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The Best Restaurants In Palm Springs/Palm Desert, 2021

By The Smoking Chair Editors  |  2021

Next time you’re in the desert be sure to dine at one of these restaurants — they won’t disappoint.
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Palm Springs is a desert resort city in Riverside County, California, United States, within the Colorado Desert‘s Coachella Valley. The city covers approximately 94 square miles (240 km2), making it the largest city in Riverside County by land area. With multiple plots in checkerboardpattern, more than 10% of the city is part of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians reservation land and is the administrative capital of the most populated reservation in California. Traditionally the Cahuilla refer to the Palm Springs area as Sec-he or Se-Khi.

The city is noted for its mid-century modern architecture, design elements, arts and cultural scene, and recreational activities.

Palm Springs is located in the Sonoran Desert. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 95.0 square miles (246 km2), of which 94.1 square miles (244 km2) is land and 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2) (1%) is water. Located in the Coachella Valley desert region, Palm Springs is sheltered by the San Bernardino Mountains to the north, the Santa Rosa Mountains to the south, by the San Jacinto Mountains to the west and by the Little San Bernardino Mountains to the east.

Palm Springs has a hot desert climate, with over 300 days of sunshine and 4.93 inches (125.2 mm) of precipitation annually. The winter months are warm, with a majority of days reaching 70 °F (21 °C) and in January and February days often see temperatures of 80 °F (27 °C) and on occasion reach over 90 °F (32 °C), while, on average, there are 17 nights annually dipping to or below 40 °F (4 °C); freezing temperatures occur in less than half of years. The lowest temperature recorded is 19 °F (−7 °C), on January 22, 1937.

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La Quinta

RD RNNR Libations, Pints & Plates

78075 Main St Unit 105

$$ • Peruvian, Colombian

Food is amazing…which cannot be said for many Coachella Valley restaurants…everything was cooked perfectly-calamari and the artichoke ticker were scrumptious and the Adult Mac n’ Cheese with braised short ribs was off the charts!  We will definitely be back to sample everything else on the menu!  The owner actually CARES about quality, freshness, and taking care of both his customers and staff.  They opened in late 2019, and had to shutdown during the start of the pandemic and served first responders so no food would go to waste-and they could keep their staff employed.  Refreshingly positive dining experience…and 16 craft beers on draft too!!!

— Review by Rob M.

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Palm Desert

Mi Cultura Peruvian Colombian Cuisine

44795 San Pablo Ave

$$ • Peruvian, Colombian

Yes yes yes!!!!! Couldn’t even take a photo of my food but seriously the food was so good. I had the shrimp saltado, beef saltado, and chicken saltado and they were all so good! The flavors weren’t overly salty and had a nice grill flavor.

I also had the mixto ceviche and highly recommend. Just enough lime juice and the seafood was bomb. Also get r flan, it is creamy and so lush. You won’t regret it! Thank you for an authentic Peruvian experience! (The food was ordered through take out and it was still so BOMB!)

— Review by Linette F.

Palm Desert

La Spiga Ristorante Italiano

72-557 Hwy 111

$$$$ • Italian, Cocktail Bars

Just got back from an amazing dinner at La Spiga Ristorante Italiano. I’m not sure that I have been to what could be considered a “high end” Italian restaurant…until I dined at La Spiga.

The Mrs. and I had a reservation at 7:30 and arrived at 7:27. Valet parking is complimentary which was kinda funny considering the lot surrounding La Spiga was empty. We surrendered my Fit to the valet and walked in.

I was surprised at how busy La Spiga was for a Tuesday night. We’ve never been to the greater Palm Springs area during the week so everywhere we went was quiet.  The hostess seated us at a table for two next to a window that overlooked a courtyard and the San Jacinto mountains in the background. We were a little thrown off because the hostess seated us with only the wine and cocktail list.

Mathew, our server, arrived to take our drink order. The Mrs. had her usual Bombay Sapphire Martini and I had the La Spiga Manhattan.

Mathew dropped our drinks off and then returned with menus and went over the specials for the day. The Mrs. and I looked over the menu, which was filled with culinary delights. We opted for the specials. I ordered the split pea soup with pancetta and the Mrs. ordered the Burrata salad appetizer. For our main, we both ordered the pasta special which was a large rigatoni noodle with a tomato sauce with beef and mushroom. I might be off on my description, but that is the best I can remember. To wrap things up, we had the cannoli for dessert.

La Spiga was an interesting place to people watch during our meal. There was a middle aged gentleman who was sharing with his fellow diners the kind of car he was going to buy to get him into an intimate situation with a young lady. It was laughable to say the least.

Overall, La Spiga was a great place to have my birthday dinner.

— Review by Bill S.

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Rancho Mirage

Shabu Shabu Zen and Sake Bar

71680 Hwy 111 Ste F

$$$ • Japanese, Tapas/Small Plates, Hot Pot

I literally just left the restaurant and couldn’t wait to write my review because of how wonderful of an experience we had! From the minute that we walked in the atmosphere was very welcoming, all of the servers were very nice and were able to ask all of our questions!

Wendi our server was great! All of the food came out in a timely manner and it was very delicious! We’ve only done takeout prior to eating in and I will say eating in is definitely worth it! Yes this place is on the pricier side but it was worth every penny 🙂

— Review by Krystienne D.

