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So many people have trekked to the desert the past few years for music fests that there’s been a taste explosion in this hot spot. Whether we're chomping fried squid at a minimalist café at dusk or noshing on light Vietnamese rice crepes at a strip-mall hideaway, Palm Springs, you’ve got our attention.


Life’s too short not to spend evenings dining en plein air on small plates of fried squid and aioli and artisanal cheese while you’re toasting with a glass of Champagne. This restaurant at the elegantly understated L’Horizon Resort is packed on weekends, so go early for a sundowner.

1050 E. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs; 760-323-1858 or


Make new friends sitting on communal benches under fairy lights at night. Everyone sharing their choice of ten pizzas such as pancetta, pecorino, spring onion and egg or fresh mozzarella and basil, followed by to-die-for desserts like salted caramel chocolate tart or a pear tartlet.

622 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs; 760-327-5678 or

Chi Chi

If brunch is a competition in PS, then the new restaurant at the Avalon Hotel wins, with fresh juices like kale-apple-ginger to detox from the previous night’s alcoholic excesses, and clean tastes like fish tacos with mango salsa and chipotle aioli. The super-sunny yellow lacquer interiors are FTW, too.

415 S. Belardo Rd., Palm Springs; 844-328-2566 or

The Rooster and the Pig

Adventurous palates have usually gone wanting in this town of classic fare, but this fusion Vietnamese restaurant brings flair to the scene. (You have to find it in a strip mall a block off the main drag, but it’s there!) Order the bahn xeo, a savory pancake fried with a crispy edge and filled with fresh greens and shrimp or crispy beef noodles.

356 S. Indian Canyon Dr., Palm Springs; 760-832-6691 or

Tonga Hut

OK, you can’t visit PS without embracing a little kitsch, thanks to all the retro ’50s design extant. Scratch that itch with a visit to this tiki bar, where you’ll have to try classic drinks like the Zombie (three kinds of rum) along with a Polynesian pu-pu platter--what’s not fun to eat on skewers?

254 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs;

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