Your Guide to the 7 Best Plant-Based Restaurants in Palm Springs, California
The iconic pastel doors and skinny tall palm trees of Palm Springs are so spectacular that stars have long spent time in this desert oasis to get away and live their best life, however, they chose to define it: Frank Sinatra spent most of his leisure time poolside at his estate, and Slim Aarons captured beautiful people at desert parties with breath-taking landscapes in his famous photographs. Even now, more and more celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and the Kardashians are finding their way to Palm Springs where the temperatures are cool at night and scorching hot during the day, and visitors soak up the perfect blend of nature and sophistication.
Whether you head to Palm Springs for a weekend getaway or to find a second home, the rush to the desert has brought with it a new type of dining experience: Healthy plant-based food. The amount of delicious, fresh, creative vegan cuisine available is reason alone to visit. During a week in Palm Springs, my friend, Caitee, and I spent time relaxing at her parent's cool retro home and hopping from plant-based restaurants to local thrift stores, essentially to shop for all the best one-of-a-kind, environmentally-friendly finds.
At each plant-based stop, we snapped photos and videos of our favorite dishes as if we were some crazed paparazzi and the food itself was the star. Here we share our insider guide to plant-based in Palm Springs, including where to go, and exactly what to order, plus where to sit, even if it's in the back of your car with the trunk popped open, watching the planes fly overhead and land at the nearby airport (a memorable picnic). We filmed the entire journey (watch the video) so you can join us on this adventure and visit all seven plant-based restaurants including one bonus one in Joshua Tree, a short drive away if you're up for a 45-minute road trip. Bring your vegan friends and your appetite. Palm Springs is a plant-based food lover's heaven on earth.
Here's Your Guide to Delicious Plant-Based Restaurants in Palm Springs
1. Palm Greens Cafe: 611 S Palm Canyon Dr # 6, Palm Springs, CA 92264
Your spot for organic plant-based eats, healthy juices. This café is the place to take your non-vegan friends to try and convert them to eat less meat. This restaurant is surprisingly affordable, and you get a lot of bang for your buck when it comes to the size of entrees. If you're dining for two, all you need is one plate to share.
Calling All: Vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free, and health-conscious eaters. This place has a well-rounded menu for anyone. There are eggs on the menu but with every vegetarian option, there's a vegan one too like tofu scramble, Beyond meat, tempeh, and 'chickenless' chicken made with soy.
Plant Yourself: Due to the current COVID-19 dining restrictions, there's no indoor seating as of right now, but just out front of the restaurant is a dining section with a large tent and six four-top socially distanced tables, which is great for dogs and double dates. The QR code menu makes everything touch-free. When the dining restrictions lift, inside there is a full booth that wraps around the entire restaurant and plenty of tables. There's also an option to grab and go at the counter in the front, serving up warm vegan pastries, fresh vegetable and fruit juices, and delicious sandwiches for takeout.
Don't Miss: Chef Greg's signature dish, and our favorite, The Greg's Loco Moco with the house-made mushroom patty, scrambled tofu, sauteed greens, over brown rice and quinoa topped with the homemade mushroom gravy sauce that's made with vegetable stock, mushrooms, and onions. This dish was full of umami mushroom flavor but the grains and greens added a nice balance. I had to add some hot sauce for heat and spice, but Caitee thought it was perfect just the way it came. You also cannot skip out on the vegan biscuits and gravy. They taste just like Thanksgiving gravy served over a fluffy biscuit, similar to a pancake. We couldn't help fight over who got the last bite of biscuit.
Leave Room for: The table next to us ordered a side of gluten-free and vegan pancakes which looked amazing. With a drizzle of maple syrup, you could smell the sweetness of blueberries and warm batter, so how could we not get an order even though our check was sitting on the table. Another bonus? The crispy pancake is only $3.00 and is an easy share.
