where-to-eat-palm-springs

Where to Eat in Palm Springs

The growth of the desert's foodie scene is a win-win for you and your discerning tastes.

Emily Chavous Current Guide, Restaurants

where-to-eat-palm-springs
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY EIGHT4NINE RESTAURANT & LOUNGE

Eight4nine Restaurant & Lounge

849 N. Palm Canyon Drive 
Palm Springs
760-325-8490
eight4nine.com

If there’s one word to describe Eight4Nine, it’s eclectic, according to co-owner Willie Rhine. “The décor, the menu items, the prices — our guests can have a different experience every time they are here,” he says.

Visitors can choose to gather in the dining room, share small plates in the lounge, linger over lunch or brunch on the patio, or simply sip a signature cocktail at the backlit white-onyx bar. Rhine — who opened the spot with celebrity photographer John Paschal in 2015 — calls the décor farmhouse meets modern. The sprawling space boasts Louis XIV ghost chairs, a mix of whimsical chandeliers, and a stunning 30-foot outdoor firewall.You may recognize the space from TV, as Eight4Nine hosted the wedding reception for Shahs of Sunset stars Reza Farahan and Adam Neely.

Eight4Nine has also been featured on House Hunters and Basketball Wives.While chef Israel Jimenez’s menu changes seasonally, popular dishes stay put year-round, including fried Petaluma chicken and Rhine’s personal favorite, grilled Scottish steelhead trout.


Eight4Nine Restaurant&Lounge

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF EIGHT4NINE RESTAURANT & LOUNGE

See related story: Where to Eat in Cathedral City.

ErnestCoffeeandBootleggerTiki
Ernest Coffee and Bootlegger Tiki

1101 N. Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs
760-318-4154
ernestcoffee.com
bootleggertiki.com

Ernest Coffee and Bootlegger Tiki opened a few years back when an entrepreneurial couple sought to create a community gathering space that paid homage to Palm Springs’ past. (The coffee shop is named after the building’s original owner, Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt, dubbed America’s godfather of Tiki culture.) French-born local Gregory Mandallaz, who owned a coffee shop in L.A. before managing and investing in this one, recently took over as CEO.

With the change has come a splash more fun for this Polynesian-mod hangout, where Mandallaz makes “everything as natural and homecrafted as possible.” You’ll still find good ol’ Stumptown brew and tangy cocktails, but the juice is fresh-pressed and the flavorings are made in-house. Baristas and bartenders invent new drinks on the regular. Staffers vote for their favorites, which pop up on the seasonal menu. 

ErnestCoffeeandBootleggerTikiErnestCoffeeandBootleggerTiki

PHOTOGRAPHS BY @BEARLEADERCHRONICLE

Farm

6 La Plaza
Palm Springs
760-322-2724
farmpalmsprings.com

This beauty of a bistro hidden in the historic La Plaza shopping center is meant to feel like a trip to the South of France with a bougainvillea-covered patio and bubbling fountains. The breakfast-and-lunch menu focuses on inventive omelets, utilizing out-of-the-box ingredients from duck confit to andouille sausage, as well as classic crepes and French-inspired sandwiches like a croque madame and egg-and-Gruyere-stuffed croissants. On Friday and Saturday evenings, the restaurant gets romantic with white tablecloths, twinkling lights, live music, and an ever-changing blackboard menu touting a five-course prix-fixe dinner along with beer, wine, and classic cocktails.

& … Grand Central is another seasonally focused brunch option at La Plaza. grandcentral palmsprings.com

PHOTOGRAPH BY @BEARLEADERCHRONICLE

Gré Coffeehouse & Art Gallery

278 N. Palm Canyon Drive 
Suite C
Palm Springs
grecoffeehouse.com

This arthouse-chic coffee counter and gallery is tucked inside the Henry Frank Arcade shopping plaza in downtown Palm Springs. Sip on a frozen matcha or upside-down vanilla cappuccino and throw on one of the vintage records while you check out the latest art display and play a round of Scrabble. When you get hungry, there’s a toast bar and a selection of fresh pastries. Open late-night, Gré hosts regular neighborhood events including open-mic sessions, trivia nights, a weekly book club, and cult film screenings on an outdoor projector.

