Best Eats in Palm Springs

Where to eat, drink, and sleep in California’s coolest desert

There are no scarves or gloves allowed in Palm Springs. It’s sunny and gorgeous there, where desert heat meets a perpetually cool scene. Once the playground of Hollywood starlets and the Rat Pack, Palm Springs still looks like the 70s, with sprawling single-level homes and colorful, midcentury modern décor. Wide streets are lined with palm trees that rarelyblow in the wind, air conditioning is blasted year round, and every hotel has a glistening pool perpetually filled with sunbathers. What’s more, Palm Springs has much better food than anyone realizes — until they go and try for themselves, of course. And there’s no lack of Palm Springs veterans, from waitresses to hotel managers, who love to reminisce on the golden era of funky tiki lounges and Sinatra’s impromptu serenades.

Eat: The Parker Palm Springs is quintessential desert chic with low ceilings and bright colors. Their outdoor breakfast nook, Norma’s is part diner, part high-end, cheeky eatery serving indulgent

breakfast fare. Immerse yourself in Palm Springs’ local flavor at El Mirasol where tamales, tacos, and enchiladas come with the area’s most refreshing margaritas. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Kenn Wilson)

Or hit Jake’s Ready to Eat for shockingly good and fresh American bites like their famous egg sandwich with goat cheese and apple-smoked bacon, chicken Milanese sandwich, or the fish tacos. And at dinner, there are two places to go before any other — The Tropicale and Citron.

The Tropicale is a throwback to Palm Springs in the 70s; think lump crab Louis, Hawaiian pizzas, and bananas foster for dessert along with bright blue frozen cocktails. On the flip side, Citron is the sleek fine dining restaurant at the Viceroy Palm Springs with a view of the pool and modern California cuisine.

Drink: Find stiff and seasonal drinks at the effortlessly hip and dimly lit King’s Highway inside the Ace Hotel. Claim a white leather bar stool at the mirrored Mini Bar at the Parker Palm Springs and watch the chic passersby, cocktail in hand. Without a doubt, Palm Springs’ best cocktail scenes are found by the pools and, like everything in that town, start earlier in the day than you’d expect.

Sleep: Of course, the three boutique hotels that rule the roost are the Ace Hotel, Viceroy, and the Parker Palm Springs. But there’s a hidden gem called the Horizon Hotel, that feels like your own midcentury modern summer home. “The Residence” is their 1,000 square foot private house that makes for the perfect Palm Springs splurge, because it comes complete with a step-down wet bar, circular fireplace, and plush zebra-print chairs.