10 Best Restaurants in Palm Springs
Bright interior at new pub the Draughtsman
Courtesy the Draughtsman
The Palm Springs restaurant scene is alive with new additions and renovations happening all the time. In an effort to help visitors experience the breadth of the town’s culinary options, the following is a mix of 10 of the best restaurants, old and new, that offer some fun along with their food.
Dining room at the Purple Palm
Courtesy the Purple Palm
The Purple Palm
Palm Springs brunch should always be like this: brioche French toast and an iced coffee on a vintage pool terrace with a view of Mount San Jacinto. Operating inside the historic Colony Palms Hotel, the Purple Palm was originally opened in 1938 by Purple Gang mobster Al Wertheimer, and it recently underwent a $16 million renovation. Located a bit off the beaten path, the Purple Palm is a luxurious and relaxing respite from all the luxury and relaxation going on in the rest of Palm Springs. The regularly updated menu does hold on to the high performers, like that brioche French toast – a light, airy and slightly sweet rendition of the breakfast classic, soaked overnight in egg batter, then seared and garnished with lemon curd, crème anglaise, raspberries, pecans and house-made lemon ricotta. For dinner you’ll find decadent dishes such as chorizo-stuffed squid, smoked duck and pork terrine, and seared quail. The Purple Palm is open Sunday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday until 10 p.m.
572 N. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. (760) 969-1818, colonypalmshotel.com
Pub food at the Draughtsman
Courtesy the Draughtsman
This new craft beer pub opened in December 2016 after renovating a long-shuttered Pizza Hut. Here you’ll find an eclectic mix of brews, from the local Coachella Valley Brewing Company Kolschella to a $5 tall can of Olde English served in a paper bag (the jury is out on the actual wit of that one). The pub's cocktails include the frothy Ionic Order, a magenta mix of tequila, mezcal and pink peppercorn hibiscus syrup topped with IPA foam – a concoction of egg whites and Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin, creating a boozy merengue, if you will. The food offerings are hearty, with short rib poutine and grilled mac and cheese standing out among the burgers and wings. The sister restaurant to the Arrive Hotel’s taco eatery, Reservoir, this place was designed to keep clientele satisfied for hours. TVs line the top of the horseshoe-shaped bar and the back patio is outfitted with cornhole, giant Jenga and the incredibly frustrating ring-a-bull, which no doubt keeps competitive types there longer than intended. The Dråughtsman is open Monday through Thursday and Sunday until 11 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays until “late.”
1501 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. (760) 507-1644, draughtsmanpalmsprings.com.
Cooks at work in the El Mirasol kitchen
Courtesy El Mirasol
A favorite among Palm Springs locals, El Mirasol opened during spring break 1985, when cruising down Palm Canyon in a bikini was all the rage. Helmed by couple Felipe and Lisbet Castañeda from Zacatecas, Mexico, the original location on Palm Canyon started as a tiny cafe and has since expanded into two popular locations – a unique story for the volatile industry of Palm Springs. The menu offers a mix of traditional Mexican fare, including camarones en pipian, a mole made with ground roasted pumpkin seeds and dried chiles, and carnitas slow-cooked in a copper kettle, served with all the taco fixings. The menu has evolved to include dishes such as spinach enchiladas, chorizo taquitos and quinoa vegan tamales. Both locations are open until 11 p.m. year-round.
140 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. (760) 323-0721, elmirasolrestaurants.com.
Pizza at Birba
It’s time for pizza and wine at Birba, the stylish California-Italian eatery on Palm Canyon just north of the bustling center of downtown – when it’s below 90 degrees, anyway. The Neapolitan-inspired pizzas are sizable and creative, including the braised greens with Serrano chili and green olive, and the cavolo with spicy salami, kale, goat cheese and egg. All pizzas can be made on a gluten-free or cauliflower crust for an extra $2 to $4, a tactical attraction for guests concerned with their poolside physiques. Proteins such as branzino, roast chicken and pork belly round out the menu, with homemade ice cream for dessert. Birba is open Wednesday through Sunday from 5 to 11 p.m., with live DJs on the weekends.
622 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. (760) 327-5678, birbaps.com .
A martini and mojitos at Jake's
This little cafe next door to the always-packed Cheeky’s serves a very brunchy brunch in a laid-back atmosphere. The brunchiness really shines through in its cocktail offerings, including the BLT Mary made with bacon-infused vodka; the Mexi-mosa made with tequila, sparkling wine and orange juice; and the Spiked Arnold Palmer – sweet tea vodka and lemonade. The egg dishes are hearty and grease-free, with standouts including the eggs Blackstone, a reimagined Benedict with roasted tomato and spinach, and the "eggs in purgatory," a baked dish with olives and sausage. And let's not forget the chocolate chip waffles, and lobster roll on brioche, which are best eaten, like all Jake's dishes, on the front or back patios. Jake’s is open Tuesday through Friday for lunch, and Saturday and Sunday for brunch; it's closed during the hot months (July through September).
664 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. (760) 327-4400, jakespalmsprings.com.
Diners at Pappy and Harriet's
Courtesy Pappy and Harriet's
Pappy and Harriet’s
Deciding to write about Pappy and Harriet’s is always a little tough because it risks ruining what’s special about this place: its seclusion. But a best of (Greater) Palm Springs list wouldn’t be complete without this diamond in the rough, rocky hills of Yucca Valley. Located 30 miles northeast of Palm Springs, Pappy and Harriet’s is a biker bar/restaurant serving straightforward pan-American barbecue, and a music venue that hosts local acts like The Sunday Band and, last fall, a surprise performance by Paul McCartney. But back to the food: All the entrees, including a porterhouse steak, baby back ribs and salmon, are grilled on a mesquite fire under the stars. The Nachos Von Rabbit, a creation by the lead singer of Joshua Tree–based band Gram Rabbit, are a smart take on the common pub appetizer: Eight giant tortilla chips equally distributed with a tangy mix of cheddar, jack, bleu cheese, pico de gallo and green onions. Nary a naked chip in sight. Reservations are essential here these days, especially midweek when better-known bands tend to perform. All ages are welcome and dinner is served until 9:30 most nights, but check the website for seasonal hours.
53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown. (760) 365-5956, pappyandharriets.com.
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