Wildest’s Blend of Healthy and Haute Is a Hit on El Paseo

The Palm Desert restaurant serves good plates that are good for you.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY NEIL HUSVAR

If you’re looking for a dining experience that strikes a balance between healthy and haute, this sleek restaurant and bar on El Paseo is the spot of your wildest dreams.

“We wanted to make good-for-you fabulous and fun,” explains co-owner Charissa Farley-Hay, who opened Wildest with her husband, Bill Hay, in 2019. The concept is hard to define, she notes, because there’s a little something for everyone. She sums it up as casual fine dining with Napa-style, farm-to-table fare.

The menu nourishes the body as much as it delights the senses with options like grass-fed meats, wild-caught seafood, and creative plant-based dishes. In a world where veggie plates are often an afterthought, Farley-Hay is proud to report, that isn’t the case here. “We have dreams of getting Michelin stars someday for our plant-based dishes,” she says. “A third of the menu is plant-based.”

Guests can pair plates like turmeric-glazed cauliflower or wagyu beef with selections from the restaurant’s Wine Spectator award–winning wine list, all while sitting under the stars enjoying live entertainment.

The Wildest moniker functions on multiple levels, referring to the restaurant’s hip, social environment as well as the team’s commitment to close-to-the-earth cuisine.

Wildest offers a full calendar of wine dinners and tastings, special farm-to-table dinners, happy hours, and late-night supper clubs and is available for private events.

 


ASK A LOCAL
Charissa Farley-Hay, co-owner, Wildest Restaurant + Bar

Why we focus on healthy, sustainable fare:
“Food is medicine. The most important things you can control for your own health are what you put in your mouth, how you move, and how you connect to people. This restaurant touches on all of those things.”

What I love most about desert life:
“The connectivity. We have a sense of community here, whether you’re young, old, gay, straight, purple, blue, working class, or retired. Everyone mixes in our cities differently than in metropolitan areas.”

Best hiking trail:
“I like the Cactus to Clouds trail in Palm Springs. You have to train for it. You go from the valley floor to the forest in a single day, to the top of Mount San Jacinto. I also love hiking up the back side through Garner Valley.”

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PHOTO COURTESY FARLEY-HAY