15 Must-Try Rancho Mirage Restaurants in SoCal

Kim Orlando Avatar
rancho mirage restaurants - the Westin Rancho Mirage
The Westin Rancho Mirage Resort & Spa. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

From swanky hotels and swimming pools to outdoor adventures and many great restaurants, Palm Springs offers something for just about everyone. Situated in California’s Colorado Desert, Palm Springs is an ideal getaway for families, friends, couples and especially foodies.

Knowing the lay of the land is important in Palm Springs, which encompasses nine diverse cities. Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indio, Desert Hot Springs, La Quinta, Indian Wells and Coachella make up the Greater Palm Springs Area.

It’s easy enough to navigate, but can take 30 or more minutes to get to your destination. I recommend choosing an area that’s close to attractions and restaurants you plan to visit.

My recent visit was focused on enjoying resort amenities and the best restaurants in or near Rancho Mirage. In fact, Rancho Mirage’s restaurant row offers a nice selection of diverse dining options, most of them close to the Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort & Spa, my home away from home during my visit. (Scroll down to read about why I loved the resort so much.)

Here are the restaurants I tried and an extra list of Rancho Mirage restaurants recommended by locals that I didn’t manage to visit, but plan to try on my next trip there.

Don’t-Miss Rancho Mirage Restaurants

From tacos to truffles, takeout to fine dining, I was pleased to find a number of diverse Rancho Mirage restaurants close to the Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort & Spa, where I stayed on this visit.

Trust me, you’ll never go hungry in Rancho Mirage.

rancho mirage restaurants - striped bass and broccolini at Pinzimini
My striped bass and broccolini at Pinzimini. Photo credit: Kim Orlando



Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort & Spa
71333 Dinah Shore Drive
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270

Located in the Westin, Pinzimini serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu favors meat eaters and is a bit pricey.

I don’t eat a lot of meat, so my tough choice was between the two fish options: striped bass for $48 or salmon for $42. I always get salmon so I tried the striped bass. It was a basic white fish, dense but plain. I swapped out the fingerling potatoes for broccolini, a good choice.

I think in an effort to make up for the plain tasting fish, the entree included several competing flavors that were an odd mix of hot and cold. The sautéed escarole and broccolini were tasty and hot. The marinated artichoke hearts and heirloom tomatoes were cold. My tastebuds were confused. There was no fusion. It didn’t taste bad but I would not order it again.

Breakfast was a better experience. A friend and I both enjoyed the omelet station at the brunch buffet along with fruit and yogurt. I would like to have seen more bread and fruit and vegetable options.

rancho mirage restaurants - baby back ribs at Babe's
Babe’s baby back ribs, seasoned corn on the cob and coleslaw were a treat. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

BABE’S Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse

71800 Hwy 111, Suite A-176
Rancho Mirage, CA, 92270

This carnivore’s eatery is in the center of Rancho Mirage, in an area called The River – a 10 minute drive from the Westin golf resort.

Pigs are revered here – bronzed, framed and barbecued. This is the right place to watch a game, let the kids hang out, and of course, to eat delicious barbecue.

This is the place to eat meat and Babe’s set me up with a variety of comfort food. The baby back ribs were tender and tasty, the seasoned corn on the cob kept me fed for two days. The coleslaw is uniquely seasoned and worth a trip back just for that.

I wasn’t a fan of the signature brisket, which is served as a chunk. And, even though the rhubarb pie is homemade and looked gorgeous, it lacked in flavor. My southern tastebuds found the crust to be too pasty.

Norma’s Italian Kitchen

42418 Bob Hope Drive
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270

About a 15-minute drive from the resort, Norma’s Italian Kitchen is a casual Italian eatery on Bob Hope Drive. The menu features traditional dishes such as pizza, sandwiches, and pasta entrees. Dine in (no reservations accepted) or order takeout.

This small, family-style restaurant is located in the Rancho Las Palmas Shopping Center in Rancho Mirage.

Wally’s Desert Turtle

71775 Highway 111
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270

This fine dining establishment has been a Palm Spring icon for more than 44 years. You can expect good service and an elegant dining experience with fine linen, heavy silver, an extensive wine list and a diverse, quality menu.

Consider starting with items like a French onion soup, Gioia burrata salad and oysters in the half shell.

Entrees include filet of Loch Duart Scottish salmon, free range stuffed chicken and lobster ravioli.

Don’t stop there. Cap off your meal with a dessert, maybe Wally’s souffles or macadamia nut bread pudding.

Live nightly music takes places in the Sahara Lounge.

rancho mirage restaurants - doggy door at Boozehounds.
“Where dogs bring their humans” Photo credit: Kim Orlando


2080 N Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92262

The website promises the restaurant is “Where dogs bring their humans.” And that pretty much sums it up. The restaurant owners love dogs and built the restaurant to cater to dogs and their humans. It’s a cool place with good food where dogs are welcome — and can order from their own menu!

