki's of santa fe

Beef Wellington at Vicki's of Santa Fe.


Dreaming of a Unique Christmas

Vicky’s of Santa Fe in Indian Wells is a fun departure for those who may enjoy a music-filled and rustic holiday. The spacious, Santa Fe-inspired building boasts three dining rooms, with wreaths and a 12 foot Balsam Fir tree in addition to exterior luminaries that glow to create a traditional Southwestern holiday ambiance. This popular spot for musical entertainment will be open for the first year on Christmas Eve to treat guests to a 3-course holiday meal priced at $48. Carolyn Martinez will entertain in the music lounge between 4:30-7:30 p.m. with jazz-inspired songs that will include a traditional Christmas playlist. Enjoy Beef Wellington, Rack of Lamb, Prime Rib or Chicken and Dumplings as entrée choices.  www.vickysofsantafe.com


photo courtesy of Purple Room Restaurant & Stage

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake with Rum Carmel sauce at the Purple Room.


The Purple Room Restaurant & Stage in Palm Springs will be open on both Christmas Eve and Day with their full menu in addition to a Prime Rib special for $26 and featured holiday desserts like the award-winning Pumpkin Spiced Cheesecake with Rum-Caramel Sauce. Enjoy the intimate nightclub vibe that celebrates the Hollywood Rat Pack history, such as Frank Sinatra, who were known to frequent clubs and perform in Palm Springs. The stage will feature entertainment as part of this musical way to experience the holidays. www.purpleroompalmsprings.com


photo courtesy of the palm springs aerial tramway

Take in a great view of the Coachella Valley while enjoying Christmas dinner.


The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway will be open Christmas Day with the Ride ‘n’ Dine package that includes tram fare and a holiday buffet at Pines Café in a cafeteria-style setting. Rides begin at 8 a.m. on Christmas Day with dinner beginning at 11 a.m., priced at $36 for adults and $23.50 for children. Select from traditional holiday options like turkey, ham, lasagna and all the trimmings. Visit the Christmas tree at the top of Mountain Station and enjoy the fireplaces ablaze to keep you warm as you gaze out over the valley. www.pstramway.com 


photo courtesy of lantana restaurant/hyatt regency hotel indian wells

Be sure to hit the carving station at Lantana Restaurant.


Dining & Holiday Buffets

Lantana Restaurant at Hyatt Regency Hotel Indian Wells Resort & Spa will be open for hotel guests and to the public on Christmas Day, offering a dinner buffet with multiple food stations to enjoy.  If you are looking for a buffet-style setting that accommodates large groups and is family-friendly, you can heap up some holiday cheer for $42 and children 6 – 12 priced at $21.50 and kids 5 and under eat for free. http://indianwells.hyatt.com

The Westin Mission Hills Gold Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage will also offer Christmas Eve and Christmas Day holiday menus at Pinzimini Restaurant, located on the resort grounds. A 4-course Christmas Eve Italian-inspired dinner is priced at $75. On Christmas Day, enjoy a buffet brunch priced at $48 or a Prime Rib and Seafood Dinner Buffet priced at $45. Live music will be featured in the Fireside Lounge. http://www.westinmissionhills.com

Miramonte Resort & Spa in Indian Wells is host to the annual Gingerbread Village, which is on display through Dec. 28. Enjoy a Christmas Day brunch at The Grove Artisan Kitchen located on the hotel grounds priced at $32 for adults, while kids can enjoy for $17.50. www.miramonteresort.com

La Quinta Resort & Club is open Christmas Eve and Day with holiday meals served in three restaurants located on the property. A Prime Rib dinner buffet ($55/$30 for kids) as well as a 3-course Mexican-inspired dinner at Adobe Grill ($50) will be available on Christmas Eve. A three-course dinner will also be offered Christmas Day at Twenty6. www.laquintaresort.com

For more holiday meal options, visit our comprehensive calendar.


Lori Cohen-Sanford is a private/personal chef, cooking class instructor and owner of Nourishfoods Organic Meal Services — www.nourishfoods.biz. Tastes Around Town will appear weekly. Follow her on Twitter @nourishfoodsps.

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