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Heading To Coachella? Here Are 10 Desert Restaurants To Satisfy Your Pit-Stop Cravings

An outdoor patio space of people tables and chairs situated around a chrome-painted Airstream trailer. There is a building in the background, along with plants and outdoor lights.
Outdoor patio at Bar Chingona
Courtesy of Bar Chingona )
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The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which starts this weekend, attracts visitors from across the world, drawn to the magnetic energy of the crowds.

Dancing under the dazzling lights, with sky-high art installations and echoing music reverberating through the air, you can really work up quite the appetite. Attendees of the 2023 season can expect Michelin-star French eats, Sichuan street noodles, fried chicken and even oysters from the food trucks and stands in the polo fields. But why limit your culinary adventures to the festival grounds?

Outside there’s a world of new and noteworthy restaurants just as enticing as any of the food trucks at Coachella. Maybe you’re craving a hearty bowl of paella. Or perhaps you’re on a mission to find the best vegan eats the desert has to offer. Or maybe a bagel and lox from a classic Jewish deli when nursing a hangover. The food scene in the Coachella Valley is booming, and it's a great time to explore it. Enjoy.

Bar Chingona

A close up overhead image of a mixed drink cocktail containing a yellowish-green liquid garnished with a slice of lime and two slices of jalapeño on a tooth pick with a pink plastic skull
Chingona Diabla cocktail
Courtesy of Bar Chingona )
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If you’re searching for a restaurant with a view, you’ll definitely want to pay a visit to Bar Chingona, with its retro airstream bar offering a laid-back vibe and breathtaking vista of the San Jacinto mountain range.

With 10 varieties of mezcal and 16 tequilas, the drink menu here is not one to miss. For those with a sweet tooth, the Bee’s Knees (gin, lemon juice and honey) will have you buzzing with delight, while the Chingona Diabla, made with spicy Libelula Tequila, Poblano liqueur, fresh lime juice, and habanero syrup offers some heat.

With house-made tortillas, signature shrimp tacos, and both classic seafood and veggie ceviche, Bar Chingona offers up a menu that blends familiar flavors with fresh twists. Try their Yellowfin Tuna Tostada with ponzu or Cauliflower Esquite with Cotija cheese for a light dinner, and pair it with one of the craft cocktails or mocktails. If you’re still thirsty after that, grab a Mexican Coke (or Sprite!)

750 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, CA 92262

Sol Y Sombra

A brightly lit dining area with multiple stained glass windows. The floor contains a tile mid-century design featuring blue, white, orange. The walls are painted with a similar multi-colored design.
Dinning area at Sol y Sombra
Courtesy of Sol y Sombra)

If you’re ready to mix up your culinary journey and venture beyond Mexican fare, why not explore the rich and distinctive flavors of Spain? Sol y Sombra will give you just what you’re looking for.

This new addition to the dining scene boasts a delicious paella menu and a tableside bar cart service, offering options for everyone: seafood, chicken, pork, and veggie.

You’ll also find classic tapas like croquettes and papas bravas; if you want something more substantial, you can choose from other “big plates,” such as seared branzino, braised Spanish pork, or Catalan rabbit and Sobrasada stew. Buen provecho!

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A large metal paella pan containing bright colored yellow rice with pink cooked shrimp, blue black mussel shells, light brown clam shells, with various chopped vegetables.
The seafood paella at Sol y Sombra.
Courtesy of Sol y Sombra)

67670 Carey Rd., Cathedral City, CA 92234

Ruberry Salsa

At Ruberry Salsa, the fusion taco reigns supreme. With a mixture of Asian and Mexican cuisine, you’ll be able to try unique options such as the Stir Fry Taco, Spring Roll Taco, and Wasabi Taco.

Founders Ruben and Terry de la Rosa decided to start their taco stand after Terry was laid off from her bartending job in 2019. At Villagefest, the regular Palm Springs Thursday night street fair, their tent grew such a huge following that they recently decided to open a brick-and-mortar location in Palm Desert.

Now, Ruberry Salsa is the talk of the town, and its owners attribute their success to good old fashioned word-of-mouth. There's nine varieties of made-in-house salsas, ranging from “Mild & Wild” to “Don’t Do It” (we won’t judge if you dare to try it). Beyond the incredible flavors, the owners are committed to innovating at their restaurant, hosting live performances in their new space.

