One place no one has mentioned at all in the nearly five years long thread of this posting regarding Palm Springs restaurants is Spencer's at the Mountain. We are part-time residents here in Palm Springs and we have eaten regularly at Spencer's for Sunday brunch, weekday breakfast and lunch and many dinners since our arrival here in 2006.
It has always been consistently excellent and is frequently outstanding as it was last evening when we brought two out of town friends from San Francisco there to join us for dinner. Appetizers of classic French onion soup, Iceberg wedge salad and spicy ahi tuna tartare were all perfectly executed. Mains of 8-rib rack of lamb (A great value at $35.00) and Dover Sole ($40) were likewise outstanding, beautifully cooked and presented. The service was gracious and professional, despite the fact that we arrived to a packed house at prime time (7PM) Friday night on a Holiday weekend. We were seated immediately at a lovely banquette table inside near the piano player who plays beautifully and unobtrusively lending a marvelous classic atmosphere. For those so inclined, they also have a lovely heated outdoor patio with beautiful trees. Valet service was prompt and professional. While we have been to most, if not all of the restaurants mentioned in this entire thread of this posting with decidedly mixed results, we just can't say enough about Spencer's. It never disappoints and it very frequently blows us away with its overall competence, quality and effortless professionalism.
Thanks to a previous search on this board, I came upon a fantastic Italian place and we had one of the best pasta dishes we've ever experienced. I even wrote (twice!) to Gourmet.com to see if I could get the recipe, but no luck yet.
Here's the info --
Restaurant Name: Kalura Trattoria Italiana
Restaurant address line 1: 124 Sth Palm Canyon Drive
Restaurant address line 2: Palm Springs CA
Requested Recipe: Vermicelli all' Aragosta -- Angel hair pasta sauteed with garlic olive oil, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, tomato pilled fillet, fresh lobster meat, in a light spicy pinot grigio wine sauce.
Comments: I have tried to make this at home. Complete failure! It sounds so simple but the dish we were served was magnificent! I had to ask two separate servers to verify that the little chunks of tender, fresh lobster really were lobster as they curled up and *looked* like shrimp (but *tasted* like lobster chunks...) Basically I'd like to know how he prepped the lobster and how the sauce was achieved.
If you try this place, please do report back!
Stick to Northous comments. Seems right on the money, and quality. El Mirasol is wonderful for good, affordable, very casual Mexican, and definitely avoid Billy Reed's. Is Sherman's Deli still in the Springs? Thought they moved, or at least opened a Palm Desert location.
Wow, Carter! Such an expert you can tell this person coming to visit Palm Springs to listen only to the comments of 'Northous', since you've deemed them to be correct. Yet, you don't even know Sherman's is still open in Palm Springs? And, by the way, 'Special Occasion' restaurant? Perhaps, their visit to Palm Springs is considered a 'Special Occasion'. Perhaps they are here not on a Motel 6 budget. In my opinion ---- the list given by Cluemap is a sound one. He seems to know the lay of the gastronomic land.
avoid billy reed's like the plague....unless quantity is more important than decent food and atmosphere-
riccios good but $$$$$
avoid melvyn's, $$$$ and overrated
le valluris for a special evening, $$$$
but most important:
el mirasol, 140 e palm canyon (not the 1 in palm desert)- fantastic mexican, keyed to several outstanding sauces: mole, pipian, adobado, tomatillo, and more - sit on patio and look at the mountain!
We just spent a few days there with the kids. For kitsch up the wazoo and good value chow you can't beat
Billy Reeds Restaurant
1800 N. Palm Canyon Dr.
Good for potpies, fish and chips and that sort of stuff. Also, the chocolate cake was pretty darn good.
Also, I second the recommendation for Sherman's Deli. It was very friendly and the food was fine.
I would warn chow pals to avoid a mini chain called Taqueria. There are several in the area. I thought I could get a quick bite with the kids but it was the quintessential tourist trap. Really expensive and staggeringly mediocre.
Enjoy your trip.
In Palm Springs
John Henry's (Continental)
Le Vallauris (French)
Europa at the Villa Royale (Continental)
La Provence (French)
LG's (Steaks) Always BIG debates on steak houses and some will say LG's is a no go. Go.
Sherman's Deli (packed on weekends)
In Rancho Mirage
Shame on the Moon (Continental)
In Palm Desert
Cafe des Beaux Arts, (French)
Le Paon (Continental)