The Best Places To Eat & Drink In Palm Springs guide image


The Best Places To Eat & Drink In Palm Springs

Palm Springs may be LA’s adult playground, but it’s also a dining destination to be reckoned with.

Every decent city in America has its nearby escape. New York has the Hamptons and Chicago has, well, Wisconsin. And Los Angeles? We get Palm Springs—only the best escape destination in the entire country. When a town takes sitting by the pool and getting hammered as seriously as Palm Springs does, there’s little to complain about.

But between poolside mojitos and music festivals, there are some good spots to eat at, too. From the classic old haunts where Marilyn Monroe got her groove on, to the new, modern spots popping up all over downtown, Palm Springs is no longer the food...desert it used to be. Here’s our guide on exactly how to navigate it.


photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Boozehounds review image



2080 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs
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Big group getaway weekends are common in Palm Springs, which makes finding places where everyone can comfortably eat together imperative—particularly for brunch. Put Boozehounds at the top of your big group dining list. The sprawling space has a massive outdoor patio, a four-sided bar inside, plus tons of semi-private sitting areas throughout. In other words, no group is too big at this bar/restaurant in the Uptown Design District. As far as food goes, we like the Filipino-leaning dishes the most, like the perfectly-simmered adobo chicken and biscuits with longanisa gravy, but all the menus (they have different ones for brunch, lunch, dinner, and Happy Hour) are large and cover a ton of ground, so everyone will find something they like.

After downing a pitcher of mojitos at the pool and singing along to musical theater videos at Quadz all night, a dozen bagels or so is probably necessary. Be the hero of your vacation rental and go to Townie Bagels. The massively popular shop started out as an at-home business before eventually moving into its current brick-and-mortar on Sunny Dunes Rd. just south of downtown in 2015. The bagels here are all water-boiled giving them a crispy, crackling exterior and a perfectly soft interior. You can’t go wrong with any of the spreads–which are also all made in-house–but we’re partial to either the actually-spicy jalapeno or veggie cream cheese. Don’t miss the lox either, they’re probably the best in the desert.

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photo credit: Jessie Clapp

King’s Highway review image

King's Highway



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It’s not often you eat brunch in an abandoned Denny’s and want your friends to see it on Instagram. Yet sure enough, inside America’s urban millennial safe house (Ace Hotel), King’s Highway is the all-day cafe where everyone who just can’t with the pool fills up before heading out to the pool again. Don’t let the wide-brim hat crowd fool you though – with a menu full of waffles, pastries, and soft scrambles, King’s Highway has sneakily become one of the best breakfasts in town.

Tucked inside a giant strip mall off Palm Canyon, Peninsula is a tiny order-at-the-counter bakery that’s home to the best pastries, bread, and baked goods in Palm Springs. They make everything daily using imported French flour and butter, and when they sell out, they’re out. So no matter how late things went in the hot tub last night, be sure to get there no later than 10am, or prepare for slim pickings. It’s impossible to pick a favorite at a place like Peninsula, but if you see a gooey almond croissant or thick, crunchy kouign amann behind the glass case, get them. Then fill the rest of your pastry box with whatever else is catching your eye. 

This mostly outdoor restaurant is within doable walking distance of all the major downtown hotels, meaning on Saturday mornings this place is basically a hangover recovery center. So as long as you’re OK with that—or are part of that crowd yourself—you’ll have a lovely time. The menu has all the brunch heavy-hitters like brioche French toast, decadent omelets, and a cheese- and egg-filled sandwich. Everything’s quite good, too. And in case you’re wondering, there are mimosas and bloody marys on the menu, but no, they aren’t bottomless. 

If you hear someone shout “brunch!” in Palm Springs, it probably means they’re on their way to Cheeky’s. Open only until 2pm each day, this cafe has become an absolute go-to morning dining destination. We’re warning you now: the line gets ridiculous. But for those who tough it out, a fantastic rotating menu of hangover-curing breakfast foods awaits. Two words: bacon flight.

