Credit: Nathan Cox

8 Historic Restaurants in Greater Palm Springs That Have Stood the Test of Time

These Time-Honored Locales Are Worth Checking out on Your Next Trip to the Desert

Coachella Valley has many iconic characteristics, from midcentury modern architecture to its elite golf courses. But the creme de la creme is a selection of exceptional restaurants and the rich history behind them. From casual to upscale, the desert has it all, but only some have stood the test of time. Many of the most beloved restaurants have been in business for decades and have changed as the years go by, evolving their menus but keeping the classics and updating the decor to reflect the present day. Although some of these places may look different than they once did, the allure of old Hollywood glamour days holds strong. We’ve rounded up eight iconic places to dine that never go out of style.

 

Ristorante Mamma Gina

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Best Historic Restaurants Palm Springs
Credit: Nathan Cox

There are many reasons to love Italian culture, from its artists and luxury brands to wines and pasta! Ristorante Mamma Gina is a family-owned restaurant with solid roots overseas and a sister restaurant in Florence, so you know the food is authentic–just like eating your grandma’s cooking! This spot has been around since 1986 and will make you feel welcome and beyond satisfied. The executive chef has been with the business for 38 years, keeping those original recipes from Mamma Gina simmering. The restaurant gives an understated luxury-meets-modern vibe with white tablecloths and flowing white drapes. The setting is perfect for a date night or an intimate dinner with friends, especially if you can snag one of their U-shaped booths; we strongly recommend the fresh veal chop with roasted potatoes and spinach for an entree. If the mood is to sip on cocktails and mingle, the bar and patio offer happy hour from 4 p.m. to close. Start with an Aperol spritz, then dig into authentic Italian classics like the Prosciutto Parma con Melone, Spaghetti Bolognese and Gnocchi al Gorgonzola.

Location: Palm Desert

 

Wally’s Desert Turtle

Credit: Nathan Cox

Wally’s is fine dining at its best, serving California classics with a modern twist. Hollywood elites like Frank Sinatra and Tom Hanks have wined and dined here, and with its varied menu and contemporary baroque vibe, it’s no wonder celebrities and locals love it. Step inside this vintage hideaway to find mirrored ceilings, Peruvian artifacts and hand-painted murals. Some menu selections, such as the Dover Sole and signature scuffles, have been fan favorites since the doors opened in 1978. Every Friday, they host a fashion luncheon for local designers and retailers to showcase the latest trends available at their shops. They also offer nightly live entertainment in their semi-private Sahara Lounge!

Location: Rancho Mirage

 

Melvyn’s

Credit: Mark Durling

Melvyn’s Restaurant is renowned for its savory entrees, flawless cocktails and refined elegance. Part of the Ingleside Estate hotel, it serves dishes influenced by classic American favorites like the wedge salad and chicken pot pie. The aesthetic is moody and simplistic with dark gray walls and pops of brightly colored furniture–it’s no wonder it has a long A-list of fans; of course, Sinatra and the Rat Pack were regulars, but so were Howard Hughes, Elizabeth Taylor and even Salvador Dali. While taking in the Golden Era vibes, be sure to order the steak Diane and have that baby-seared tableside.

Location: Palm Springs

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Las Casuelas Original

Credit: Nathan Cox

Las Casuelas Original is a beloved restaurant nestled in the heart of downtown Palm Springs. With its rich history and vibrant ambiance, it has become a cherished landmark in the area since its inception in 1958. For over six decades, the Delgado family has been passionately creating timeless and authentic Mexican food and serving it with love (and margaritas). The breakfast, lunch and dinner menus have staple dishes like huevos rancheros, shrimp tacos and enchiladas with traditional red mole sauce, which are best enjoyed on the charming patio.

Location: Palm Springs

 

Mr. Lyons Steakhouse

Best Historic Restaurants Palm Springs
Credit: F10 Creative

Mr. Lyons Steakhouse is alluring and remarkable with a dimly lit dining room, tufted velvet booths and perfectly mixed martinis. It’s a steakhouse meant for special occasions and celebrations—a dinner and a proposal-type place. While the restaurant itself is fairly new (established in 2015), the menu is classic and nostalgic with each dish cooked and served impeccably. Most of the meats are locally sourced, and the knowledgeable staff is more than happy to give wine recommendations to pair with your steak or salad. We recommend the red chili truffle butter American Wagyu, and if you’re not a wine fan, the French 75 martini is an excellent alternative to pair with your meal. 

Location: Palm Springs

 

Sherman’s Deli

A desert staple for decades, Sherman’s Deli brought a New York-style sandwich shop and bakery to the Coachella Valley. It’s simple kosher food that is so satisfying, it’ll be hard not to become a regular! There’s nothing like a good sandwich, especially when you need to grab a quick lunch. Sherman’s sammies are served on deli rye bread stuffed with your choice of meat, like hot pastrami or BBQ brisket and deli staples like ham or turkey. Each sandwich comes with your choice of potato salad or coleslaw. Don’t miss out on their bakery; if you have a celebration coming up, the chocolate mousse cake is to die for.

Location: Palm Springs

 

The Nest

 

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The Nest is a welcoming upscale establishment with 55 years of history behind it. It’s the place to be for those who want to have a great dinner and be able to groove to live music after without having to go somewhere else. This fine-dining eatery has a full bar and a full party with live entertainment seven nights a week! Start with the seared ahi tuna, followed by the chicken piccata. The dance floor heats up around 6 or 7 p.m., depending on the day, but you can pregame during happy hour from 4-6 p.m. Wednesday is the exception, as happy hour runs all day!

Location: Indian Wells

 

Le Vallauris

Credit: Visit Greater Palm Springs

Located in the heart of downtown Palm Springs sits Le Vallauris, which is owned by global private members social club Soho House. The restaurant is located in a restored historic landmark, and the food is as stunning as the atmosphere and tastes as good as it looks. Traditional French fare can be enjoyed indoors or al fresco on their patio, which is best experienced when the sun sets. The large Ficus trees sprawled above and the twinkly lights perfectly placed overhead are as romantic and whimsical as it gets. The patio is cool during the summer and heated in the winter, making it the ideal spot all year long. Reservations are necessary–especially on weekends.

Location: Palm Springs

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Lauren McCarran is a freelance writer specializing in content creation for media outlets. Her work with numerous publications and brands has helped her develop a unique and engaging writing style. Lauren loves to keep a finger on the ever pulsating world of pop-culture while staying in the know of the latest trends and happenings.

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