& … Customs Coffee at Arrive serves brews by Joshua Tree Coffee Co. customs coffee.com

GréCoffeehouse&ArtGallery

PHOTOGRAPH BY @BEARLEADERCHRONICLE

Kiyosaku

1555 S. Palm Canyon Drive
Suite S
Palm Springs
760-327-6601
kiyosakusushi.menutoeat.com

Kiyoshi “Kiyo” Ishikawa learned the fine art of sushi making as a young man in Japan before falling in love and settling in Palm Springs with his family. In 1980 he began serving his rolls and nigiri, made with perfectly warmed rice, from a trailer in Palm Springs.

That outpost eventually evolved into the intimate traditional-style bar that exists today, its walls plastered with awards and accolades lauding Kiyo’s skill. Order the omakase (chef’s choice) menu to sample the best cuts of the day, but don’t overlook Kiyo’s Original Grapefruit Special, a hollowed-out grapefruit stuffed with an assortment of fish and a secret-recipe sauce — the dish is served with a straw to drink up all the leftover juices when you’re ready to clean the plate.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY @BEARLEADERCHRONICLE

Woody’s Palm House

450 S. Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs
760-230-0188
woodyspalmhouse.com

Once a down-home diner-style burger bar, Woody’s outgrew its down- town digs and relocated to an old nightclub on South Palm Canyon Drive. The expansion allowed for a large chef’s kitchen and a swank table-seating restaurant with a stage and an offshoot bar area. Live music accompanies dinner every night, showcasing a rich range of jazz, blues, and R & B. Although the menu has grown up to keep pace with the space (think steak and seafood), Woody’s original burger menu is still available for longtime regulars who can’t get enough of those signature spicy fried pickles.

See related story: Where to Eat in Rancho Mirage.

Johnny Costa’s Ristorante

440 S. Palm Canyon drive
Palm Springs
760-325-4556
johnnycostaspalmsprings.com

Chef and owner Johnny Costa became good friends with Frank Sinatra in the 1960s and the years that followed, while cooking at various local haunts where the crooner liked to dine. He even worked as Sinatra’s personal chef at his desert home. On the menu today at Costa’s are two of the performer’s favorites — Steak Sinatra (New York strips with vegetables in a wine sauce) and the linguini and clams in garlic oil and white wine.

Around the time he worked at Sinatra’s home, Costa opened his eponymous restaurant, which started in Desert Hot Springs and then moved to Cathedral City before landing, permanently, in Palm Springs. From the formal, candlelit tables to classical Italian music and fare, dining at Costa’s will transport you to midcentury times.

JohnnyCosta’sRistoranteJohnnyCosta’sRistorante

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF JOHNNY COSTA’S RISTORANTE

Rio Azul Mexican Bar & Grill

350 S. Indian Canyon Drive
Palm Springs
760-992-5641
rioazulpalmsprings.com

Inspired by his family’s recipes, which he prepares with handcrafted precision, chef Ernesto Gastelum creates all the dishes in this vibrant little restaurant with only the freshest and most flavorful ingredients. Try the mouthwatering house specialties, which include camarones rellenos, Oaxacan tamales, enchiladas del mar, and Codorniz Estilo Ernesto (grilled quail served with the chef’s signature diablo cream salsa). The menu also features favorites such as carne asada, carnitas, chili verde, and fajitas as well as a selection of soups and fresh guacamole prepared tableside. You’ll return time and again for the best of Mexico in the heart of Palm Springs.

RioAzulMexicanBar&GrillRioAzulMexicanBar&Grill

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY RIO AZUL MEXICAN BAR & GRILL

Michael Holmes’ Purple Room Supper Club

1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs 760-322-4422 purpleroompalmsprings.com

During the 1960s, it was at this intimate supper club tucked inside the Club Trinidad Hotel in Palm Springs that Rat Packers Frank, Sammy, and Dean cavorted with their pals. Owner Michael Holmes has updated the room’s décor, menu, and acoustics to revive the swinging sophistication of that era while providing guests decidedly modern cocktails, award-winning cuisine, and cabaret.