In the heart of downtown sits The Colony Palms Hotel. And at the heart of The Colony Palms sits The Colony Club—their all-day poolside restaurant straight out of your patterned wallpaper dreams. Brunch is a meal that gets chaotic quickly in Palm Springs, but on those mornings when the only thing we want is some peace and quiet and a well-made omelet, you’ll find us at The Colony Club enjoying the uninterrupted tranquility.


The Real Italian Deli is one of those places we wish we had around the corner from our apartment. The small, order-at-the-counter spot is in a large strip mall a few miles outside of downtown Palm Springs, but they make some of our favorite sandwiches in town. You’re going to want the parma, which is prosciutto and mozzarella, on a house-made torpedo roll (crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside) with a side of their mac salad. Also note, there’s a grocery component here too if you’re in the mood to cook up an Italian feast later tonight at the vacation rental.

After three hours of laying by the pool doing nothing, reward yourself with a leisurely lunch at The Heyday. The former smashburger pop-up superstar is now located on the north end of Palm Canyon in a retro dining room with dark red booths and stained-glass lamp shades. It feels like a pizza parlor from the mid-80s where everyone’s eating crispy crinkle fries, double fried chicken wings, and smashburgers coated with housemade Thousand Island. There’s also a full bar and plenty of natural wine—our move is the all-day martini and burger special.

Gambino’s Creperie is hidden down a tiny side alley off E. Palm Canyon, so don’t get frustrated if it takes you a few tries to find it. Because once you do, you’ll be treated to one of our favorite quick lunch spots in town. Made with a special blend of chimichurri, cheese, and jalapenos, and filled with everything from chicken caesar to turkey cheddar, these are by no means traditional crepes. They’re savory hand-held masterpieces that don’t just look good but taste incredible, too. Our favorite at the moment is the chicken pesto, but whichever one you get, just be sure to add Nonna’s special sauce on top. It’s made with jalapenos, cilantro, garlic, and olive oil, and elevates each crepe even further.

Certain scenarios are expected of Palm Springs, like plenty of pool time, a lot of golf, and local residents at stoplights asking you if you know their grandson. But an NYC-style kosher deli in the heart of downtown took us by surprise. Sherman’s is a Palm Springs institution, serving immensely respectable versions of all the old classics. It might be 114 degrees out, but sometimes a hot pastrami on rye and matzo ball soup is simply what needs to happen.

Residing on the quieter, northern edge of Palm Springs, Peruvian Fuego is an all-around solid Peruvian spot with tasty versions of fish and shrimp ceviche, lomo saltado, and yuca fries. But what sets this tiny strip mall spot apart is their pollo a la brasa. This is some of the best Peruvian rotisserie chicken we’ve eaten in Southern California. It has perfectly crispy skin with a moist, meaty interior and comes accompanied by thick french fries and aji verde sauce for a nice kick of heat. If you’re by yourself, the quarter chicken makes for a great solo lunch, but if there’s a group of hungry friends and family waiting back at the house, grab a whole chicken (or three) and call it a day.

El Salvador Cafe is located directly next door to Peruvian Fuego, so we’re not saying you have to do a double lunch, but we’re also not not. In the chillier months (yes, it does get quite cold in Palm Springs), our order will always include a pork tamal and chicken soup, but no matter what time of year it is, a great meal at El Salvador Cafe is one filled with pupusas. With almost 20 different varieties, choosing can get stressful quickly, but we recommend the queso con jalapeno, the chicharron, and the loca, which comes with cheese, pork, frijoles, loroco, spinach, mushroom, ham, chicken, and asada.


