The desert boasts a great variety of superb American cuisine, from paper-napkin casual to anniversary-dinner luxe.
Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse (www.babesbbque.com) serves up classic Southern-style smoked baby back ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, homemade cornbread and microbrews galore.
Jackalope Ranch (www.thejackaloperanch.com) goes the Western route with peel-and-eat shrimp and juicy ribs and chicken accompanied by a side of Dorito-crusted mac and cheese or bourbon mashed potatoes.
Citron (www.viceroypalmsprings.com) is small and super-sleek, with a precisely edited menu that includes prime New York strip, thick burgers, classic Caesar salad, and shrimp tacos.
The industrial-chic Workshop Kitchen+Bar (www.workshoppalmsprings.com) prides itself on farm-to-table small plates, serving American classics like mesquite-grilled pork chops and wood-fired pizzas.
The high-energy hangout TRIO (www.triopalmsprings.com) serves burgers, roast chicken, salads, Yankee pot roast, pastas, fish, and a decadent three-cheese mac and cheese mixed with bacon and green onions.
Acqua Pazza California Bistro’s (www.acquapazzabistro.com) generous portions of pizzas and pastas, sandwiches, wraps, omelets, fresh fish, chicken, steaks, and rich desserts make it a popular local stop.
Lulu (www.lulupalmsprings.com) is often called Acqua’s “sexy sister,” where diners can enjoy the same extended menu on one of the mezzanines or the open-air terrace on Palm Canyon Drive. Both restaurants feature a 12-hour happy hour.
Enjoy tableside carving; a huge California wine list; and fresh charcuterie, cheeses, and artisanal breads at The Ritz-Carlton’s State Fare Bar + Kitchen (www.ritzcarlton.com/ranchomirage) in private dining rooms, a fireplace “snug,” or on the terrace and patio overlooking the valley.
The tiki torch–lit patio at BluEmber (www.rancholaspalmas.com) offers gorgeous views of the golf course, pool, and mountains. Memorable dishes include lobster mac and cheese, grilled rib-eye with warm potato salad, and rich coconut layer cake.
Dish Creative Cuisine’s (www.dishcreativecuisine.com) small menu changes often to include seasonal, local products. Pork tenderloin, coq au vin, and fresh fish are staples, often prepared with rich red wine reductions rather than butter and cream sauces.
Kaiser Grille Palm Springs (www.kaisergrille.com) and new Kaiser Grille Palm Desert — formerly the Chop House — offer up consistently delicious burgers and salads, pastas, steaks, chops, seafood, and pizzas. Try the crispy roast chicken, flat iron steak, bone-in pork chop and prime rib.
Roy’s (www.roysrestaurant.com) melds mainland U.S., Japanese, and Korean cuisine, serving Maine lobster pot pie, fresh fish, braised short ribs, and “Japanese pizza.” Signature drinks include sake and a mai tai floated with Cruzan Black Strap Rum.