Palm Desert in the Coachella Valley is one of our favorite California desert communities, located only fourteen miles from Palm Springs at the foot of the Santa Rosa Mountains. The terrain is unique, the sunsets are stunning, golf is a popular outdoor activity, and the food is delicious.
It comes as no surprise given how long the Hollywood elite has sought refuge from the commerce and paparazzi of Los Angeles in the relatively isolated California desert. Hollywood stars, as well as US politicians and foreign leaders, adored the privacy this location gave. Yet they were used to excellent food and service, which set the standard high for the Palm Desert restaurants that would become prominent here.
When you combine the area’s unique restaurateurs and inventive chefs, you have the ideal combination for delightful dining experiences. These are some of our favorite Palm Desert restaurants in California.
Not in the mood to dine out tonight? Click here to have Grubhub deliver right to your door from the greatest restaurants in town.
Visiting other places in California? Check out our gastronomy guides to the cities listed below:
- Where to eat in Tustin, CA
- The 8 Best Restaurants in Ft. Bragg
- Must-Try Restaurants in Oceanside, CA
- The 21 Best Restaurants in Costa Mesa
- 7 Must-Try Restaurants in Cambria, CA
- Where to Eat in Dana Point, CA
- 11 Must-Try Vallejo Restaurants
- 10 Best Laguna Beach Restaurants
Editor’s Note: We’d like to thank both the author and the restaurants for sharing or allowing us to use their images in this story.
When in Palm Desert, don’t miss out on the following activities that will let you immerse yourself in the city (but hurry, they’re hot!):
- Palm Springs: San Andreas Fault Open-Air Jeep Tour
- Earthquake Canyon Express Downhill Bicycle Adventure
- 1 The Top 8 Restaurants in Palm Desert
- 2 Which of these Palm Desert, California restaurants do you want to try the most? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!
The Top 8 Restaurants in Palm Desert
+1 (760)-340-100072595 The Boulevard
This fantastic French restaurant with a rustic French farmhouse motif has it all: a romantic ambience, outstanding food, first-rate service, and an incredible wine list. So much so that the restaurant is the first in the Coachella Valley to receive Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence.
The patio, with its stone fireplace and views of a surrounding park and waterfalls, is ideal for open-air eating.
During supper, we had the Traditional Lyon Style Seafood Quenelles, which were presented in a delicious lobster sauce and baked with Gruyere.
Lobster Ravioli with truffle and chive sauce is another excellent option.
Additional dishes include quail with extra shellfish, roasted rack of lamb, and skillet-roasted pork chop.
Make place in your stomach for one of Cuistot’s devilishly delicious sweets. We decided to split the Peach Cobbler, which was cooked in a pastry dome and served hot with vanilla bean ice cream. Excellent work. Try this Palm Desert eatery for a hint of European flare.
Bistro on Backstreet
820 El Paseo (760) 346-6393
Where friends meet friends is the motto of this charming café, which I consider to be one of Palm Desert’s hidden jewels. With stunning views of the San Jacinto Mountains, the Tuscan-inspired café provides rustic Italian food from family recipes with a contemporary California twist.
We went for lunch and were pleasantly surprised by the quality and amount of food for the price.
My Roasted Beet Salad included red and gold beets, feta cheese, mandarin orange wedges, apples, asparagus, almond slivers, and a wonderful balsamic sauce on top. The mixture worked really well. And it’s true enough to warrant sharing.
My boyfriend declared his Reuben on Rye to be the greatest he’d ever tasted. I have to agree, with grilled pastrami and sauerkraut, melted Swiss cheese, and 1000 Island dressing on grilled marble rye. I requested a sample and ended up eating half of it.
This may be the greatest meal in Palm Desert, according to the locals.
Mitch’s Prime Fish on El Paseo
(760) 779-920073951 The Boulevard
One of the most pleasant shocks of eating in Palm Desert restaurants is the quantity of fresh, creative, and high-quality seafood options. Mitch’s on El Paseo is unquestionably one of them.
The menu here is so delicious that we decided to order a few appetizers to sample a range of seafood.
One of the most popular dishes here is the Grilled Spicy BBQ Shrimp. Tiger grilled shrimp are served on a bed of Asian salad with a zesty Chipotle wine cream sauce.
Another hit was the Creamy Shrimp and Lobster, which was delicately tempura-fried and served with a wonderful miso lime aioli.
Hibachi Hokkaido Scallopsnorthern Japanese grilled scallops over a lemon cream sauce, Chuka Salad, and Habanera Tobiko won the trifecta.
Eating on the lovely outside terrace with a bottle of Chardonnay to complement our dinners was unforgettable. We were certain that a candlelit meal with overhead lights would be unforgettable.
This is a great destination for seafood if you’re seeking for variety and quality among Palm Desert eateries.
