Killing it at Coachella and during any visit to Palm Springs is typically all about where you stay, what you wear and the shows at which you snag VIP standing room. But, where you eat in one of California’s best food hubs (its good weather and proximity to Latin America give it access to some of the country’s freshest ingredients and top-notch Mexican food) is also highly likely to make your trip that much more memorable. Here are our editors’ picks for the best meals at fashion’s favourite festival.
A menu that changes weekly based on seasonality and a modern space make Cheeky’s the best spot in town for fresh, all-American breakfast and lunch items that will meet your expectations for five-star egg dishes and sandwiches – but with a twist. Enjoy spicy bloody Marys, frittatas (this week’s option is shrimp, courgette, basil and cherry tomato) or French toast that’s anything but basic: a sweet and salty version paired with brie and topped with a brown-butter syrup. Head here for recovery brunch or lunch of fresh comfort food after a late night of drinks and dancing.
With it’s high-quality menu and high design, this rustic farm-to-table spot brings LA vibes to the desert. Dishes that feel more dressed up than standard American fare (with a European touch) add a luxe feel to the experience here, but the flavours, ingredients and an impressive cocktail list make the menu just as approachable as it is inventive. Standouts (for this season only) include a Wagyu-beef carpaccio with truffle salsa, wood-fired pizza with daily-changing toppings and the house burger served on a brioche bun. If you’re looking for a carnivorous break from Palm Spring’s typical veggie-focused fare, make a reservation for a dinner of perfectly cooked steak or decadent duck-fat fries.
The California cuisine on the menu at Chi Chi at the Avalon Hotel & Bungalows is best eaten poolside. Food is peppered with Latin flavours and Mexican staples, with a focus on dishes that are good for you. Expect freshly pressed juices, Soyrizo quiches and gluten-free pancakes at breakfast, a shrimp burger and share plates such flash-fried cauliflower with mushrooms and kale tostadas at lunch. Hearty dinner plates and healthy takes on soul food, such as fried chicken and collard-green enchiladas, are also crowd favourites.
The Purple Palm
Located in The Colony Palms Hotel and inspired by the Mexican vibes of Palm Springs, combined with the prohibition-era speakeasies of the late 1930s, The Purple Palm takes a sampling of all of its influences (including modern-day California cuisine) for a diverse menu. The cocktail list here is impressive and the menu, which feels partly influenced by classic steakhouses of Sinatra’s era, caters to the health-conscious California scene. Case in point: a SoCal asparagus appetiser and a fresh scallop sashimi.
New Yorkers in town for Coachella will no doubt reach a point where they miss a well-made pizza and a great cocktail, and Birba is the town’s go-to for homemade pasta, savoury meatballs and brick-oven pizzas (with the option of gluten-free crust available on request). An outdoor patio (complete with misters for hot days and nights) makes this spot ideal for a date. Daily fresh pasta specials are always worth asking about, as are their “Piece of the Pie” special pizzas, which donate a portion of each pizza’s profits to the Boys & Girls Club of Palm Springs.
Looking for something a bit more upscale? This retro steakhouse is all about hand-cut meats paired with fresh vegetables and well-executed cocktails. Frank Sinatra lived in Palm Springs (the house he owned in the early 1950s is now available to rent) and his spirit feels alive and well in the plush banquettes and old-school menu of this chic spot. The menu consists more of a strong range of appetisers along with sides to pair with a short list of perfectly prepared proteins and fish dishes, topped with your choice of sauce.
Read more on our luxe edit on where to habitat in Coachella this year…