The Only Downtown Palm Springs Dining Guide You’ll Ever Need (2024)

Beneath sun-drenched, palm-fringed canopies, Downtown Palm Springs beckons foodies with its vibrant and diverse culinary scene. This enchanting desert city isn’t just a sunbather’s paradise—it’s a gastronomic wonderland that treats taste buds to a kaleidoscope of flavors. Here, every bite tells a creative story and shows off the area’s dedication to crafting unforgettable experiences. From chic rooftop eateries with panoramic desert views to the charming bistros that serve up farm-fresh delights, join us on this exploration of flavor while celebrating the bounty of the Coachella Valley. Here is your ultimate guide to dining in Downtown Palm Springs.

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Breakfast + Brunch

Wilma & Frieda

Credit: George Duchannes

Credit: George Duchannes

Credit: George Duchannes

Credit: George Duchannes

The Only Downtown Palm Springs Dining Guide You’ll Ever Need (6)

Nestled in the heart of Downtown Palm Springs, you can find Wilma & Frieda by spotting its second-story bistro balcony overlooking Palm Canyon Drive. Offering a modern twist on American comfort food, Wilma & Frieda is a family-owned establishment that’s known for its homey atmosphere and a mouthwatering menu. Look for dishes like Benny’s Bennie, Kim’s Banana Caramel French Toast, the tarragon chicken salad sandwich and more. The perfect spot for a hearty brunch, this restaurant’s commitment to high-quality food shines in every bite. The stellar service, too, will leave you feeling like you’re part of the family.

Townie Bagels

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For a taste of the Big Apple in the California desert, look no further than Townie Bagels. According to this bright and breezy shop, this is the only place in Palm Springs where you can get a true New York-style bagel—a distinction that has earned Townie popularity with locals. The bagels are boiled to perfection, then baked to achieve that quintessential chewy texture, making this shop a go-to spot for a quick breakfast or satisfying lunch in Downtown Palm Springs. Aside from bagels, Townie also offers fresh-baked bialys and breads, artisanal schmears, craveable sandwiches and coffee to wash it all down.

Cheeky’s

Credit: Hope Rollins

Credit: Hope Rollins

Credit: Hope Rollins

Credit: Hope Rollins

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Known for its creative, seasonal menu that features fresh ingredients, Cheeky’s has been the go-to place for indulgent morning meals since 2008. Whether you’re craving the buttermilk and corn pancakes, the chilaquiles or the famous house-cured bacon flight, this restaurant guarantees a delightful start to your day. Ready to monkey around? Place an order for a morning margarita or a spiked lemonade, then finish with a housemade sweet like the plum clafouti. Cheeky’s is a beloved breakfast and brunch spot that has captured the hearts of locals and visitors alike. It’s also an intimate space and usually super busy, so we recommend getting there early. Don’t worry, the food is worth the wait!

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Gabino’s Creperie

Credit: Gabino’s Creperie

Credit: Gabino’s Creperie

Credit: Gabino’s Creperie

Pretty in pink on Palm Canyon Drive, Gabino’s Creperie is serving up a delicious, versatile, French-inspired way to add some flavor to your day. This charming creperie serves both savory and sweet crepes, made to order with fresh and high-quality ingredients. Some of Gabino’s best-selling menu items include the hearty crepes, including the chicken pesto, BBQ chicken, Buffalo chicken ranch and the veggie. Or, if you’re looking for something sweet, you can’t go wrong with a classic banana and Nutella crepe. Personally, we think Gabino’s Creperie is the ideal spot for when you’re on the move yet still want a delicious meal—breakfast, brunch, lunch or a midday treat.

Lunch + Dinner

Trio Restaurant

Credit: Mollie Kimberling

Credit: Mollie Kimberling

Credit: Mollie Kimberling

Credit: Mollie Kimberling

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Modern California cuisine meets cool, classy elegance at this culinary gem in Palm Springs’ Uptown Design District. Recently rebranded but still known for its farm-to-table dishes and vibrant social scene, Trio has effortlessly evolved with the downtown dining scene of Palm Springs. As the restaurant celebrates 14 years of seasonal local fare, the space is taking on a fresh, updated appearance that complements Palm Springs’ evolving cityscape. Under the guidance of founder Tony Marchese, flamboyant tones have been swapped for a more sleek and stylish interior that now features light gray walls, warm woods and contemporary lighting fixtures. Through it all, Trio remains rooted in local, fresh cuisine. Start with warm white cheddar biscuits to share with the table, followed by house-made pastas, of-the-moment vegetables and mains like a Tomahawk pork chop and diver scallops. Elevate any of Trio’s dishes with a notable wine and a co*cktail lineup, featuring a whimsical blend of spirits, such as the Uptown Lemonade or Goodnight Out.

Local Insight: At the helm of Trio’s kitchen sits Executive Chef Jeremy Loomis—a Michigan native who moved to San Diego in 2011, where he spent the past eleven years. Loomis worked with renowned Chef Brian Malarkey before planting roots in the Coachella Valley in 2022, where he now showcases his talents and focuses on locality and seasonality.

