38 Best Restaurants in Palm Springs and the Desert Resorts, California

Bar Cecil

$$$$ Fodor's choice

Since this posh bistro sprung to colorful wallpapered life just beyond downtown in the spring of 2021, it has been the toughest ticket in town to score—and Michelin agrees that it's worth the hype. Hoping to be the culinary manifestation of British photographer, artist, and Renaissance man, Cecil Beaton, the meaty menu is rich, flavorful, and full of financial and caloric splurges (caviar-topped deviled eggs, Wagyu tomahawk steaks), as well as fundamentally familiar dishes (roast chicken, steak frites, Bibb-lettuce salad, lemon tarts), but chef Gabe Woo adds unexpected touches like seasonal chutney atop a smoked pork chop. There's also a wild visual feast to be consumed (even in the bathrooms!). The look is splashy yet chic, centered on a marble and wooden bar, an enviable art collection that includes Calder and Warhol, and a showpiece custom light fixture. Start the reservation hunt early, and, if unsuccessful, show up before the restaurant opens,and pray for a cancellation or that one of the bar's grommeted, electric-blue, stool-chair hybrids, reserved for walk-ins, is available.

1555 S. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, CA, 92264, USA
Known For
  • charming patio where you might spy celebrities
  • perfect vegetable accompaniments
  • complex and elegant cocktails, including a $50 martini
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon., Reservations essentials, Cash only; only serves parties of 6 or less

Café La Jefa

$ Fodor's choice

Thanks to its misted patio, fast Internet connection, plethora of seating, and, most importantly, fine selection of caffeinated hot and cold drinks, this is a great work-from-café option on the main drag in uptown. The colorful, independently owned, Latina-influenced coffeehouse serves Sisters Coffee out of Oregon, local Townie bagels, Lotus Energy elixirs, fresh-daily pastries, and filling breakfast plates, including smoked salmon toast and chorizo con papas. There's also a vast assortment of chilled and canned beverages alongside healthy grab-and-go nibbles and prepackaged snacks by local makers for those in even more of a hurry.


$ Fodor's choice

The flavored bacon flight, hangover-halting Bloody Marys, and the rest of the self-described "quirky comfort cuisine" have attracted legions to this casual breakfast and lunch joint for more than a decade, which results in epic waits on weekends (no reservations accepted for groups smaller than 10). Once seated, the well-oiled service machine is fast and furious—just pray the homemade cinnamon roll-croissant hybrids haven't sold out yet. For lunch, in addition to the morning all-star dishes, you can nosh on globally and seasonally influenced soups, sandwiches, and salads.

Recommended Fodor's Video

Chef Tanya's Kitchen

$ Fodor's choice

At her colorful flagship eatery and market, vegan chef Tanya Petrovna—who founded the first national plant-based chain, Native Foods, in the early '90s—pumps out filling, well-seasoned, and meat-free sandwiches and burgers, as well as salads, fries, and popular deli items. Dedicated to living cruelty-free, she prides herself on making all the "meat" (e.g., cultured tempeh, seitan, and tofu facon) in-house and also uses personal recipes to create the agua fresca, chai, and desserts—including what is easily the tastiest, least-grainy, vegan, soft-serve ice cream to have ever been swirled.

Farm Palm Springs

$$$$ Fodor's choice

At this charmer of a bistro in downtown’s historic La Plaza, you can cross the pond without a passport by tucking into Provençal-style staples like sweet or savory crepes, bouillabaisse, croque-monsieur sandwiches, and omelets—all made from scratch using true-to-the-name ingredients, plenty of dairy products, and amour. Savor breakfast and lunch daily as the sun warms your skin; the setting becomes even more magical after dark thanks to string lights, clinking wine glasses, a gurgling fountain, and a five-course prix-fixe dinner offering.

