With a sunny climate and welcoming vibes, Palm Springs has long been a desert respite for SoCal city dwellers. And thanks to a thriving culinary scene that stretches across the Coachella Valley, the low desert is quickly establishing itself as a road trip-worthy dining destination. The food scene has become more chef-oriented, which has led to an emphasis on diverse cuisines and a more discerning demographic. Here you’ll find a resurgence of restaurants that have expanded their offerings to appeal to modern diners, including fun and unique concepts, clever cocktail menus, plant-based options, natural wines, and more. Whether it’s a go-to favorite that channels old Hollywood glamour, or a new dog-friendly nightlife option, these restaurants and bars are a must for your next trip to Palm Springs.
Who said humans get to have all the fun? The aptly-named Boozehounds is a stylish new dog-friendly restaurant and bar. Dogs aren’t only welcome here, they even have their own menu. Featuring craft cocktails by mixologist Justin Gordon and globally-influenced dishes by award-winning executive chef Corey Baker, the expansive restaurant also has a glass atrium and outdoor patio.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome. Reservations can be made online.
1501 Uptown Gastropub opened in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, and it has become a popular drinking and dining spot among both locals and tourists. Restaurateurs Chad Gardner and Willie Rhine teamed up to create this lively gastropub with a wraparound outdoor patio. We recommend the corn chowder with blue crab, which is best when washed down with a classic gin cocktail.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome, or book a reservation online.
Chef/owner Tai Spendley puts a Southern California spin on Vietnamese dishes in a welcoming atmosphere with industrial and wood accents. The star of the menu is Spendley’s take on arancini that coats the fried rice balls in a panko crust and stuffs them with chicken, though the aromatic coconut yellow curry that meets you as soon as you walk through the door is another notable dish. The bar menu features a decent selection of beers and wines, plus sakes, specialty cocktails, and a non-alcoholic section with Vietnamese iced coffee and a sparkling passion fruit drink.
How to book: Walk-ins only. The restaurant is cashless and only accepts credit and ATM cards.
Chef Chad Gardner and his husband, artist Roly Paz, teamed up to create Roly China Fusion in an effort to bring dim sum to the Palm Springs area. And that’s not all they brought—the weekly drag brunch is legendary. With both an indoor and outdoor seating area, the menu features modern Chinese cuisine with a twist, and a special section of Roly’s favorites: crispy coconut shrimp, miso-glazed sea bass, and Mongolian beef.
How to book: Visit the website to reserve a table or place an online order for pickup. Delivery is not available.
The Heyday evolved from appearances at the weekly VillageFest street fair to a pop-up shop to a permanent fixture at the Hilton Palm Springs. With arguably the best burgers in town, this joint also serves up a mean fried chicken sandwich and magic mushroom burger. The Heyday has expanded into a restaurant and lounge space with a full menu of craft cocktails and natural wine.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome, no reservation required. Orders can be placed online for pickup.
On any given day, the line at Kreem’s mid-century modern ice cream parlor spills out the doors and onto the street, and owner Bianca Simonian wouldn’t have it any other way. Kreem’s products are made in-house, with organic ingredients and options for vegans as well as a gourmet coffee bar. Choose from a menu of flavors that includes lemon meringue pie, fresh rosemary, and vegan ube with toasted vegan marshmallows. And don’t forget to order a canine cone for your four-legged companion.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome.
Considered one of the leading sushi chefs in the world, Sandfish chef and owner Engin Onural draws inspiration from his home country of Turkey and the region of Scandinavia when creating his modern take on Japanese cuisine. Sample the nigiri and classic hand rolls, and the extensive Japanese whisky collection, which makes its way into signature cocktails like the Old Fashioned.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome or book a reservation via OpenTable. Delivery available via delivery apps or call 760-537-1022 for takeout.
A cheerful vegan eatery, Chef Tanya’s Kitchen is the brainchild of Tanya Petrovna, the original founder of the vegan chain Native Foods. Mostly a takeaway spot, she now has locations in both Palm Springs and Palm Desert, and you can pick up her salads, bowls, and sandwiches at Tower Market gas stations in the area. You can’t go wrong with a tempeh powerburger paired with Fleetwood’s macaroni salad.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome, order online for pickup or shipping nationwide. Delivery available via UberEats and other apps.
