Private Parties

Go big on your guestlist this holiday season.

Lori Cohen-Sanford Restaurants

Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge was designed with semi-private rooms both inside and out.

Can’t decide whether to have dinner at 8 or invite 18, here are a few private dining suggestions when you want that holiday guest list to be all inclusive.

EIGHT4NINE Restaurant & Lounge

The restaurant was designed with semi-private rooms to accommodate group dining from 10 to 50 guests. A large patio can be separated into three sections to host private parties as large as 150 people. Owner, Willie Rhine says that what sets the restaurant apart is, “Great service and great food in an amazing setting for both large and small events. Our team goes above and beyond to exceed guest expectations.”

modern and trendy – Wine-poached Pear Salad, Curried Cauliflower Bisque, Ahi Tuna Poke, Fried Chicken, Candied Apple Crème Brule.

849 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, 760-325-8490;

Mr. Lyons Steakhouse

This redesigned restaurant offers the entire place for buy-outs, with multiple spaces available for individual bookings. A private room outfitted with a full AV season that can accommodate 18 is perfect for working lunches and dinners. The Bar/Lounge can be privately booked for more casual affairs or in conjunction with The Grand Salon, a more formal dining area designed with plush seating and booths.

The Grand Salon at Mr. Lyons Steakhouse offers plush seating and booths.

The white simplicity of The Conservatory can be configured with various types of seating and is connected to a private outdoor patio for indoor/outdoor exposure. Seymour’s is a backroom bar boasting an intimate, “speakeasy” vibe that can be booked for private groups for drinks only. Food can also be served on a private patio, equipped with bocce ball and horseshoes. The entire restaurant can accommodate up to 500 guests.

Menu: Modern steakhouse favorites and upscale bar fare – Grilled Steak Salad, Steak Tartare, Hamachi, Filet Surf & Turf, Beef or Vegetable Wellingtons.

233 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, 760-327-1551;

Lulu California Bistro

The Celebrity Gallery seats 100 with space for 130 for cocktail events and an on-staff designer can transform the room for themed events. Two smaller areas on the upper mezzanine can accommodate 30 people each and offer views to the action of the main restaurant below. Emily Morison, in-house event coordinator, believes Lulu is an event destination due to the wide array of functions hosted at the restaurant. “You think it, we can plan it!” she says. “Our goal is to enhance the wow factor. Our offerings are nearly endless, and we strive to make sure that every event is unforgettable by both the hosts and their guests.”

Menu: Contemporary continental cuisine and happy hour fare – wide variety of options to suit all palates.

200 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, 760-327-5858;

The Celebrity Gallery at Lulu California Bistro all decked out in blue.

The Meritage Room seats up to 50 people.

LG’s Prime Steakhouse

Locally owned, with private room or semi-private event space in both locations in Palm Springs or La Quinta. Palm Springs offers an indoor and outdoor option for private dining. The private, wine-themed, Meritage Room seats up to 50 people, while the north patio of the restaurant includes a private bar and seating for 70 guests. La Quinta has four spaces designed for private events, with room for up to 150 guests. Book the fully private wine cellar downstairs for a more intimate gathering. Restaurant Director, Greg Frazier, sees a trend to more corporate bookings in the La Quinta location, with more personal events being booked in Palm Springs. He sees that guests, “come because it is a bit more upscale and they know they will get the white-glove treatment.”

Menu: Classic steakhouse favorites – Grilled USDA Prime beef, Roasted Chicken & Salmon, wine list of over 400 selections.

255 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, 760-416-1779
78525 Highway 111, Ste. 100, La Quinta, 760-771-9911;

bluEmber Restaurant at Omni Rancho
Las Palmas Resort & Spa

Located on the grounds of the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, bluEmber has several private booking options for groups. The Ember Room is the largest space available at the restaurant and can accommodate 50 people.

The Wine Room can host 24 people at the bluEmber Restaurant.

The Wine Room can host 24 people and private dining is available for 10 guests. Group holiday dining menus and special dining series events are offered at the restaurant for guests of the resort and to the public. Additional large-scale, indoor and outdoor event and banquet spaces are available to be booked through the resort/hotel.

Menu: Fresh, Contemporary – Crispy Brussel Sprouts, Dungeness Crab Cakes, Roasted Beet/Kale Salad, Lobster Mac-n-cheese, Shrimp Tagliatelle.

41000 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage, 760-834-2110;

Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Palm Desert

A consistent menu, a reputation for food quality, and a focus on banquet-style and business event dining are some of the reasons guests repeatedly book at this famous steak emporium, according to Anita Owens-DeCuir, sales and catering manager. With multiple private and semi-private spaces to choose from, groups ranging in size from 16 to 70 can be accommodated.

Ruth’s Chris in Palm Desert can seat groups of 16 to 70 people.

Ruth’s Chris in Palm Desert has built a large part of its business on off-site catering and community events, such as the La Quinta Arts Festival, and music festivals like Coachella, Stagecoach and Desert Trip.

Menu: Steakhouse standard/classic fare – Stuffed Mushrooms, Crab Cakes, Wedge Salad, Petit Filet, Stuffed Chicken Breast, Creamed Spinach.

74740 Highway 111, Palm Desert, 760-779-1998;

Mastro’s Steakhouse
Palm Desert

The Mastro Private Dining Room can be configured for smaller, seated dining events, and up to 80 guests for a cocktail set-up. This larger room can be divided into three separate, sound-partitioned areas that include AV set-up for meetings. The El Paseo Dining room offers a private, three-walled space, enclosed by a curtain for up to 14 guests.

Mastro’s Steakhouse in Palm Desert has several options to its private dining room.

A popular option for a livelier atmosphere is the Piano Room, which can accommodate up to 70 people, and the location adjacent to the piano lounge makes for a musical occasion.

Menu: Upscale steakhouse fare and jumbo size martinis – seafood, sushi rolls, steaks and all the steakhouse sides you would seek. Full bar and award winning wine selection.

73-405 El Paseo, Ste. 120, Palm Desert, 760-776-6777;

Check out The Mirage Room for private dining.

Wally’s Desert Turtle in Rancho Mirage

Formal and special occasion dining has been a Greater Palm Springs institution for generations. Holiday dining is a popular offering for groups of all sizes. Ask about The Mirage Room for your private group.

71775 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage, 760-568-9321;

Morton’s The Steakhouse in Palm Desert

Popular place to book corporate meetings and events. There are multiple options for groups looking for a steakhouse experience.

74-880 Country Club Drive, Palm Desert, 760-340-6865;

Morton’s The Steakhouse in Palm Desert is popular for corporate meetings and events.

Lori Cohen-Sanford is a private/personal chef, cooking class instructor and owner of Nourishfoods Organic Meal Services — Follow her on Twitter: @nourishfoodsps.