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palm springs/desert/rancho mirage

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we are headed to palm desert for a long weekend- any recommendations for some chow-worthy spots out there? we are looking for inexpensive to moderately priced, local hang-outs, good atmosphere nice, but not neccesary (ie no need to find any pseudo-la scene as we are on vaca...and no need to party like it's 1999...), yummy food- love all ethnic cuisine, american is even ok- brunch or dinner preferred

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  1. I generally do not like buffets as a rule, but the Sunday Brunch Buffet at the Marriott Desert Springs is excellent and I highly recommend it. If you go early, it is geared for breakfast. Later, after noon hour, it becomes more lunch. There's eggs and omelettes to order, fresh fruit, smoked fish, crab, shrimp baked goods, fresh squeezed juices and etc. It's expensive, but very relaxed and you can enjoy yourself to your hearts content. My other favorite is for the breakfast at John's Restaurant. Good Eggs Benedict and Hash Browns.

    For fish, I recommend The Fisherman. There are three locations,

    Some other recommendations are discussed:



    2 Replies
    1. re: fourunder

      fish in the desert? ok- may give it a whirl!

      1. re: sgl

        Don't forget to order the Bahia Imported Beer for around two bucks a bottle. The following have information and menus. If you do decide to go, there is a daily chalk board menu that has the days offerings and it is quite large and not reflected on the website. The Early Bird Fish and Chips is ridiculously low priced around $7.00......less if you are a senior citizen.......and all the fish is fresh.



    2. I second the Fisherman's Market. If you want small, local and good food, we also always stop at:

      El Gallito in Cathedral City (carnitas on Thursday only...no reservations, cash only, local),

      El Mirasole in Palm Springs,

      La Bella Cucina (72-355 Hwy 111, Palm Desert (family owned and operated)

      A little fancier is Pomme Fritte in Palm Springs (Belgian - great mussels)

      2 Replies
        1. re: sgl

          If you go to Pomme Frite stick to the mussels and Belgian beer. Other seafood there is poor and overpriced.

      1. I've recommended Romitti's on Washington in PD before & others have enjoyed - you can search for reports, but it's been awhile since we've been there. I've heard Desert Sage has reopened, which is great news!

        1. If you want to go off the beaten path, I have relatives in Desert Hot Springs that own El Charro... solid cuisine of Western Mexico (Birria, Camarones a la Diabla, Caldos, Guanajuato style Enchiladas etc.,).... the place suffered a little bit when the parents moved back to Jalisco (they used to cook up all kinds of specials that are rarely found NOB like Quail Carnitas marinaded in Orange Juice, Beef Loin in its Juices, Hare Picadillo in Adobo, Caldo Michi etc.,)

          El Charro
          13156 Palm Dr
          Desert Hot Spgs, CA 92240

          (760) 251-0852

          3 Replies
          1. re: Eat_Nopal

            ok- this is exactly what i am into! will let you know if we go-many thanks!

            1. re: Eat_Nopal

              dude!! thank you- see below- we LOVED el charro so much!!!

              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                Just tried calling them to get their hours and the number is disconnected. They still around?

              2. For authentic Mexican food, Teresa's in Indio is the favorite among locals. It's a hole in the wall, but the food is great.
                Also in Indio is Frankie's Fish with excellent sushi and other fresh fish offerings. Prices are low and quality is high here. This small and unassuming restaurant enjoys a great local reputation. I'd go here over Fisherman's Market any day.
                For drinks and/or light dinner in a beautiful setting with reasonable prices, give the bar at the Cliffhouse in La Quinta a try. The dining room is decent, but not cheap.
                Chez Pierre in Palm Desert is an excellent French bistro -- unassuming but nice atmosphere with excellent food. During the winter, be sure to try the chef's wild game selections. Other favorites there are steak frites and the mussels.
                Pomme Frites in Palm Springs is fun option for mussels and/or Belgian stew with a Belgian beer. The sidewalk tables are great for people-watching during high season.