Tucked into the back of a shopping center just south of downtown, Smoke Tree BBQ offers a smorgasbord of American barbecue styles in a rustic atmosphere. An array of meats—including ribs, beef, chicken, sausage, and pork—are all slow-smoked over a blend of oak and fruit hardwoods and served with all the sides you can handle. Try the cornmeal-crusted okra to start, and be sure to leave room for their bourbon pecan pie.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome, order online for pick-up or delivery.
By the slice or by the pie, this casual pizza joint serves up cheesy goodness in a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. With over 20 different pizza variations on the menu, you can elect to build your own or try one of their specialties, such as the Elton John, with artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and spinach. Just be sure to hit the ATM ahead of time, as this pizzeria is dough-only.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome and carry-out available by calling 760-325-5571.
Carrying on the Las Casuelas tradition that has existed in the desert for over 60 years, Casuelas Cafe in Palm Desert has established itself as the locals’ choice for authentic Mexican cuisine that features regional dishes and cooking styles from across Mexico, including steak picado and Baja-style lobster. Casuelas Cafe offers live entertainment on their outdoor patio seven days a week.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome. Call 760-568-0011 for reservations or takeout.
Located in the trendy El Paseo shopping district of Palm Desert, Il Corso was created by chef Mario Marfia and developer John Wessman. The cozy atmosphere and genuine hospitality makes it the perfect spot to bring a date. Take a seat at one of the tables on the sidewalk patio, a prime people-watching spot. Or, dine indoors with a view of the open kitchen. Just be sure to save room for dessert.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome. Order online for pick-up. Delivery available online.
If a classic Palm Springs experience is what you’re after, head over to Melvyn’s at the Ingleside Inn. An old-school restaurant and lounge that was a favorite of Sinatra and other members of the Rat Pack, no detail was overlooked with the decor. Dishes like Steak Diane are prepared tableside, and served by white-jacketed waiters. Wear your dancing shoes and head over to Casablanca, the attached piano bar, afterwards.
How to book: Reservations can be made via OpenTable.
Monsoon serves up a medley of North and South Indian dishes, including chaats, biryani, curries, and kababs. This family-owned and operated restaurant has been in business for over a decade, and has a second location in Palm Desert. Their lunch buffet is well-known among locals, which features an array of dishes such as meatballs, chutney, tandoori, and dal.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome. Order online via ChowNow, GrubHub, and Clover.
Chef Gabe Woo’s bistro-style dishes have transformed this former sushi spot into a glam restaurant and lounge. The space is decorated with pop art, and anchored by a bar which is accented with blue barstools. If you’ve got cash to burn, order from the “Why Not?” section of the menu, which features a $50 martini that is served with (what else?) caviar.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome at the bar based on availability. Reservations can be made via OpenTable.
From the same crew behind Birba and Mr. Lyons, Cheeky’s is a Palm Springs institution and popular brunch stop that offers a constantly-changing menu of flavorful breakfast and lunch options like french toast with blackberry compote and chilaquiles. A must try: their bacon flight, with toppings like jalapeño and caramel. Be prepared for a wait though, as a line starts forming early on weekends.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome. Order cocktails and food for takeout online.
The Pink Cabana is located at Sands Hotel & Spa, and its colorful decor is a nod to the Palm Springs tennis and racquet clubs of the ‘50s and ‘60s. But while you might be drawn to the restaurant for the Instagram-worthy photo opps, you’ll stay for the Moroccan-influenced Mediterranean cuisine. Menu highlights include the lamb and short rib tagine and the mezze platter.
How to book: Reservations available via OpenTable or by calling 760-321-3772.
This design-forward wine bar comes courtesy of Palm Springs native and Level 1 sommelier Christine Soto, showcasing small-production wineries with sustainably farmed, organic, and biodynamic bottles. They’ve got plenty of craft brews and bottles in stock if you’re looking to stock up, or you can pull up to the uplit bar with a glowing orange orb that slowly fades into pinks and purples as the day fades. There’s also a wood-paneled patio that’s perfect for catching some sun while you sip.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome or order online for pickup and local delivery.