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For years we’ve been hearing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I might posit that it is also the most delicious, and the best comfort food for any variety of a touch-and-go morning. 

Here’s a pretty detailed list of where to go for breakfast in Palm Springs. If it’s not on this list, I either A, forgot it (in which case, mea culpa) or B, I left it off for a reason, like a health inspector issue, or C, it hasn’t opened yet (Broken Yolk). Let’s go! 

Breakfast in Palm Springs off the Strip

Pastries and breakfast sandwiches

Swiss Donut — In a strip mall on Sunrise and Ramon. Go early before the best ones are gone!

Aspen Mills — Same as above, right next door. Their baked goods are delish.

Peninsula Pastries — In the Sun Center. Same strip mall as Palm Greens. After, stop in at thrift store Revivals for some bargains.

Carousel Bakery — Closer to the airport, at Ramon Road and El Cielo, but not close enough to get stuck in traffic. What’s that? Traffic is rarely ever had here (exceptions: Coachella, Modernism Week, a Harry Styles concert, a presidential visit), so not to worry.

Play Lounge — Menus here. In keeping with its game theme, the location is a bit Where’s Waldo. But once you find it, good times and good food await.

Townie Bagels — They go through sesame bagels so fast I’ve had to try a few others. I liked the everything pumpernickel. They have soft pretzels too. Only open until noon.

A group of four adults it outside under a fan in Palm Springs, California

You can eat breakfast outdoors any time of year in Palm Springs. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

American breakfast

Bit of Country — On Indian Canyon next to the now closed Wang’s of the Desert. Great American and Mexican breakfasts. They even have grits! (For the Southerner in you — and definitely me.)

Sherman’s Deli — East (away from the mountains) on Tahquitz, you can dine indoors or out at this NY style deli. It has a good reputation, seems to be a favorite of visitors. I like the soup.

Spencer’s — It looks fancy, but the dinner menu is the pricey one. Breakfast is not hard on the wallet, and the ambiance is lovely. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Elmer’s — It’s the hash browns and biscuits for me, but some go for the German pancakes. The food is fresh, and hot. Their coffee isn’t my favorite, but it’s passable. And if you’re not into breakfast, there are other delicious options.

Indian Canyon Golf Resort — The view at the South Course is terrific, and the breakfasts are pretty good. Service can be slow, but you just hiked Lykken Trail, so you’re ready for a relaxing brekkie. Across from Lykken Trail, on the southeast corner of Murray Canyon and South Palm Canyon is where the former Canyon Club Inn used to live. If you look around you can still see the remnants, and certainly the landscaping if you take the walkway up the hill. The golf course and mountains are to your right.

Mountain and palm tree views from the patio at Escena in Palm Springs, California

The views are gorgeous from the patio at Escena. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Escena — This is pretty far east on Vista Chino, but still in PS. Beautiful space, beautiful view.

Palm Greens Cafe — Everything is fresh, which comes with a heftier price tag, but it’s delicious. While it leans toward veggie and vegan, your friends who eat bacon will love it too. Just don’t get the fake bacon — it’s nothing at all like bacon.

Rick’s Bakery is a local favorite in the north end, just past Vista Chino. They serve grits, but I prefer the grits at Bit of Country. Just keeping it real.

Billy Reed’s — Like a fancy restaurant in 1980s Wisconsin, this is a staple for some folks. Just past Vista Chino going north, you can get here on both Palm Canyon and Indian Canyon.

Frisky Business — For the love of kitties, explore the Rimrock Trail then pop in for some coffee, a bite from vegan restaurant Tanya’s Kitchen or Aspen Mills Bakery, and cuddle with some cool cats. $22 gets you a cuppa and the cuddle. Food is on your dime, but for grab and go it’s delish.

Breakfast on the Strip

Farm — I’ve never been to the French countryside, but I imagine this is what it looks like. Food is good too.

L’Atelier — French café with delicious quiche and the best cup of iced coffee I’ve ever had (they use real cream — at least they did when I was there). Small but quaint.