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Birba

Credit: Derek Feniger

Credit: Derek Feniger

Credit: Derek Feniger

Credit: Derek Feniger

Credit: Derek Feniger

Credit: Derek Feniger

Credit: Derek Feniger

Credit: Derek Feniger

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A chic and contemporary pizzeria and bar, Birba offers a taste of Italy in the heart of Downtown Palm Springs, brought to you by F10 Creative—the same group behind Cheeky’s, Seymour’s and other beloved Palm Spring staples. With a string-lit outdoor patio full of olive trees and an impressive wine and co*cktail list, it’s the perfect spot to unwind and savor delicious food in a relaxed, chic atmosphere. Birba’s wood-fired pizza steals the show, featuring perfectly blistered crusts and hit-the-spot toppings like truffle oil and fresh arugula. One of our favorites is Piece of the Pie, made with walnut pesto, prosciutto, pecorino, goat cheese, shish*to peppers and arugula—not only is it delicious, but this particular dish also benefits the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

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4 Saints

Credit: Kristin Teig

Credit: Visit Greater Palm Springs

Credit: Visit Greater Palm Springs

Credit: Laure Joliet

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For a memorable fine-dining experience in Downtown Palm Springs, we recommend making a reservation at the elegant and unforgettable 4 Saints. Perched seven stories above the ground atop the Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs Hotel, 4 Saints offers a dining experience as breathtaking as the view. Marrying culinary artistry with gorgeous vistas of the desert landscape and the San Jacinto Mountains, this rooftop restaurant is stunning inside and out. The menu showcases a taste of the finer things, with dishes like lobster ceviche, grilled Spanish octopus, bone-in filet and Icelandic salmon, along with an impressive selection of whiskeys and hand-crafted co*cktails.

Farm

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Located in the La Plaza de California, Farm is a Provençal-style restaurant known for its commitment to using locally sourced, organic ingredients. Walking into Farm, amid a patio decked with blooming flowers, guests are greeted with a sensory experience that goes beyond the palate. The aromas from plates passing by will have your mouth watering and your mind daydreaming of an afternoon spent in the south of France. While Farm is a wonderful spot for both breakfast and lunch (don’t miss the croque madame), we absolutely adore how this country-chic patio transforms in the evening for dinner.

Tac/Quila

Photography By: Nathan Cox

Credit: Tac Quila

Credit: Tac Quila

Photography By: Nathan Cox

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Much like its sister restaurants, Farm and Clandestino, Tac/Quila is passionate about serving up incredible, authentic flavors while providing patrons with deliciously memorable experiences. A fusion of traditional Jalisco-style flavors and modern culinary creativity, Tac/Quila has become a downtown favorite for its inviting atmosphere—whether you’re a tourist taking a break from the Palm Springs sun or a group of local regulars sipping on tequila or mezcal. With its extensive menu and bottle selection, Tac/Quila is a fantastic place to explore the diverse world of Mexican spirits while enjoying tasty plates like aguachile, tacos and fajitas, then perhaps finishing with a bowl of arroz con leche.

Rooster and the Pig

Photo By: George Duchannes

Photo By: George Duchannes

Photo By: George Duchannes

Boasting a tantalizing blend of flavors and culinary influences, Rooster and the Pig is a Vietnamese-American restaurant set in a cozy and bustling atmosphere along Indian Canyon Drive. Rooster and the Pig is a local hidden gem type of restaurant. It’s also first-come, first-serve, so we suggest getting there early. There’s a reason you’ll see a line of hungry regulars flocking the door—from the crispy rolls, sticky lemongrass chicken and sauteed eggplant to the pork-belly fried rice, every item on the menu is as delicious and tempting as the last.

Workshop Kitchen + Bar

Photo Provided By: Workshop Kitchen + Bar

Credit: Ella Merrill

Credit: Ella Merrill

Housed in the beautifully renovated 1920s El Paseo Building, Workshop Kitchen + Bar is a showcase of modern architecture and progressive American cuisine. Known for its minimalist decor, the restaurant’s unique and undistracted setting allows for creative and eye-catching dishes to shine. The menu focuses on seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, resulting in food that is both visually stunning and delicious. With Chef Michael Beckman at the helm, Workshop Kitchen + Bar’s food and beverage program stays true to the restaurant’s atelier-inspired philosophy, always prioritizing craft, artfulness and quality. Whether you’re passionate about cuisine, architecture, interior design or all of the above, Workshop Kitchen + Bar is a must-visit dining destination in Downtown Palm Springs.

Chi Chi Restaurant

Credit: Shea Clooney

Credit: Shea Clooney

Inside the stunning and chic Avalon Hotel, Chi Chi Restaurant is a stylish eatery known for its chef-driven menu and fresh California-inspired fare. During the day, you can place your order poolside from a comfortable cabana for the quintessential Palm Springs experience. Or if you want to eat later in the evening, we suggest pulling up a chair for light bites, such as the mezze platter from the sunset menu, or a delicious main like the branzino from the dinner menu. No matter what time of day you’re enjoying your food from Chi Chi Restaurant, one thing is for certain: It is always a good time for sangria.

