Posted on 5 Mar
You can tell a lot about a place by its culinary scene; by the chefs who flock there, the local ingredients that inspire its menus and the international flavors that enliven its dishes. From Old Hollywood haunts to future classics, here’s a look at five restaurants shaping the foodie scene in Palm Springs.
MELVYN’S INGLESIDE INN - This Old Hollywood mainstay was so cool in its heyday, the maitre d’ purportedly turned Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw away. (The pair pulled up on a motorcycle one evening, and were not dressed to code.) The restaurant, which was frequented by the likes of Howard Hughes, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra and Salvador Dali, has gotten some upgrades since The Rat Pack reined, but its selection of throwback plates (trout amandine and steak Diane are local favorites) will take you back to the glory days. Should you indulge in one too many martinis, you can stay the night at its sleek, namesake inn, and a butler with a mobile martini cart will shake up a hair-of-the-dog cure for you in the morning.
LE VALLAURIS - Named for a small village in the South of France where Picasso made his ceramics, this beloved French culinary landmark in downtown Palm Springs is a favorite among locals in the know. A romantic, ficus-lined patio—heated in the winter, cooled in the summer—and well-executed tasting menus make this the perfect place to catch up with an old friend or celebrate a special occasion. Rich and exotic plates like Hudson Valley foie gras, Russian River caviar and house-made wild boar pate bring a California flair to the unabashedly French menu.
WORKSHOP KITCHEN+BAR - Housed in a retrofitted, 90-year-old movie theater, this James Beard Foundation Award winner for design (in the heart of the Uptown Design District, no less) is one of the hottest tickets in town. Focusing on perfectly executed cocktails and innovative, New American fare (think octopus carpaccio and pork cheek fries), the restaurant has breathed new life into the dining scene. The fact that it sources most of its ingredients from local farms within an hour of the city lends the restaurant even more street cred.
THE TROPICALE - Boasting a cozy patio, lively atmosphere and ace happy hour, this beloved restaurant and its Coral Seas Lounge is a perennial favorite among the gay community and the kind of spot that reminds you Palm Springs is a resort town. Its plush banquettes and midcentury bar are reminiscent of the city’s upbeat lounges of yesteryear, while its dynamic, American supper-style menu features everything from steaks and seafood to salads, meatloaf and fried chicken.
ALEBRIJE - This charming Mexican bistro brings a taste of Mexico City to the city of swaying palms, offering vibrant and flavorful cuisine that ranges from staples like chilaquiles and poblano enchiladas to Shrimp Aguachile with mezcal and slow-roasted suckling pig. Their well-curated wine list, which features an excellent selection of sips from Mexico and Latin America, is an added bonus.