The Desert's Best Bites

Each Month In The Guide, We Ask Readers To Select Their Coachella Valley Favorites. Here, We Share Their Top Food-Related Picks.

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Best Continental/Mediterranean Restaurant • Best Outdoor Dining • Best Romantic Dining • Best Power Lunch • Best Caterer • Best Sunday Brunch
See and be seen at the place that epitomizes classic Palm Springs style. Spencer’s Restaurant features American cuisine with a French-Pacific Rim influence and a fresh approach to classic cooking. Merging elegance and comfortable informality, the air-cooled, tree-shaded patio and garden surroundings are legendary. Spencer’s daytime chic transforms into a sensual delight after sundown, making it perfect for a romantic dinner or special celebration — a reader hit in six categories.

Best Pizza (Tie)
Grab a perfect Neapolitan pie fresh from Piero’s Pizzavino’s 800-degree, wood-burning oven. It’s a true taste of Italy, with recipes passed down through three generations. The delicate dough is an ideal base for hearty ingredients; choose from white or red sauces, plus salads, pastas, and desserts.

Feast on delicious pizzas that marry the flavors of New York to those from California’s most fertile regions. Pizzeria Villagio’s pizza dough is made from scratch, hand stretched, and cooked in a traditional pizza oven. It’s balanced by chef-selected tomatoes and the finest quality cheeses.

Best Barbecue Restaurant
Prepare to chow down on sweet, made-fromscratch barbecue at Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse. The secret is in the smoking process, a full punch of flavor that can be tasted in the restaurant’s baby back ribs and pulled pork sandwich. All dishes can easily be complemented by one of the awardwinning microbrews made in-house.

Best Coffeehouse
Connect with a cup of freshly roasted brew at Koffi. With the aroma of fresh coffee beans filling the air, this popular hangout offers a generous selection of hot and cold beverages, from regular drip coffee to tea lattes to a wide variety of espresso drinks. The relaxed setting offers a perfect spot for conversation and people-watching.

Best Margarita Sip
organic, hand-shaken margaritas while savoring live music and delectable Mexican cuisine at Las Casuelas Terraza, served by generations of the Delgado family. With more than 75 varieties of Mexico’s finest sipping tequilas, it’s no wonder the bar is just as famous as the food.

Best Breakfast (Tie)
Local hot spot Elmer’s Restaurant makes everyone feel at home, emphasizing fresh ingredients and traditional flavors. Sixty-four years after the restaurant’s opening, Elmer’s original pancake batter is still the fan-preferred dish.

Cheeky’s in Palm Springs’ Uptown Design District is another heavily favored breakfast and brunch spot, where diners enjoy a cheerful, laid-back setting and a menu that changes weekly. And remember, breakfast isn’t just for mornings. Here, it’s served all day with organic eggs and locally grown organic potatoes that complement the five different types of bacon from the establishment’s bacon bar.

Best Chinese Restaurant
At City Wok, experience a medley of East-meets-West flavors prepared with the freshest meats, seafood, and produce around. Known for its homemade sauces and appetizing meals, the open kitchen will turn out dishes — such as the Spicy Kung Pao combo and the Garlic Chili Prawns — that tantalize the senses and excite the palate.

Best Steakhouse
After enjoying a day of gaming at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa or Spa Resort Casino, The Steakhouse’s perfectly aged prime beef, veal, and lamb and the delectable glazes hit the spot. Bonus: Pair fillets with the restaurant’s award-winning wine selection.

Best Vegetarian Restaurant
Try a bite of healthy, sustainably sourced food made with flavors from around the globe. Palm Greens Café’s dishes are prepared with high-quality ingredients and never include additives or preservatives. The menu is filled with items that are vegan, organic, gluten-free, and vegetarian — so there’s something for everyone.

Best Deli
Take a quick break and try this deli delight. Poker Deli at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa offers all of the traditional favorites as well as an array of hot options, a testament that a good hoagie never goes out of style.

Best Sushi/Japanese Restaurant
Savor the distinctive flavors of authentic iron plate Japanese cooking at Kobe Japanese Steak House, where dishes are prepared at the table by knife-wielding chefs. Kimono-clad servers combined with a beautiful garden and pond have made this restaurant — located in a replica of a Japanese country inn — a landmark to the valley.

Best Thai Restaurant
Enjoy the flavorful spices of Southeast Asia at Thai Smile, with dishes authentically prepared from fresh ingredients. Special house Thai sauces are mixed with herbs and spices to give each plate a mouthwatering bite. Enjoy locations in Palm Springs and on El Paseo in Palm Desert.

Best Seafood Restaurant
Dive into The Crab Pot’s seafood feast boasting freshly caught crab, shrimp, and shellfish. Steamed with spices and poured out onto butcher paper–covered tables, a juicy paradise awaits.

Best Mexican Restaurant
Treat your palate to homemade Mexican flavor and a menu filled with a wide variety of traditional meals at Rio Azul Mexican Bar & Grill. The family recipes — from Abuelita’s Albondigas Soup to Tia Maria’s Green Corn Tamales — deliver fresh ingredients and a zing of flavor.

The Spa Resort Casino

courtesy The Spa Resort Casino

The Spa Resort Casino

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Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse
71800 Hwy. 111, Ste. A 176, Rancho Mirage

City Wok
74970 Country Club Dr., Ste. 450, Palm Desert

622 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs

The Crab Pot
78121 Avenida La Fonda, La Quinta

Elmer’s Restaurant
1030 E. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs

Kobe Japanese Steak House
69838 Hwy. 111, Rancho Mirage

• 515 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs 760-416-2244;
• 1700 S. Camino Real, Palm Springs. 760-322-7776;
• 71380 Hwy. 111, Rancho Mirage. 760-340-2444;

Las Casuelas Terraza
222 S. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs

Palm Greens Café
611 S. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs

Piero’s Pizzavino
73722 El Paseo, Ste. 1, Palm Desert

Pizzeria Villagio
37029 Cook St., Palm Desert

Poker Deli
Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa
32250 Bob Hope Dr., Rancho Mirage

Rio Azul Mexican Bar & Grill
350 S. Indian Canyon Dr., Palm Springs

Spencer’s Restaurant
701 W. Baristo Rd., Palm Springs

The Steakhouse
• Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa
32250 Bob Hope Dr., Rancho Mirage.;
• Spa Resort Casino
401 E. Amado Rd., Palm Springs.;

Thai Smile
• 73725 El Paseo, Palm Desert. 760-341-6565;
• 100 S. Indian Canyon Dr., Palm Springs. 760-320-5503;

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