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Good ethnic and other cheap eats in the Desert?

  • b

I head out to La Quinta a few times a year to spend time with family, golf and of course, eat! We almost always settle for fine dining -- Cuistot, Blend, Arnold Palmers, LG's, Jillian's, Wally's, Desert Sage, etc. But I'm trying to find some lesser knowns, and less expensive dining. My preference would be to find spots closer to La Quinta, such as Indio, Indian Wells, Palm Desert, but I'm willing to go farther. I'd greatly appreciate any help.

I'd really like to get away from what seems to be a bit of the norm in the desert (i.e., lots of meat and continental cuisine). So mostly, I'm looking for ethnic foods, but feel free to offer some other gems, cheap or pricey. Mostly, here's what I'm looking for:

Really good Mexican food -- cheap or pricey. This is really what I'm after and I haven't found it. How about some really good tacos? Or moles (Manchamanteles, Teloloapense, Negro, you name it)? Chiles en Nogada, etc.

Asian too - Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Chinese, Korean.

Why not some Eastern European if it exists . . . does it? And how about Middle Eastern?

A good Jewish deli (wasn't so enthused with Manhattan in the Desert and Sherman's was decent). Is there anything else?

Are there any good down-home breakfast places? I'd love to find grits, biscuits and gravy, stick-to-your ribs food.

And if you have any recs for BBQ (wood smoked), burgers, fried chicken or pizza (thick or thin, I don't care), I'd love to hear them. I've been to Matchbox in PS and enjoyed it, but anything closer to La Quinta?

Well, that's a long list, and if there's a hidden gem that doesn't necessarily fit into any of the above categories, I'd still like to hear from you. Thanks in advance for any recommendations you might have.

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  1. I have been going to Ciro's in Indio for years when I want some pretty good pizza. I travel there from Palm Desert. I have never been to the La Quinta Location. Johns in Palm Desert is the Typical Greek Diner/Burger place. You order and they bring it to you. Best place of all is Murphs. Its a family style fried chicken place at the Bermuda Dunes Airport. You must go here if you want fried chicken. I have been going here for over 15 years.

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    Ciro's Ristorante & Pizzeria
    81963 US Highway 111, Indio, CA 92201

    Ciro's of La Quinta
    78110 Calle Estado La, Quinta, CA

    John's Restaurant
    74601 Highway 111, Palm Desert, CA 92260

    Murph's Gaslight
    79860 Avenue 42, Bermuda Dunes, CA 92203

    3 Replies
    1. re: Foodandwine

      This sounds like a great start -- thanks for the help. I absolutely love fried chicken . . . can you tell me a little more about Murph's. Pan fried or deep fried? Sides? This sounds like a definite stop.

      Ciro's pizza - what kind of crust is it -- thin, thick, NY?

      Looking forward to checking these out.

      1. re: BRB

        Murphs is Family Style Pan Fried Chicken all inclusive meal. As to the sides they vary but typical Southern Fare.. I am not a fan of the ribs so I dont order them. Just go with the chicken meal, sit back and enjoy. They even give you a doggie bag to go!!

        Ciros is medium crust. its good not great but the best I have had in the valley.

        1. re: Foodandwine

          Thanks . . . definitely going to try Murph's.

    2. Anyone else? Any good ethnic or cheap eats near La Quinta or in the general area?

      1. After years of passing by the DEAR HUNTER, we decided to sptop in. Itis pretty divey, with a sign tha twarns you about wet floors due to spilled beer. The hot sandwiches and the wings were good. They have a cooling element that they place in the pitchers.

        It is very divey. Lots of tvs.

        1. . . . Just bumping this and hoping someone knows of ethnic eats in the desert . . . any??? Please :)

          4 Replies
          1. re: BRB

            Thai Smile
            Wang's in the Desert
            Monsoon Indian
            El Gallitto Mexican

            All in PSP except El Gallitto in Cat City

            1. re: RBCal

              I second El Gallitto.Good Mex food,fun atmosphere.

                1. re: RBCal

                  El Galito has the most addicting chips and salsa.
                  Cash only ! (Closed Sundays)

              1. Searching for a good margarita in Indio last week, I was directed to El Campanario, just off I-10 over the Monroe St. bridge on the right. Looking over their menu I asked the owner/manager(?) if they had a specialty and was told the en molcajete dishes. Tried the Tampico which was a mix of king crab legs, scallops, prawns and added octopus on my request. Very tasty.

                Ate breakfast the next morning at Rincon Norteno where I tried the Chilaquiles con Huevos, also very good. Noticed some posts on this board about them having the most authentic and tasty Mexican food around.

                El Campanario
                44185 Monroe
                760-342-3681

                Rincon Norteno
                83011 Indio Blvd
                760-347-4754