                1. Had brunch at Zin last weekend - very reasonably priced and not a buffet. The huevos rancheros were the best ever!

                  1. ok- so here is the update:. thanks to everyone for their input:
                    thurs pm late dinner at matchbox pizza in ps- nice view over the thurs night palm canyon street fair ( an unexpected plus) food was pretty good- great beer list- i had chimay, huubie had lost ? something which he loved- service started out sort of lame, but they tried so hard and remedied their putting us into a smoking section outside without being clear that that is what it was by rewarding us with the awesome table on the front balcony...friday dinner at okura robata in la quinta- great service, atmosphere with fresh, delicious nigiri and overly fussy rolls- resort prices and resort style dining- to be expected in a resort town. great homemade ice cream for dessert at lappert's in la quinta- fantastic date and caramel ice cream. saturday "brunch"- awesome, down and dirty mexican fare at el charro per eat nopal's rec- a total winner- i had soft tacos- the fish was unbelievable= a fresh filet with cilantro, lime and onion on fresh corn tortillas, hubbie had a pork burritto with no "aftermath" as he so delicately put it-sat pm off to a local's recommendation of le basil in palm desert- in a minmall- this vietnamese tried hard and though it was not as good as what we used to eat when we lived in sf, they tried hard- great service, nice wine for a restaurant of this type- reasonable prices- the appetizer of xiao bao (? sorry this was 5 days ago!) or vietnamese scallion pancakes with all the fixings- basil, mint, sprouts, etc- stood out- the rest was mediocre. dessert at the yogurt cafe- or as the proprieter stated "the world's best yogurt" was yummy- choc or vanilla yogurt with mix-ins- definitely the place to be on sat night in pD- packed! sunday night was the absolute best: blend in la quinta was fantastic and worthy of any high caliber meal you can get in LA- outstanding and generous service, wonderful prep and attention to detail- we started with the classic wedge salad and mac n/ cheese with lobster- the flavors were crisp, fresh and melded well. i had the deconstructed pot roast aka short ribs, root veg and pureed parsnip, hubbie had sweetbreads, wonderful port with dessert and great wine selection as well- the chef sadly will be closing this month- if you plan to be in the coachella valley before april DO NOT MISS BLEND. then look for his next project in la (we talked at length with him about his plans- lovely, personable, talented young guy)

                    sorry so long- hope it helps the next visitor!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: sgl

                      thanks to you, sgl, we did not miss blend. had dinner there a couple of saturdays ago and just found out that they'll close their doors after this coming weekend. we had unforgettably delicious veal sweetbreads for first course, then braised veal cheeks (it was veal night) with spaetzle and fresh tagliatelle with lamb sausage for entrees. both were the kind of comfort food you'd get at grandma's if grandma were julia child or lidia bastianich. glad we didn't miss out, but hope that the kathmans will stay in the valley.

                    2. oh yes- forgot one place- our final brunch was monday am - what used to be the sunshine cafe right next to chez pierre- it was awesome 2 years ago and totally packed on weekends, but i seem to recall that the owners were splitting the business and there was another one somewhere else-(one listed in cathedral city) anyways this location is now called the palms cafe- suffice it to say- i would NOT recommend this place - everything in my huevos rancheros came from a can...yuck!!!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: sgl

                        Just to bring this thread more current--- we and our friends have had wonderful Ital;ian food, service , nice wines, excellent deserts, and ambiance in Bella Vita. It is on corner of Country Club and Cook---I believe that is Palm Desert and not Rancho Mirage.

                        Bella Vita
                        74970 Country Club Dr, Palm Desert, CA 92260

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

                        1. re: kel

                          Mario's in Palm Desert and other locations - huge portions, pretty good Italian

                          Roy's in Rancho Mirage - Hawaiian fusion excellent

                          Morton's - steakhouse, high end, filet is enough or two - ask to split plate

                          La Perlita - best Mexican, off Ramon, family run in Palm Springs, great barbarcoa and chili rellenos top of their class

                          And always, City Wok now only in Palm Desert

                          Romitti's no longer open, in Palm Desert

                          City Wok
                          74970 Country Club Dr Ste 450, Palm Desert, CA 92260