Bar-Forward

Boozehounds

Credit: Jenni-Kate Rogers of Raven and the Willow

Credit: Jenni-Kate Rogers of Raven and the Willow

Credit: Jenni-Kate Rogers of Raven and the Willow

Credit: Jenni-Kate Rogers of Raven and the Willow

Credit: Jenni-Kate Rogers of Raven and the Willow

Credit: Jenni-Kate Rogers of Raven and the Willow

Credit: Jenni-Kate Rogers of Raven and the Willow

Credit: Jenni-Kate Rogers of Raven and the Willow

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Semi-new to the Downtown Palm Springs dining scene, Boozehounds is the ultimate destination for foodies, libation aficionados and, of course, four-legged friends! The interior of the restaurant is a beautiful nod to Palm Springs’ midcentury modern history, and both the atrium and patio areas are dog-friendly, so you can enjoy a delicious meal with your favorite companion. This laid-back gastropub features a vast selection of local and international beers, creative co*cktails and mouthwatering menus for brunch, lunch, dinner or (our favorite) late night. While you’re there, be sure to order a specialty co*cktail and raise your glass to Striker, the handsome dog memorialized in the Boozehounds logo.

Sandfish Sushi and Whiskey

Credit: Emma Black

Credit: Emma Black

Credit: Emma Black

Credit: Emma Black

Credit: Emma Black

Credit: Emma Black

Credit: Emma Black

Credit: Emma Black

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With a sleek and industrial interior, a stunning stage is set for an intimate gastronomic experience sought after by sushi lovers and whiskey connoisseurs. At Sandfish Sushi and Whiskey, the team combines two beloved culinary crafts in one extraordinary culinary masterpiece. An undeniable star of Downtown Palm Springs dining, this stylish, upscale restaurant offers an extensive list of brown spirits and rice wine, as well as an array of fresh, expertly crafted sushi and sashimi. Sandfish’s menu also features creative and luxurious main dishes that are sure-fire crowd-pleasers. For the ultimate visit, go big and opt for the omakase—a chef’s tasting menu unlike any other.

Azúcar

Credit: Jose Pombo

Credit: John Pacheco

Credit: Azùcar at La Serena Villas

Credit: John Pacheco

Located within the historic La Serena Villas, Azúcar is a vibrant oasis for those in the mood for contemporary cuisine and phenomenal co*cktails. The brunch, lunch and dinner menus feature dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, created to complement Azúcar’s beautiful drink program. (Trust us, you can’t go wrong with one of their margaritas!) Featuring the locally famous Frida Wall, Azúcar’s romantic courtyard, complete with lush greenery and a sparkling pool, sets an enchanting atmosphere for a memorable dinner or weekend brunch. If you’re there after 5 p.m., be sure to head upstairs to Sugar High, Azúcar’s rooftop bar, for a full-service experience and sweet views of the San Jacinto Mountains.

Bar Cecil

Photography Provided By: Elevation Creative Agency

Credit: Bar Cecil

Photography Provided By: Elevation Creative Agency

Photography Provided By: Elevation Creative Agency

After opening its doors in 2020, Bar Cecil has swiftly become a Downtown Palm Springs staple for its meticulously curated menus and visually stunning design. Inspired by the iconic photographer Cecil Beaton, Bar Cecil distributes an equal amount of care and dedication to its food and co*cktail programs. Some of our favorite highlights from the food menu include the deviled eggs, black truffle bucatini, oyster mushrooms and the addictive chocolate chip cookies. As for the co*cktail menu, you can’t go wrong with anything on the list, but we were especially intrigued by the Fleur Blanche Milk Punch—a spectacular concoction that you don’t see every day.

Clandestino

Credit: Clandestino

Credit: Clandestino

Credit: Clandestino

Credit: Clandestino

Credit: Clandestino

On most nights, if you’re on North Palm Canyon Drive, you’ll be able to catch a crowd flocking toward Clandestino, an alluring co*cktail lounge that serves up Latin-inspired cuisine, fresh margaritas and hand-crafted co*cktails. Known as “Tac/Quila’s moody sister,” Clandestino (which translates to “kept secret or done secretively”) is aptly named. Dark, stealthy and located off the beaten path, this space sets a vibe that is intimate and exciting, whether you’ve stopped by for an impromptu nightcap or reserved space for a special occasion.

Like its sister restaurants, especially Farm, Clandestino supports local farms by using fresh, farm-to-table ingredients in its cuisine and co*cktails. Keep an eye out because you’ll probably catch us there sipping on the Moody Sister or the Te Enamore and enjoying some gourmet tacos.

Jordan Nishkian

Writer|Website

Born and raised near the Pacific Coast, Jordan Nishkian is a California girl through and through. She graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a BA in Creative Writing and a BA in Anthropology, and her favorite place to be is curled up in a comfy chair with a book in her hand and a pen in her hair.

The Only Downtown Palm Springs Dining Guide You’ll Ever Need (2024)
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