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Hidden Food & Drink Gems

Del Rey Restaurant

Palm Springs’ Best Kept Dining Secrets

By Kevin Perry

Humans are inherently curious. We love to discover new places, explore our surroundings, and devour excitement wherever it simmers. Once we find eating and drinking spots that nourish our stomachs, they become part of our souls.

There’s no greater gastronomical thrill than sharing your favorite establishments with friends. “You really have to try…” Your voice lowers to a whisper as you list your preferred menu items with a sense of hushed reverence. Even though you are proud of your discovery, you don’t want the whole world to know about it.

We respect your discretion and we share your love of hidden gems. That’s why we have assembled the following list of secret, sacred, succulent options lingering in the Palm Springs culinary landscape.

Off the Beaten Path

The two main streets lining the downtown drag are packed with fun and festiveness. But the humble connector passageways between Indian Canyon and Palm Canyon feature dining and cocktail options that you simply must not miss.

Bold colors and even bolder flavors beckon you to the appropriately named El Patio, an outdoor enclave decked out with primary hues and essential morsels. Local ingredients meld together for a refreshing escape from the ordinary.

El Patio Palm Springs

Fusion is the passion at French Miso Cafe, another understated gem tucked away in La Plaza. Follow a trail of begonias to this delectable destination with European flair and surprises to spare. Asian flavors dance effortlessly upon their French foundations to create a uniquely Palm Springs experience. Find your hidden dining table. Locally owned and loved.

 

french miso cafe
Credit: French Miso Cafe

For a no-frills, yes-please seafood meal, paddle over to Shanghai Reds, located in the Fisherman’s Market & Grill collective. (In)famously reviewed by the late, great foodie legend Anthony Bourdain, Shanghai Reds is just a stone’s throw from the hottest bars in town, yet offers enough seclusion for you and your special someone.

Quiet Collaborators

Palm Springs is synonymous with synergy. We work together, we play together, and we break bread while building bonds. Our hometown boasts some of the most wonderfully shared spaces in the world, seamlessly combining leisure and satiation all under one stylish roof.

Exhibit A: Counter Reformation, a dimly lit getaway situated firmly in the dazzling contours of The Parker resort. Their medieval themed menu contrasts amusingly with the ultra-modern surroundings to obliterate all expectations. Stroll the grounds and you’ll also find hidden gardens.

counter_reformation_

Now that your mind has been sufficiently blown, delve further into the eclectic at Amigo Room. This friendship of quirkiness and quenched thirst lives comfortably at Ace Hotel, providing weary travelers with man cave sensibilities and crafted beverages galore.

Another resort/restaurant mashup is sizzling to perfection at The Heyday. Located inside the downtown Hilton, this throwback diner proudly serves their signature Smash Burger with locally sourced beef and caramelized onions, all snuggled seductively between two griddled potato buns. This is so hidden, even many of the locals don’t know about it.

heyday
Credit: Heyday

But don’t take off just yet; PS Air is soaring to new heights of hidden grandeur. Guests sit in first-class and coach seats and order drinks, including the Jet Lag and Black Box, off a menu styled like an airline safety card. Sharing real estate with Bouschet fine wines, this drag stage struts its stuff among Palm Springs’ most coveted speakeasies. Speaking of which…

ps air
Credit: George Duchannes

Speakeasy, Socialize Hard

No trip to our esteemed empire would be complete without a steak dinner at Mr. Lyons. And while their Rat Pack legacy is no secret, you might be surprised to find an intoxicating alcove lurking behind Lyons’ side curtain. Welcome to the Land of Oz, aka Seymour’s. This speakeasy evokes the Roaring 20s in all of its gilded allure, pouring inventive concoctions for eager hipsters who stumble upon this shimmering Shangri La.

Seymours-Mr-Lyons
Credit: Seymour’s

While we’re strolling down memory lane to the prohibition era, be sure to stop at Bar Cecil. Excess marks the spot in this new kid on the Palm Springs block, so stop in and welcome them to the party!

Bar Cecil
Credit: Bar Cecil

No review of neighborhood speakeasies would be complete without visiting Paul Bar/Food. Their oak accoutrements absorb the light, immersing guests in a den of decadence. Indulge in hearty food and wash it down with rich libations like the Black Manhattan. Start spreading the news!

Come Out of Hiding

Reemerging from lockdown and resuming our way of life has been pure ecstasy, but we still crave some privacy amidst the revelry. Palm Springs brilliantly balances the need for external connection with the yearning for internal satisfaction.

For example, Del Rey feels like your own personal lounge, yet it summons tastemakers from all over Southern California. The muted décor is warm and inviting while the menu bristles with excitement and innovation.

Del Rey interior
Credit: Del Rey

Likewise, Pete’s Hideaway is a joyful mix of dive pub aesthetics masking a heart of bespoke bar fare. Be sure to ask the friendly bartenders about their weekly roster of entertainment, which ranges from drag queen royalty to down home rawness.

Palm Springs presents visitors a vast array of endless possibilities in the realm of wine-and-dine transcendence. Dig into the stealth sublimity of our cuisine scene and share your findings with everyone you know… or keep it to yourself – we won’t tell!

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