Perfect Pint

$ Fodor's choice

A chef and a sommelier turned losing their jobs during the COVID shutdown into a pandemic silver lining by starting this French-style frozen-custard company out of an adorable chrome trailer. Not only do they collaborate with local coffee, toffee, honey, and date purveyors, but they also offer unique flavors like lemon-blackberry streusel, kaffir-lime piña colada, and peppermint cookies-n-cream—all served by the pint and half-pint out.


$$ Fodor's choice

Tac/Quila is what happens when two lawyers dare to dream out loud and switch gears mid-career—judging from the crowds at this always humming joint, they made the right decision. The setting features flower-laden "living" walls and a blend of mid-century modern and classic-Mexican design elements, but the menu is all Mexican, with Jalisco-style appetizers, tacos, ceviches, and meat dishes, as well as a surprising number vegetarian and vegan copycats. And, like any Mexican restaurant worth its margarita salt, this one has a bar that's well stocked with a variety of tequilas and mezcals. For similar bites and booze in a quieter, less-crowded space, head over to sister eatery Clandestino.

Tyler's Burgers

$ Fodor's choice

Since 1996, families, working stiffs, and couples have trusted Tyler's to supply simple lunch fare in a convenient downtown location, one that happens to be housed in a converted 1936 gas station. Expect mid-20th-century America's greatest hits: heaping burgers, hot dogs, tuna melts, stacks of fries, grilled cheeses, floats, and milk shakes.

149 S. Indian Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, CA, 92262, USA
Known For
  • house-made cole slaw and potato salad
  • feeding carnivores and vegetarians alike
  • long weekend waits
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and July and Aug.

Workshop Kitchen + Bar

$$$$ Fodor's choice

Chef Michael Beckman's Uptown Design District hot spot pairs high-quality California cuisine and classic and creative cocktails with sleek, utilitarian, concrete-and-leather design inside a repurposed historical theater and outside on a lively patio. Everything is delicious, but this team particularly excels at anything involving duck, from duck fried rice to duck breast with beet and blood orange jus.

800 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, CA, 92262, USA
Known For
  • most ingredients sourced from within a 100-mile radius
  • house-made ice cream and sorbet
  • communal seating options
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No lunch

4 Saints


Perched on the seventh-floor rooftop of The Rowan hotel, where stunning mountain and city views unfold from nearly every table, 4 Saints serves modern American farm-to-table dishes in a distinguished dining room crafted from leather, wood, and metal and on the outdoor patio. The menu features hearty, sophisticated steak, seafood, and pasta dishes made with global flair and fresh-daily produce.

100 W. Tahquitz Cyn. Way, Palm Springs, CA, 92262, USA
Known For
  • creative and classic cocktails
  • see-and-be-seen scene
  • attentive service
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues. No lunch

Arnold Palmer's


From the photos, trophies, and other memorabilia to a menu filled with The King's favorite dishes like meatloaf and Latrobe banana splits, golf champ and restaurant namesake Arnold Palmer's essence infuses the spacious dining room and pub where families gather for new American cuisine and good times. It does brisk birthday and Sunday dinner business yet the service is always attentive.

78164 Ave. 52, La Quinta, CA, 92253, USA
Known For
  • chopped BLT salad, double-cut pork chops, baked mac and cheese
  • top-notch wine list
  • entertainment most nights
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Reservations essential, Closed Sun. and late May–mid-Sept.

Babe's Bar-B-Que and Brewery


Though the late founder Donald Callender made his name as a purveyor of pie with the Marie Callender's chain, he also built a solid smoked-meats-and-suds rep with this barbecue–microbrewery. Carnivores show up in droves for fall-off-the-bone racks of ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, brisket-topped salads, and chops that are marinated overnight—all of which pair well with the IPAs, ales, and lagers brewed on site. He also smartly carried over cornbread, tamales, and pie recipes from Callender's. 



People love traveling with their pups, and at this inventive uptown bar–restaurant, Fido is welcome to join you at tables on the big enclosed patio, which is accessed via the doggy door, naturally! You can savor spirits, snacks, and more substantial plates—many with Asian/Filipino leanings, like blistered shishitos, garlic noodles with galbi (Korean short ribs), or chicken adobo—while your dog can chow-chow down on a gourmet selection from the canine menu. If you aren't accompanied by a furry friend or you want to chill in the air-conditioning, head inside to the cute, trendy, and mutt-free main dining room.

2080 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, CA, 92262, USA
Known For
  • freshly baked cookies and milk (or milk punch)
  • happy hour daily in high season and Friday–Sunday in summer
  • Instagram-worthy design
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Tues. and Wed. in summer

Carlee's Place


Sooner or later most visitors to Borrego Springs wind up at Carlee's Place for a drink and a bite to eat, drawn by an extra-long menu with everything from burgers, salads, and sandwiches to seafood dishes and prime rib. It's an all-American place, where your server might call you "honey" while setting a huge steak in front of you, and fellow diners might play pool and dance to jukebox music.

