Local editor's guide to eating (and drinking) in Palm Springs

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Now that I've lived in the desert for a few years, the question I get the most from friends, family and Instagram followers is this: Where do I eat and drink in Palm Springs?! More and more of you are traveling to our sunny town for a birthday dinner, bachelorette weekend, et cetera and want to take in the best ambiance this city has to offer. 

So, instead of continuing to copy and paste that list in direct messages, I've put my recommendations together here. These are, in my opinion, the best restaurants, bars and hidden dining gems in Palm Springs. From brunch to late-night cocktails, I've tried to include options across the spectrum - with a key ($) to affordability. Cheers! 

 

WHERE TO EAT BREAKFAST

 I had a Divorce Party with my bridesmaids at Farm. It's also great for other uplifting occasions like bachelorette weekends.

I had a Divorce Party with my bridesmaids at Farm. It's also great for other uplifting occasions like bachelorette weekends.

Farm

French | $$$

When I think of Farm, this is what comes to mind: My closest group of girlfriends around the table, sipping strawberry mimosas and cheers'ing to a new year. This South of France-inspired hot spot is perfect for a romantic breakfast or group brunch, and it's worth the typically hour-long wait. Sit outdoors on the patio at tables beneath shade trees, or grab one inside the Provence-esque dining rooms. I can't get enough of the berry French toast, and any sweet crepe will tickle your fancy. (6 La Plaza, 760-322-2724, farmpalmsprings.com)

 

 This is my best friend, Emily, and I getting ready to pound some berry French toast. This meal cost us a lot of money.

This is my best friend, Emily, and I getting ready to pound some berry French toast. This meal cost us a lot of money.

Norma's at Parker Palm Springs

American | $$$$$

If you're willing to splurge on the biggest (and maybe best) breakfast of your life, then head to Norma’s inside the Parker Palm Springs. Seriously, these plates are humongous with a price tag to match. Each morning meal starts with a complimentary smoothie shot, then you can take your pick of richly delicious eggs Benedict, or a towering pile of berry French toast. Sensing a theme here? (4200 E. Palm Canyon Dr., 760-770-5000, theparkerpalmsprings.com)

 

Townie Bagels & Breads

American | $$

This is the most underrated fast-casual breakfast spot in town. Here, bagels are “done right” and made fresh daily. I LIVE for the breakfast sandwich with egg and ham. (Sometimes, I even get it for lunch.) It’s also a great spot to grab coffee and work on your laptop, if Ernest is too crowded. (650 E. Sunny Dunes Dr., Ste. 5, 760-459-4555, towniebagel.com)


WHERE TO EAT LUNCH

 

Chef Tanya's Kitchen 

Vegan | $$

In need of vegan options? Look no further than chef Tanya Petrovna. The founder of Native Foods Cafe recently opened this tiny kitchen in an industrial area of town, and the food is DAMN GOOD. Seriously, Taco Tuesday blows my mind with styles like crusted buffalo cauliflower. And don’t forget the fresh agua fresca! (706-832-9007, 760-832-9007, cheftanyapetrovna.com)

 

La Perlita

Mexican | $

Most people don't want to pay a lot for lunch, or they want bring it back to the pool. So, La Perlita is my favorite for getting in and out while also supplying plenty of flavor. It’s authentic Mexican fare at its best, with enchiladas smothered in cheese and giant shrimp cocktails. Plus, delicious chiles rellenos, and all the chips and salsa you could want. (901 Crossley Rd., 760-778-8014)

 

The Sandwich Spot

American | $$

DUTCH. CRUNCH. BREAD. This stuff will change your life. Make sure you order it when you choose a specialty sandwich - they’re all named after Palm Springs themes. I like The Djokovic best, with warm turkey, bacon, cheddar cheese and avocado. But friends who have a hankering for spice enjoy ‘But it’s a Dry Heat,’ with marinated chicken, hot sauce, bomb sauce and pepper jack cheese. (240 N. Palm Canyon Dr., 760-778-7900, sandwichspotps.com)

 

Tipper's Gourmet Marketplace

American | $$

This is my go-to when I need to cater a photo shoot, so I highly recommend it for anyone hoping to get lunch delivered to their hotel or Airbnb. The pasta salad is to-die-for and comes as a side for entrees like the Coachella Chicken Club and tuna croissant sandwich. There’s also a kid’s menu with grilled cheese, quesadillas and PB&Js. (276 N. Palm Canyon Dr., 760-322-6666, tippersgourmetmarketplace.com)


WHERE TO EAT DINNER

 How gorgeous is the decor at 4Saints?

How gorgeous is the decor at 4Saints?