Pinocchio’s — It’s a party! And they have my second favorite potatoes in P.S.: baked and fried, just like Dad used to make. Bottomless champagne for about $8.

Cheeky’s — Generally a long line to get in, closed on Tuesdays. From their website: “Everything is made from scratch using the freshest local ingredients, changes weekly, serving up creative meditations on breakfast and lunch — with super fun vibes — in a bright indoor-outdoor setting.”

Maleza — Located in one of our preferred small hotels, the brand-new Drift Palm Springs on Indian Canyon, it has what I would call a Cal-Mex breakfast menu, and I’m not mad at it. Avocado toast is on the menu, along with fruit, yogurt, and granola, but it also offers chilaquiles, churros, and a breakfast burrito.

People sit at metal tables inside Grand Central in Palm Springs, California

Grand Central is in the heart of Palm Springs. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Grand Central — Try the grilled cheese for late breakfast; it’s the only zag I will take from my eggs over-easy and potatoes. Okay, or a lox plate. I’m pretty fond of those some days.

Thirsty Palms — Their breakfast menu starts with potato pancakes, so my ears perked up, but my eyes also noted their eclectic menu of international dishes like shakshuka, bourbon French toast, chilaquiles, l’orange ricotta pancakes, and croque madame benedict. Yum yum. This a new restaurant (sole proprietor) in town, so please give it some love.

Jimmy B’s — Our second new kid on the block, this one is in Mercado Plaza (where you can take a photo with Sonny Bono). I haven’t been yet, but it is always hopping. After 11 a.m. they have live music.

Café Mon Amour — Our third new kid is a bit further north, but the reviews are in, and this French café is a hit. Bonus: it’s on the strip and walkable, but it’s just far enough that it hasn’t yet found foot traffic.

That’s it for the breakfast round-up. Hope this helps! After you get your belly full, it might be time to enjoy a drink and a float at your Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotel. I mean, you came here to de-stress, right? Yeah, I thought so.

I’ll just slip away so you can dream about your next visit to Palm Springs.

Ciao now.

Guidelines for Palm Springs Visitors

With temperatures in the 70s and the sun shining brightly, we are welcoming visitors who need to travel for essential reasons. There are restrictions you need to aware of as of December 11, 2020.

According to the state of California’s Public Health Department, essential reasons for travel include “work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security.”

As you drive into town, you will see this banner across our main throughways into town. We local citizens are doing a great job of wearing masks and social distancing. We ask our visitors to honor us by doing the same.

Boutique Hotels

Unfortunately, our quaint and inviting hotels are not open except for essential Covid mitigation. At this time, we have no way of knowing if this restriction will remain in place after December 27, 2020. If a member of your household is at risk or has been exposed to Covid, you may safely seek shelter at one of the hotels.

Shopping

Retail stores are open. However, they are at 20% capacity. The good news is you can be sure of your safety in the store, for social distancing and masks are required.  You will want to call and check on hours for stores are adjusting their hours to accommodate the flow of traffic.

Dining

Hopefully, you have been here before and know which are your favorite restaurants, because the only way you can enjoy their food is by curbside pick-up or delivery service. The City of Palm Springs just passed a new ordinance that cut the delivery service’s amount and enhanced the amount the restaurant will get from your purchase.

At least through December 27, 2020, there is no outside or indoor dining.

Art and Museums

Unfortunately, museums remain closed. However, we have over 70 public art installations in Palm Springs. There is nothing like taking the paths less traveled downtown and finding them in unexpected places, like behind the Desert Art Center, located on Palm Canyon Drive.

Thursday Night Street Fair

This fun and engaging activity remains closed until further notice.

Certified Saturday Market

Located on the grounds of the Palm Springs Cultural Center, the vendors continue to provide farm-fresh produce.

Hiking

Palm Springs is renowned as a community of great hiking with spectacular views. Trails are open and attract hikers of all degrees of endurance. These hikes also offer the possible chance of seeing our famous mountain sheep. A reminder: Take plenty of water with you and wear a hat. Our sun here is hotter than you might think.

