Our readers nominated attractions, restaurants, and experiences throughout Greater Palm Springs in the annual Palm Springs Life Best of the Best competition. The 2018 votes are in, and we’re revealing the results city by city. View the full list at palmspringslife.com/best-of.
The Big Winner
Acqua California Bistro
Visit to experience rancho mirage’s best
Alfresco Dining, American, Breakfast, Burger, Caterer, Continental, Craft Cocktail, Pizza, Romantic Dining, Sunday Brunch, Vegetarian / Vegan
A seat on the waterfront terrace at Acqua California Bistro imbues Sunday brunch with an air of tranquil escape and kindles the romance on a night out with your better half.
Acqua California Bistro
Acqua’s multipage menu of modern California cuisine includes everything from surf-and-turf Benedicts and New England lobster rolls to red and white pizzas and loaded Kobe beef burgers; there are plenty of gluten-free and vegetarian items, too. Don’t miss the handspun cotton candy for dessert!
If you like a little heat, try the spicy Kung Pao Dragon Roll; however, you can’t go wrong with made-from-scratch salt-and-pepper prawns, pad thai, or Mongolian beef. This chain restaurant also serves lighter fare, with a selection of vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse
For a taste of the South, take your pick of brisket, tri-tip, short ribs, chicken, or sausage and add the fried green tomatoes, macaroni and cheese, and cast-iron-skillet cornbread with honey butter. You just might need a bib!
This locally owned coffee shop originally launched in Palm Springs, but its Rancho Mirage outpost contains the company’s roasting facility — which happens to be the only roastery in the Coachella Valley. Stop in for a small-batch espresso ground from flavor-packed beans.
Sure, they serve a mean slice of pizza, but we recommend trying the grilled vegetable salad, cioppino, or calzones — or building your own pasta, with your choice of seven noodle varieties and eight kinds of sauce. Don’t overlook the fresh garlic balls with marinara.
Teppan chefs prepare steak, chicken, and seafood dishes at communal tables before your eyes. Will you be the lucky guest to catch a freshly grilled shrimp in your mouth when the chef tosses one up? Wash it all down with a mai tai or cold glass of Sapporo.
The mouthwatering menu offerings at Catalan are unlike any other restaurant’s in the desert — charred Shishito peppers, paella negra, and even a whole-roasted pig. The signature red sangria is outstanding, and the chocolate-filled churros make for a sinful after-dinner treat.
Las Casuelas Nuevas
Servers prepare guacamole tableside at this longtime favorite. This locally owned restaurant is said to have the best fajitas in town — choose from seafood, chicken, steak, pork, or vegetarian. Top it off with tres leches flan drowned in Patrón XO Cafe liqueur.
The Steakhouse at
Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa
Order a jammy red to pair with the prime chateaubriand or annatto-and-date lamb chops. As a starter, we recommend the seafood tower on ice or lobster mac ’n’ cheese. Save room for the cast-iron carrot cake!
With 100-plus beers on tap and plenty of flat-screen TVs, this buzzy chain restaurant is the perfect place to cheer on your team. Enjoy the game with a pint, or even a half-yard, of your favorite local, domestic, or imported brew.
Take a Sunday morning yoga class on the Great Lawn; sip an iced tea, made the way Leonore liked it, at the on-site café; and view the property’s Flight Plan: The Birds of Sunnylands exhibition of photographs showcasing the feathered friends that have often visited the property.
CASINO HOTEL / RESORT LIVE MUSIC SPA
Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa
A player’s paradise with more than 1,400 slot machines and 39 table games, this 16-story resort has 350 rooms, a casino, four restaurants, a full-service spa, nightclub, and a popular events venue. The 2,101-seat concert theater hosts musicians, comedians, and even MMA championships.
This free two-day event held annually in November brings together fine art, jazz, and local food and drink vendors at Rancho Mirage Community Park. An estimated 100 artists are selected to showcase their work at the festival.
Ramblin’ N Gamblin’ at Regency Ranch
Supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Desert’s youth mentoring program, this Western-themed fundraiser held annually in October entertains with live country music and line dancing, casino tables, mechanical bull rides, and a paintball shooting gallery.
Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert
With a mix of hands-on exhibits, activity-oriented camps, STEM experiences, and cooking workshops, the museum gives kids the opportunity to learn a lot while having fun. Check out the tortoise habitat and discovery garden, where it’s OK to get your hands dirty.
Children’s Discovery Museum
of the Desert
Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre
Soon moving to Cathedral City, this professional theater company has found success with its seasonal lineup of mainstream plays and musicals plus indie productions and has outgrown its longtime Rancho Mirage stage. Get your tickets for White, Jan. 23–Feb. 17, the company’s final production at its current location.
PUBLIC GOLF COURSE
Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
Try your luck at one of Omni’s three nine-hole, Ted Robinson–designed courses. Unfurling across 6,400 yards, the fairways are lined with palm trees and stunning mountain views. Individual and group lessons and clinics are available.
The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage
If you’re dreaming of a glamorous wedding with a view, look no further than The Ritz-Carlton’s sweeping valley vistas. Here, wedding consultants offer exceptional service and help with everything from vendor selection and floral design to lighting, décor, and reception menus.
SHOPS + SERVICES
CONSIGNMENT STORE / RESALE (tie)
Rancho Mirage Florist
Customers rave about the creative arrangements from this family-operated florist that has been in business for 35 years. Staff floral designers create arrangements, wreaths, and plant groupings for any event or occasion.
A trusted source for decorative needs, 1st Gallery mounts and frames artwork at competitive prices and also vends a collection of lithographs, photography, posters, and fine art.
Chakra Aveda Hair Salon
This resale market’s 15,000 square feet house hundreds of high-quality donated items, including framed paintings, clothing, furniture, appliances, and fine China; proceeds support the purchase of new medical equipment and renovation projects at Eisenhower Health.
Victoria’s Attic Antiques
The only antique mall in Rancho Mirage, this 8,800-square-foot trove of relics and collectibles purveys it all: clothing, jewelry, books, home décor, midcentury modern furniture, dinnerware, and artwork. The best part? Every object has a story of its own.