Tuesdays feature Jazz Hall of Fame singer Rose Mallett. On Wednesdays, Holmes is joined onstage by Kate Campbell for Rat Pack–era music and a special menu. Thursdays in the fall showcase Keisha D, then Sharon Sills returns to the lineup when high season hits. Fridays and Saturdays could find you applauding to internationally acclaimed entertainers  such as an Elvis impersonator or a Broadway legend like Tommy Tune. And on Sundays, Holmes performs The Judy Show! — his raucous, one-man tribute to Garland’s eponymous 1963 television series. 

MichaelHolmes’PurpleRoomSupperClub

PHOTOGRAPH BY BEARLEADER CHRONICLES

Elmer’s

1030 E. Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs
760-327-8419
eatatelmers.com

This locally owned gem, voted Best Breakfast by Palm Springs Life readers, features an extensive menu of made-from-scratch favorites, gracious service, and a pet-friendly outdoor patio. 

Elmer’s

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY ELMER’S

Lulu California Bistro

200 S. Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs
760-327-5858
lulupalmsprings.com

Downtown’s hot spot has a multipage menu and an all-day, everyday happy hour that locals love. Save room for Gelato Fantasia at dessert — a colossal six scoops of Italian ice cream to share

LuluCaliforniaBistro

PHOTOGRAPH BY @BEARLEADERCHRONICLE

Sherman’s Deli & Bakery

401 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way
Palm Springs
760-325-1199

73161 Country
Club Drive
Palm Desert
760-568-1350
shermansdeli.com

This New York–style delicatessen has been a longtime favorite, dating back to a clientele that included Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra. They’ve got all the classics: lox, liver, cheese blintzes, and cases full of fresh-baked goods.

Sherman’sDeli&Bakery

PHOTOGRAPH BY ARTHUR COLEMAN

LG’s Prime Steakhouse 

255 S. Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs
760-416-1779

78525 Highway 111
Suite 100
La Quinta
760-771-9911 
lgsprimesteakhouse.com

The focus at this family-owned steakhouse is USDA prime meat. Highlights include the 24-ounce porter-house, tableside Caesar salad service, and a wine list that earned a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.

LG’sPrimeSteakhouse

PHOTOGRAPH BY GREG PETERSON

Trio Restaurant

707 N. Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs
760-864-8746
triopalmsprings.com

With a colorful interior, a cool modern bar, and a funky dining room filled with art, it makes sense this Uptown Design District hang has a tasty menu with elevated versions of the classics. Try the Yankee Pot Roast.

TrioRestaurant

PHOTOGRAPH BY @BEARLEADERCHRONICLE

Spencer’s Restaurant

701 W. Baristo Road
Palm Springs
760-327-3446
spencersrestaurant.com

Set at the historic Palm Springs Tennis Club, Spencer’s is the perfect spot for a quick power lunch, Sunday brunch, or romantic evening. Polite pups are even welcome on the patio. For dessert? The banana split.

Spencer’sRestaurant

PHOTOGRAPH BY KAMINSKY PRODUCTIONS

Las Casuelas Terraza

222 S. Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs
760-325-2794
lascasuelas.com

This bustling indoor-outdoor space fills with loyal patrons indulging in traditional Mexican fare. The tamales, made from a 100-year-old recipe, are a must and pair nicely with a fresh-squeezed margarita.

LasCasuelasTerraza

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY LAS CASUELAS TERRAZA

Las Casuelas Original

368 N. Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs
760-325-3213 theoriginallascasuelas.com

Family-owned for more than 60 years, this small and quaint landmark continues to serve authentic and traditional Mexican cuisine made from recipes spanning five generations.

&… Alebrije Bistro México dishes up a fusion of fine food and drink inspired by the flavors of Mexico City, from bone marrow to octopus ceviche to prime rib braised in chilis, with vegetarian options as well. alebrijeps.com

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY LAS CASUELAS

• See related story: Where to Eat in La Quinta.

