Tan smiling faces, sports coats, white pants and pink shirts. Palm Springs loves to mix the old with the new. While often paying homage to its storied past, the desert restaurant scene also has an array of exciting innovative chefs who are producing colorful progressive cuisine. Whether you want a steakhouse and jazz kinda night, bubbles and caviar vintage, ribs and rock ’n’ roll or modern contemporary cuisine in architectural wonder, Palm Springs has a roster of relevant and respectable dining establishments for every taste.
Feature photo: Courtesy of Morgan’s in the Desert
An homage to the renaissance man Cecil Beaton, the high society photographer and award-winning costume designer, Bar Cecil is a posh stylish haunt where the bubbles flow and delicious bistro fare colors the menu from Chef Gabe Woo. Go big with their $50 martini that’s garnished with caviar dotted deviled eggs, and then dive into steak frites or pappardelle with lamb ragu. Bar Cecil’s signature burger is branded with the restaurant’s namesake. You’ll love the vintage turquoise bar chairs, the private collection of modern art and hodgepodge of design elements. Beaton loved the good life and this theme carries over into the scene and cuisine! Dinner 5 to 10pm. barcecil.com
The duo behind this smash burger spot first gained a faithful following at Palm Springs’ Thursday night street fair VillageFest, later shifting to pop-up form. Now they’ve settled into a permanent space inside the Hilton hotel, where they sell Harris Ranch beef cheeseburgers, fried chicken sandwiches, and mushroom burgers on potato buns, as well as loaded fries and an impressive house salad. Look for the off menu specials like lobster rolls when in season at this casual spot. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 12pm to 9pm; Friday and Saturday 12pm to 10 pm. theheydaypalmsprings.com
Morgan’s in the Desert
Walter Morgan opened the doors of La Quinta Hotel back in 1926 as a luxury hideaway for the Tinseltown set, welcoming guests like Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Bette Davis and Frank Capra. La Quinta’s signature restaurant is named for the visionary hotelier who also brought golf to the Coachella Valley. The lovely hacienda-style dining room welcomes family and friends for craft cocktails like their cinnamon-smoked old fashionista with Whistle Pig rye, and farmers market salads, juicy steaks, seared scallops and lobster. Guests can also dine on the fire-lit patio or in the piano bar. Dinner 5pm to 10pm. morgansinthedesert.com
If stiff ’tinis, soft jazz, striking design and serious steaks appeal, then Mr. Lyons is calling your name. This classic steakhouse favors small farms and the finest cuts of meats. Start the evening with a Mr. Lyons honest martini and some old-school onion dip with potato crisps and then move into a lobster bisque or hamachi crudo course. When it’s time to go carnivore, consider prime rib. Chili-crusted American Wagyu, 48-day dried strip steak and bone-in chops and then accessorize with the Point Reyes blue cheese fondue or bone marrow butter sauces. Blistered snap peas, kimchi fried rice and various divine potato concoctions are worthy sides. Expand your palate with the rotating Sommelier Selection each evening. The indoor scene is appropriately low lit and moody with lots of browns and gold whereas the outdoor patio feels airy bright with its lovely green banquettes and modern fireplace. Dinner 5pm to 10pm Wednesday through Sunday. mrlyonsps.com
Pappy and Harriet’s
A restaurant, concert venue and desert legend, Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has been universally treasured since 1982. This one-of-a-kind spot serves some of the best ribs in the country — sue us — and always makes coming to see a show here a treat. Whether you’re noshing nachos, biting into a bison burger or taking in some tri-tip fresh from the grill, you never know who might just drop in for a set or two. Thursday through Sunday 11am to 11pm; Monday 4pm to 11pm. pappyandharriets.com
Rooster and the Pig (Temporarily Closed)
Chef-owner Tai Spendley always-has-a-line restaurant serves inventive Vietnamese-American fare from a nondescript strip mall location. There are fun fresh rolls stuffed with the likes of shrimp and mango or lemongrass pork, signature fan favorites, including the crunchy jasmine tea leaf salad, pork belly fried rice and panko-crusted chicken-stuffed curry bowl, and rotating specials. No reservations. roosterandthepig.com
This romantic al fresco eatery at Steve Hermann’s L’Horizon is the perfect spot for a memorable meal whether you prefer an intimate candlelit experience for two, or making new friends at the communal table under a canopy of trees. Dinner rolls out as Parisian gnocchi with fava beans, caviar and bone marrow toast or bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin with farmers market succotash. Non-hotel guests are welcome Thursday to Sunday 5pm to 9pm — the restaurant is closed during summer months. lhorizonpalmsprings.com
Workshop Kitchen + Bar
Here at chef Michael Beckman’s lauded establishment, you’ll find an array of innovative, vegetable-forward, farmers market-driven dishes like apple-and-yam soup and scarlet runner beans with collard greens and black garlic, as well as heartier offerings like shrimp and grits and steak au poivre, plus several wood-fired pizza options. Those in the know inquire about the off-menu items. The clean line modern setting — once a gallery and movie theater — emanates a cathedral vibe – making the experience all that more divine. Dinner 5pm to 10pm. workshopkitchenbar.com
More Local Favorites in Palm Springs
Who’s writing these?
Meet our always-hungry team of foodies who compiled this list.
Please let us know if we’ve missed your favorite email@example.com.