4Saints at Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs

French | $$$$$

I’ve heard the word “experimental” used in describing the menu at this rooftop restaurant, but these dishes are more about their classic preparation and whimsical presentation (both Executive Chef Stephen Wambach and Executive Sous Chef Joe Gentempo worked in France). Start with the Highway 111 cocktail - it’s bourbon at its best. Then, don’t miss the warm artichoke salad. Served with miso dressing and sunchoke chips, it’s everything you want to eat on a cool evening in the desert. (100 W. Tahquitz Canyon Way, 760-392-2020, 4saintspalmsprings.com)

 

 Purple Palm Restaurant's Lost Horizon features London dry gin, aloe vera, honey and lavender.

Purple Palm Restaurant's Lost Horizon features London dry gin, aloe vera, honey and lavender.

Purple Palm Restaurant at Colony Palms Hotel

American | $$$$

Not only is the wallpaper here insane, but the menu (and cocktails) are off the hook. The poolside restaurant at Colony Palms Hotel serves up sophisticated yet creative fare like marinated and grilled swordfish, and smoked short rib with blood orange. I always sip a Lost Horizon, with London dry gin, aloe vera, honey and lavender. A tip? Head over during Sunset Hour, from 3 to 6 p.m., for sweet deals. (572 N. Indian Canyon Dr., 760-969-1818, purplepalmrestaurant.com)

 

 Here I am enjoying a spread at Rooster & Pig with Dead or Alive bar owner Christine Soto.

Here I am enjoying a spread at Rooster & Pig with Dead or Alive bar owner Christine Soto.

Rooster and the Pig

Vietnamese | $$$

What this tiny restaurant lacks in space, it makes up for in flavor. Charred Brussels sprouts with garlic and Chinese sausage are out of this world, and lemongrass pork and shrimp rice noodles with peanut. shallot and cucumber make you rethink fusion cuisine. Just be prepared to wait in line outside - more and more people are realizing this is one of the best restaurants in Palm Springs. (356 S. Indian Canyon Dr., 760-832-6691, roosterandthepig.com)

 

 The vibe at Sandfish is just as impressive as its sushi and whiskey.

The vibe at Sandfish is just as impressive as its sushi and whiskey.

Sandfish

Japanese | $$$$

This newly opened whiskey and sushi bar is the perfect addition to north Palm Springs - even if you don’t like whiskey. Spicy edamame + a signature Sandfish roll = perfection. Come hungry, because chef Engin Onural puts A LOT on the plate! Plus, the wide selection of whiskey is fun for a night out. (1556 N. Palm Canyon Dr., 760-537-1022, sandfishps.com)

 

 Dreamy, dreamy, dreamy. That's the only way to describe The Barn Kitchen's family suppers.

Dreamy, dreamy, dreamy. That's the only way to describe The Barn Kitchen's family suppers.

The Barn Kitchen at Sparrows Lodge

American | $$$$

If you can plan ahead, book a reservation for a Wednesday or Saturday supper at The Barn Kitchen inside Sparrows Lodge. You won't regret it. This dreamy set up beneath citrus trees only adds to the romance of Chef Gabriel Woo's family-style meals that typically include rosemary roasted chicken and pear salad. You can read more about Gabriel's approach in this story I wrote for DESERT magazine. (1330 E. Palm Canyon Dr., 760-327-2300, sparrowslodge.com)

 

 Quinoa-stuffed fish was a daily special. Like I was saying...

Quinoa-stuffed fish was a daily special. Like I was saying...

Workshop Kitchen & Bar

American | $$$$$ 

Get the special. No questions asked. I’m still thinking about the quinoa-stuffed fish I ordered when I first arrived in the desert. These specials are usually big enough to share, along with pisco punch that comes served in a bowl with four glasses. Think housemade pineapple shrub, clove, local lemon and sparkling wine. (800 N. Palm Canyon Dr., 760-459-3451, workshoppalmsprings.com)


WHERE TO DAY-DRINK

 

Draughtsman

Beer, wine and cocktails | $$$

I recommend this sports bar for day drinking because they've got bags, horseshoes and other games on the patio, which are always more fun a few beers in. For something strong, try the Old Draughtsman. Or, you can stick with a classic Manhattan or mojito. (1501 N. Palm Canyon Dr., 760-5071644, draughtsmanpalmsprings.com)

 

El Jefe at Saguaro Palm Springs

Beer, wine and cocktails | $$ 

Drop by this cantina at any time of day, but I recommend it as a mid-day margarita spot because the bartenders don't look at you funny. Plus, it's quiet and they'll change the TVs to sporting events if you ask. Happy hour is Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m., when sangria and margaritas are just $5. (1800 E. Palm Canyon Dr., 760-323-1711, thesaguaro.com)

 

 Pull up a chair and a frozen hot chocolate at Gre Coffeehouse and Art Gallery.

Pull up a chair and a frozen hot chocolate at Gre Coffeehouse and Art Gallery.

