Off-season prices… hotel/meal deals… vitamin D… I can come up with 101 perfect excuses to head to Palm Springs for a little getaway, but at present, ‘Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week‘ might be one of the best. Similar to how we do Restaurant Week here in Los Angeles, for a little over one week (June 3 – 12) tons of restaurants in the Greater Palm Springs area will be offering $28/$38/$48 prix fixe dinner specials, granting guests the ideal opportunity to experience all the best each joint has to offer. Most if not all of my favorite Palm Springs restaurants will be participants this year which is incredible – so many to choose from, so little time and waistband space. But even if you’re not “just here for the food”, between tours, shopping, hiking trails, spas, luxury pools, and museums there’s something in Palm Springs (and special offers!) for everyone.
Palm Springs is the epicenter for warm weather relaxation and is a favorite destination amongst mid century modern lovers and those of all ages feeling particularly tired and pale. I love the fact that every time I visit Palm Springs there is consistently somewhere new to stay, eat, or imbibe. The Angeleno dream is to eventually get to a point where you can say you’ve stayed at (or at least visited) The Saguaro, The Parker, L’Horizon, Sparrows Lodge, Korakia Pensione, The Ace, The Avalon, and every other incredible resort/hotel in the area. I’m working on it myself. When you’re not sitting poolside happily baking in the desert heat there are plenty of other ways to enjoy what the area has to offer. I’ve had a blast taking a Jeep Tour of homes once inhabited by old Hollywood stars, or visiting (and totally tearing up) at the Palm Springs Air Museum, or, post craft cocktails at Seymour’s at Mr. Lyons of course, trying to solve my way out of an Escape Room. But, at the end of the day if food is the name of your game and your ready to take yourself on the best little desert culinary adventure, let’s chat about a few dinner menus and restaurant participants from next month’s Greater Palm Springs Restauarant Week that are sure to be worth the trip alone.
// $28 //
KOUTOUKI GREEK ESTIATORIO
Koutouki is a family owned, family run restaurant that is literally something straight out of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. With lively Greek music creating ambiance, hanging plants covering the ceilings, family pictures adorning the walls, and some seriously delicious and authentic food, there is nothing about this place you won’t fall madly in love with. I absolutely love Koutouki’s Vegetarian Moussaka, the Calamari Skaras, and the Baklava, but nothing on their Restaurant Week menu (or regular menu for that matter) will disappoint.
Pho 533 is Palm Springs “premier” Vietnamese restaurant and has been since 1975! “Pho” may be in the title but it’s actually not the only item they offer. Pho 533’s Restaurant Week menu offers a great deal of refreshing Vietnamese dishes to enjoy including Mango Summer Rolls, Grilled Lemongrass Pork, and more. If you’re tired of the ever present “California Cuisine” and need a break from the usual, this is the perfect spot to spice things up. Literally.
// $38 //
MR. LYONS STEAKHOUSE
Mr. Lyon’s is one of Palm Springs chicest steakhouses and an absolutely favorite amongst visiting Angelenos. The space evokes a certain ‘old Hollywood glam’ feel, and the menu is made up of everything you’d hope and dream to find in a classy steak joint. The menu they’re offering for Restaurant Week is, in my opinion, the best deal for the price and the available options. You heard it here first!
*Pre or post dinner, make sure you stop in at Seymour’s behind/next to/inside (whatever it is it’s connected) Mr. Lyon’s for some seriously serious craft cocktails and the perfect environment in which to sip them in.*
Copley’s is without a doubt one of the most important Palm Springs staples. Copley’s is located in the former Cary Grant estate and is known for their exceptional contemporary American cuisine and ideal outdoor patio seating. If there’s one thing on their feature Restaurant Week menu I could eat every day and enjoy doing it, it would be their Hawaiian Ahi Tacos. Do. Not. Skip. These. For entree’s they’ve got a great selection of meats for all cravings, and to finish off the meal they’re offering a “sampler” for dessert. I’m with Copley’s on this one; the preferred method of choosing a dessert is choosing all of them.
KINGS HIGHWAY // ACE HOTEL
As quite possibly one of Palm Springs most “hip” places to dine, I am thrilled that Kings Highway located at the Ace Hotel will be participating in Restaurant Week. Fascinatingly enough the space used to be an old Denny’s; it still offers a classic Palm Springs vibe with 70’s flare and comes complete with an Americana/California Cuisine inspired menu. The Fried Buttermilk Jidori Chicken and the Devils on Horseback (almond stuffed bacon wrapped dates) are particular favorites of mine and are features on the regular menu as well. For $38 this is another impressive and relatively extensive menu that really does feel like a “deal”.
