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  1. A new restaurant just opened at the recently restored Colony Palms Hotel. It's called the Purple Pam and it is fabulous. They says it is Mediteranean but it is rather eclectic. Several fish dishes are on the menu. Try to get an outside table with awesome views of the mountains as well as the action in the couryard. Dinner is by far their best meal.

    5 Replies
    1. re: stevenohren

      Awesome!! That is the hotel I am staying at. I guess I will save gas and go there.
      Thank you Steven

      1. re: stevenohren

        I am in Palm Springs now for about four days. Full reports to follow when I get home, but wanted to put in my two cents here: had dinner tonight at Purple Palm. Setting is indeed gorgeous, as is the hotel in general. However, dinner was one of my more disappointing in recent memory, with overly fussy and heavy-handed food. Yes, it might be eclectic in the sense that every dish has multiple ingredients, and yet it all tasted the same. not good and I would not dine there again.

        If you must have that beautiful setting, have a drink at the bar: my pear and rosemary martini was decent and the view from the bar is the exact same one you get from those outside tables. The 'action in the coutyard' consists primarily of a lovely swimming pool framed by those beautiful mountains and palm trees, along with some art-deco era trimmings....

        Johannes, OTOH, was great in every respect and I'd go there again in a heartbeat. Will post a full report later.

        Haven't gotten to Zin and probably won't make it there, but it isn't open for lunch yet, at least during the week. Atmosphere is very plain/storefronty and doesn't appeal to me (close together tables) but I imagine the food could be a whole lot better than Purple Palm (it almost has to be). It is definitely more reasonably priced than Purple Palm.

        Tomorrow some colleagues and I are thinking of heading out towards Indio in search of some downscale Mexican food....

        1. re: susancinsf

          I had a very different experience at the Purple Palm. I went two nights in a row and my food was amazing.

        2. re: stevenohren


          We went to the Purple Palm for New Year's based on some on-line searches and recommendation of a friend who works in Palm Springs. Because it was New Year's, we expected that this would not be their best presentation, but a solid representative of their offerings.

          We arrived 10 minutes before our reservation time of 9:15. We decided to grab a drink and wait at the bar. And wait. And wait. And wait. This wouldn't have been so bad if the bartenders had had an ounce of personality. We were treated like we had the plague rather than paying customers. They were out (huh?) of one of their signature cocktails, the Morocco cocktail. And because we spent so much time at the bar, I got to watch one bartender skimp on his cocktails. Where the menu said that the drink included Cointreau, he used Triple Sec. That's either the sign of a bad or incompetent bartender.

          Finally, we were seated at 10. I don't know where to begin with this meal. What a disaster! There is such a thing as too much creativity. The first plate was a checkerboard of halibut and Atlantic salmon. Atlantic salmon! Are you kidding me? I do not expect farmed salmon at a fine restaurant. The next course for me was the "Arctic char." When the kitchen boy (where was the waiter?) brought the dish out, he said "salmon filet." I corrected him and he said, "Oh yeah, arctic char." He was right the first time. It was an overcooked piece of the whitest piece of salmon that I have ever seen at a restaurant. While the presentation was superb on all of the dishes all night long, I wish that they had actually tasted their food at some point. My husband had the pickled beet/ruby red grapefruit/lobster salad (huh?). It tasted as bad as it sounds. Enough said.

          The next course of the night was the highlight. It was a vegetable soup. I don't know if I liked it so much because I was starving, but my memory of this was that it was really good. Maybe the main entrees were going to be OK after all. Was I wrong! First, the waiter brings the wine pairings. He brought wines for the wrong entrees. The wines were OK, but not well paired for the meals. I had the New York strip which was tough and cold. It tasted fine, but reminiscent of an early bird special at Denny's. My husband had the saltimbocca that looked nothing like any that I've seen before. The thing tasted like a leftover casserole from a high school cafeteria.

          Finally (it was midnight), dessert arrived. I had the chocolate cake which was good, but not memorable. My husband had the panna cotta which was good, until I ruined it by taking a bite of the ice cream. It was sitting on a bed of diced garlic. Garlic! Garlic for dessert? Someone needs to go back to culinary school. In fact, this whole event reminded me of a bad episode of Top Chef, and I wouldn't have been surprised if someone came out at the end of the meal and told me that.

          The check arrived. $165 per person. Damn! I would have gladly spent this amount had I enjoyed the meal. We reluctantly paid and got out. The only consolation of the night is that a minor celebrity (Jeff Lewis from Bravo's "Flipping Out") was sitting at the table next to us and they received even worse service than we did. They still hadn't received their entrees by midnight.

          All in all, this place is in a cool location (I really like the pool/courtyard), but the food was awful and service not much better. I think that the most telling thing about the place is that twice in two days while driving past the place there was a pizza delivery guy parked in front of the place. Eater beware!

          Happy New Year!

          1. re: brgross

            WOW, what a nightmare. It is very disorganized there. The food is odd but I had a few good dishes. Try the soufflés, I had pear and chocolate yummy. I would have to say the atmosphere is worth going for. The courtyard and mountains are beautiful.

            We stayed at the Colony Palms Inn and I loved it. They keep the rooms at 74, which I couldn't sleep in. Hope they fix that.

        3. I assume you have already come to Palm Springs but I would like to mention that Blend, Cuistot, Sirocco and Twenty 6 are not in Palm Springs. They are actually about 30-45 minutes east.
          In Palm Springs - Norma's is great for breakfast or lunch. So is Philippe's. Spencer’s has an ok lunch although the food in not always consistent, imo.
          Matchbox and Zin are two very different restaurants. (they were together so wasn’t sure if there was confusion.) Matchbox is casual food, casual service but has a good bar at night with happy hour food. Zin is casual but much better food and a great wine list. There is word on the street Zin is expanding and might open for lunch so depending on when you come they might be an option as well.
          Melvyn’s is 70’s food with 70’s service with a piano lounge at night. Very old school but not a real great dining experience but more of a trip back in time :).
          Eat at Hotel Zozo has a decent lunch as well.
          Hope you had a good time and this is good for someone!

