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Dec 19, 2008 01:21 PM

Christmas in Palm Springs

Does anybody have recommendations for Christmas dinner in Palm Springs? We were going to try the Purple Palm, but they just called me and said they'll only be offering their lunch menu that evening.

Right now, I'm deciding between Circa 59 and Johannes. Sounds like Circa 59 may be more a scene (not necessarily a good thing) and Johannes may be better food. I'd prefer someplace with good food and good service - if it's also "see and be seen", that's fine, but not a requirement...

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  1. so many of the places are closed. We're dining at St James in the Vineyard (now called Tuscan Vineyard or something like that). Good food, you can google St James restaurant palm springs and check out their menu. Ate there a couple years ago, quite pleased.

    Last year we did Les Vallareuse (sp?). Our third Xmas dinner there, and the least satisfactory of our visits. Beautiful place, but the food is overpriced.

    1. Had dinner at Johannes last year on New Year's Eve and have been there many other times. If they're open, you can't do better in Palm Springs. Small, great service,
      top notch food. Surprising things on the menu sometimes, but always excellent. I've tried just about all the pricey spots in Palm Springs over the years, but Johannes is the best. Another nice place is Spencers - kind of a rat pack ambiance and more regular steaks/seafood menu, but good.

      1. Just thought of another place. Kind of campy old Palm Springs atmosphere: Melvyn's. Check that out, too.

        2 Replies
        1. re: niia

          Melvin's? Spencer's? Do you still listen to 70's music too?
          I do however second Johannes and add Copley's and Zin.

          1. re: Joe Colombo

            During our last two trips to Palm Springs we had dinner at Johannes and Zin. Both of them were not outstanding but overall we thought that Zin was better. Johannes was quite pricey for rather average food. Zin has also not terrible creative cuisine but at least the execution was better.
            We really miss Blend in La Quinta, we had two outstanding tasting menues.

        2. UPDATE: We had Christmas dinner at Johannes - and found it to be pricey and not all that good. Prix fixe that evening was $65 - which was fine. What was not so fine was a mandatory 20% gratuity for all parties regardless of size. Why not just make the prix fixe $80? Very tacky...

          As for the food, my starter of smoked salmon and beets was very good. My main of trout was a bit too trouty for me... A little fish and just not all the interesting. My partner had chicken with a savory fruit sauce - it was tasty, though rather dry and the stuffing alongside was tepid. Apple strudel for dessert was uninspired and unmemorable. And we were seated in the back room (i.e. Siberia) despite my requesting otherwise when I confirmed our reservation.

          Next night we ate at El Mirasol. Really fun atmosphere, very strong margaritas and good Mexican food - though the strength of the margaritas makes for a rather hazy recollection of dinner...

          Saturday night had dinner at Zin American Bistro. I quite enjoyed my sweet-and-sour meatballs and the accompanying Belgian fries were fantastic. Manager recommended some great wines by the glass too - we really had a good time at this place and liked the food.

          Other spots:

          Hangover cured by waffles at Elmer's. Next day's hangover cured by cabbage soup and pastrami reuben at Sherman's. Also enjoyed both the food and the setting for Sunday brunch at Norma's at The Parker.

          I should also add that while PS may not be a foodie's paradise, we loved our long weekend there - beautiful mountains, amazing mid-century architecture and late night Jacuzzi soaks. We're going back very soon...