Palm Desert

Alps Village

77734 Country Club Ste F

$$ • German, Mediterranean, Modern European

Mamma Milka is my new best friend and definitely at the top of my favorite chefs!  I’m pretty sure when she’s in the kitchen she has some secret ingredients she’s pulling from the old country to add flavors and spices she only shares with her family and close friends. That brings us to this:  When you’re at Alps Village, everyone treats you like family.

You must come hungry or limit yourself to the appetizers; you will have leftovers if you don’t.  Try the freshly baked pretzel, the lamb, filet mignon kabob, any of the schnitzels, and if you want my personal favorite, the Cevapcici is an absolute delight!  Ripped and lightly salted potatoes, amazing sauerkraut (liberty lettuce during WWII), pizzas, salads, and more. I feel like Dorothy singing, “Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!”

Full bar, and if you look closely, you’ll see some cut pineapple taking a vodka bath. You must get a pineapple martini. It’s just the right a amount of vodka and pineapple without being overpowering.  They have some delightful beers on tap and you’ll probably find a palette-pleaser.

The first time I met Zarinka, she was at the bar pouring a delicious dark beer. She looked at me and said, “Let me get you a drink, what do you want?”  I said, “How about a dark beer.”  Without missing a beat and with zero hesitation, she handed me the frosted mug she had just poured for someone else and said, “Try this!”  Jessica has been equally wonderful and attentive. She gets so busy sometimes because so many people want to enjoy Alps Village I feel badly for her and the rest of the staff. Nonetheless, she’s as delightful as a mister on a hot summer day!  

They close two months in the summer for the blistering Coachella Valley heat, but they deserve a vacation (I guess).

Consistent food, service, and a reasonable price point keeps bringing me back. Thanks Alps Village!

— Review by Dennis W.

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Palm Desert

Eddie V’s Prime Seafood

73040 El Paseo

$$$$ • Seafood, Steakhouses, Lounges

Dinner at Eddie V’s on September 6 for my birthday.  We were early and they seated us right away and waiting at the table was a birthday card for me. Nice touch!  Tony was our waiter and he was accompanied by Marco who was new to Eddie V’s but not new at his job. He was being shown the Eddie V way. Our experience was fantastic. Tony was quite knowledgeable on wines and he knew what the customer was all about. He answered all questions about the menu with a smile and gave us his thoughts as well. The food was excellent.  Yes, it is a little pricey but we knew that going in and I feel we got all our money’s worth. It was my first visit there but not my last. Can’t wait to try the happy hour. Also, the managing partner, Rudy, was very attentive. Great experience!

— Review by Steven H.

Palm Springs

French Miso Cafe

19 La Plz

$$ • Japanese, French, Cafes

Honestly the best restaurant in Palm Springs. I have been to plenty of French and Japanese restaurants, but never a French Japanese hybrid, so I was extremely interested in what this place had to offer. I highly recommend placing a reservation on OpenTable about a week in advance. We went for dinner and we absolutely loved everything about our experience: the relaxed vibes, the friendly service (thanks to our server, J, who went above and beyond to make our birthday dinner a memorable one!), and the FOOD. Plus, the Japanese owner went to our table multiple times to make sure we were having a good time.

Mussels were the bomb!! I honestly could’ve died happily right then and there.

Pan seared scallops were cooked to perfection and would’ve made even Chef Gordon Ramsey smile.

The rack of lamb was the best lamb I have ever tasted. The port reduction and mashed potatoes were SOOOOO good, I literally scraped the plate for the last drop.

This place exceeded my expectations in every way! Definitely come here if you are visiting Palm Springs.

— Review by Angela P.

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Cathedral City

Sammy’s Place

69034 E Palm Canyon Dr

$$ • Italian

This is our second time eating at and it did not disappoint. The food was fabulous, from their fresh bread, to the bruschetta, as an appetizer, we previously had the calamari which was great. We then had the Caesar salad, complete with anchovies, which very few restaurants offer any more. The Carbonara pasta and Chicken Piccata were amazing. We finished with their homemade Tiramisu.
We were even greeted by Sammy, who made sure we enjoyed our meal.
On top of the food, the service was superb, our waitress was very attentive.
A hidden gem off the main area from Palm Springs, will definitely keep coming back!

— Review by Ron Y.

Palm Desert

Little Bar

73560 Palm Desert Dr N Ste B

$$ • Cocktail Bars, Burgers, American (Traditional)

Little Bar was such a cozy bar with a cool vibe. This is a great place to hangout with friends and enjoy unique handcrafted cocktails. I loved the decor on the walls and the big emphasis on the music/concert theme. The Paradise Mule was a very delicious and strong cocktail. The burger was good and came with a side of pickle. The Tater Tots were amazing and crispy! The workers were very friendly and welcoming. I can see how this is a popular bar for the locals.

— Review by Janelle E.

Palm Springs

L’Atelier Cafe

129 La Plz

$$ • French, Breakfast & Brunch, Sandwiches

A Palm Springs must-try! There were so many interesting menu options that drew me in here over all the other brunch places in the area.

French onion soup in the ceramic bowl was so fresh and hit the spot! Get one for the table to share.

For heartier items we got the French croissant ham sandwich and the salmon quiche. Both came with a light refreshing salad. The croissant was the best I’ve ever had. So flaky and warm and the flavor of the ham and sauce was really tasty and rich. Salmon quiche was sooo fluffy. It’s cooked smoked salmon so a little salty but pairs well with the fluffy egg and the light flaky exterior.

Would come back for some other brunch and pastry items!!

— Review by Emily M.

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