          3 Replies
          1. re: psfoodgirl

            Thanks. I had lunch there once. Definitely mediocre but it had a very cozy dining room and fire place.

              1. re: susancinsf

                Cuistot. sorry don't know how that part of the conversation got lost.

                After this last trip I will never go back to Cuistot. I guess I was drawn to the snooty atmosphere being used to the way things are here in LA, but the food was horrible. My mom sent her salmon back and it still came back grey, yuck. The waiter never apologized. The weird thing is, is that they always have these weird fashion shows while your eating. Nice atmosphere with out the fashion models/sales women.

          2. I wouldn't recommend Cuistot - we had a very mediocre meal there.

            2 Replies
              1. re: torta basilica

                I agree. Cuistot used to be excellent but when it moved to its present and much larger location it began to serve expensive banquet food. A real shame.

              2. Ok, So I tried Normas, OMG so good!!!!
                Also, my new favorite is Al Dente. I know it is not a 5 star restaurants but I had the most consistent good meals. I will go back there for sure.

                So, I still haven't tried Blend or Twenty 6. Maybe next year.

                1. Also, Shields Date Gardens in Indio is a must!!!! Their date shakes are out of this world!

                  12 Replies
                  1. re: LAfoodwhore

                    >Shields Date Gardens in Indio is a must!<

                    Have you been recently? My last time was two years ago and it very much had an "over the hill" rundown look and atmosphere.

                    1. re: Mick Ruthven

                      Atmosphere not so good. But their date shakes were really good.

                      1. re: LAfoodwhore

                        I actually don't like theirs or Hadley's date shakes at all - and I am a date shake freak! Had one a couple of months ago and was very disappointed. Plus, they don't do banana-date :(

                        1. re: torta basilica

                          >I actually don't like theirs or Hadley's date shakes at all - and I am a date shake freak! Had one a couple of months ago and was very disappointed.<

                          As a date shake freak, what should Shield's date shake have been but wasn't?

                          Have you tried the date shake at Palm Springs Fudge & Chocolates (fairly new place a year ago)?

                          1. re: Mick Ruthven

                            They're just too sweet and I think (Although will not swear, as I was not watching) that they are made from those date crystals, not the actual date puree with lovely bits of 'date skin' in it :)

                            No, I haven't tried theirs yet, but will try to get there!

                            1. re: torta basilica

                              I don't have any history with date shakes except for a couple at Shields (two and more years ago) and one at Palm Springs Fudge a year ago. At Palm Springs Fudge I saw them scoop in date puree (which may have included date crystals, don't know). My understanding is that date shakes used to be very common in the area. Now they are very difficult to find and, as you said, often of questionable quality. I'll be visiting friends there next month (that's becoming a yearly event) so will definitely get back to Palm Springs Fudge assuming they're still there.

                              1. re: Mick Ruthven

                                I also tried Palm Springs Fudge & Chocolates' date shake and it was delicious. I still like Shields better.

                                1. re: LAfoodwhore

                                  I guess there's nothing for me to do on my next trip there but to have both of them.

                                    1. re: Mick Ruthven

                                      OK, I'm in Palm Springs for my almost-annual trip to visit friends, and I sacrificed my body for the sake of Date Shake wisdom. The one at Palm Springs Fudge is quite good; I saw them scoop the date paste into the can; it tasted like they used real (rich) vanilla ice cream. It was very creamy, had good date flavor, but with no detectable bits of dates present. The one at Shields was was made with date paste that looked the same as at Palm Springs Fudge, but the result was more date flavor and distinct bits of dates. It was probably made with ice milk and wasn't as rich/creamy, but the dates are the thing and all three of us preferred the Shields version. If you're in Palm Springs, there's no reason to not get the very good Palm Springs Fudge date shake, but if you're going down the valley, the Shields (in Indio) version is better. Also, Shields has been noticeably revitalized in the last two years, with new paint, three date-shake people instead of one, etc. It's still a (welcome) throwback, though, not a new, modern facility, and a valuable piece of history.

                                        1. re: Mick Ruthven

                                          I had a date shake at Shield's today -- the atmosphere is certainly old-timey and charming, but the shakes may have lost their charm. They weren't making them fresh, just pulling them out of a freezer. And there was definitely a not-fresh taste, like they were using commercial ice cream (or, if they make their own, using additives/stabilizers?).

                      2. Go for German Pancakes at Elmers

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: lovetoroq

                          That would be very hard to do. Elmers no longer is in business.

                          1. re: hungerpains

                            still in business on east palm canyon and they still have fabulous German pancakes

                            1. re: desireeinps

                              Are those pancakes the only thing to get at Elmer's? I found this from last September on this board:
                              I found Elmer's to be sad greasy diner food - like a really bad Denny's. Super-sysco-fied - bland, frozen processed food, nothing tasted fresh or housemade. Overly greasy. The coffee was brown water.

                              1. re: Mick Ruthven

                                Honestly, I never ate dinner there. Breakfast is good. But there is a new place in PS called Cafe Amuse' on Tahquitz...awesome breakfast. Crepes', pancakes, beignets' great Chef. Breakfast might be only on weekends they are fairly new.

                                1. re: Mick Ruthven

                                  I had the German pancake last weekend and I would order it again0--I really liked it but it was the first time I have ever had one so I can't compare it to another place. However, the rest of the people I was dining with ordered French toast, cinnamon toast, eggs, buscuits, etc. and those were fairly ordinary/average.

                            2. For dinner we always go to the Le Vallauris in Palm Springs..enjoy the food and the ambiance..love the outside courtyard.


                              1 Reply
                              1. I've been having to go out to PS a bit lately, and am fortunate enough to be able to eat just about anywhere. I've had two lovely experiences at Johanne's. The atmosphere is mellow, the service excellent, and the food delicious. I went for drinks and desserts one night and the creme brulee and bread pudding (which I'm generally not a fan of) were spectacular.

                                Another night I had the escargot as a starter and the duck as a main course...both of which were fantastic - the snails tender not chewy and the duck rare but well-rendered.