Walks and Bicycling

Each of our neighborhoods takes on its unique kind of personality. Old Las Palmas provides you with a look at mansions built in the late 40s and 50s. Gigantic palm trees and lush plants thrive in the desert air. A walk through the Movie Colony is always enjoyable.

Bike paths are prevalent in Palm Springs. You may want to rent a bike, so you can explore our many streets and view our palatial residents and modernism style homes.

Many of our attractions are closed. Yet, we local citizens never get tired of the sunrises as we sip our coffee in the morning, the sun dancing on the mountains during the day, or cocktails as we watch the sun setting behind these glorious mountains in Palm Springs.

In need of a respite from daily life, we recently decided to visit Palm Springs with our dog, Fender. Not only did we want to stay at a dog-friendly hotel, but we were looking for a secluded setting with a nostalgic vibe, a wonderful pool for dipping and lounging, and a top-notch restaurant and bar. We found all this and more at Villa Royale, a beautiful hideaway — perfect for getting away in stylish comfort. 

Villa Royale, one of the first small hotels in Palm Springs, was built in 1947 with the Hollywood elite in mind. For many years, it was a sanctuary for celebrities who wanted to escape their hectic lives in Los Angeles, only two hours away. Several years ago, the hotel underwent a complete renovation, which fortunately retained the historic, mid-century charm of the original hotel. Today it is still an appealing popular retreat, not just for the rich and famous but for anyone seeking peace and tranquility in a lovely setting, highlighted by a stunning mountain backdrop.

In the cozy lobby, we checked in and were happy to be welcomed with a delightful cocktail. As we walked to our villa, we were thrilled to see not just one inviting pool surrounded by lounge chairs, but three. There are 38 villas at Villa Royale, each with its own unique mid-century modern character and design. We learned that the property has more than 50 pieces of original art commissioned for the hotel, with one in each room.

Our inviting room at the Villa Royale. Photo by Todd Montgomery

Our very nicely furnished room facing the serene pool was a haven for us and our dog, with a private landscaped back patio, luxurious bedding, and a wonderful walk-in shower. We were happy to learn that we could enjoy fresh coffee and a continental buffet in the morning. 

Welcome to the Del Rey. Photo by Todd Montgomery

In the evening, we were excited to be dining at Villa Royale’s upscale, popular restaurant, Del Rey, which specializes in tapas and small plates with a Spanish/Mediterranean flair. The menu is overseen by much celebrated Chef Louis Martinez. Since our dog was with us, we sat outside on the restaurant’s pleasant, inviting patio. It was a lovely but chilly night; however, we were warm and comfortable because of the very effective heating lamps strategically placed by our table. There was a wedding party dining nearby and, like us, they seemed happy and relaxed. We also checked out the inside of the restaurant which is romantic and intimate, with dim lighting and cozy tables. The restaurant features an inviting oak and marble bar where I would like to while away a few convivial hours someday. 

The inviting fireplace inside the Del Rey. Photo by Todd Montgomery

Del Rey offers a variety of enticing cocktails. We enjoyed a unique and surprisingly delicious Del Rey Martini made with touches of sherry, orange bitters, and olive oil (yes, olive oil). We also relished the El Ultimo cocktail made with strawberry tequila, absinthe, and orgeat syrup, served with lime and mint. In addition, Del Rey offers a full wine list, featuring Spanish wines. Fender was happy with his drink, too, when the helpful staff brought him a bowl of fresh water.

Then, in the Spanish tradition, we ordered a variety of tapas for our dinner. I love this kind of meal because you can sample small bites of a variety of dishes.  We really enjoyed the Basque asparagus, topped with romesco sauce and manchego, and also savored albondigas — beef and pork meatballs covered with a sweet and sour glaze. 

We loved the Chuleta de Cordero, rosemary and lemon marinated lamb chops, which were tender and full of flavor.  Another superb dish was a grilled flatbread called Pan Con Setas that was topped with mushrooms, manchego, red onion, and an herbed olive oil drizzle. For dessert, we savored the delectable walnut bread pudding. The friendly service at Del Rey was impeccable and added to the ambiance of the evening. Satiated, we sauntered back to our villa through the lushly landscaped courtyards with flowing fountains and pools that shimmered invitingly in the moonlight.

