Fine dining evokes white tablecloths, candles, sparkling glassware and silver cutlery lined up for each delectable course. Imagine thick juicy steaks, delicate pan-seared scallops, rosemary and garlic crusted rack of lamb, grilled salmon in dill sauce. Here in the Greater Palm Springs area, fine dining can be more casually nuanced where innovative chef-centered dishes are the focus. Or opt for the more formal iteration where a legion of attentive napkin-armed waiters hover nearby amid a muted din of conversation and clinking glasses. Discover what fine dining in the Greater Palm Springs area means to you.
Melvyn’s & The Casablanca Lounge at Ingleside Inn | Palm Springs
Since the mid ‘70s, when the late Mel Haber established Melvyn’s at Ingleside Inn, this timeless Palm Springs classic restaurant has been a famed celebrity hangout. Back in the day, Melvyn’s strict dress code meant coats and ties for gentlemen and dressy attire for the ladies. Nowadays, dress is more relaxed and its menu more trend setting with a selection of healthy California-centric dishes inspired by the culinary vision and travels of Executive Chef Alex Fregoso. But timeless classic dishes such as Beef Wellington, Steak Diane, Filets and New York steaks with Bearnaise, peppercorn brandy and demi-glace are a nod to earlier times.
Where: 200 W. Ramon Rd., Palm Springs, CA 92264
Spencer’s Restaurant at the Mountain | Palm Springs
Terraced at the foot of San Jacinto Mountain and overlooking Palm Springs, Spencer’s Restaurant is an amalgam of classic elegance and comfortable informality. From its venerable Bougainvillea Room with its terraced gardens, the fichus-shaded and fire-lit patio below, to the warmly sophisticated main dining room and enclosed extended patio, Spencer’s offers a variety of dining venues. Last summer, its award-winning patio underwent an extensive renovation. Signature favorites are the colossal shrimp cocktail, pan-fired Chilean seabass, Australian rock-lobster tail and Black Angus filet mignon. A Wine Spectator award winner, select a glass or bottle of premium wine or craft cocktail from the indoor-outdoor bar.
Where: 701 W Baristo Rd., Palm Springs, CA 92262
The Steakhouse at Agua Caliente Resort & Spa | Rancho Mirage
Recipient of the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star award and winner of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence consecutively since 2007, The Steakhouse Rancho Mirage features a rich, savory experience. Sushi grade ahi tuna, Australian lobster, Colorado lamb and USDA Prime beef reflect the mouthwatering range of selections. Special delicacies created by Executive Chef Kenneth Williams include a bone-in Tomahawk ribeye, Scottish salmon with basil-date risotto, and filet “Oscar” style topped with king crab and asparagus, finished with Bordelaise or Bearnaise sauce. With the Wine Spectator awards, a superb selection of wines as well as cocktails and specialty beers await.
Where: 32250 Bob Hope Dr., Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
Pacifica Seafood Restaurant | Palm Desert
Situated atop the Gardens on El Paseo with sweeping views of the desert cities and surrounding mountains from its patio, Pacifica Seafood has been a favorite gathering place for more than 15 years. Its well-appointed dining room and lively bar offer daily happy hour and nightly specials. While the menu showcases fresh daily seafood such as grilled Pacific swordfish, sugar-spiced salmon, seared rare ahi; it also has an array of steaks, chicken, pasta dishes and salads. Braised boneless beef short ribs, grilled center cut filet mignon and shrimp scampi pasta are among those choices. Pacifica is known for its extensive vodka selection, as well as fine wines, craft beers and handcrafted cocktails. Recently, Pacifica Seafood made OpenTable’s 2021 "25 Best Restaurants for Outdoor Dining in AMERICA.”
Where: 73505 El Paseo, Palm Desert, CA 92260
Morgan’s in the Desert, La Quinta Resort & Spa | La Quinta
Tucked among bougainvillea wrapped columns supporting a rough-hewn trellis, Morgan’s in the Desert is La Quinta Resort & Spa’s signature restaurant featuring contemporary American cuisine. Inspired by the Greater Palm Springs area’s agricultural bounty, dishes are created from the region’s top products, crafted by traditional cooking methods. Delicious, healthful dishes include Maple Leaf Duck Breast with a compote of Coachella Valley vegetables, wild Alaskan Salmon with tomato basil aioli and fava bean salad, and Steak Au Poivre in red wine demi-glace. Dine at the piano bar, in the historic dining room or on the fire-lit patio.
Where: 49499 Eisenhower Dr., La Quinta, CA 92253
The Bistro is Fantasy Springs Resort Casino’s fine dining restaurant, specializing in contemporary cuisine, fresh seafood and sushi. Located upstairs from the casino gaming, The Bistro is warm and intimate with a cozy fireplace, central bar seating, and dining room with a view of the open kitchen and sushi bar. Terrace seating overlooks palm trees and the courtyard. Tempt your tastebuds with Wild Mushroom soup and Duck Confit, or classic iceberg Wedge Salad. Excite with a Caterpillar roll or Nigiri sushi platter. Savor a Miso-Sake glazed Chilean seabass or dry-aged double cut Duroc Pork Rib Chop. Sizzle with filet mignon, Porterhouse or New York steak. Amuse with a black bottom crème brulee or phyllo-wrapped banana bliss. Hand-crafted cocktails, premium wines, beers and after dinner drinks are dispensed from the bar.
Where: 84245 Indio Springs Pkwy., Indio, CA 92203