Architecture and design buffs from all over the country soon will head to the desert for Modernism Week, a celebration of Palm Springs’ signature midcentury modern architecture. If you happen to be one of those buffs, you’ll surely work up an appetite admiring all the clean angles and breeze block around town. These five Palm Springs restaurants have taken cues from the area’s look and feel by incorporating its revered design elements into their dining rooms.
The diner at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club employs the earth tones of the 1970s along with simple, Scandinavian design for a truly retro ambiance in which to enjoy your chilaquiles. Just this month, the King’s Highway kitchen changed hands when award-winning chef Carlos Salgado of Orange County’s Taco Maria came aboard, bringing to the menu his signature Alta California–inspired cooking and memories of childhood visits to the Coachella Valley. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, offerings include a mix of Mexican-American renditions, including an orange carnitas taco and a winter vegetable pozole, along with reimagined diner favorites such as a Wagyu beef burger and a grilled cheese tartine on sunflower toast. King’s Highway is open daily until from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. (760) 969-5789, kingshighwaydiner.com.
While this newer Palm Springs steakhouse opened in 2015, the Old Hollywood–inspired design pays homage to the town’s Rat Pack days with green velvet booths, white tablecloths, a red carpet and a few art deco–inspired touches. Expect steakhouse classics such as a wedge salad, shrimp cocktail and bone-in rib-eye, washed down with a classic gin martini or Manhattan. Hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 5 to 11 p.m.; be sure to call for reservations.
233 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. (760) 327-1551, mrlyonsps.com.
Escena Lounge and Grill
It’s brunch with a breathtaking view at Escena Golf Club’s Lounge and Grill. Built in 2005, the club was designed with modernism in mind, as is evident in its simple, sharp lines and the distinctive awning over the valet station. A place for vacationers and locals looking to impress out-of-towners, the menu takes the traditional route with eggs Benedict and blackened chicken salad for brunch, and prime rib for dinner. Open year-round, the popular celebration restaurant is packed on holidays — if you’re celebrating, be sure to book ASAP.
1100 Clubhouse View Drive, Palm Springs. (760) 778-2737, escenagrill.com .
LULU California Bistro
It’s midcentury modern on acid at LULU, the huge California bistro on Palm Canyon Drive. Splashes of vivid color are contrasted by sleek white tables and chairs, where you can snack on house-made cotton candy in a goblet or sip on an appletini (those are definitely retro now) beneath the misters on the terrace . The vast menu offers everything from French crepes to oyster shooters; LULU is open until 10 p.m. on weekdays and 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturdays, when you can bet it’s completely packed.
200 S. Palm Canyon Drive., Palm Springs. (760) 327-5858, lulupalmsprings.com.
Among the newer restaurants in town is Reservoir, the Southern California–style bistro at the barely-a-year-old Arrive Hotel. Between the wood-paneled butterfly roof and the abundance of Scandinavian-style furniture, Arrive is surely coming at the Ace with some healthy retro competition. The Reservoir menu is eclectic and playful, with offerings such as Cap’n Crunch French toast, a “killer crunch” taco and a cocktail called Assisted Living with brandy and sherry — perhaps a toast to Palm Springs' retiree community. Adjacent to the dining room are a poolside bar and outdoor patio with fire pits, perfect for gazing at those desert stars. Reservoir is open daily until 1:30 a.m, with dinner served until 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
1551 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. (760) 507-1640, reservoirpalmsprings.com.