The delicious walnut bread pudding. Photo by Todd Montgomery

It was truly a special night and we felt very far away from our busy daily lives. It is surprising how relaxed you can become with just a night away in such a peaceful, glorious retreat. We may not be celebrities, but we felt like royalty at Villa Royale. 

The Villa Royale lights up at night. Photo by Todd Montgomery

Lunch can be solely for sustenance or you can make it an event. You’re in Palm Springs, so make it an event with adult beverages or festive mocktails. Here are some spots to have a boozy or an inspired lunch while you enjoy our stellar Palm Springs weather and hospitality. 

On the Strip

Maracas — The aroma from their fajitas will call to you like a cartoon finger. Located right next to Sonny Bono in the Mercado Plaza, their margaritas are some of the best you’ll ever have, and the street tacos are delish. In fact, everything is fantastic all the way down to the service.

JimmyB’s — On the other side of Sonny Bono, this is a new-ish restaurant. It was Ruby’s before the pandemic, then it was Sammy’s, and now it’s Jimmy’s. Breakfast and lunch served, there’s live entertainment and great people watching, and they plan to open for dinner at a later date, which is likely why their sign says “Grill, Steaks, Cocktails.”

Grand Central — In La Plaza where the anchor department store for the mall used to live. It’s a very big space, and it’s loud. Less so outside. Food is good too.

Bill’s Pizza — Only beer and wine on the alcohol front, but they have about five beers on tap and their pizza is the best in the Valley. Try the Elton John. I don’t know why it’s called that, it’s more like a Greek pizza with artichokes, onions, dried tomatoes, spinach, and feta cheese — no red sauce. Not a lot of atmosphere here, so I’d get it to go and eat it by the pool with a six-pack. Like Ryan Gosling.

French Miso — Located in La Plaza, but kinda behind it. That area is one of my favorite parts of Palm Springs because it feels like you just stepped into old Palm Springs. And there’s a record store back here, a hairdresser, some art galleries, and the biggest cactus I’ve ever seen. French Miso is a great spot for an upscale experience that won’t break the bank. Nice-sized wine selection, and Sapporo beer. It’s a little hidden gem that’s not as hidden as it used to be. 

Pomme Frite — Lunch on Saturdays and Sundays only. French bistro food known for their mussels. 

Lulu — You’ve likely heard of Lulu. They’ve got a great menu, something for everyone, and it’s tasty too. The decor is fun, and it’s great for people watching. Check out the bathrooms. Uptown Funk plays on a loop, and there are videos. The guys have a two-way mirror to the service hallway. 

Thirsty Palms — Their lunch/dinner menu is just as creative as their breakfast menu; half of it is refreshing and half of it is hearty, so pick your adventure. They have an extensive and fun cocktail list, and they’re kinda new. Let me know what you think — it’s on my short list to try.

Groups of diners eat under yellow umbrellas at Eight4Nine in Palm Springs, California

Lunch tastes even better when dining outside at Eight4Nine. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Eight4Nine — It used to be the Palm Springs post office, but now it’s one of the most popular restaurants in town. Dressed in white with red accents, the interior is pretty swanky. Dine al fresco here — you’ll get good food while enjoying our fantastic weather.

TacQuila — Upscale and fun. Lunch is a little less pricey than dinner, but you should definitely try it. And get the deep fried avocado. SO good.

Farm — As I mentioned in the breakfast blog, it’s like the French countryside when you dip in off the street. If the line’s too long, and you’re early enough, you can get a drink and something light off the menu at their sister restaurant, The Front Porch. This one is also in La Plaza. 

Fuzion Five — At Baristo on Palm Canyon, this place has been around for awhile, and I recently tried it. I can whole-heartedly recommend their shrimp and avocado roll. Their noodles were pretty fire too.

