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Sep 9, 2009 01:22 PM

Palm Springs food finds ....

Just spent 5 nights in PS. Tried to find as many interesting, authentic, non chain restaurants in PS, not in the whole Coachella Valley south of PS. First of all, there are many to pick from. It seems that PS gets downplayed because of the larger and less interesting restaurants tied to the golf/hotel industry in the Coachella Valley. We found out that PS is a foodie oasis in the valley of bland...
In no order of preference...
Las Casuelas - busy, fun, excellent service and food quality. Try the Frijoles Rancheros(whole pinto beans in pinto bean sauce w/sliced onion and Guerito Chiles, cilantro and tomato) .. Tamales (pork-with mole sauce) were very moist and flavorful. Dinner for two with two Margaritas each -- less than $40.
Thai Smile - Best overall meal of our trip. Small (maybe 20 tables) all Asian staff, friendly with fast and informed service. Had the Lemongrass Chicken w/green chile paste...This was a fabulous meal. Couldn't figure out where the smoky flavor was coming from and our server said it was from a dash or two of fish sauce tossed into the wok right before plating the dish .. who knew? Green Curry Shrimp was also memorable. Excellent creamy currry that we couldn't get enough of. Two dinners with two Thai beers .. less than $30.
Shermans Deli - Popular Jewish deli...Just because I was there I had to try the sweet & sour cabbage soup w/roast beef. Oh my.....A complete meal along with freshly baked light rye on the side ... Could not have asked for a better lunch. Lunch for two -- less than $20.
Matchbox Pizza/Bistro -- Who says one can't enjoy a 108 degree day with a restaurant that boasts an 800 degree oven! Thankfully you sit 'outside' at Matchbox with the sprayers blowing cool air down to your tables....Their chopped salad was out of this world, really. Romaine lettuce, small pasta rings, tomato, bacon, red onion vinaigrette, just excellent. Wood fired pepperoni pizza, slightly blackened along the edges, slightly chewy in the center. Fresh ingredients and perfect flavors..can't wait to go back. Two cocktails, salad (shared) 10" pizza -- $35
Fishermans Grill -- A real find in PS. Fresh fish in the desert - why not? Walk through galley, place your order, take a number, and dinner is served to your table in less than 10 minutes. From oysters to halibut to steamers to catfish, its all here. Had the fresh halibut sandwich served on a herb roll w/ripe tomato, lettuce, onion, and from scratch tartar sauce. Sandwiches come with potato wedges (ask them to make them extra crispy) and coleslaw....Just outstanding. Dinner for two & two beers -- $30.
Davey's Hideaway -- Probably the most Dean Martin/Sammy Davis-ish 1960's style place in PS. Dark (but well lit) - piano music coming from across the room, professional bartenders who know their craft, along with just an excellent steakhouse menu. Both of us went with the 3 course set price option ($24 each) What a screaming deal! Excellent prime rib, garlic mash potatoes, grilled perfectly fresh asparagus... a nice glass of Pinot Noir, with cheescake to top off the meal -- Two excellent meals - with excellent service - $48.
Cafe Aroma (Idyllwild -up in the San Jacinto Mts) Confused server, very slow service, were told that only one chef was working (at lunch on Labor Day Saturday) Lunch took over 45 minutes to arrive... OK meal. Beautiful area, nice layout, live acoustic music was a nice touch.
All in all, we found that PS has some excellent and original choices....along with being just a beautiful place to spend some time.

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  1. Four "foodies" and we spent 5 days in PS. We stayed at the Holiday in and every restaurant we sampled was less than 5-miles away.
    You are right!
    --Sherman's cabbage soup is GREAT but ….
    --Manhattan In The Desert: The Hot Pastrami Sandwich is better than Sherman's (as are the desserts)
    --Matchbox Pizza/Bistro – the BEST calamari I have ever eaten.
    --El Miraso – Mexican
    --Al Dente – my meal was good; my friends were less happy
    --Roscoe Grill – several people referred us to this place and all suggested the fried chicken. They were out of fried chicken. What we had a so-so and the service lacking.
    --Fisherman's Grill - visit their other restaurant SHANGHAI REDS right behind Fisherman's Grill. GREAT atmospher, food and prices!