Dinner and a Movie in the Desert

Five places to pair film and food in Greater Palm Springs.

April 3, 2019
After seeing a blockbuster film at the Cinemark Theaters, dive into Lucky's pulled pork burger at Babe's BBQ & Brewery.

Cliché aside, dinner and a movie really do make an idyllic pairing. Especially in reverse order — nothing beats a post-flick critique session over a bottle of red wine and a delectable bite to eat. So, grab a date and read on to discover five easy cinema and restaurant pairings in Greater Palm Springs.

Cinemark Century Theatres + Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewery

Rancho Mirage

Only a few doors down from the theater at The River at Rancho Mirage shopping, dining, and entertainment complex, Babe’s offers an approachable menu of house-smoked barbecue and beer brewed on-site. Go for two standout dishes: the signature homemade goat cheese tamales, made from a family recipe, and the classic chicken fried steak, served with garlic mashed potatoes and granny-approved buttermilk biscuits topped with thick country gravy. Wash it all down with one of the restaurant’s award-winning brews, like the medium-hopped Palm Springs IPA. For matinées eats, go with the craft-ale fish and chips or chef Joel’s pulled-pork poutine.

Regal Cinemas
+ Il Corso

Palm Springs

A short drive or scenic stroll (about four blocks) from Regal Cinemas, Il Corso’s newly opened Palm Springs location serves up authentic Italian fare highlighting chef Claudio Marfia’s Sicilian roots. The pasta menu touches on flavors traditional across Italy, with dishes like risotto primavera — popular in Venice — and a Bolognese pappardelle. Check out Marfia’s dinner specials, which could include his famous gnocchi. If you’re seeking a quick bite, an Italian-style martini and a dessert will do it. The homemade tiramisu ranks among the desert’s best, and the crème di limoncello fits the bill when you’re in the mood for something light and refreshing. For matinée eats, try the tricolor salad, made with mixed greens, shaved parmesan, and a lemon and oil dressing.



Catch a movie at the Regal Cinemas and then head over to Il Corso for an authentic Italian dinner. From pizzas to pastas, to the Chef Mario’s famous gnocchi.



Crisp, Cool, and Flavorful: The Tiger shrimp and papaya salad is made with marinated grilled tiger shrimp, cucumbers, green papaya, pickled cabbage, thai basil, cilantro, shaved radishes, tossed in a chile sesame vinaigrette.

Camelot Theatres + 533 VietFusion

Palm Springs

The eclectic film selection at Palm Springs Cultural Center’s Camelot Theatres calls for equally creative cuisine. Local favorite 533 Viet Fusion has your fix of inspiring eats. Start with the ahi nachos, made with crispy won ton chips and smothered in smashed avocado, spicy ahi tuna, cilantro, fresno chilis, Sriracha aioli, and tamari. Then move on to the Vietnamese crepe — sautéed shrimp, lemongrass pork, bean sprouts, carrots, and scallions in a medley of coconut and curry spices — or the Saigon noodles with wok-fired shrimp, veggies, and an organic egg. Located five minutes away from Camelot by car, the restaurant is tucked away in the Smoke Tree Commons shopping center.

• See related story: Where to Eat in Palm Springs

Mary Pickford Theatre + Trilussa

Cathedral City

A shareable meal (think: big leafy salad and hand-tossed pizza) helps the conversation flow. After a flick at Mary Pickford, walk around the picturesque Civic Center Plaza to Trilussa for a Mediterranean salad and the meatball, artichoke, and red onion pizza, prepared with a piquant housemade tomato sauce and a blend of mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Those who prefer a veggie option will want to try the Salustri Special, loaded with olive tapenade, fresh tomato, mushrooms, onions, and mozzarella cheese. And if you prefer pasta, Trilusa’s sauces won’t disappoint — the tomato-based vodka rose sauce has an extra kick with the addition of pancetta bacon.



Trilussa Ristorante has a pleasant outdoor dining area within walking distance of the Mary Pickford 14.

Century Theatres + Misaki Sushi & Grill

La Quinta

Misaki Sushi & Grill, adjacent to the theater, stays open until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, which means you can catch a later show and still enjoy a leisurely sit-down meal. The portions here are supersized, so one roll per person is generally plenty. Or order off the appetizer menu: The ahi tartare tower gets stacked with spicy crab, spicy tuna, generous helpings of bluefin and masago, and avocado; sprinkled with tempura flakes; and drizzled with spicy-mayo and eel sauces. Tempura fans will obsess over Misaki’s Marble Lobster roll — spicy tuna, cucumber, and deep-fried crawfish with a cilantro-mayo garnish. For a light bite, look to the sweets. A strawberry macaron piped full of green tea ice cream? Yes, please!