Thai House Palm Springs — I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s easy to miss because it’s sandwiched between The Village Pub and Las Casuelas Terraza. It’s vegetarian, and I’ve heard it’s good. Let me know, ‘k?

El Patio — The sister to Felipe’s (see below), with the same good food but a marketing flare: your tacos are served on a clothesline with clothespins.

Bongo Johnny’s — Tiki bar above La Quinta Brewing. Fun atmosphere, and there’s often a line.

1501 Gastropub — In the former Big Boy’s restaurant, it’s co-owned by two local restaurateurs, Willie Rhine and Chad Gardner. The food is inspired, and the drinks are good. Close to Arrive.

The Heyday — Across the street from Gastropub, this burger joint went from street vendor to hotel residences to their own brick and mortar in four years. That’s pretty impressive. Their burger is a local favorite — they have a mushroom burger that will rock your world — and the vibe is great; a DJ was spinning the afternoon I went, and the place was swinging. Takeout too.

Tyler’s — It’s a burger joint in La Plaza, and it’s good. Beer on tap.

A red plate filled with rice and tacos and a pink margarita from Las Casuelas Terraza in Palm Springs, California

Lunch is served as Las Casuelas Terraza. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Las Casuelas Terraza — Decent food, party atmosphere, usually a band. I just learned it’s in an old casita (I thought castitas were small, this one was not). Open Thursday through Monday for lunch.

Mickey’s Kitchen — This is behind the Shamrock’s Pub, and if you’re looking for a place to get your Irish on and eat Mexican food, just pop on into Shamrock’s. You can order and have it delivered to the pub.

Off the Strip

Billy Reed’s Many people make this the last stop on their way out of Palm Springs. Their homemade potato chips are a big draw too. Very big place. 

El Mirasol North and South — If you’re staying at Los Arboles, you’ve got a direct line to the North property and its lovely patio. The food (all family recipes) is always good, and their margarita menu is extensive. The restaurants and hotel are owned and managed by the Castaneda family, so there’s a lot of pride there. 

The Pantry at Holiday House — You definitely need a reservation, but I hear it’s a great experience. And lucky you, if you’re staying at Holiday House you’ve got an in!

The Barn at Sparrows LodgeSparrows Lodge and Holiday House are sister properties, and Sparrows is pretty special. You’ll need a reservation here, and good parking skills. 

Six white chairs lined up in front of the white bar at Drift Hotel in Palm Springs, California

The bar at Maleza. Photo by Erin Feinblatt

Maleza — In one of the newest of our Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels, The Drift. The menu isn’t extensive, but it’s good. And again, if you’re staying at Drift you don’t need to drift anywhere else for lunch. 

Fisherman’s Market & Grill — Much like the fish joints you see on the boardwalks, but it smells better. Order your food cafeteria style, then they’ll give you a number and find you either outside or inside, your preference. Fish is fresh, prices and food are both good. You can be healthy or get it fried. 

Ruben & Ozzies — You can make a meal on appetizers alone. Featuring mostly seafood, they do have other options (chicken, steak) for those who are landlubbers. 

Sherman’s Deli — It’s a nice deli. It has sandwiches, soups, desserts, booze, and more. 

Boozehounds — On the north end near Toucan’s. Food is good, and your pooch is welcome to have cocktails and food with you.

Felipe’s – Waaay off the beaten path, Felipe’s is on El Cielo just west of the airport. Food has a Jalisco influence with an emphasis on seafood. Also a local favorite.

Loco Charlies — In the Albertson’s shopping mall, the food is quite good, and so are the drinks. It’s pretty far off the beaten path, so you’re going to find a lot of locals here. It is not in the least bit trendy or chi-chi. Just good food and booze.

Arenas

Blackbook — Fun, finger-food kind of menu. Wings, burgers, fries.

Hunters — At first it looks like it’s all bar food, but their menu is pretty extensive.

I may have missed a few — it happens, I’m a perfectly imperfect human and that’s okay. But now I’m also a perfectly imperfect hungry human … and there’s so many choices I can’t decide where to go! See you at dinner, coming up next.