 555 S Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, CA 92264

Beautiful Day

A close up image of a burger with two burger patties covered in yellow American cheese and small stack of pickles next to it
The double smashbuger at Beautiful Day.
Courtesy of Beautiful Day)

Beautiful Day is a restaurant in La Quinta that features a veggie-forward menu designed to turn even meat eaters into plant lovers. It's run by husband-and-wife team Justin and Mackenzie Jenkins, who've created dishes such as mushroom shawarma tartine, vegan poke bowl, and roast beet Reuben.

How do you make a Reuben out of beets you ask? The dish features organic beets rubbed with mustard and a proprietary blend of pastrami spices, and dehydrated for 18 hours to create a toothsome texture. The beets are then sliced, tossed with whole grain mustard and fresh black pepper, seared on a hot plancha, and piled atop sourdough along with housemade sauerkraut and vegan Russian dressing.

Don’t worry, weightlifters, Beautiful Day also offers high-protein options, as well as a "Rise & Shine'' menu that includes highlights such as Farm Fresh Frittata and the Breakfast Burrito. The couple are also committed to accommodating their gluten-free patrons by maintaining a designated fryer free of any gluten products. This means many diners, regardless of dietary restrictions, can enjoy a meal at Beautiful Day with friends.

An off white ceramic bowl sits on a lightly colored wooden surface containing a bowl full of seasoned rice covered with various vegetables and dark red ahi-tuna
Poke bowl, Beautiful Day
Courtesy of Beautiful Day )

50949 Washington St., Suite 1A, La Quinta, CA 92253

Cowboy Cantina

Jim Valdez, who grew up eating Santa Fe-style New Mexican food, missed the specific features of that cuisine when he moved to California decades ago. So he decided to create a menu incorporating Southwest cooking with a cowboy theme. Some of the popular dishes include the "Big Tex Cowboy Steak," Memphis-style baby back ribs, and the "Waffle Madness" dessert served in a 44-ounce martini glass.

Apart from meaty dishes, Cowboy Cantina also offers a range of vegan options such as the "Señor Jimmy's Smothered Tostada." For those who miss country dancing, the restaurant also hosts a DJ playing country music on Friday and Saturday evenings and plans to introduce line dancing from 4 to 6 p.m.

Popular dishes and appetizers include the "Cowboy Burger," pulled pork taquitos, Santa Fe New Mexico egg rolls, and "Campfire Cauliflower." They also have a "reverse happy hour" during those hours with discounted drinks. So two-step your way down grab a drink along with tasty bites that will say, “yee-haw”!

72620 El Paseo, Palm Desert, CA 92260

Low Desert

An exterior shot of an entryway to a restaurant with a brick walkway leading to an outdoor patio enclosed with lights, tables, and chairs. Next to the deck is the restaurant's interior, which can be seen by the full-sized windows next to the patio space.
Low Desert
Courtesy of Low Desert )

The owner of Low Desert, Anis Khalil, originally from New York, was in search of restaurants that had a similar vibe to the eateries in his home city. When he couldn't find one, he decided to create his own. Khalil's vision was to make a "modern Mexican" restaurant that would appeal to most people in Southern California, with food that had a twist on standard Mexican cuisine, with different spices, preparations, and ingredients, making it lighter and less greasy.

A ceramic white plate filled with lettuce, small tomatoes, and half of an avocado. The plate sits on light brown table top next to a window. There is a potted plant next the plate.
Grilled Romaine at Low Desert
Courtesy of Low Desert )

Low Desert's salads are diverse and yummy, with the Low Desert salad being a particular standout. It is a spinach salad with shredded beets, grilled sweet potatoes, lentils, avocado, pomegranate, and cilantro vinaigrette. If you are looking for a modern take on traditional Mexican cuisine, Low Desert is a great choice.

1775 E. Palm Canyon Dr., #405, Palm Springs, CA 92264

J's Deli

An interior of the dining area, with wooden tables and tables in the forefront bordered by beige colored booth seating
Dining room at J's Deli
Courtesy of J's Deli)

Step into J’s Deli in Palm Desert and you’ll find a slice of Jewish American culinary history wrapped up in a modern, timeless setting. Called “the best deli in the desert” by one of the many 5-star reviewers on Trip Advisor, this destination stays true to classic deli traditions while also keeping pace with the ever-changing tastes of today’s foodie scene.