2. Nature's Health Food Cafe: 555 S Sunrise Way UNIT 301, Palm Springs, CA 92264
This place is a major two in one: You can buy all of your plant-based groceries, vitamins, and harder-to-find ingredients like exotic fruits, different types of beans, and pure butter spreads like peanut butter, sunflower, and more at this café. The store itself is attached to the vegan and vegetarian café where the three-page double-sided menu is full of meatless and dairy-free options and has everything you can imagine from faux meats to hearty salads.
Plant yourself: Order at the café, sit outside on the tables and set up your own spread. This restaurant doesn't have a wait staff so you can take out and dine wherever you want. Caitee and I popped the trunk open and ate our meal in the back with a breathtaking view of the mountains.
Calling all: Anyone and everyone who wants to eat a healthy breakfast, lunch, or dinner while picking up groceries. This is the place to go when you're searching for that rare ingredient that completes your plant-based recipe and you have never heard of it or have seen it in your local grocery store. This health food store has everything. On the cafe side, the menu options are endless, sort of like a food court in a mall where you can eat almost any cuisine. The menu includes Chinese fried rice with 'ham' and 'beef', a tofu 'steak' plate, 'fish' tacos, and plenty more.
Don't Miss: You cannot pass up on the chick'n quesadilla with vegan cheese and spinach wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla with a big side salad. The "chicken" is made with soy and has a similar meaty texture glazed with a rich sauce. The cheese is stretchy and gooey, the perfect kind of a pull-apart wrap. The spinach adds a nice touch of greens and a little bit more texture.
Leave room for: All the vegan chocolate bars they have in the market. Scan through a variety of different vegan, gluten-free, or keto options, and be sure to take one for the road. Caitee and I enjoyed the rich and creamy Hu Kitchen vanilla crunch bar that was an absolute treat. The candy tastes just like the Crunch Bar itself, minus the dairy chocolate.
3. Chef Tanaya's Kitchen: 706 S Eugene Rd, Palm Springs, CA 92264
Don't judge a book by its cover because when we pulled up to this hidden gem, we drove right past it. The small market and restaurant is located in an industrial area and is more of a takeout or pick-up kind of place. Chef Tanya's Kitchen is a vegan's playground of delicious food, fun gifts, produce, and more. Caitee and I enjoyed our meal in the trunk of the car, with our legs hanging out the back. You can't go wrong with Tanya's, they have everything a vegan can imagine and make delicious homemade tempeh that's out of this world.
Plant Yourself: Pop the trunk, picnic in the back of your car and watch the planes fly over as you devour your "I can't believe this is vegan" food. Due to the COVID-19 dining resections, Tanya's Kitchen is only open for take-out, but luckily the parking lot has the best view of flight traffic heading to Palm Springs International Airport.
Calling All: Vegans looking to indulge–you won't catch any meat or dairy on this menu. This hole in the wall is the spot in Palm Springs for meat alternatives, tasty desserts, and off-beat knick knack gifts. They even have vegan prepared food that you can refrigerate at your home and eat for the week, like their delicious homemade mac and cheese. They have a section of the store dedicated to decadent desserts. My favorite is the peanut butter mousse that's the perfect bite-size treat to satisfy your sweet tooth without making you feel stuffed.
Don't Miss: The homemade tempeh, period. We ordered the CTK Orginal Tempeh burger with caramelized onions, beautiful lettuce, and vegan mayo. This sandwich beats any kind of plant-based burger we have ever had. Caitee who's not a big fan of meat alternatives loved the taste and texture of the homemade tempeh. The vegan mayo is on point and adds a rich creaminess to the bun.
Don't Leave Without: Buying yourself a vegan sticker for your laptop or a hippie-inspired pin for your best friend. Next to Tanya's is a small pop-up shop she opened to help save desert wildlife, and all proceeds go to the Oswit Land Trust. In the store, you can find cards with cute vegan sayings, carrot sharpers, petite spoons, and lots more. We laughed out loud at the one card that said, "Eat plants and fit in your pants."
