Stay in an ice hotel, attend a winter festival and wander through an ice castle.
The dining scene in Palm Springs has evolved in recent years, from somewhat stodgy to fun and sophisticated. These days, the desert city’s culinary landscape embraces farm-to-table fare at reasonable prices, offered up inside stylish—not stuffy—surroundings.
The area’s fresh bounty, from avocados to zucchini, is served up all around town, often in updated Mexican or southwestern dishes—think charred shishito peppers with chili salt and lime, or enchiladas with market veggies. “It’s our produce,” says Tara Lazar, chef and owner of Birba, Cheeky’s, Seymour’s and Mr. Lyons. “We have amazing farms around us and we’re getting first dibs on world-class produce, whether it’s dates or corn or lettuces, peppers, grapes, citrus or avocados. We’re starting with excellent quality, and it shows in the food.”
But don’t worry: there are still plenty of old-school Palm Springs steak houses with crisp white tablecloths, if the mood strikes.
A good hamburger is like gold at a busy diner, and King’s Highway at Ace Hotel Palm Springs has perfected its Five Leaves version. This meaty masterpiece is layered with tender grass-fed beef, tangy grilled pineapple, beets pickled in-house, spicy harissa mayo, cheddar, Swiss or blue cheese and a runny egg served sunny side up. Ask for extra napkins.
Locals and tourists line up before 8 a.m. to score a table at the city’s favourite breakfast and brunch spot. Start with a flight of bacon, each strip uniquely flavoured and grilled to perfection. Move on to the chilaquiles (breakfast nachos) or the huevos rancheros.
There is an old-school vibe at this eatery, where classic mainstays have been updated to reflect modern tastes. Throwback appetizers include lightly battered onion rings and crispy coconut tiger shrimp, while entrees run the gamut from tender filet mignon to fried chicken with collard greens.
It’s a garden party every night at SO.PA. Dine alfresco, surrounded by foliage and flickering candlelight, while enjoying local offerings like wild foraged mushrooms, grilled cactus and quail, prepared by Michelin-star chef Chris Anderson.
Try these two spots in the Uptown Design District.
Step back in time to an era when rum ruled. The Zombie cocktails at this tiki bar are complemented by South Pacific decor: rattan siding, blowfish-shaped pendant lights and tropical postcards. Try the Pod Thai, an exotic twist on a mojito, with rum, cardamom and lemon grass syrup.
With a focus on fresh and house-made ingredients, Workshop is elevating Palm Springs’ cocktail culture, one Pisco Punch at a time. The award-winning spot also crafts original cocktails like the Ancho Libre, a spicy twist on an Old Fashioned with tequila, bitters and ancho chile liqueur.
Perk up with cold-brew coffee or relax with a cold beer and watch the world go by from Ernest Coffee‘s patio in Uptown.
This coffee shop roasts its own coffee that’s served at both downtown locations, and it delivers a fresh, rich caffeine hit. Hungry? Try the cinnamon roll or scone, baked in-house.
Owned by celebrity baker Roman Blas, this spot offers an array of ultra-creative treats. Be sure to try the chocolate-covered jalapeño cupcake.
If you need to cool down, head to this busy shop where each decadent milkshake is blended with premium ice cream and house-made sauces, then garnished with a mini-doughnut.
Sweet, crunchy and chewy treats are the order of the day at Brandini Toffee, where the menu improves upon edibles from popcorn to pretzels by adding to-die-for toffee.
Where to Drink a Moscow Mule
The traditional Moscow Mule—and inspired variations—are popping up on cocktail menus across North America. Try a creative version at The Chauhan Ale & Masala House in Nashville, a Toulouse Café and Bar location in Texas or at Workshop Kitchen + Bar in Palm Springs. Plus, a recipe to make your own Moscow Mule.