                                I've been to Zin a few times and it's been more hit-or-miss. My first experience was great - fantastic server...chive butter so good I had to replicate it immediately...AMAZING super-creamy lobster bisque strewn with huge chunks of claw meat and decadently seasoned with sherry....rare hanger steak and crispy frittes that were perfect...amazing creme brulee. I had to have that same meal again, but was disappointed the second time around.

                                The next time, the soup was a cream of wild mushroom (which was good, but not sublime), a distracted waiter, hanger steak that was impossible to chew...frittes were underdone...and I skipped dessert. I couldn't leave fast enough.

                                Matchbox was (IMHO) god-awful Overrated. Sauce was flavorless and cheese gummy. Crust was okay...but not stellar. Why does this place get raves? Am I just ordering poorly?

                                Hotel Zoso's Eatz was just AWFUL. Stayed at the hotel, which is lovely...but the food was awful. I was served ice-cold, congealed food not once, but twice. Better to walk next door to Johanne's, which is what I began to do.

                                Kaiser Grille was very blah as well, but at least the servers were nice.

                                I'm looking forward to trying the Purple Palm this time around. Am staying at Colony Palms, and it looks great.

                                13 Replies
                                1. re: 1HotTomato

                                  >Matchbox was (IMHO) god-awful Overrated. Sauce was flavorless and cheese gummy. Crust was okay...but not stellar. Why does this place get raves? <

                                  I was there in February and thought the pizza and also the crab cakes were quite good. I can't remember many details about the pizza, but the sauce was anything but flavorless; I remember thinking how intense the flavor of the sauce was. I also don't remember the cheese being gummy. I'll definitley go back. Some places vary a lot from time to time. That was my only time there so I have no data other than the many other rave reports here.

                                  1. re: Mick Ruthven

                                    I agree with Mick. I moved to SoCal from NYC four years ago and am pretty tough on pizza. I've visited Matchbox three times in the last two months and had good experiences every time. The crust is definitely the high point as it's crispy and light.
                                    Anyone been to Pommes Fritte lately? I've never been but am looking to try it on my next visit.

                                    1. re: lsla

                                      Maybe I was at Matchbox on an off-night. Will give it another try.

                                      But tonight, eating at Purple Palm. Menu looks fantastic, and the Colony Palms Hotel is adorable. Room is small, but feels like a mini vacation. There is a huge hammock tucked into a private corner outside my door, as well as a soothing fountain. Great lounge-y furniture by the pool. Looking forward to dinner.

                                      1. re: 1HotTomato

                                        Looking forward to hearing how it is!

                                      2. re: lsla

                                        I would not recommend Pommes Fritte, $20 for four scallops is not a good value. Supposedly the mussels are okay but I also found the service to be poor.

                                        1. re: RBCal

                                          I actually love Pommes Frittes and think the service there is quite good. I do love their mussels and find them better than Zin.

                                          For me, Zin is hit or miss. I'm done with it. I had a bad experience there recently. I think they're shooting above what they really are.

                                          Others in this thread have shot-down Cuistot. Again, I disagree. I love, love, love their lobster pot pie and the service has always been outstanding ... definitely the best we've experienced in the valley and we've lived here more than a year now.

                                          As far as Matchbox goes, their pizza is pretty good. I've had it a few times and have learned to ask them to go easy on the use of capers.

                                          I love it when my mother-in-law comes out to the desert because it gives us an excuse to head to Davey's Hideaway. Call me a freak ... but I love the old school atmosphere and my food is generally very good. Ah ... the comforting memories of years gone by.

                                          1. re: playfulcrow

                                            Any thoughts on Citron or Purple Palm? We have two other couples coming to visit this weekend and am looking to do a nice dinner one of the nights. I like Zin well enough, but would rather go somewhere with some outdoor seating.

                                            1. re: lsla

                                              Purple Palm is pretty amazing - I've only had lunch there, but it's a fabulous setting - ask for a table on the patio and the food was wonderful!

                                              1. re: torta basilica

                                                When I ate at the Purple Palm last year while staying at the Colony Palms hotel I found the food to be a bit off. They were creative but it didn't always work. It's mostly hit or miss. I would definitely try it! The hotel is great.

                                                1. re: LAfoodwhore

                                                  Perhaps lunch is more conformist :) We were there 2 weeks ago & split the asparagus & the Nicoise sandwich - both were wonderful.

                                            2. re: playfulcrow

                                              what do you recommend at Davey's? Any vegetarian items?

                                              1. re: LAfoodwhore

                                                I'm a vegetarian, too, (though I will eat wild seafood if pressed) and I've always had luck at Davey's with them preparing items without meat. I had scampi last time I was there, but have had a pasta dish there too (perhaps it was an alfredo that I had them leave the chicken out of). I've also just had a larger version of the wedge dinner salad and loved that. Their blue cheese is delish.

                                      3. re: 1HotTomato

                                        At matchbox, your not ordering poorly but just not opening up to your server and telling them what you think, when you would rather leave a restaurant and complain on this web site. This will never satisfy your hunger but only your distain for bad food! I believe in letting those who can make your experience better, know what you like and dislike about the food and or service. You go to enough restaurants (no matter how good they may be) and you will become the broken egg that is needed to make a great omelet. It not the bad experience that's the problem but how the experience is handled by your server and or their manager.

                                      4. How about a place for a romantic dinner where you can dress up for without feeling wierd. Any good one? Copley and Valleuris are out of question for the time I am looking at cuz they will be close.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: gmiao314

                                          How about Citron at the Viceroy? I think it's gotten mixed reviews here, but I had a dinner there last month that was fabulous. Also recently went to the bar for drinks and appetizers which was a great experience too.
                                          People are typically dressed nicely, women in dresses, etc.

                                          1. re: lsla

                                            oh great. have you been to Spencer's or Azur? heard good reviews on those, but not sure if they have nice ambience?