Smokin’ Burgers & Lounge

1775 E. Palm Canyon Drive
Suite 220
Palm Springs
760-883-5999
fb.com/smokinburgersps

This bustling burger joint and sports bar keeps the crowds coming back by serving consistently tasty patties, fresh-cooked to order, and pairing its generous portions with a lively atmosphere where everybody feels like a local. The 187 Burger, topped with grilled habaneros, jalapeños, and ghost-pepper sauce, is said to be the hottest in the desert. There are veggie and turkey options as well as an assortment of sandwiches, salads, wraps, and tacos. And the bar is open late.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY SMOKIN’ BURGERS & LOUNGE

Kreem

170 E. Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs
760-699-8129
Ilovekreem.com

Doing its part to cool off desert-goers, Kreem dishes up house-made ice cream created from top-quality (mostly) organic dairy and other natural ingredients. Featuring both traditional and unique flavors (the lemon-meringue-pie variety is a local favorite), the cold stuff is made on-site and the selection rotates to keep things interesting. Vegan options are available, as are “canine cones” for pups. Try a coffee float with cold brew from Portland-based Heart Coffee Roasters.

Kreem
Kreem

PHOTOGRAPHS BY @BEARLEADERCHRONICLE

Revel Public House

140 S. Palm Canyon Drive
760-325-9464
revelps.com

Revel Public House is part eatery, part pub, and part gathering place. Open from breakfast until late night, it’s the neighborhood joint you’ve been waiting for with an all-day happy hour — featuring draft craft beers, sangria, and an impressive bourbon selection — with a tapas menu that includes spicy lime-drizzled shrimp skewers and sliders piled high with bacon, beef, and chorizo. For dinner, Revel serves up a Killer Mac & Cheese, burgers, and a variety of pizzas. While here check out the beers from Palm Springs Brewing Co. and cheer for your favorite team. Come for the food, come for the game, or come for the conversation. Revel Public House is the place to be.

Revel Public House

PHOTOGRAPH BY IAN CUSH

Johannes Restaurant

196 S. Indian Canyon Drive
Palm Springs
760-778-0017
johannesrestaurants.com

“Eat Well, Live Better” is the motto of chef Johannes Bacher, whose award-winning European cuisine has been satisfying discerning taste buds in downtown Palm Springs for nearly two decades. Bacher brings a taste of his native Tirol, the small mountain town in Austria where he was raised,  in dishes such as cheese spätzeln (housemade noodles in fontina and Gruyère cheeses) and his signature wiener schnitzel, which was featured in 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die, a book listing the world’s best restaurants and dishes. The upscale yet casual dining experience pairs with a comprehensive wine list, featuring half-bottles as well as 3-ounce tasting pours, and trendy Euro-inspired décor. 

JohannesRestaurantJohannesRestaurant

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY JOHANNES RESTAURANT

Koffi
Koffi

650 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way
Palm Springs
760-318-0145
kofficoffee.com

A gathering place for locals, this trendy purveyor of espresso drinks and whole-leaf teas has been pouring its organic house-roasted blends since opening in 2002 in the Uptown Design District. Three additional locations have popped up in Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage.The newest café at Kaptur Plaza near downtown Palm Springs already has quite the history — constructed in the ’70s, the modernist complex is a Class 1 historic site designed by architect Hugh Kaptur.

Beans are prepared daily at Koffi’s Rancho Mirage roasting facility, delivering a dark roast that packs an intense, chocolate-infused punch; a lighter option for mild, Milano-style sipping; and a water-processed blend that is naturally decaffeinated. Beverages are available hot, frozen, or iced, and the coffeehouse serves up a solid cold brew as well as fresh-baked pastries and other breakfast and lunch bites. You’ll find exclusive Koffi blends served at a number of restaurants in town and can order beans — and single-serve coffee pods — online, so you can continue savoring your favorite roasts at home. 

DID YOU KNOW?

