Where to Eat in Palm Springs for an Elegant Night Out
Palm Springs has long been the playground of the rich and famous. Celebrities who have owned homes here include Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Streisand, and Leonardo DiCaprio. There’s no shortage of upscale designer boutiques, world-class golf courses, and luxury spas. As for where to eat in Palm Springs, posh restaurants abound. Here are some ideas for an elegant night out while you’re in town.
This smart, minimalist restaurant and lounge evolved from the cavernous 1950s post office. The white interior with hot pink accents is quintessential Palm Springs decor, and the backlit onyx bar is stunning. The menu at EIGHT4NINE is somewhat small but highly ambitious. Bold ethnic flavors transform ordinary soul food into dishes that pop with flavor.
Choose from creative starters like shoyu pork belly cooked in rice wine and karashi mustard or mushrooms and caramelized Brussels sprouts on toast. The housemade ricotta cheese is good for whatever ails you. Marsala pork tenderloin, sourdough-crusted Chilean sea bass and mesquite-smoked carne asada also get rave reviews. Candied apple crème brûlée is guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Of all your choices of where to eat in Palm Springs, Le Vallauris is possibly the most romantic. The outdoor seating area is especially charming with flowers in full bloom and trees twinkling in white lights.
The French take dining seriously, and Le Vallauris is famous for its formality and attention to detail. Each day’s menu is painstakingly handwritten and propped on an easel for your perusal. Your sommelier and server will be dressed in spotless white uniforms. Typical dishes on the changing prix fixe menu include oxtail ravioli with cremini mushrooms and sauteed Maine lobster with more butter than you normally consume in a week. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
If you don’t associate cabbage rolls, schnitzel or beef stroganoff with Palm Springs restaurants, you should. Owner Miro Terzic, along with both his wife and mother, elevate Central European cuisine to new heights. The intimate setting and outstanding service are also unusual for hearty, homestyle cooking. The understated decor is warm and inviting. Outdoors on the sweeping patio, there are heat lamps and blankets for the chairs when temperatures drop.
Burek is a traditional Slavic meat pie with flaky phyllo dough, and many reviewers say that Terzic’s is the best they’ve ever tasted. Cioppino is a savory stew of fish, scallops, prawns, mussels and clams cooked in wine with herbs and tomatoes. The duckling is perfectly crispy. If you’re tempted to have the apple strudel after dinner, give in. Miro’s is consistently rated among the top three restaurants in town by both TripAdvisor and Yelp.
Spencer’s has won numerous local awards for its food, patio dining, and wine list. The stylish, mid-century modern eatery sits at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains in the iconic Palm Springs Tennis Club. The lovely view, wood decor, low lighting and live piano music suggest late-1950s glamor. It’s easy to imagine that the Rat Pack probably had a standing reservation here.
This is a safe place for upscale diners who are intimidated by ingredients they’ve never heard of. It’s classic American cuisine down to the crisp wedge salad and loaded baked potato. Steaks and lobster don’t disappoint. Rack of lamb crusted with herbs and whole-grain mustard, beef Wellington and center-cut veal chop are also favorites. Reviewers frequently mention the warm, puffy rolls, and the old-style banana cream pie is a happy ending indeed.
Kiyosaku isn’t the flashiest of restaurants, but it feels like an authentic Japanese inn run by impeccable hosts. Kiyo, his wife, his daughter, and his two grandchildren, enjoy interacting with guests and getting to know the regulars. Many customers have been dining here for 20 years or more.
Kiyo is a stickler for high quality, so this might be the freshest seafood you eat during your stay. Traditional sushi, sashimi and nigiri feature tuna, salmon, tobiko, mackerel, sea eel and sea bream. The tamagoyaki, a Japanese-style omelet, also gets high marks. The chef is also happy to accommodate culinary adventurers who want to try something off the menu. Ika somen, a sashimi made from raw squid finely cut to resemble noodles, is one of his specialties. Freshly grated ginger and homemade ponzu sauce make the dish.
Few Palm Springs restaurants are as hidden away as this charming wine bar. The low ceilings and dim lighting set the perfect stage for romance. The tiny bar was designed to resemble a jewelry box, and the larger lounge features a fireplace, comfortable couches, and hanging chairs.
As the name implies, service is counter-only. A diverse, affordable selection of wines by the glass with a surprising number of French labels begs you to sample the smorgasbord as well. Come hungry. The well-rounded menu includes Black Forest ham, leek and Gruyère croquettes; charred black pepper beef carpaccio; braised baby artichoke hearts; and foie gras mousse. Be advised that Counter Reformation serves beer and wine only.
Johannes Bacher, who hails from a small mountain village in Austria, has hundreds of awards from The New York Times, Travel and Leisure, Bon Appetit, Zagat, Wine Spectator, and other media outlets from all over the globe. Bacher spent decades traveling the world to expand his classical training to all kinds of cuisines.
The building is comfortable and relaxed, with minimalist decorations, warm wood accents, and apricot-colored walls inside that give it a homey feel. There are many regional flavors to choose from, but the authentic German and Austrian dishes steal the show. Gruyère spaetzle, bigger-than-your-head wiener schnitzel, and pretzel- and horseradish-crusted pork chop are testaments to Bacher’s talent. Valrhona chocolate cake, profiteroles and apple strudel, of course, are all on the dessert menu.
The Edge Steakhouse
This sleek, unique, gorgeous restaurant on a cliffside offers outstanding food and a breathtaking view of the Coachella Valley. Just the walkway to the entrance, lined with glowing fire pits and swaying palm trees, is worth the trip. The minimalist interior features a soaring ceiling and dramatic glass walls.
Hand-cut steaks from several different countries are treated in the dry-aging room for anywhere from 21 to 65 days. The extensive list of sauces includes horseradish cream, chimichurri, bleu cheese, and bearnaise. Seasonal specials might include braised lamb shank over celery root purée or Atlantic scallops with red pepper risotto. A curated wine list and reimagined cocktail classics are perfect complements to the robust fare and decadent desserts.
Make Desert Oasis Your Home Base
Elegant restaurants are just the tip of the iceberg of things to do in Palm Springs. Book a stay at Desert Oasis by Welk Resorts to experience the many other fine things the area has to offer.