                                            1. re: gmiao314

                                              I haven't, but I've heard good things about both. Azur is in La Quinta, though, which is pretty far from Palm Springs. Not sure where you're staying.
                                              There's also Zin, which isn't as "dressy," but certainly a nice enough atmosphere and very good food, right downtown. I'd definitely recommend it. Also look into Purple Palm. I've only been there for drinks, but it's a lovely spot at the Colony Palms hotel. You could always just go there for (expensive) drinks and do dinner somewhere else.

                                          2. re: gmiao314

                                            Even if you were rolling in dough I would NOT recommend Copley's. Wow, what a giant waste of money. You are paying for the setting (pretty courtyard) but the food was terrible--really, I don't mean just average; it was not good.

                                            Maybe the chef was gone last weekend but I can't understand how anyone would go to this place twice.

                                          3. while this post is still going....I'm taking my girlfriend for her 30th next month to palm springs for the weekend. We're staying at hotel zoco, which I hear has a horrible eatery (eatz). looking for a nice steakhouse or something that isn't too fancy (blowing all my money on the poolside casita) for dinner. Any other recs? Just looking for good food....

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: ac3197

                                              I'm not a big steakhouse person, but The Falls is good, though very expensive...I prefer just sitting at the bar there and ordering from the bar/happy hour menu and getting a martini.
                                              You'd probably be better off going to Zin, which has steaks and a more reasonably priced menu than The Falls and has excellent food.
                                              Copley's is great for a special bday dinner, but again, expensive.

                                              1. re: ac3197

                                                Try Billy Reed's, 1800 North Palm canyon
                                                A little further out is Huell Howser's favorite steakhouse, Capri in
                                                Desert Hot Springs http://capri-italianrestaurant.com/ great T-Bone.
                                                Both of these are fairly reasonable and not too fancy.

                                                1. re: StacyM

                                                  I just came back from PS. A lot of the restaurants are close. But I stumbled on Mr. Parker which I thought was gorgeous and tasty. Spencer's I like. The Fall's steak is great too eventhough I am not always a steak person. Bing Crosby's Piano Bar is not mentioned a lot but it is actually very nice for a special ocasion and you can dress up too.

                                                  1. re: gmiao314

                                                    How about Palm Desert.. We have been to most of the mentioned ones.. has anyone been to Azur.. their website seems like it is only a lounge not sure... We loved Blend.. but it is gone :(

                                                2. re: ac3197

                                                  I haven't eaten at eatz for dinner but have eaten lunch there a few times. It's unfortunately a good place to go for a working lunch because you have the place to yourself. Last time I was there somebody got the grilled chicken sandwich, which looked good. I got a southwestern wrap which was fine. Service is a little spotty, but the atmosphere is quite nice and I've yet to be disappointed by the food. Citron is better but it's cramped. Purple Palm has the best atmosphere of all -- I recently got a flank steak and arugula salad with a pesto balsamic vinaigrette which was superb. They also do a Nicoise focaccia open-faced sandwich which I've had three times -- but the first time was the best.

                                                3. Best new restaurants in the desert according to Palm Springs life

                                                  WHERE TO EAT

                                                  1) BAMBOO COVE
                                                  72286 Highway 111, Palm Desert, (760) 776-7999

                                                  2) CAVA
                                                  Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa, 44400 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells, (760) 773-4444

                                                  3) CHARLIE’S CALIFORNIA FRESH
                                                  75130 St. Charles Place, Palm Desert, (760) 341-2990

                                                  4) CORK TREE
                                                  74950 Country Club Drive, Palm Desert, (760) 779-0123

                                                  5) CRAB POT RESTAURANT & BAR
                                                  78121 Avenida La Fonda, La Quinta, (760) 564-7333

                                                  6) INDIA OVEN
                                                  35875 Date Palm Drive, Cathedral City, (760) 770-3918

                                                  7) PASEO PALMS BAR AND GRILL
                                                  73040 El Paseo, Palm Desert, (760) 837-3800

                                                  8) PURPLE PALM RESTAURANT & BAR
                                                  Colony Palms Hotel, 572 N. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, (760) 969-1800

                                                  9) RISTORANTE DONETELLA
                                                  71511 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage, (760) 773-6434

                                                  10) TIERRA MIA RESTAURANT
                                                  42305 Washington Street, Palm Desert, (760) 772-3992

                                                  11) TRATTORIA TIRAMISU
                                                  72655 Highway 111, Palm Desert, (760) 773-9100


                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: RBCal

                                                    Interesting that only one, Purple Palm, actually in or even close to Palm Springs!

                                                    1. re: RBCal

                                                      thank you!! I will look all up..

                                                      ps I did email Azur.(at the La Quinta Resort). they are a wine and cheese bar for the summer.. no date when they will open for 'the season'

                                                      1. re: butterbutt

                                                        Azul is in downtown Palm Springs and is pretty good. It's a tapas restaurant and I've eaten there a few times and enjoyed it. It has a great patio right on Palm Canyon but cozier inside seating.

                                                      2. re: RBCal

                                                        Is these list just promotional--those who pay / advertise?

                                                      3. Jake’s is a hidden gem In Palm Springs. Don’t let the plain façade fool you. This is food is wonderful. We are of the Top Chef type…for foodies this is your place. Small but cutie patio. But let’s get on to the important thing-food. Had lunch here…my husband is vegetarian and I’m a fish person. Had the tomato soup, beet salad, tuna wrap, egg salad sandwich. Bread was tender yet crunchy, soup very flavorful. Tuna excellent grade. Had a virgin bloody mary…excellent…imagine the real thing! Had dinner too. Very impressive. Beet and pear salad, wonderfully tender scallop appetizer, outstanding eggplant stack—tender and melt in your mouth delicious. Had salmon entrée- a bit over cooked but excellent flavor. Wine by the glass limited selection but nice options. Had the Nob Hill at another customer’s suggestion. Lovely. Lunch and dinner a great value with wonderful food. Staff was very hard working and friendly. Co-owners Bruce and Chris aim to please. Food here as good as L.A. or S.D. at ½ the price. Would highly recommend. 4.5 out of 5.0 stars. This place is a must.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: lkh


                                                          Jake's Ready To Eat
                                                          664 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262

                                                        2. One of the best--and one one of the very best Italian is Bella Vita---on the corner of Country Club and Cook. They also own in the same shopping center a Gelato place which is by far the best and most authentic Italian gelato in the Desert.