Opening in April 2021, Bar Cecil is unquestionably the hardest table to get in town right now. Reservations at this American bar/restaurant book out weeks in advance—even during the low season—and if you think going midweek will help your chances, it won’t. Here’s the good news: the bar area is walk-in only and that’s where you’ll want to sit anyway. The entire menu is offered here (get the perfectly-moist pork chop, it’s the best we’ve ever eaten), plus you can chat up the bartenders about all the original art on the walls while they pour you a perfectly-made Old Fashioned. Bar Cecil is one of those places that’s sexy and chic without feeling like “sexy and chic” is the theme. It just naturally is—while also being our favorite place to grab dinner in town.

If you’re looking for a lighter dinner spot before a night out on the town, this sushi/whiskey bar can compete with most of the best sushi spots in Los Angeles. If you’re coming in with a big group, go for one of the tables outside, but if it’s just a few of you (or ideally, just you) head to the bar. There you can talk to the chefs and order exactly what they recommend that day.

Located in a strip mall north of the airport, Paul Bar/Food isn’t the most convenient dinner spot in town—particularly if you’re staying off Palm Canyon. But if you’re up for a drive, your reward will be one of the coolest dinner experiences in PS. And when we say cool, we mean 1940s-Rat-Pack-era, slinking-across-the-bar-with-a-martini type cool. The dimly lit space is tiny—it’s essentially one long bar and a few booths against the wall—giving the whole place an intimate, romantic vibe. Come here for some marinara-covered meatballs and a crisp wedge salad—just don’t be fazed if the bartender tells you about some crazy celebrity that just came in and know that you will likely stumble out a few hours later, having completely forgotten you’re in the middle of the desert.

After temporarily closing due to electrical issues, this family-run Vietnamese restaurant is back, bringing with it one of our favorite casual dining rooms in Palm Springs. From the coconut mussels and tea leaf salad to the turmeric cod (not to mention the complimentary cup of congee you get for just sitting down), Rooster And The Pig’s menu is stacked with excellent, shareable dishes that are completely different from anything else you can get downtown. This is a great spot if you’re having dinner with a platonic friend and aren’t in the mood to break the bank on steak and martinis.  

Counter Reformation is one of our favorite restaurants in Palm Springs, and the perfect spot for a date or if you’re in town on a romantic getaway. Hidden away in the massive Parker Palm Springs, you head to this tiny bar to drink great wine and leave talking about the food. Perfectly-sautéed hen of the woods, spiced duck breast, and faux gras macarons—Counter Reformation is only a few years old, but has firmly cemented its status as one of the best romantic dinner spots in town.

Located in the courtyard of the former Cary Grant estate, the almost-entirely-outdoor space (with ridiculous mountain views) is that idyllic Palm Springs setting you trekked out past the windmills and into the desert to experience. Also, they have one of our favorite steaks in town. If you’re looking for that quintessential Palm Springs date night, this is it.

Dinner at Johannes can feel like traveling to a different universe—and not because there’s some over-the-top design aesthetic or boundary-pushing menu. In fact, this casual Austrian-leaning spot is pretty standard in that regard. It’s because no matter what night you go, the entire place will be filled with people who actually live in Palm Springs. Couples with weekly standing reservations split crispy, tender wiener schnitzel (there are seven different kinds on the menu) and groups of neighbors swig red wine and inquire who’ll be their server tonight. Johannes is a complete throwback and where you need to go when you’re done talking over bachelorette parties all night. 

You completely forgot to book a table tonight and now you’re not eating dinner until 9:15pm. Go to Del Rey for a little pre-dinner snack. The moody, dimly lit tapas bar is tucked deep inside the Villa Royale, a quiet, chic boutique hotel on the south side of town. It can get a little crowded (we recommend getting here by 5:30pm for a seat at the bar), but even when full, the place still feels like a hideaway of sorts. Sip on gin and tonics, split small plates like gazpacho and gambas al ajillo, and sit next to one of the most photogenic fireplaces in town—in our books, it’s a perfect way to start the night. 