660 Palm Canyon Dr., Borrego Springs, CA, 92004, USA
Known For
  • down-home atmosphere
  • martinis and classic cocktails
  • everything made from scratch

Carmelita's Mexican Grill and Cantina


A friendly, family-run eatery tucked into a back corner of what is called "The Mall," Carmelita's draws diners all day, whether it's for a hearty breakfast, a cooked-to-order enchilada or burrito, or just a brew or margarita at the bar. The menu lists typical combination plates (enchiladas, burritos, tamales, and tacos).



At this restaurant, known for its beautifully prepared Mediterranean cuisine, you can dine inside or under the stars in the atrium. The service here is attentive, and the menu roams Spain, Italy, California, and beyond.

Ciro's Ristorante and Pizzeria


Since the 1960s, this Coachella Valley classic has served pizza, pasta, chicken parmigiana, and other entrées commonly ordered by mobsters in the movies. The booths are big; the lights are low; the soundtrack is soft rock; and the kitchen isn't stingy with cheese, salad dressing, or red sauce. There are a few surprises on the pie side, including one with ham and honey mustard and another feauring sesame teriyaki chicken with peanuts and carrots.

Copley's on Palm Canyon


Chef Andrew Manion Copley prepares decadent dishes with flavors and techniques he picked up at past posts in Europe, Australia, and Hawaii in a setting that's straight out of Hollywood—a hacienda once owned by Cary Grant. Dine in the clubby house or in the garden under the stars and with mountain views.

621 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, CA, 92262, USA
Known For
  • romantic patio dining
  • fresh seafood and meats bathed in rich sauces
  • sweet and savory herb ice creams
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed July and Aug. No lunch, Reservations essential

Cork & Fork


Set on a corner lot of a crisp new strip mall, this woman-owned restaurant is a popular local hangout that focuses on matching wines and cocktails with its array of small and large plates meant to be shared. The globe-trotting menu changes with the seasons, but you might feast on tequila lime shrimp tacos, poke wonton nachos, veggie kale dumplings, Korean barbecue pork belly sliders, or Neapolitan-style pizzas.

49890 Jefferson St., Indio, CA, 92201, USA
Known For
  • separate vegan menu (and many gluten-free options)
  • eclectic list of affordable wines by the glass and bottle
  • casual fine dining
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No lunch

Coyote Steakhouse


This upscale restaurant at the Palms at Indian Head hotel caters to those who want a fancy dinner, particularly hunks of filet mignon or rack of lamb served at candlelit tables with white tablecloths overlooking the pool. Pet owners will appreciate the canine menu, whose treats include house-made peanut-butter dog cookies.

2220 Hoberg Rd., Borrego Springs, CA, 92004, USA
Known For
  • romantic candlelit dining room
  • pork tenderloin and prime rib
  • classic mid-century setting
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No breakfast or lunch., Reservations essential

Crossroads Cafe


Egg dishes, griddle items, and hearty Mexican breakfasts like huevos rancheros are the morning draw at this Joshua Tree institution, but plenty of people sing the praises of its sandwiches, burgers, salads, and tacos for lunch or early dinner. Taxidermy animals, framed newspaper clippings, old photos, and beer-can lights decorate the interior, and tattooed waitresses and the quirky regulars make it clear that the high desert is unlike anywhere else in San Bernardino County.

Don Diego's of Indian Wells


This is, and has been since 1981, exactly what most people look for in a casual, go-any-day-of-the-week, Mexican-American restaurant—big portions, reasonable prices, a variety of margaritas, and a massive menu with all the basics (tacos, fajitas, burritos, enchiladas) and some fancier dishes like chile rellenos (stuffed roasted peppers) or carne asada (marinated grilled steak). What's more, the waiters are friendly, and the atmosphere is festive yet still relaxed enough for kids and fur babies (the latter are welcome on the patio).

Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge


No matter what time or day it is, this swanky restaurant in the Uptown Design District buzzes with pals toasting promotions and celebrating birthdays, couples on dates sharing beet carpaccio and oysters, singles mingling in the lounge, and tourists who were lured from the street by the jovial sounds and tantalizing smells wafting out of the polished white (with pops of Barbie pink) rooms and expansive patio. The look may be a little late-'90s, early-aughts Miami, but the menu is pure Pacific Coast with favorites like ahi tuna poke with house-made kimchi, steelhead niçoise salad, mesquite-smoked carne asada, and curried-cauliflower steak.

Las Casuelas Nuevas


Using his grandmother's passed-down family recipes from Mazatlán, Mexico, Florencio Delgado and his wife opened their original restaurant in 1973. Five decades later, the Delgado descendants are still pumping out hearty and traditional plates of fajitas, tacos, enchiladas, and harder-to-find stuffed-pepper dishes like chile en nogada. Imported art and crafts lend festive charm to this casual but crowded culinary institution, which has an expansive garden patio.

70–050 Hwy. 111, Rancho Mirage, CA, 92270, USA
Known For
  • vast margarita menu
  • table-side guacamole presentation
  • lively happy hour
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Dinner reservations essential, Closed Tues.

Lavender Bistro


This romantic bistro with a spacious outdoor atrium decked out with flowers, twinkle lights, and pops of the namesake color has several weekly specials (e.g., no-corkage-fee Sunday) and a lengthy menu of fancy meats, seafood, and old-school salads. Always save room for dessert.

78--073 Calle Barcelona, La Quinta, CA, 92253, USA
Known For
  • live music on the patio and in the fireside lounge
  • prime rib Thursday
  • extensive locavore menu
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No lunch. Closed June–Sept., Reservations essential

Los Jilberto's Taco Shop


A casual local favorite for affordable Mexican dishes, Jilberto's serves up big burritos and meaty enchiladas.

655 Palm Canyon Dr., Borrego Springs, CA, 92004, USA
Known For
  • authentic Mexican dishes cooked to order
  • all-day breakfast menu
  • reasonable prices
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No credit cards

Luchador Brewing Company


In addition to strong cervezas, which are brewed on-site (or at the larger, Chino Hills flagship) in four 10-barrel tanks, this taproom serves up Tijuana-style street food (tacos, tortas, churros, esquites) from a built-in, vintage food truck.

Lulu California Bistro


For more than a decade, Lulu has been feeding desert denizens and vacationers a little bit of everything—seriously, if you can't find something on the lengthy menu of soups, salads, pasta dishes, burgers, sandwiches, pizzas, seafood, other star proteins like pork ribs and filet mignon, and desserts (cotton candy!), you likely don't eat human food. Dine in the spacious, quirky multilevel dining room or outside on the terrace with prime Palm Canyon people-watching.

Pacifica Seafood


Yes, Palm Desert is landlocked, but there's no hesitation when it comes to recommending this seafood specialist, which has drawn residents and visitors for choice surf and turf for 15 years. Fish arrives daily from San Diego, is cooked to perfection, and is served on the rooftop and inside the dining room on the second floor of the Gardens of El Paseo shopping center. If the thought of twin lobster tails, grilled mahimahi with chipotle corn salsa, or sugar-spiced salmon make you seasick, note that the menu also includes chicken, steaks, meal-size salads, and vegetarian pasta dishes.

73505 El Paseo, Palm Desert, CA, 92260, USA
Known For
  • several cold dishes for hot summer nights
  • happy hour daily
  • reduced-price two-course sunset menu from 3:30 to 5
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No lunch June–Aug.

Sandfish Sushi and Whiskey


The idea of eating raw fish in a landlocked desert might give some people pause, but be assured that a meal at Sandfish—an uptown sushiya melding Japanese techniques, Scandinavian plating, and a sexy minimalist earth-tone aesthetic—is a gastronomical leap of faith worth taking. Chef Engin Onural studied at the reputable Sushi Chef Institute, so he obviously has classic rolls, nigiri, maki, and sashimi on lock, but not trying his original creations that incorporate unusual ingredients like black-truffle zest, coconut flakes, or fried-potato threads would be a rookie mistake, as would skipping the cocktails made with desert botanicals and titular whiskey.

1556 N. Palm Canyon, Palm Springs, CA, 92262, USA
Known For
  • decadent omakase chef's tasting menu
  • largest Japanese whiskey collection in the valley
  • the best-selling Venue Roll
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No lunch