Come to the desert during Restaurant Week, June 1-10, and get a taste of Modernism.
Many of Palm Springs hippest restaurants offer both cuisine and vibe that brings back America’s post-war era of optimism and creativity, reinterpreted to today’s trends.
Submerge yourself in the whole retro experience by taking a tour of Mid-Century homes and public buildings, scouring for the perfect chair along Palm Springs’ Uptown Design District, and then dining at some of Palm Springs ultra-chic, revamped spots.
Here are a few cool retro places in Palm Springs:
Escena Lounge & Grill
If you want to catch a glimpse and feel of what Palm Springs looked like in its Mid-Century glory days, visit Escena Lounge and Grill at Escena Golf Resort. Award winning architect Douglas Fredrikson, who also designed the IW Club, recaptures the essence of Palm Springs in this classic modern golf clubhouse.
Situated just a few minutes from central Palm Springs at Vista Chino and Gene Autry Trail, Escena offers a nearly 360-degree panorama of the Santa Rosa Mountains from the Banning Pass to La Quinta, with its own Jack Nicklaus-designed championship golf course in the foreground.
Geometric and freeform architecture in glass, steel, concrete and rock mirrors the ageless, towering Mount San Jacinto. A “martini” theme is reflected in the steel “stir stick” plunging through a hole in the roof to martini shaped iron sculptures in a fountain.
Delve into the retro experience during Restaurant Week with a $36 four-course menu featuring Lobster ravioli , tempura or salmon rolls, and entrees like surf & turf, seafood lovers pasta, pork tenderloin, half tandoori chicken or a New York strip steak.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with happy hour Monday through Friday from 3 pm to closing
1100 Clubhouse View www.escenagrill.com
Circa 59 at the Riviera Palm Springs
Sip an icy martini at the swank Sidebar Lounge or slurp a fruity concoction poolside at the Riviera Hotel before indulging in an innovative entree at Circa 59. The Riviera Hotel’s red-hot, contemporary atmosphere and reinterpretation of its Mid-century modern roots offers a seasonally changing menu at Circa 59 restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Capturing the gaudy glam of red velvet wall paper, crystal chandeliers and deep cushiony booths, Circa 59 offers a Restaurant Week prix-fixe menu for $36 with entree choices of roasted duck breast, pan-seared Loche Duart salmon, or potato gnocchi. The regular menu is also available
Circa 59’s patio overlooks the resort’s free-form pool and fire pits, aglow at night with pool and decorative lights to create a romantic setting. The restaurant and resort accentuates an “over the top” revival of 1950s-60s chic decor.
Circa 59 serves breakfast from 7:30 to 11 a.m.; lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 6 p.m.
1600 North Indian Canyon Drive (at Vista Chino) www.psriviera.com
Citron at The Viceroy
Citron’s happy lemon yellow accents – double door entrance, striped pillows, armchairs, bowls of lemons – that stand out against the Viceroy’s hip Mid-Century Modern white and black decor, makes this a unique place to eat.
Opt to sit in the lemony mirrored dining room, casually on the patio, or under gray and black tent canopies beside the pool.
Wholesome yet indulgent menus at Citron offer a balance of heart healthy choices for spa clients to downright decadent offerings on a seasonally changing menu. A Restaurant Week menu for $24 offers buttermilk Jidori chicken, three cheese ravioli, organic baby red oak salad and more.
Citron is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with bar menu available from 4 pm. to close.
415 South Belardo www.viceroypalmsprings.com
Trio’s 1960’s cinder block, stone and glass building is a former bank whose windows are “guarded” by a cylindrical steel grid exterior that is a great design element as well as protection.
The contemporary interior by designer Shawn Elmore offers a warm pallet of orange, browns and beige with luminous sea shell and spherical lighting. Diaphanous white curtains separate the dining areas.
Entrepreneurs Tony Marchese and Chef Mark Van Laanen launched Trio in the heart of Palm Springs Uptown Design District.
“We specifically chose the uptown design district for its diverse neighborhood village atmosphere and art and furnishing community,” said Marchese.
A blend of California comfort and regional American food, Van Laanen brings his Wisconsin background into play with a variety of fish, steak, organic salads and vegetarian cuisines plus seasonal items from local growers and farmers. A few local favorites are the Lamb Shank, Seafood Stew and the Yankee Pot Roast.
The $24 Restaurant Week menu offers choice selections such as line caught swordfish, Australian sole, Porterhouse pork chops, roasted half chicken and a rib eye steak.
To complement the American modern food, Trio’s bar and lounge offers specialty premium cocktails and organic or biodynamic wines during their nightly “conversation hour” from 4 to 7 p.m.
Open seven nights a week, dinner is served from 5 p.m.
707 North Palm Canyon Drive\ www.TrioPalmSprings.com
The Tropicale and Coral Seas Lounge is reminiscent of popular dinner clubs and themed cocktail bars of old Miami and Mid-Century Palm Springs.
Big cocktails and lavish modern cuisine emphasizes Pacific Rim seafood, but the menu cruises from bouillabaisse to meatloaf, a unique twist in every offering. The $36 Restaurant Week menu includes a choice of wild line caught salmon, organic chicken breast, Kobe flatiron steak and finishes with classic peach cobbler or strawberry shortcake for dessert.
An additional outdoor bar and lounge meanders under an 80-year old fichus tree, lush with foliage and island furnishings.
Happy hour every night from 4 to 7 p.m. offers intriguing appetizers and luscious cocktails. Dinner is served nightly from 5p.m. and weekend brunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
330 East Amado www.thetropicale.com