                                                          Country Club Restaurant
                                                          Country Club Dr, Fall River Mills, CA 96028

                                                          1. I continue to visit Palm Springs often for business. I love Shanghai Reds for raw oysters & roasted artichoke & kiyosaku for sushi.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: lotta_cox

                                                              Just wanted to revive this thread. Going in March for the Indian Wells tennis tournement with a couple of foodies and would love some updated recommendations for good food, any type but chinese, moderately priced, but willing to pay for "excellent" experiences. Staying in Palm Springs, but we have a car and will travel up to 30 mins. Burgers, steaks, BBQ, "Californian food", Pizza, Mexican, we love it all! can't wait to hear the suggestions. Thanks in advance

                                                              1. re: traveling

                                                                Actually, there are several new restaurants that have opened in Palm Springs, particularly in the downtown and uptown areas. Uptown is developing its own restaurant scene anchored by The Purple Palm (described above) and Copley's (continental, relatively fine dining). Thai Smile is just north of Copley's and has the best Thai food in the Coachella Valley. (I noticed that you excluded Chinese, which is just as well because it is the Valley's weak spot -- if in the mood, try Lotus in Racho Mirage.) At the end of that block, to the north, is Trio, which has become very popular since it opened last year. I haven't eaten there so I'm not sure the cuisine, exactly. On the east side of the street is the well-regarded Jake's Ready-to-Eat, which is good if a little funky for my taste. I've never gotten the rhythm of getting seated and ordering there, but it may just be me. Good food choices and the menu seems to change fairly often. Just south of that is Cheeky's, which has built a loyal following of hipsters and foodies. Very fresh ingredients and interesting choices, like a chili verde omelet and great corn panckaes. My favorite lunch item is the Vietnamese Bun, which is a butter lettuce salad with the same pork used in Banh Mi. They only do breakfast and lunch, built just recently built a bar/pizza restuarant to the south to take the lunch crowd into the evening. The sliding glass walls open the bar up to the spectacular mountain views. The whole space feels like a good hotel bar, surrounded by a thick ficus hedge. That place is called Birba and has its own wood-fired pizza oven.

                                                                In the upper uptown area (north of Vista Chino) there is Dink's, which is still relatively new, and built from the ground up as a swanky supper club. It's a great building. A little further north, and new, is The Blue Pear, which specializes in Texx Mexx cuisine. It's a very cool space -- they took the tiny old Peeraya Thai Restuarant and blew out most of the walls, and reached into the adjacent hotel to create The Pool House. I think you may be able to drink poolside and eat in the restuarant.

                                                                Closer in, Azul has been mentioned for tapas. New is Cafe Zini Med, another small plate restaurant in the core of downtown. It's right next door to See's Candies. It's the second restaurant by the owner of Zin Bistro. In that same plaza (La Plaza), at the east end, is the legendary Tyler's, famous for burgers. They grill an excellent burger with very good fries and potato salad. Almost all of the seating is patio seating (I think there are about 6 seats inside) and be prepared to wait. New in the burger field is the Grind Brgr Bar, a block south above The Chop House. It's by the owners of The Chop House and Kaiser Grill, and the burgers are quite good. They specialize in grass fed beef, and also have burgers made from lamb, buffalo and game. Lots of bun options, cheese and topping options, and they have a great second floor patio with a million dollar view. Try the sweet potato fries.

                                                                There's a new pizza place in downtown, too: Bill's Pizza, which is right next to Tyler's. There are not many places on Indian Avenue besides those two, but Fisherman's Market & Grill a block south is worth the trip. My personal favorite is the swordfish tacos, though anything grilled is great. Their cole slaw is excellent, with just the right amount of celery seeds, and if you get fries, they are the hefty steak fry fires. It's also where Shanghai Red's is, though Red's is only open at night and you enter from the parking lot. (How to make great use of a back building). There are also a couple of brand new places -- Torme's (owned by The Velvet Fog's daughter) Jazz Club and Rio Azul come to mind -- that are so new I haven't heard much one way or the other.

                                                                Another relatively new spot in the heart of downtown is Okura, a sushi place that is a step above some of the small sushi spots in town. They have a patio on two sides so it's agreat spot for people watching, too. I also like both Matchbox (pizza, sliders, martinis) and The Falls (steaks) on the same block. Both are upstairs and have great bars and people watching.

                                                                FInally, there are two quintessential Palm Springs places -- and don't mix them up. Spencer's is at the west end of Baristo, right at the base of the mountain, at The Tennis Club. It's the great Palm Springs power lunch spot. My personal favorite is the Ahi Nicoise salad, which I returned to again and again. They also have a good burger and an excellent Reuben sandwich, among other things. It's quite romantic at dinner, too. Sherman's is a block or so east of downtown, across from the Hilton, and is a classic Kosher-style deli. I like their corned beef, and things like their cabbage rolls and sweet and sour cabbage soup. Their salads are good but know that they dress their Cobb with a vinaigrette. Very good breakfast, too. And they have a full bakery, so if you feel like packing in a decadent dessert, this is the place.

                                                                Purple Palm Restaurant
                                                                572 N. Indian Canyon, Palm Springs, CA 92262

                                                                Thai Smile
                                                                651 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262

                                                                369 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262

                                                                1. re: exSiberian

                                                                  Thanks, exSiberian. a good start!
                                                                  Anyone else?

                                                            2. I'm getting ready to move to Rancho Mirage for a bit and will have a car (and i'm a Los Angeleno) so driving is not an issue....... I am huge "ethnic" food fan and would love anyone's help on tracking down the best of the chinese, japanese (sushi and non sushi), thai, mexican, etc. restaurants. And I don't mean $6 lunch special chinese (unless it's reminiscent of the goods of the San Gabriel Valley), i mean good, tastes-like-a-grandmother-cooked-it kind of stuff.... bonus if there is a korean restaurant too!