If you’re from out-of-town and aren’t too familiar with restaurants in Palm Springs, chances are you’ve still heard of Workshop. Open since 2012, this stunning, all-concrete restaurant on Palm Canyon not only proved farm-to-table menus were possible this far into the desert, but arguably put the entire city on the modern dining map. And today, it’s still hitting on all cylinders. With everything from goat cheese pierogis to duck fried rice to doro wat chicken, the menu certainly covers a lot of ground, but that just means everyone in your group will find something they love. Definitely make a reservation far in advance: it still books up quickly.

Less of a nostalgic throwback as it is a perfectly preserved relic, Mr. Lyons has been around in some form or another since the 1940s. But after a massive renovation in 2015, this historic steakhouse has retaken its place as the desert’s go-to spot for breaking out your best pearls, sipping martinis like they’re tap water, and going to town on giant slabs of meat. With multiple dining rooms, a lounge/bar area, a wrap-around patio, and a private dining space, Mr. Lyons is sneakily quite large, making it a great option if you’re in town with a bunch of people who are in the mood to celebrate.  

Right next door to Cheeky’s (with the same address) is Birba. The almost entirely-outdoor pizza spot is an ideal big group jumping-off point before a night out on Palm Canyon. With bar, lounge, and table seating, Birba is a flexible option that will frankly fit any type of occasion. Expect a lively (but not annoying) courtyard atmosphere and a lot of delicious white pizza.

With an old-school Miami supper club feel, The Tropicale is a grown-up, kitschy oasis and perhaps your best opportunity to finally pull off that flowered button-down you got in Nassau. This is a fine dining experience (and a great one at that), but with an impressive cocktail list and an even better back patio, the recipe is right for things to get weird. Take note – The Tropicale is down to party.


For all the various types of nightlife in Palm Springs, a cool, laidback microbrewery and natural wine bar is somewhat hard to come by. That’s why Las Palmas Brewery is a gem. Located north of downtown on Palm Canyon, the bright, breezy taproom is a great place to swing by on a lazy Saturday afternoon for a few glasses of unfiltered wine or beer (we particularly like the bitter, tropical Fifty Four saison) and then accidentally stay for three hours. Keep an eye on their Instagram, as they have food pop-ups throughout the week featuring local pizza and taquerias, plus events like movie nights and chess tournaments. 

The row of bars going along E. Arenas Rd. is the center of Palm Springs’ queer nightlife, and at its core sits Quadz. This musical theater video bar isn’t just our favorite place to drink in Palm Springs, it’s one of our favorite bars in the entire world. It’s a place where visiting 25-year-olds and locals who remember when it used to be called Spurline come together nightly to drink dirt cheap cocktails and sing along to some of the most iconic musical theater moments in history. Even if Barbra Streisand belting “Don’t Rain On My Parade” or Jennifer Holliday’s 1982 Tony Awards performance are unknown entities to you, by the end of the night, you’ll be a trained expert.

Palm Springs is home to several good tiki bars, but Bootlegger remains our favorite. The tiny bar in the Uptown Design District is actually located in the same space as the original Don The Beachcomber, and while it isn’t a speakeasy, per se, its side street entrance is certainly a bit hidden. Once you do find it though, you’ll be treated to a kitschy, intimate space (there are only four booths and a few chairs going along the bar), friendly bartenders, and of course, expertly-made tiki drinks. There’s no bad drink on the menu, but we love the Barbados Heat, which comes with three different kinds of rum, ginger and almond syrup, and bitters.

Opening in September 2021, Tailor Shop is one of the newest cocktail bars in town, and it’s also the most exciting. Located directly next to Bootleggers, this place has a dark, moody interior with velvet banquettes, leather chairs, and a wrap-around marble bar. It’s the perfect pre-dinner drink spot and a chance to really impress your date with some bar knowledge. We haven’t had a cocktail here that we don’t like, but just know that if you sit at one of the banquettes, one of the bartenders will come around with a cart and make your cocktails tableside. If you get hungry, there’s a tiny snacks menu filled with excellent sushi (Tailor Shop is owned by the people who run Sandfish) and other small dishes like snow crab deviled eggs and Wagyu carpaccio.

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