J’s Deli is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the menu is a celebration of classic dishes that have stood the test of time. Desserts, including cheesecake and pastries, are all made in-house, so you can enjoy your sweets made with love. But J’s is more than just great food — it's an experience. The welcoming relish tray, where you can find fresh bagel chips and pickles, is a perfect example of the attention to detail that sets this deli apart. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, with an indoor/outdoor bar that beckons you to stay and enjoy a drink.

A close up shot of sandwich made with white rye bread toasted with white sour kraut, yellow cheese, and brown pastrami
Pastrami Sandwich, J's Deli
Courtesy of J's Deli )

74225 CA-111, Palm Desert, CA 92260 (Inside of One El Paseo)

Hoja Blanca

A plate of tacos sits on a light brown wood surface. The dish contains two tacos that sit side-by-side. The tortillas have yellow and blue corn masa on each side, and inside the taco sits a red protein topped with green roughage. Next to the tacos are two slices of lime and a small white ceramic dish full of green salsa.
Quesabirra Tacos, Hoja Blanca
Courtesy of Hoja Blanca )

This family-run team, led by chef Omar Limon, has been wowing diners with their pop-up modern Mexican meals, even in locations with minimalist kitchens. The lack of a permanent address has not stopped them from creating unforgettable dining experiences that are worth seeking out.

Chef Limon's culinary journey began in Los Angeles, but it was his visits to family in Puebla, Mexico, that ignited his passion for cooking. After attending Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, he honed his skills at various kitchens, including the prestigious 4 Saints at The Rowan in Palm Springs.

The menu at Hoja Blanca features a mix of traditional and innovative dishes, all bursting with flavor. Highlights include the Tostadas with hamachi, avocado, aioli, English cucumber, salsa macha, and peanuts, and the Quesabirria Tacos made with monterey jack cheese, lime pickled onion, and jocoque. Seafood lovers will delight in the Aguachiles with white shrimp, salsa negra, red onion, radish, English cucumber, grapes, salsa macha, and tostaditas. Despite the lack of a permanent location, Hoja Blanca is quickly becoming a must-try destination dining spot for those in search of exquisite modern Mexican cuisine.

A flan dessert sits on a white ceramic plate covered in a light brown colored caramel and yellow flower.
Flan dessert, Hoja Blanca
Courtesy of Hoja Blanca )

800 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, CA 92262

I Heart Mac and Cheese Palm Springs

Two light skinned hands hold a grilled cheese sandwich that's being pulled apart, exposing a white cheese inside against a green leaf backdrop
Macaroni grilled cheese,
Courtesy of I Heart Mac and Cheese Palm Springs )

I Heart Mac & Cheese specializes in satisfying the cravings of cheese lovers with their signature mac and cheese dishes, grilled cheese sandwiches, and even a unique “tacoroni” option. The restaurant, located in downtown Palm Springs, features a build-your-own menu that allows customers to choose their base of pasta, broccoli, cauliflower, or quinoa, as well as their choice of cheese sauce, protein, and topping. With all the cheesy options, it could be a lactose-intolerant nightmare — and everyone else’s dream. Don’t worry though, gluten-free and vegan options (including Beyond Meat) are also available.

The menu at I Heart Mac & Cheese offers a range of options, from the classic Chicken Parmesan Mac & Cheese to the more decadent Lobster & White Truffle Mac & Cheese, made with Muenster cheese, lobster cream, white truffle oil, and scallions.

An image of two-hard shell tacos that are colored orange, filled with tubular pasta
Tacoroni, I Heart Mac & Cheese
Courtesy of I Heart Mac & Cheese )

190 S. Indian Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, CA 92262


An exterior shot of a restaurant with its sign saying Mole illuminated by white neon in the night sky
Molé Restaurant
(Nathan Cox Studios
Courtesy of Molé )

Prepare your taste buds for a journey south of the border at Molé. The restaurant's commitment to authentic Mexican cuisine is evident in every dish, from the Shrimp Chicharron Tostada to the Colorado lamb shank adobo with ancho chile molé and minted cream. And don't forget to try their signature molé con pollo made from a whopping 32 ingredients!

And if you have a sweet tooth, you can end your meal on a high note with one of their classic but reimagined desserts like the prickly pear flan and churros with goat's milk caramelo. Molé commits to using locally sourced ingredients, and its patrons clearly notice the quality, calling the dishes “heavenly” and “spot-on.”

73160 El Paseo, Palm Desert, CA 92260
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