Caf French Rotisserie
Town Center Way, +1 (760) 848-768444489
This beautiful Caf is situated in a shopping complex, but it is really one of the best places to eat in Palm Desert. The restaurant, which is open for lunch and supper, is operated by Fabienne, a French chef who grew up in Paris, and her husband, Luis.
My spouse really loved the Provence slow-roasted free-range chicken, which was a show stopper here since the rotisserie oven was imported from France. That does, as Fabienne says, make a difference. The entree was very delicate and delicious, served with a potato puree, caramelized carrots, and au jus.
Being a big lover of Vol-au-Vent, I thought this puff pastry with chicken, mushrooms, and green beans was melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and I’ll certainly eat it again on my next visit. Sharing the Mousse au Chocolat, prepared with Belgian chocolate, crme Chantilly, and no added sugar, was the frosting on the culinary cake.
Forget about the retail mall. Don’t miss out on this Palm Desert eatery.
Seafood Restaurant Pacifica
+1 (760) 674-866673505 8 El Paseo Ste F260
Another fantastic Palm Desert seafood restaurant with spectacular views of the Palm Desert El Paseo retail center and the San Jacinto Mountains. Landlubbers, on the other hand, will not feel left out, as there are other delicious dinners to pick from on its unique menu.
Tuesdays at Pacifica highlight off Bottle Wine Nights, and we were delighted to see the return of everyday Happy Hour, one of our desert favorites. The pub also has an interesting variety of innovative cocktail mixes.
Pacificas Ceviche with lime, cilantro, tomato, onion, and avocado, and Baked Scallops on the Shell with amaretto, spinach, bacon, shallots, and Parmesan are two of our favorite happy hour meals.
Main courses include outstanding fish dishes, steaks, beef short ribs, chicken, and pasta.
Pacifica is a gourmet dining establishment in Palm Desert that serves seafood and steak.
Classic Club Blvd.
We were drawn in by the name alone. This restaurant, located in Palm Deserts Classic Club, offers breathtaking views of the lush golf links, lake with stone bridges, waterfalls, and the mountains as a background. This restaurant, which is one of the top Palm Desert restaurants, is constantly busy, and for good reason.
The good news is that you don’t have to be a member of the club to enjoy the restaurant’s superb cuisine, inventive libations, and lovely settings.
Soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and flatbreads are among the menu options, as are an appetizer bar menu and a variety of major meals.
You’ll have to seek far and wide for more seafood than Bellatrix’s Seafood Louie, which has shrimp, crab meat, egg, tomatoes, and artichokes over romaine with 1000 Island dressing.
This sandwich, stacked high with black forest ham, smoked turkey, and Swiss, egg dipped and garnished with strawberry preserves, powdered sugar, and fresh fruit, will appeal to fans of the original Monte Cristo.
It will be difficult to leave your table since it is so nice here. Order a couple delicious house-made Sangrias and relax for a while. Don’t ignore Bellatrix if you’re seeking for a typical American restaurant in Palm Desert.
Mama Gina’s Restaurant
+1 (760)-568-989873705 The Boulevard
Always listen to the locals, is our motto. We had planned to eat at an Italian restaurant recommended by a friend. But, a serious gourmet couple from the Palm Desert region declared Restaurant Mamma Gina was their favorite. We found out why after one supper here.
Since 1956, the original restaurant has been a Florence institution for northern Italian food. Thirty years later, the family introduced their genuine Florentine food to Palm Desert, much to the joy of residents and tourists alike.
After three years in Italy, I assess an Italian restaurant based on some of my favorite Italian foods. Spaghetti Alla Carbonara, spaghetti with egg yolk, pancetta, butter, and milk, is one of them. Our server assured it would be fantastic, and he was right.
Another popular dish is the Gnocchi al Gorgonzola, which consists of handcrafted potato dumplings in a creamy gorgonzola cream sauce. Two outstanding entrée enticed us to return for future offers at this excellent Italian restaurant in Palm Desert.
Caf Wilma & Friedas
El Paseo Dr, Ste 2310, +1 (760) 773-280773575
Well, it’s comfort cuisine with a California twist, but it’s very good. We had to convey our amazing joy at eating at this quirky quaint farmhouse caf that offers breakfast and brunch, which has been named Palm Springs Life’s Best Breakfast for the previous three years.
The restaurant was named after the founders’ two grandmothers, Wilma and Freida, who served as the inspiration for hearty, flavorful homecooked dishes.
One of my personal favorites here is the Blueberry Custard French Toast with Vanilla Drizzle. It’s one of the greatest I’ve ever tasted, and no more syrup is required.
The biscuits and gravy here are said to be the greatest in the world, and they are. The gravy is topped with two eggs and sausage and pecan wood-flavored bacon.
To be honest, this is comfort cuisine at its best, and we can’t wait to return to sample other breakfast in Palm Desert eateries.