Palm Desert Restaurants: 9 Ways to Savor the Flavors

The top Palm Desert restaurants feature diverse menus infused with local flavors. From building your own burgers to relaxing in an upscale dining room, Palm Desert’s food scene can’t be missed. We’ve rounded up 10 Palm Desert restaurants that focus on fresh flavors and inviting atmospheres. Read more to pick some favorites.

Top 9 Palm Desert Restaurants for Different Flavors

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Grill A Burger

A top among Palm Desert restaurants is Grill-A-Burger, known for its huge selection of hamburgers, salads and hot dogs. Using antibiotic-free, all-natural USDA beef, burger menu items include more than 30 different big burgers and a half-dozen mini burgers.

The diner also bakes their buns fresh every day. Many online reviewers say this is the place for the best burgers in Palm Desert. Grill-A-Burger opens daily for lunch and dinner, and don’t forget to check out the wine and beer selection to wash it all down.

Make It A Date

White-covered tables and elegant place settings draw couples to Ristorante Mamma Gina, which serves Italian recipes with authentic flavors. The restaurant has been a Palm Desert favorite for more than 30 years.

The menu selection ranges from fresh fish dishes to veal, organic chicken and choice cut steaks. Special gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options are also available. Diners who would rather avoid the dinner crowd can enjoy all-day happy hour, complete with a large selection of wines and drinks and a full menu featuring salads, pastas, and tapas.

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Italian in the Off-season

Another hot spot for Italian favorites is Castelli’s, which has been an area favorite for 30-plus years. Serving traditional pastas, soups and seafood dishes, they are known for award-winning prime beef, chops, and lamb cuts served alongside various sides.

Fettuccine alfredo is the house specialty. Guests also enjoy trying dinner items that feature imported pasta. This seasonal restaurant closes during the summer, so add Castelli’s to the list when taking an off-season vacation to Palm Desert.

Shop and Eat

At Tommy Bahama’s Restaurant and Bar, visitors have proximity to one of the area’s most popular shopping spots, The Gardens on El Paseo. Tommy Bahama’s serves a large menu that includes soups, salads, burgers and full entrees. Signature items range from mahi mahi and BBQ ribs to fish tacos and Sanibel chicken.

This is also another great spot for happy hour, as guests can choose from a large selection of wines, non-alcoholic drinks, signature cocktails, martinis and rum favorites.

Fill Up Early

Wilma and Frieda’s Cafe serves breakfast, brunch and lunch and dinner. This more upscale bistro is located near Tommy Bahama’s and is well known for their breakfast menu, available until 11:30 a.m. every day.

Choose from traditional favorites such as pancakes, French toast or omelettes, or try a house specialty. Popular house items include meatloaf and eggs, Benny’s Benny and Mark’s short rib eggs Benedict. Many of these are also brunch options.

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Celebrate Mexican Flavors

Mexican food in Palm Desert is a must, and Fresh Agave serves some of the best. Family owned and operated, Fresh Agave serves traditional Mexican cuisine using fresh ingredients and family recipes.

This favorite Mexican restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, and serves a variety of dishes with chicken, beef, pork and seafood. For dinner, try beef or chiles rellenos, tamales jalisco, or corn tamales, all house specialties served with sides and tortillas. Vegetarian dishes are available, as well as fresh tacos, burritos and more.

Sit Outside

Serving up delicious and traditional French cuisine made by owner and chef Bernard Dervieux, Cuistot’s menu is accompanied by an award-winning wine list.

Open every day except Mondays for lunch and dinner, guests can try dishes featuring lobster, quail, lamb, duck and more. A number of dining rooms are open, but many visitors sit outside on the terrace to admire waterfalls and stars.

Try the Seafood

Rated high among Palm Desert restaurants, Pacifica is one of the top spots for seafood and known for its vodka menu. Fresh seafood arrives daily, and main courses range from scallops and lobster tails to catfish and ‘rare’ ahi.

Those not into seafood don’t have to worry because Pacifica also offers a selection of meats, pastas, soups and salads. Before or after the meal, check out the bar, which features daily specials and happy hours.

Enjoy the Atmosphere

Housed in a romantic villa with courtyards order an upscale meal or cocktail at Jillian’s. Open for dinner, holidays and special events, elegance meets flavor at this popular Palm Desert spot.

Diners have several pasta and entree options – such as spaghetti bolognese, rack of lamb and grilled swordfish – as well as an award-winning wine list. Jillian’s also welcomes guests to sit in the garden and listen to live music.

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