Palm Springs, Calif. is a small desert city that sits a couple of hours east of Los Angeles. As one of nine popular tourist destinations known as the Greater Palm Springs, Palm Springs is an oasis for relaxation and pampering in the warmer months and a winter haven for snowbirds who flock to the desert during the colder months. In addition to beautiful golf courses and world-class spas, Palm Springs is also known for its art and cultural scene. Yearly events in the city extend from The Palm Springs International Film Festival and Desert X to the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival and Pride Week.
But there's also a smorgasbord of restaurants to meet any dining need or desire. From upscale to Sunday brunch, Palm Springs has something that will satisfy any craving.
Raise the Steaks for Date Night: Mr. Lyons Steakhouse
Mr. Lyons is an upscale steakhouse with a more “retro” feel and decor. The spacious restaurant has a bar located in a separate room so patrons can be free to enjoy their space without disturbing one another.
The restaurant decor is beautiful and intimate without feeling pretentious, making guests of all ages feel welcome and comfortable.
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But let’s talk about the menu. Mr. Lyons is a restaurant that prides itself on buying locally and using said products to craft delicious cuisine. If you try nothing else, you must get Mr. Lyons Beef Wellington. It’s a petit filet of beef with black truffle mushroom duxelles and a decadent bordelaise sauce. The first bite was like tasting a feast made for the gods. The meat was perfectly seasoned and cooked and the truffle mushrooms mixed in with the sauce seemed to melt into my taste buds. It was a healthy-sized portion which I paired with the California gold fried rice with quail eggs mixed in. I agree it sounded strange, but I’m a sucker for fried rice and this did not disappoint.
My partner ordered the slow-cooked prime rib and despite it being cooked medium-well, it still was tender and flavorful. I went back and forth trying to decide which dish was the best and although the Beef Wellington won, the prime rib is also a must-try second. Mr. Lyons also offers a vegetarian version made with golden beets, butternut squash, kale and dragon carrots. It comes with boursin and a beet beurre rouge or a beet butter sauce.
The house-made mint ice cream came highly recommended and after the first bite, I could see why. It was one of the best decisions of the evening served with a side of chocolate sauce. I could have eaten a whole gallon's worth. It was a chunk of heaven in my mouth.
I Have A Hunch You’ll Enjoy Breakfast and Lunch: Mr. Cheeky’s
For those who are into the brunch scene, Mr. Cheeky’s is a fantastic choice. The restaurant is open from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., so they only serve breakfast and lunch and do not take reservations. Mr. Cheeky’s is also closed for parts of the summer, so if you have the misfortune of being in the desert during the summer months, check out their website to make sure they’re open.
The atmosphere is much more laid back and most of the seating is outside, but it is covered so the sun isn’t a disturbance. There is inside seating and a bar and even though Mr. Cheeky’s is not a large restaurant, the tables are close but not cramped.
Like Mr. Lyons, Mr. Cheeky’s prides itself on buying locally and the proof is in the eggs. I have never seen such yellow eggs outside of something animated. The eggs were yellow and fluffy and soaked in flavor. What I’m trying to say is that I did not know eggs could be that color and that good.
Mr. Cheeky’s menu changes weekly, but there are some solidified menu options such as the bacon flight. Repeat, bacon flight. Bless the person who knows what truly lies in American hearts. The bacon flight has five flavors: nodines applewood, truffle jalapeno, beeler apple cinnamon and rosemary sugar. Putting rosemary on bacon had never crossed my mind and the herbs and bits of sugar were a pleasant savory surprise.
A seasonal menu option is the green chile, cheese and corn tamale with scrambled eggs and tomatillo. All the fresh ingredients are present in each bite; the green chiles added a great kick of spice and the corn in the tamale was delightfully present but not overwhelming.
Mr. Cheeky’s offers fresh squeezed orange, grapefruit and pressed green juice served in a beaker. The latter is made with kale, apple, mint and celery and comes either a small or large size. The presentation of everything was delightful. There are mini-French presses for coffee, the syrup comes in little boxes that are decorated like houses and every table had miniature-sized ketchup and salt and pepper bottles. Seriously, go to Mr. Cheeky’s for brunch and lunch. You will not be disappointed.
Dine Italian Style at Birba
The Italian restaurant Birba is located next to Mr. Cheeky’s. It’s a bit busier atmosphere with all seating located outdoors with outdoor heaters for the cooler nights. There was music playing when I arrived and although lights were hanging everywhere, it was still quite dark in the restaurant.
For appetizers, I had the roasted octopus with hummus, crispy chickpea and sofrito which is a sauce used as a base in Italian and other cultural cooking. The octopus had a slight crunch to it that mixed very well with the sofrito. I cannot stress how amazing the roasted octopus tasted.
For the entree, I had to try the eight-hour roasted short rib served on creamy polenta with cippolini onion that was quite rich and filling too. Leftovers made a wonderful midnight snack.
My partner had the squid ink tagliatelle with wild baja shrimp in a scrumptious shallot cream sauce. Due to the squid ink, the pasta was black with a slightly salty taste that was absolutely relishing.
Dessert has always been my favorite part of dinner and Birba’s tiramisu reiterated this. It was light but with a rich smoothness of flavor that I savored to the last bite.
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Birba would be a great way to end a weekend in Palm Springs and is located at 622 N. Palm Canyon Drive. For additional menu selections, visit www.birbaps.com as well as their pages on Facebook and Instagram.
For more information on what to do and where to go while in Palm Springs, go to https://www.visitpalmsprings.com.