Gre Coffeehouse and Art Gallery

Coffee | $$

Three words: Frozen hot chocolate. Okay, so it's not alcoholic, but it'll cool you down and make you a lot happier on a 120-degree day. The teeny tiny shop has a collection of vinyl and plenty of seats for work or play. Plus, there's often an open mic or poetry reading! (278-C N. Palm Canyon Dr. ,grecoffeehouse.com)

 

Zin American Bistro

French | $$$

Mindy's mimosas are the best around, probably because she uses a delightful Champagne that pops with green apple - indicative of the award-winning wine list she's curated for years. At brunch, endless Champagne is just $9 - or endless mimosas for $12. I order the two-course brunch meal with Zin Bites (mini Beef Wellingtons) and the California omelette. (198 S. Palm Canyon Dr., 760-322-6300, zinamericanbistro.com)


WHERE TO DRINK AFTER DINNER

 Maybe the only thing better than karaoke? The photo booth right outside The Amigo Room.

Maybe the only thing better than karaoke? The photo booth right outside The Amigo Room.

The Amigo Room at Ace Hotel & Swim Club 

Beer, wine and cocktails | $$

One word: karaoke. Every Tuesday night, locals and tourists alike gather in this dimly lit bar for a sing-along soiree. There's even a few regulars always parked in the front row to take on the likes of Elton John. Can't make it on Tuesday? Wine bottles are half-off every Wednesday, and there are $5 pints on Sundays. (701 E. Palm Canyon Dr., 760-325-990, acehotel.com)

 

 Why, hello Frida! My main lady at Azucar Restaurant and Bar.

Why, hello Frida! My main lady at Azucar Restaurant and Bar.

Azucar Restaurant & Bar at La Serena Villas 

Mediterranean | $$$

I recommend this bohemian bar for after-dinner drinks because - while you can enjoy a meal in the restaurant amid Instagram-worthy wallpaper and Frida Kahlo portraits - the rooftop patio is where it's at. Grab a cocktail (I like The Palm Collins) and head up to the fireplace where there are plenty of cozy couches and chairs to take in the skyline of Palm Springs. If you want to see more, check out this story I wrote for DESERT magazine. (339 S. Belardo Rd., 844-932-8044, laserenavillas.com)

 

Bootlegger Tiki

Cocktails | $$ 

Get here before 9 p.m. to beat the tourist rush. It's a good place to start for Tiki-inspired drinks that come in toucan glasses with pink umbrellas and colorful twisty straws. Co-owner and lead bartender Chad Austin is behind many of the best cocktail menus in town. Try Desperado's Downfall or a dealer's choice punch bowl, where you pick the spirit and Austin's team does the rest. (1101 N. Palm Canyon Dr., 760-318-4154, bootleggertiki.com)

 

 f you're feeling adventurous, try the foie gras macarons.

f you're feeling adventurous, try the foie gras macarons.

Counter Reformation

Wine | $$ 

Who doesn't like a bar with a Catholic confessional in the back corner? Hidden inside the Parker Palm Springs, this tiny wine bar has cheap glasses (try the Super Tuscan) and good eats, tapas-style. The avocado, haloumi and rye tartine is topped with shaved iberico, while seared sea scallops are delicious dipped in mint-pea puree and lobster glaze. (4200 E. Palm Canyon Dr., 760-770-5000, theparkerpalmsprings.com)

 

 At the dimly lit Dead or Alive, a glowing moon changes shades throughout the night.

At the dimly lit Dead or Alive, a glowing moon changes shades throughout the night.

Dead or Alive

Beer & wine | $$ 

This is hands-down my favorite bar in Palm Springs, and it's not just because the owner is a dear friend. Christine Soto curates a sophisticated and forward-thinking selection of wine that's always changing, and often brings in the winemakers for special tastings. I usually just tell her to pour me whatever she recommends. (150 E. Palm Canyon Dr., 760-864-7193, deadoralivebar.com)

 

Palm Canyon Roadhouse

Beer, wine and cocktails | $ 

Just go with me on this one: I come here for the pool tables and $5 beers. It's a little grungy but worth it for totally cheap drinks and greasy bar food. And every Sunday? The open mic session draws all sorts of characters from around town. (535 S. Palm Canyon Dr., 760-327-4080, palmcanyonroadhouse.com)

 

Seymour's

Beer, wine and cocktails | $$

After a glass of wine (or two) at Dead or Alive, I typically grab a classic cocktail at this moody speakeasy inside Mr. Lyons Steakhouse. I remember the first time a bartender there convinced me to try the Oaxacan Brunch. Made with Gem & Bolt mezcal, lime juice, sage simple syrup and egg white, it's a delicious surprise in a glass. If you want even more ideas, check out this story about bartender handshakes I wrote for DESERT magazine. (233 E. Palm Canyon Dr.,, 760-892-9000, seymoursps.com)