Travel

Palm Springs Restaurants

Restaurant neighborhood
Birba
622 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Movie Colony
Located directly next door, this is Cheeky’s more substantial but equally delicious dinner-focused sibling. The atmosphere is just as relaxed, but the garden patio bar—complete with a rich cocktail offering (the gin martini is our go-to)—make it the ideal evening hangout. Come here for inventive interpretations of traditional Italian specialties like mushroom and ricotta lasagna, meatballs, eggplant and burrata, and of course, pizza. While the more topping-rich options are great, the no-frills Margherita is our favorite.
Cheeky’s
622 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Movie Colony
Cheeky’s is notorious for having some of the most agonizing wait times on weekend mornings. But once you do get a seat (either on the mist-equipped outdoor patio or at one of the indoor communal tables), you’ll see the wait is entirely justified. Here, brunch is all about the classics: Chilaquiles, the fluffiest pancakes, and a really good eggs Benedict. There are some unexpected options too, like a Piña Colada waffle (caramelized pineapple may sound weird but is actually quite tasty) and a spicy pork shoulder dish. Though not nearly as in-demand, the lunch menu is solid.
El Jefe
1800 E. Palm Canyon Dr., South Palm Springs
Much like the color-happy Saguaro Hotel it’s situated in, El Jefe is super casual (communal seating, reclaimed wood-paneled walls) and great for accommodating kids and larger groups. Inspired by Mexico City’s thriving street food scene and helmed by chef Jose Garces (of Iron Chef fame), the small-plates menu is extensive yet easy to navigate. For breakfast there’s torrijas (a delicious citrus-vanilla French toast dish) and loads of egg-centric options. Lunch and dinner are devoted to South-of-the-border favorites like ceviche, sopas, and of course, tacos—our go-to is the veggie-and-mushroom Hongos con Rajas.
Elmer’s
1030 E. Palm Canyon Dr., South Palm Springs
Though there are 25 locations of this Portland-born diner throughout the Northwest, this is the only California outpost and it’s the furthest thing from a run-of-the-mill franchise. Yes, there’s a massive laminated menu but that's half the fun. Lunch and dinner bring in a good amount of guests, but it’s the all-day breakfast that’s the true standout. German pancakes, oversize skillet omelets, and smokehouse bacon are particularly adored by both kids and those nursing wicked hangovers.
Farm
6 La Plaza, Baristo
Owner Liz Ostoich modeled Farm after the places she visited in her travels through southern France. This explains the Provençal aesthetic in the garden dining area (green shutters, wicker chairs, rustic wood dining tables), the French-press coffee, the house-made jams, and the truly impressive variety of paper-thin sweet and savory crepes. When we're there, we participate in an (almost) all-Brie diet, made possible by the pear, Brie, arugula, walnut, and date jam baguette, followed by the hazelnut, fig, and brown-sugar-baked Brie.
Kings Highway & The Amigo Room
701 E. Palm Canyon Dr., South Palm Springs
Occupying an old Denny’s and decked out with mod fixtures and faux taxidermy, Kings Highway is exactly what one might expect from Ace hotel’s riff on a roadside diner. In addition to providing the hotel with room service, the restaurant serves elevated versions of standard diner fare (burgers, omelets, pie) as well as random but welcome additions—grilled Monterey squid, shrimp vindaloo, black eyed pea hummus—all day long and well into the night on weekends. Next door is the Amigo Room bar, a former rancher watering hole which was purposely left out of the renovation to keep its gritty ambiance. There are 21 craft beers on tap and a killer craft cocktail menu that goes perfectly with the slew of campy activities (bingo is a fan favorite) hosted at the bar pretty much nightly.
Las Casuelas Terraza
222 S. Palm Canyon Dr., Baristo
A Palm Springs classic, Las Casuelas has been serving live music and killer margaritas (the blood orange with Casamigos is our favorite) since the ’70s. And it’s the perfect spot to hit before a night on the town, thanks to the central location. Foodwise, we love the crunchy taquitos, tortilla soup, and the achiote chicken lettuce wraps (for health-conscious LA weekenders). Whatever you do, don’t leave without trying the house-made guacamole.
Melvyn’s
200 W. Ramon Rd., Historic Tennis Club
Located within the historic Ingleside Inn, Melvyn’s was the go-to spot for Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, and other Hollywood royalty back in the 50’s—luckily, the space has held up over the years. This is the sort of throwback establishment that insists waiters wear linen jackets and hosts live music and dancing nightly at the adjoining piano lounge. The menu is heavy on the classics (Oysters Rockefeller, pork loin medallions, filet mignon) and is not for everyone, but having a drink—the wine list is plentiful and the cocktails are potent—is worth it just for the ambiance.
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