The doggie menu includes a beef bowl, chicken bowl and a “weeni-tini” of chicken broth, chicken whipped cream and a doggie biscuit crumble. Extra livers, gizzards and kidneys are available on the side.

There was a line to get in to dine on the day I visited. My friend, Joyce, ordered the Spam egg bowl with kimchi, which was delicious. I chose the avocado salmon poke toast and specialty alcohol-free cocktail that was pink. I named it the Pink Poodle.

Fun, hip and a must if you have a dog. Dogs are treated like royalty, but the human must keep the dog on a leash and on the floor. No table dogs allowed.

Mikado Japanese Steakhouse

JW Marriott Resort & Spa
74-855 Country Club Drive
Palm Desert, CA 92260

This is a fun Japanese restaurant with knife-twirling teppanyaki chefs and delicious food prepared at your table. You’ll sit at a U-shaped table with other diners as the chef chops, jokes and interacts with kids and adults alike as he prepares the food.

While waiting, enjoy a yummy exotic cocktail.

Meals include miso soup or salad, a main entree of steak or seafood or both, steamed or fried rice and desert.

Shame on the Moon

69950 Frank Sinatra Drive
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270

A Rancho Mirage staple, Shame on the Moon has been providing fine dining for nearly 40 years.

The menu offers classic dishes with a twist. For example, there’s chicken ravioli with kale, and seared ahi steak with a mango vinaigrette.

rancho mirage restaurants - 849
Sweet and savory roasted cauliflower steak with cauliflower curry hummus, topped with a walnut currant salsa. Photo credit: Kim Orlando


849 N Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92262

Although this restaurant is located about 25 minutes away in Palm Springs, it’s well worth the visit. However, because parking can be a pain, you might consider a car service.

The dining room decor is minimalist French and the vibe is funky cool. My millennial kids would have loved hanging in the bar area for happy hour. The food and cocktail menu is eclectic.

I was sensing a cocktails theme on my restaurant excursions: creative healthy-style, non-alcoholic cocktails, so I tried one. The lemonade cucumber spritzer was refreshing with just the right amount of sweet.

My meal began with 849’s signature clam and wild crab chowder which I found rich in flavor but light in wild crab. I wanted chunks of crab but it was more like shreds. And honestly, the French butter deserved better bread.

My main entree was a delicious sweet and savory roasted cauliflower steak with cauliflower curry hummus, topped with a walnut currant salsa. Adding walnuts for protein is brilliant.

There was a group of young women nearby who were on a girls trip from Seattle so I asked them about their meals. They unanimously agreed their favorite menu item was the cocktails (no surprise!) and that they would definitely come back for the food and outdoor seating.

rancho mirage restaurants - Pinzimini
Enjoying my dinner at Pinzimini. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

More Rancho Mirage Restaurants

Since my visit was only a few days, I couldn’t try every Rancho Mirage restaurant. Sadly. But I did ask locals for their recommendations for my next visit.

Here’s what they said:

  • Looking for a good steak? You’re in luck. You have several options. Try the Edge Steakhouse in the Ritz Carlton or Kobe Japanese Steakhouse, a favorite with locals and celebrities.
  • Enjoy a tasty meal at Catalan Mediterranean Restaurant featuring tapas plates, cheese and charcuterie, and pasta and paella.
  • bluEmber is the place to go for classic American cuisine. The swanky restaurant is located in the Omni Rancho Las Palmas resort.
  • For a casual dining experience, check out the Acqua California Bistro featuring all day happy hour. Another bistro worth visiting is Si Bon, serving Belgian fare, espresso and a full bar.
  • Shabu Shabu Zen offers Japanese hot pot and tapas. The Japanese family-owned restaurant also features a premium sake menu.
rancho mirage restaurants - Westin room
My room at the Westin was large and comfortable. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort & Spa

71333 Dinah Shore Drive
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270

As I said, my home base for this visit was the Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort & Spa. It’s about 12 miles from Main Street in Palm Springs, and a 10-minute drive in the other direction to Rancho Mirage.

The entry is lined with bright pink flowers, and I saw outdoor patio seating and fire pits on the way to registration. I point this out because it set the tone for me before I even made it to the front desk: welcoming, comfortable and elegant but not pretentious.

The property is large, with 512 guest rooms in 16 main buildings. My room was in building 5, which is convenient to the lobby and restaurants. Buildings 10-16 are a 5-10 minute walk from the lobby but closer to the tennis shop, spa and the Las Hadas pool.

Laid-Back Vibe

The General Manager is the true tone setter at the Westin. I met him as I was leaving my cabana. He was in a suit, pushing a garbage can around the pool, picking up trash.

The son of Italian immigrants, Tom came out of hospitality retirement several years ago to run the resort. I could write a whole story about Tom from his 25-plus years running a successful family restaurant business in New York to his love of dogs. More than one employee told me that they worked at the Westin specifically to work with Tom. His likable personality permeates the atmosphere of the entire place.

rancho mirage restaurants - dog friendly Westin resort
Tom’s adopted dog. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

Dog-Friendly Resort

Dogs are available to pet, walk, talk to and adopt at the Westin. Tom, the GM, adopted one, who posed for this article.