                                                              any info is much appreciated!! THANKS!

                                                              5 Replies
                                                              1. re: Kvguzman

                                                                You'll love the sushi here, even the Jumping Shrimp. There are two of these, but this one's the best. Get a map for this one, it isn't easy to see from the 111.

                                                                Sam's Sushi, 79485 Highway 111 La Quinta, CA

                                                                Sam's Sushi
                                                                79485 Highway 111, La Quinta, CA 92253

                                                                1. re: theOracle

                                                                  BLUE COYOTE GRILL! And Have the Calabacitas Soup.

                                                                2. re: Kvguzman

                                                                  Lucky's is an order-ahead, carry-out place. They have the best tamales in the Coachella Valley. Priced from $2.25 to <$2, depending on how many you order. They have pork, beef, chicken and grreen corn. Regrigerate or freeze and reheat. You are always in stock. They also do full carry-out meals, like Thanksgiving.

                                                                  1. re: theOracle

                                                                    Do you have more info on Lucky's? I can't find anything!

                                                                    1. re: Papuli

                                                                      Their telephone is 760-342-1999 They man be listed under Jackalope Ranch or Jackalope Ranch Tamales.

                                                                      Jackalope Ranch Restaurant
                                                                      80400 Us Highway 111, Indio, CA

                                                                3. Hi Everyone,

                                                                  I cant believe this post is still going :)

                                                                  I am a Palm Springs regular now, and I want to share my fav restaurants

                                                                  Zin - great macaroni n cheese

                                                                  Cheekys - amazing breakfast/brunch

                                                                  Birba - great drinks and pizza

                                                                  Al Dente - delicious pasta

                                                                  Trio - fav dinner place

                                                                  Normas - brunch is a must

                                                                  Native Foods - lunch or dinner, cant go wrong

                                                                  Have any new restaurants opened this year? I am going next week and would love to try something new.

                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                  1. re: LAfoodwhore

                                                                    So its March again and we're making our yearly trek to Indian Wells for the tennis tournement. Loved Zin's and Sherman's and the little mexican place, I forget the name but it means "little rooster" in spanish. Anything new in town we should try this year. We will have a car and staying in Palm Springs. Good burgers, pizza or pasta for Friday, since it's Lent? thanks to all.

                                                                    1. re: traveling

                                                                      I too am headed to Palms Springs this month and would love some recs. We're celebrating my husband's birthday, so we'll probably have one "special" dinner, and then the rest of the time we'd like to keep it low-key. TIA!

                                                                      1. re: aching

                                                                        There is a good Santa Barbara BQ place in downtown Indio on Miles called the Warehouse--casual, inexpensive.

                                                                        There is ROC's Casita at the polo grounds for BBQ and polo.

                                                                        The other listings I have above are still good.

                                                                        Also for a special occasion, try Spencer's or Morton's (for steak), or Melvyn's for retro dinner and dancing.

                                                                        Downtown PS, the new place is Lulu's--very contempo--same menu as Aqua Pazza at The River, which is good for people watching. Also at The River is Babe's--BBQ, great short ribs and real strawberry shortcake, yum.

                                                                        For the feel of a NY supper club, try the Daily Grill on El Paseo in Palm Desert. For a good breakfast, try Mimi's on Hwy 111. A $6 sit-down lunch is at the
                                                                        Fantasy Springs casino POM restaurant out Indio way. The patio is lovely.

                                                                        The Thursday Desert Sun newspaper has a two-page section of restaurant coupons and deals. Check out the Cheap Eats column in the on-line version, www.mydesert.com .

                                                                        1. re: theOracle

                                                                          I would second the Lulu recommendation. It's great for people watching. It's also on a block with more choices than any other spot in the Valley: within a single block's walk (north or south) is Las Casuelas, Thai House, Pomme Frite, Village Pub, Fisherman's Grill/Shanghai Red's, Chop House/Grind Brgr Bar, L.G.'s Steakhouse, Kaiser Grill, The Falls, Matchbox, Ruby's, Happy Sushi, Maracas, Starbuck's, Kalura Trattoria, Peabody's, Zini Cafe Med, Zin American Bistro. If you want to walk back to Indian you can add Johannes, Bill's Pizza, Euro Cafe, Tyler's Burgers, and Star View, which shares a block with Cafe Jasmine, Pinocchio's and La Casita. That's 28 restaurants and a Starbucks. I haven't even mentioned the ice cream places,

                                                                          1. re: exSiberian

                                                                            One question. After you hit all these places, how can you still walk? lol

                                                                            Also Johannes is a special event place.

                                                                      2. re: traveling

                                                                        Hey Foodies! Its March again, leaving this awful cold weather in NY and heading to Palm Springs again for tennis tournament. What's new in town we should try. Have a car and willing to drive 30 mins. for good eats. Loved the past recommendations. Cheeky's was awesome for lunch outdoors and have to return to Birba's for pizza this time. Most beautiful outdoor seating/setting I've seen. Went back to Cowboy Way for BBQ and it was just okay. Might skip that this time. Any new happenings? Thanks in advance.

                                                                        1. re: traveling

                                                                          I don't think that there are any outstanding new places. My post of 4/19/12 IMHO remains relevant. I still think that Cheeky's (for bf or lunch) and Copley's (for din) are likely as good as you'll get in the desert.

                                                                          1. re: traveling

                                                                            Check out Dish Cuisine, subject of this Hidden Gem threat a few weeks ago. The imost imaginative cooking in the desert, in a strip mall in Cat City.


                                                                      3. It's now April 2012: this seems to be the best thread on the Palm Springs area. We are sophisticated eaters looking for one excellent dinner and one standout breakfast or brunch. This is our first time in Palm Springs for all four. One couple from Brooklyn, the other from San Diego. Price is not an issue. Decent wine list a plus for dinner.

                                                                        Is Le Vallauris still good?

                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                        1. re: pickypicky

                                                                          Depends on the kind of food you like.

