Palm Springs Film Fest: 4 Hot Restaurants to Sample

Palm Springs Restaurants - H 2015
Courtesy of Eight4Nine

The desert dining scene is in a constant state of reinvention.

A version of this story first appeared in the Dec. 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

One of the most anticipated restaurant openings this past fall, Eight4Nine injects art into dining in the emerging Design District. “West Coast modern” cuisine has playful Pacific Rim, Latin and Southwest influences (think ratatouille tart and cider-brined duck breast with pinot noir risotto) with a heavy dose of produce from local Coachella Valley farms. Just as curious as the culinary creations is the whimsical decor, with exposed pipe light fixtures, bleached white walls lined with vintage prints and celebrity portraits, and Victorian high-back chairs with magenta cushions.

849 N. Palm Canyon Drive

So.Pa is the desert’s first restaurant to be fronted by a Michelin-starred executive chef. Giacomo Pettinari worked under Ferran Adria at El Bulli and earned Santa Monica Italian restaurant Valentino its first Michelin star when he was just 28. Now, the ambitious chef takes on L’Horizon Resort’s So.Pa, which boasts a casual approach to elevated dining in an elegant outdoor setting. Innovative, experimental Mediterranean-inspired dishes like blistered sea scallops carpaccio and squid ink potato pillows are impressive highlights.

1050 E. Palm Canyon Drive

Breathing life into a seriously dated 1937 institution, Palm Springs’ most innovative chef, Tara Lazar, reopened Lyons English Grille as Mr. Lyons (a tribute to its original owner, David Lyons). Completely redesigned with Mad Men-esque, art deco interiors (green velvet-upholstered booths, black-and-white tiled floor), the dimly lit, swanky hideaway is where you’d imagine the Brat Pack drank martinis and snorted lines, but it’s still the go-to for a damn good steak and season-fresh accompaniments.

233 East Palm Canyon Dr.

With a new spa concept, hipster activities like poolside indie flick screenings and new room redesigns to come this spring, Avalon (formerly Viceroy Palm Springs) has rebranded its image with new ownership. The recently opened Chi Chi restaurant, also helmed by Tara Lazar, is an intimate al fresco space surrounded by green palms where creative Latin-meets-Californian cuisine includes coconut-oil-fried chicken and plant-based collard enchiladas with aji amarillo sauce.

415 S. Belardo Road