I did not get to see the adoption center during my visit because all 42 dogs had been adopted.

Resort Activities

Locals can enjoy the amenities as golf and/or social club members. I met one retired doctor who lives nearby who confirmed the Westin Rancho Mirage has two terrific courses.

Even though I don’t golf, there was plenty for me to do at the resort.

The spa is gorgeous, with a private pool and lounging area. My masseur, Darius, successfully treated an issue I was having with my hip. I especially liked that I was invited to use the spa amenities the following day since my appointment was at the end of the day.

Bikes are available to rent and there are several pools and restaurants on the property.

The mini-golf area is challenging enough for teens. And for the whole family, there is Pinz and Pints, a giant arcade with three bowling lanes and full bar.

rancho mirage restaurants - Westin pool slide
The Las Brisas pool has a brand new slide. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

Dive into the Swimming Pools

The resort’s three pools offer quiet space for adults, and fun water activities for kids. The family-friendly Las Brisas pool is lively with a brand new humungous slide that adults and kids were lining up to try. It is just outside the lobby.

There are plenty of lounge chairs, but I recommend reserving a cabana if you have a family or large group. Cabana rentals, ranging from $300-$500/day, offer plenty of seating and amenities. They come with a fridge stocked with water and soft drinks, towels, and a light appetizer.

Movies are also screened here.

The recently renovated, adult-only Las Hadas pool has a spa and bar. And the quiet La Paloma pool has cabanas and a bar.

Kim Orlando, founder of SheBuysTravel, is a lifelong traveler, an entrepreneur and a sought-after social media and marketing consultant. She has made hundreds of appearances on TV and in digital and print media, sharing advice and tips built on decades of travel experiences. Hailing from the hills of Kentucky and taking her story to New York, Los Angeles, and beyond, Kim built an online platform, the original TravelingMom, that has reached millions of moms and empowered them to explore the world with their families. Today, TravelingMom has evolved into SheBuysTravel. Kim has been featured on “News Nation,” “Today,” “Good Morning America” and on numerous satellite media tours. She has contributed travel guidance to outlets including The Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and more. (Read more about Kim’s media appearances here) Her travel mantra is simple: All travel counts. “You don’t have to go far. Leaving your home is travel,” Kim says. “Wherever you go, even just to the next town over, you can learn something new, see someone and something you haven’t seen before. “It’s good for the brain and good for the soul.” An epiphany in early parenthood started Kim on the journey that led to SheBuysTravel. She’d been a fan of a newsletter for women travelers, and she saw an opportunity. “I thought something like that for moms could be extraordinarily helpful,” she said. “I was traveling for work, traveling for fun, and I was looking for support.” That seed grew into the award-winning website TravelingMom, created as a resource for traveling families of all stripes. Today, TravelingMom has evolved into SheBuysTravel, with an expanded mission to serve women travelers at any stage of life. Millions of readers have visited the site for trip planning help, travel secrets, destination information and gear recommendations. What sets SheBuysTravel’s content apart, Kim says, is its foundation in real-world experience. “Our writers and editors have actually gone out there and done this stuff,” she says. “They’ve booked the flights, tried the tour, tested travel clothing, visited that new hot spot to see if it’s worth the hype. It’s all real.” Memorable Adventures A 2022 tour Kim guided to Bhutan was a particularly standout experience. “Bhutan sounds so exotic, of course,” she said. “But the part where my heart just glows and warms is thinking of the people we met – amazing women doing amazing things in Bhutan.” Their ranks included a former police officer whose ventures into food science helped mitigate food insecurity for residents of Bhutan’s highlands. Top Tips Planning for travel can be daunting, Kim acknowledges. “I always say: Go anyway. No trip is going to be perfect. There’s always going to be something you didn’t expect, something that doesn’t go the way you pictured or planned it. And that something is what’s going to make it a great trip.” And on a practical note: “Go early! Getting to the airport or hitting the road just an hour earlier relieves so much stress.” Kim’s Background Kim, a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, holds degrees in finance and entrepreneurship and has deep experience in developing and running businesses. Her previous work includes developing and running communications workshops and overseeing document management for corporations. SheBuysTravel hits a sweet spot where Kim’s two loves of travel and entrepreneurship meet. “The longer I work in this field, I only want to do more,” she says. “I find the travel world so exciting – not just the trips, but the whole online world of travel. There are still so many opportunities.” The World Awaits “The ‘best trip ever’ probably won’t be the same for an empty-nester or mom of three versus a single woman celebrating a bachelorette party with her friends,” Kim says. “We want to keep it real for traveling women, no matter what their age, life stage, where they came from or where they’re going. “We want to inspire women to travel in any shape or form.” In her free time, Kim enjoys visiting her adult kids, creating trips and traveling with her BFFs to explore the world. Her most recent adventures can be found on InstagramFacebook and LinkedIn.
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