                                                                          1. re: pickypicky

                                                                            Still fantastic in my world...dining al fresco can't be beat.
                                                                            One of my all time faves in PS..
                                                                            Shame on the moon in Rancho Mirage is a great local place.
                                                                            Sherman's is one fab Jewish deli.

                                                                            1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                              Chef George's
                                                                              40100 Washington St
                                                                              Ste 125
                                                                              Bermuda Dunes, CA 92203
                                                                              Cook Street exit off the I-10, southeast corner.

                                                                              This is a local gem, hidden in a shopping mall. Great European cooking, like grandma used to make. Chicken paprikash. That sort of thing. Rervations are essential. The salads and entrees are so generous, you will have take-home. Yes, you can order half a salad, and don't say you weren't warned. You go for the food, atmosphere, and the food. Family run, and the chef is the best.
                                                                              (760) 200-1768

                                                                              1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                Hey BC! thanks for these. I also noted your reco of Le Vallauris above, which sounds pretty wonderful for lunch or dinner.

                                                                              2. re: pickypicky

                                                                                First of all, although there are many very good restaurants in the desert, If you are looking for truly outstanding cuisine, you'll probably be disappointed. Our best meals have been at Jillian's (Palm Desert), Copley's (Palm Springs), Le Vallauris (Palm Springs), and perhaps Johanne's (Palm Springs). Although highly rated in some guides, I would avoid Cuistot (Palm Desert) at all costs. It was excellent in the past, but recently it has been dreadful...both food and service.

                                                                                For breakfast, I would definitely go to Cheeky's in Palm Springs. Great food and service, although there is always a wait. Line moves pretty quickly however, and food...both inventiveness and quality make the short wait very worthwhile.

                                                                                1. re: pickypicky

                                                                                  The restaurant with the most buzz right now is Tinto, located at the newly-redone Saguaro Hotel in Palm Springs. Don't let the wild color scheme on the outside of the hotel, or even in the lobby, put you off: Tinto itself is very muted with greys and dark wood. It's one of the first chef-driven restaurants in the desert, and is owned by Jose Garces, who has a number of venues in Philadelphia and was, I think, a winner on Iron Chef on the food netowrk. The cuisine is Spanish/Basque/French and generall so are the wines. I have not eaten there yet, but uniformly everybody I know that has had said it is excellent. Most have recommended getting the Chef's Tasting menu, which is a prix fixe fare, a little more with wine. Call ahead, though, because it is one of the few places I've seen in the desert get busy enough to turn away people without reservations.

                                                                                  I agree on Cheeky's -- breakfast and lunch is always good -- fresh and creative. The same owners also have Birba next door -- only open for dinner and drinks. Very casual, and the inside seating is only about 8-10 seat so most of it is a great patio. We tend to be "lean and green" eaters and, aside from good thin-crust pizzas, they have a number of choices that are pretty healthy. A pretty sophisticated crowd -- good mix of gay and striaght and all ages, too.

                                                                                  Sherman's is a reliable New York style deli, but if you're coming from Brooklyn, why bother?

                                                                                  I don't have many opinions on restaurants outside Palm Springs proper (Palm Desert, etc.)

                                                                                  Le Vallauris is still good, as is Spencer's. Most relatively old school.

                                                                                  Good luck!

                                                                                  1. re: exSiberian

                                                                                    Oracle, exS, J - all useful information. Thank you all. I can put the list together, and my friends can pick what they want. I wasn't after fancy or fine cuisine, just whatever was most special about the area. Shoot, even finding a good Jewish deli is worth something-- I'll try and report back.

                                                                                2. Report back from trip to Palm Springs: LOVED Cheeky's. Inventive menu, great service, totally cool vibe and people watching. Intimate with great outdoor dining. It's the best of Palm Springs. I'd love to have pizza at Birba (one of the most beautiful alfresco dining spots I've ever seen and that's saying alot.) and try the Cheeky people's brand new place a block away for Asian cuisine. We ended up eating in our hotel for dinner, just so we could all drink and not drive. Terrible food but live music in the bar with a dance floor of quite amazing gender-bending beautiful people, so the evening was just fine. Thank you all for your suggestions. PS Cheeky's is an adult restaurant. They are friendlier to dogs than to giant baby strollers and children. Be advised.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: pickypicky

                                                                                    Maybe Cheeky's staff's attitude toward kids depends on when you go and how crowded they are. We were there a year ago in March with our (then) two year old granddaughter and her parents, and the server and hostess couldn't have been nicer, getting us a table in the corner away from heavy traffic and setting her up with a booster seat. But we went on a weekday, and it was after noon, and there weren't a ton of people waiting for tables.

                                                                                  2. Since this appears to be the most active thread for dining in the desert, I'm hoping somebody can help me out! Will be celebrating a 40th bday and need an affordable place for large group dining. We figure a hotel buffet will be the way to go to provide a sense of ambiance w/o breaking the bank. Has anyone tried both dinner buffets at Cava (Renaissance Esmerelda) and Rockwood Grill (JW Marriott Desert Springs) & can tell me which is better? I understand Rockwood Grill only recently opened, so I haven't found much about it online. Thx for your help!

                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Chowriffic

                                                                                      I think you can probably pay the same amount somewhere else (non-buffet) and get a much better meal, especially in the summer. Several restaurants would be willing to put something together for you in your budget. Would you consider palm springs? How many people in your group?

                                                                                      1. re: lsla

                                                                                        I don't know what your "budget" is, but there is a location that is less pricey than the ones you mention, but very nice. It is the POM restaurant at the Fantasy Springs Casino.Past the bar downstairs, there is a separate dining room for large groups, and their prices are quite reasonable.

                                                                                        1. re: theOracle

                                                                                          Thx everyone for the suggestions. Our group may range from 30-50 and will be a mix of adults & kids. Looking for a private room w/ group ding menus $50 and under. Seems must of the places have private dining menus that start at $50. The buffets are in the $30 range. Acqua Pazza seems to be the only restaurant in the area w/ a menu in that price range

                                                                                          1. re: Chowriffic

                                                                                            looking for something no more than 15 mins outside of indian wells. thx!