BLUEMBER // OMNI RESORT
Omni restaurants never disappoint and BluEmber is no exception. With outdoor seating and sweeping views of the simply stunning resort grounds, this is the perfect place to head for a romantic night out. The menu is an inventive spin on California New American cuisine, and during Restaurant Week BluEmber will offer dishes such as a Tomato + Watermelon salad, Wild Salmon Niçoise, Golden Gazpacho, a Sorbet Trio, and more refreshing items perfect for a warm evening in the desert.
MIKADO & ROCKWOOD GRILL // JW MARRIOTT DESERT SPRINGS
For some of the most simple and straight to the point Restaurant Week menus, you won’t find ones created with more passion and a better setting than what you’ll find at Mikado or Rockwood Grill. The JW Marriott Desert Springs is one of the areas most impressive resorts; not all resorts come complete with flamingos, gondola rides, swans, pools (plural), and some of the finest restaurants all in one place. “Impressed” would be an understatement. Even if you’re staying in Palm Springs proper this is one excursion worthy of making; either meal, the service, the setting, and even the coffee – all on point.
THE GROVE ARTISAN KITCHEN // MIRAMONTE RESORT
Another place completely worth the drive for the setting alone is the Miramonte Resort + Spa. Their restaurant, The Grove Artisan Kitchen, has a wonderful menu set up for restaurant week that features farm-to-table fresh salads, tasty simple entrees such as a classic surf n’ turf dish, a portobello mushroom sandwich, and roasted chicken, and two desserts to choose from including a classic strawberry shortcake or a traditional bread pudding. (Just reading the description of the bread pudding is making my mouth water.)
*If you want to check the resort out as a non guest, I’d highly recommend not only coming by for dinner, but coming early for some spa treatments as well – Miramonte is known to have THE best spa in the Valley!*
// $48 //
When I try to explain Workshop to those who have not been, the simplest way to convey the message is “would constantly be at the top of Eater’s ‘HeatMap’ if it were in Los Angeles”. Workshop is an absolutely stunning space with a farm-to-table seasonal menu. Influences may vary depending on what they’re working with, but Workshop is definitely known for their ideal ambiance, their wood fired pizzas, and consistently fresh ingredients. The menu they’ve created for Restaurant Week is unsurprisingly outstanding and offers quite the variety of options to choose from.
SO•PA // L’HORIZON RESORT
L’Horizon is one of Palm Springs most glamorous luxury boutique hotels, and their romantic/dramatic restaurant SO•PA is the picture-perfect compliment to the chic resort feel. The recent meal I had at SO•PA was not only one of the best I’ve had in Palm Springs, but it was undoubtedly one of the most impressive I’ve had in my life. Michelin starred Executive Chef Chris Anderson (formerly Alinea, L2O, and most recently Moto in Chicago) is exactly as L’Horizon puts it: “a culinary force to be reckoned with.” They way he cooks, plates, and sources all of his ingredients is nothing short of tiny miracle creation after tiny miracle creation. If you’d enjoy changing your life for the better, eat here. $48 is a steal for the type of dining experience you’re in for.
MISTER PARKER’S // PARKER PALM SPRINGS
You haven’t done Palm Springs properly until you’ve stayed or visited the Parker. Mister Parker’s is the hotels primary restaurant that offers a “dark, sexy, and seductive” vibe along with fabulous bistro style food. Mister Parker’s is the perfect setting for a cozy romantic date, and during Restaurant Week guests will have the opportunity to taste a 3-course menu of dishes created special for the event!
CHI CHI // AVALON HOTEL
If you’ve had breakfast in Palm Springs there’s a good chance you dined or tried to dine at famed and favored Cheeky’s. What you might not know though is that Cheeky’s chef Tara Lazar has another contemporary California style restaurant concept she opened at Avalon Hotel called Chi Chi. Chi Chi is just the most adorable, 60’s nostalgic, free-spirited poolside restaurant rooted in maintaining Latin standards and cheeky California wellness. The Restaurant Week menu at Chi Chi is the perfect way to try the deserts latest and greatest hot spot or some dishes that aren’t regularly on the menu if you’ve already been!
“Continental fare with Austrian flair” might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to dining in the desert, but once you try Johannes it just might be. Johanne’s is really something special; it’s inspiring to see that Chef Bacher has chosen to do things a little different in comparison to most of what you’ll find within the Greater Palm Springs dining scene. The dinner menu Johannes has created for Restaurant Week is a perfect accurate representation of the “eclectic” style the restaurant is known for. It’ll be difficult to pass up on dishes like a Watermelon Gazpacho “Martini” w/ Grilled Tiger Prawns, Pretzel + Horseradish Crusted Pork Chops, or “Palatschinken” Viennese Crepes, so should you find yourself in Palm Springs somewhere between June 3 – 12, maybe don’t!
[And whatever you do… don’t forget to make your reservations! You can make most on OpenTable or you can click the link to the “Restaurant Week” menu of your choice and the Greater Palm Springs website lists the restaurant’s number for you to call. ]