With the desert’s increasing popularity, it’s difficult to narrow down the best restaurants in Downtown Palm Springs. The last 10 years have brought major (read: delicious) changes to the Palm Springs food scene. Thanks to the increase in remote work, a little music festival called Coachella, and its proximity to LA, chefs and their loyal patrons have naturally migrated to Palm Springs. This list is a mix of a few cult favorites, old-school classics, and my personal #1’s.
Read on for my list of the 10 Best Restaurants in Downtown Palm Springs
Engin Onural, one of the top 30 sushi chefs in the world, opened Sandfish in 2017 and it has quickly become one of the most popular restaurants in Palm Springs. Fresh sushi paired with a carefully curated Japanese whiskey list? What a combination. Ask the server for recommendations and don’t be afraid to try something new.
Newest on the scene but already the hardest restaurant to get into, Bar Cecil is a must-visit. They open reservations 30 days in advance, so plan ahead to enjoy this eccentric space with insanely good food. You’ll likely spot a celebrity or two while sipping a delicious cocktail.
This Italian fusion restaurant is the perfect place to grab a wood-fired pizza, pasta, and a craft cocktail or two. I always recommend Birba to people while in the desert because the trendy outdoor courtyard is hard to beat. Try the white pizza and a negroni while enjoying the ambiance of live music, and fire pits amongst the cool evening desert air.
Mr. Lyons Steakhouse
Located on the outskirts of Downtown Palm Springs, Mr. Lyons brings the typical steakhouse classics to the desert but with a modern twist. Ask to be seated in the lounge or on the patio and pop behind the curtain after dinner to enjoy a nightcap at Seymour’s.
Cary Grant’s 1940s guesthouse turned restaurant, Copley’s is a great place to unwind and take in that quintessential Palm Springs energy. It was named one of the top-rated restaurants in the desert by the New York Times, with a killer food/atmosphere combo. Set with the desert mountains in the background, Copley’s is great for a romantic date after a day of exploring. Save room for dessert and stick around for some after-dinner drinks by the outdoor firepits.
Inspired by her life-changing trip to the South of France, owner Liz Ostoich created a restaurant that embodies the culture, atmosphere and taste of that special corner of the world. Omelets, crepes, fresh salads and a gorgeous cottage style decor. Adopt a rosé all day mentality and let brunch spill into the late afternoon. FYI – if going for dinner, its a Prix Fixe menu, with menu items changing all the time. A perfect reason to keep coming back with every visit!
Rooster and the Pig
Rooster and the Pig continues to top “Best Restaurants in Downtown Palm Springs” lists and has even been featured in Travel and Leisure’s Palm Springs Travel Guide and Vogue’s Best Places to Eat. Not bad for a small restaurant tucked in an unassuming strip mall! Go for the spring rolls, stay for the pho.
Tip: It’s closed Tuesdays so plan accordingly!
I’m starting to think I should change the title of this post from best restaurants in Downtown Palm Springs to “dreamiest courtyards”. There’s something about Palm Springs and gorgeous courtyards, and So.Pa is no exception. When I’m in Palm Springs and escaping Vancouver rain, I’m all about that patio life so no complaints here.
Purple Palm in Colony Palms Hotel
The Purple Palm is situated between the Design and Movie Colony district (in the Colony Palms Hotel) so it’s no coincidence it has a celebrity feel to it. I love going to this restaurant for brunch before a pool day to sip on their blood orange margaritas, but a meal any time is great at this spot.
Workshop Kitchen was one of the first trendy restaurants to come into Downtown Palm Springs and it hasn’t slowed down since. With a courtyard (obviously) and a community-style vibe, this is a great place to spend an evening. Book a reservation if you can.
Finish the night next door at their sister bar, Truss and Twine, where there is usually a live DJ.
Ohh Melvyn’s. This place is iconic! The Rat Pack and multiple celebrities after them have frequented this shrine upon the hill. The food is very old school (think steaks, caesar salad, escargot), but to be honest the food isn’t why Melvyn’s is on this list. It’s the atmosphere. You have to visit Melvyn’s while in Palm Springs. My suggestion? Head to one of the restaurants above and visit Melvyn’s after dinner for a dirty martini and live music. You’re in for some of the BEST people-watching you’ll ever experience.
Bonus! If you are visiting Joshua Tree National Park, plan to have dinner at Pappy and Harriet’s! Read my Day Trip Itinerary here
Speaking of Itineraries! One of the most asked questions I get is how to spend a weekend in Palm Springs. You’re in luck. Download my comprehensive itinerary for the perfect weekend in Palm Springs!
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