                                                                                            1. re: Chowriffic

                                                                                              Tried the Indian Wells (IW) Club? If not a weekend, consider La Quinta's Solano's--take the whole restaurant. Also, what about Vicky's Santa Fe? Palm Desert is close in, and there are two places, Fresh Agave Mexican Bar & Grill, and The Elephant Bar, whose menu has grown over the past years, and has great food. These restaurants should be booked early, as they fill up.

                                                                                              1. re: theOracle

                                                                                                I can no longer recommend Fisherman's Grill in LaQuita.

                                                                                                I was overcharged for the lunch special, but didn't realize it until I got home.

                                                                                                Later, they brought us more fries, which I hadn't asked for, because "they didn't put enough on the original order." It did look rather small. The server made a nasty crack when she insisted we take the fries.

                                                                                                The "manager" asked us to leave or go outside, because I had an e-cigarette (no tobacco, no smoke, no smell, no residue, and fully legal), and he thought the "look" of it might hurt the restaurant's repurtation, even though there had been no complaints. He said he knew what it was and what it wasn't, and even though actual smoke and steam emanate from their open kitchen into the restaurant, it might give customers "the wrong idea."

                                                                                                On an earlier occassion, I had met the owner, a kind, gererous and very hospitable man. I am writing to him.

                                                                                                So I was cheated, insulted and shunned all in one day. Isn't this how it started in Nazi Germany, shunned because of how you would "look" in a business?

                                                                                                I can no loger recommend a restaurant that I cannot trust with their ability to be hospitable and honest with customers.

                                                                                    2. My two favorite restaurants in Palm Springs:
                                                                                      Davey's Hideaway on Palm Canyon, south end across from lyon's. Sunset menu...order by 6pm .. 5 dinner choices for $17.95. Great food and people watching.

                                                                                      Wang's in the Desert. Great Happy hour and wonderful dinners

                                                                                      12 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: pdxritchie

                                                                                        My son is getting married in Palm Springs and we would like to host the rehearsal dinner. Looking for recommendations for a casual place, good food, with outdoor patio space for around 100 people. Anyone have an idea to share?

                                                                                        1. re: momofgroom

                                                                                          The Tack Room at Empire Polo
                                                                                          Escena -- pricey
                                                                                          Villaris -- pricey but beautiful

                                                                                          1. re: momofgroom

                                                                                            Some of the places have already been mentioned: Le Vallauris has a beautiful patio and is Zagat-rated - and not cheap. Escena has a great patio with breathtaking mountain views and serves a good lunch but I was underwhelmed by the one "banquet" serving I had there. The Viceroy has a great lawn pavilion that would easily hold 100 in a nice setting. Their restaurant is a little pricey but everything I have has there has been good - including hors d'oeuvres. Two oddball ideas: The Ace Hotel has a lovely indoor-outdoor ballroom space and the younger (20-somethings) in the party would love it. Maybe a tiny bit less pricey than some of the others. And Lulu has a third floor that can seat 100 - it's not the patio but you can see the patio and the whole restaurant below.

                                                                                            1. re: momofgroom

                                                                                              Hi...Might be too late for you; but look at the O'Donnell House at The Willows....

                                                                                            2. re: pdxritchie

                                                                                              Davey's Hideaway is closed as of the summer of '13.
                                                                                              And I'm surprised no one has mentioned Trio - which seems to be the hottest table in town. http://www.triopalmsprings.com

                                                                                              1. re: yummyewe

                                                                                                If you're into trending with the homies.

                                                                                                1. re: theOracle

                                                                                                  But, you can't deny the food is better than 99% of the rest of PS and the surrounding area.

                                                                                                  1. re: yummyewe

                                                                                                    Well, if you want a great place to go for burgers, beer and drinks, try Eureka! in Indian Wells.

                                                                                                    The burgers and beer are great with a large selection of craft beers on tap, and Zombie Killer by the bottle for Granny. Inside or outside, you can watch the multisport tellys while pretending to listen to your party.

                                                                                                    They have lot of choices of bitters and rye, and their Sazarac is righteous.

                                                                                                    Probably the best (Panko-crusted) onion rings in the Valley.

                                                                                                    It's where the former St. Germain's was in The Village at 111 and Cook.

                                                                                                    Friendly service, but a wait, and this is the real deal.


                                                                                                  2. re: theOracle

                                                                                                    Please translate "trending with the homies".

                                                                                                    We wanted a special occasion restaurant for last night. Since most of the obvious candidates are closed for the season, we chose Europa at the Villa Royale. It was really quite good and filled the bill perfectly...quite elegant and quiet, excellent service, really very good food. It was quite pricey, but we all were happy with the choice.

                                                                                                    1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                      Not sure what "trending with the homies" means either. Can't go wrong with Europa for a special dinner. You wouldn't get that at Trio - the food is pretty good but go for the scene. Maybe the best gay/straight balance in town and always busy.

                                                                                                      1. re: exSiberian

                                                                                                        "Trendin' with the homies" is a cute way of saying that out here in retirement land, where people make a life out of going out to eat, there are large groups of people just itching to try out new restaurants. What with the social media and daily contact, they can make or break a new restaurant in a month. Like lemmings that think they are foodies, they all agree thumbs up or thumbs down. And they can be brutal. It doesn't have to be the food or the service, it can be something as insubstantial as the decor or the specials.

                                                                                                        The problem is, they get written up a lot either way. Luckily, many locals know that when a new restaurant is no longer trendy, it is also quiet and not so crowded, and good ones will last.

                                                                                                        The other problem in the desert is the lack of international variety and the location, which is overlooked by the trending crowd altogether. For example, hoagies? Phillys? dim sum? middle eastern? BBQ? East of Palm Springs? East of Palm Desert?

                                                                                                        Trio is one of those.

                                                                                                        Who eats in Indio? We do.

                                                                                              2. Heard that Freida's will open up finally the first week of Sept.
                                                                                                Mix of Clementines, meets Joan on Third..

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                  Have you tried it yet? Worth a look see?