Kaptur Plaza, formerly Tahquitz Plaza, was  to be demolished in 2015 but was saved through efforts by local groups and the city’s Preservation Board. 

KoffiKoffi

PHOTOGRAPHS BY NEIL HUSVAR

Sandwich Spot

240 N. Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs
760-778-7900
sandwichspotps.com

It’s not just a sandwich spot, it’s the spot for a sandwich in Palm Springs, as evidenced by the line that snakes out the door around lunchtime most days. Tennis buffs will appreciate items like the Djokovic (turkey, bacon, cheddar, and avocado) and French Open (marinated chicken, hot sauce, blue cheese dressing, and pepper jack). Top it off with a chocolate-chip cookie — they bake one of the best. 

& …

Workshop Kitchen + Bar won a James Beard Award for restaurant design and has a handcrafted menu to match with global flavors and scratch-made cocktails. workshoppalmsprings.com

 SandwichSpot
 SandwichSpot

PHOTOGRAPHS BY @BEARLEADERCHRONICLE

See related story: Where to Eat in Coachella.

Zin American Bistro

198 S. Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs
760-322-6300
pszin.com

Recipient of 12 consecutive Wine Spectator awards, Zin matches its top-label vino with seasonal, sustainable meats and produce for a culinary experience that conjures images of a rural brasserie — except you’re in downtown Palm Springs. Share plates like fried blue-cheese olives and mini beef Wellingtons over cocktails; build your own cheese board; and get your fill with prime hangar steak and pomme frites, a vegetarian cauliflower steak, or mesquite-smoked salmon fillet.

ZinAmericanBistro

PHOTOGRAPH BY NEIL HUSVAR

Nature’s Health Food
Market & Cafe

555 S. Sunrise Way, Suite 301
Palm Springs
760-323-9487
natureshealthfoodcafe.com

Discover great-tasting and nutritious vegan and vegetarian fare, where locally sourced veggies meet a world of flavors from Asian-inspired stir-fry to Italian pasta to Indian curries to Mexican-style burrito plates to the all-American burger, the café’s plant-based take on the lunchtime classic. The organic juice bar serves classic vegetable blends, freshly pressed pomegranate juice, and wheatgrass shots. The market offers organic produce and products, vitamins and supplements, detoxifiers and cleanses, protein drinks, homeopathy, ionized water, and more.

& …

Chef Tanya’s Kitchen offers an all-vegan lunch menu of deli sandwiches, superfood salads, and rotating soups. cheftanyapetrovna.com

Nature'sHealthFoodMarket&CafeNature'sHealthFoodMarket&Cafe

PHOTOGRAPHS BY NEIL HUSVAR

Pomme Frite

256 S. Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs
760-778-3727
pommefrite.com

Experience a touch of Europe nestled in the heart of downtown Palm Springs. Pomme Frite offers an authentic European ambiance that will transport you to the streets of Brussels where many cafés are located. This quaint and cozy bistro features Belgian and French specialties moderately priced. Their Pacific Sole Fillets “Grenobloise” are featured with lemon-butter sauce with capers, sautéed spinach, and mashed potatoes. For mussel lovers, they prepare mussels 12 different ways.

DID YOU KNOW?

Pomme Frite was named the 2018 winner of Best French Restaurant in Palm Springs by Palm Springs Life readers.

PommeFrite

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY POMME FRITE

BrandinI Toffee

132 S. Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs
760-200-1598
brandinitoffee.com

Brandini Toffee is more than a creator of mouthwatering almond toffee — it’s a local, family-owned company handcrafting simple ingredients into sweet indulgences. The company’s list of goodies has grown to include toffee popcorn, chocolate-dipped pretzels rolled in toffee crumbles, toffee shakes, and hand-dipped ice cream bars. Tour the factory in Rancho Mirage and visit the shops in downtown Palm Springs and at the Desert Hills Premium Outlets in Cabazon.

DID YOU KNOW?

Brandini Toffee is located in the historic Palm Springs Follies building adjacent to Plaza Theatre.

BrandiniToffee

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY BRANDINI TOFFEE