4. Kreem: 170 E Palm Canyon Dr #8822, Palm Springs, CA 92264
Kreem is a groovy Palm Springs ice cream shop serving both dairy and non-dairy ice cream so everyone can enjoy the taste of happiness. Kreem really knows how to cater to a vegan crowd with specialty flavors that are hard to find at the grocery store. The flavors vary depending on the season but the most popular include rose, coconut latte, turmeric and ginger, chocolate cookie, and Ube which is sweet purple yam and toasted vegan marshmallows.
Calling All: Ice cream connoisseurs who love good quality dairy-free ice cream and flavors that blow your mind. Kreem makes all of its ice creams from scratch so, with every bite or lick, you feel like you're in Europe at a fancy gelato shop. Because this ice cream shop sells both vegan and non-vegan ice cream, it's the best time to fool your best friend into thinking they are eating the real thing, when you actually ordered them the plant-based option. They will have no idea it's dairy-free.
Plant yourself: Outside at the small tables to people watch and take pictures in the reflective wall that serves as the perfect selfie location. The shop is on the smaller side but there are plenty of benches nearby and stores to window shop.
Must-Order: If there's one ice cream flavor you probably have never tried it's the rose, and they make the flavor completely vegan. The best way to describe the taste is extremely sweet and reminiscent of your favorite refreshing rosewater facial mist. It has a unique taste, to say the least, but is well worth the experiment. My second favorite flavor is a latte, which is similar to a coffee ice cream but is richer like an espresso. The consistency of the vegan ice cream is perfect. There is no chalky or icy texture, it's rather smooth, creamy, rich, somewhere between the consistency of Cold Stone Creamery ice cream and frozen yogurt.
5. Mid Mod Cafe: 515 N Palm Canyon Dr #9, Palm Springs, CA 92262
This restaurant wins our top pick for the best out-door dining experience, thanks to the garden community center located just behind the café. Mid Mod Café has everything under the vegan sun on its menu from salad bowls to sandwiches and even healthy açai bowls and juices to drink with your entree.
Calling All: Health-conscious eaters who love a hearty plant-based meal made with whole vegetables, grains, and natural foods. Mid Mod Cafe is a healthy eatery serving up power bowls, fresh juices, healthier-for-you breakfast options, and more. This restaurant is owned by the same people that opened Palm Greens Café so the menu is similar but the ambiance and scenery are a lot different.
Plant Yourself: In the beautiful common area behind the café where there are benches, tables, and a perfectly trimmed lawn so you can lay down a blanket and have a picnic. This photo-worthy garden is filled with blooming flowers, spikey cactus, and desert-inspired seating so you can enjoy your healthy meal next to your pet and embrace the outdoor atmosphere with large mountains in the distance. This seating section is also the perfect place to have a business meeting or bring your laptop to work.
Must-Order: The macrobiotic bowl that's made with either brown rice or quinoa, black beans, yam salad, seaweed salad, fermented Napa cabbage, spicy kimchi, sauteed greens, and a savory tofu-based sauce to finish it off. This delicious bowl is filled with interesting flavors and may sound like an unusual combination of ingredients but each pair perfectly and give your taste buds a little surprise. I also love the green goddess fresh juice that's made with kale chard, spinach, parsley, celery, cucumber, and lemon. Every sip of the juice leaves you more refreshed
Leave Room For: The vegan mushroom patty melt made with vegan cheddar cheese, stoneground mustard, and grilled onions. The mushroom patty is homemade and the mustard adds an umami flavor, my favorite way to enjoy a veggie burger. You can't go wrong with any of these vegan menu items because they're all freshly made in-house every day.
6. El Patron: 101 S Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262
This Mexican restaurant is a fiesta no matter what time of day you visit. We went for dinner and cheered our margaritas to a full day of vegan activities (yes, we finished the restaurant guide in one day) and munched on a gigantic portion of cheesy vegan nachos with a large scoop of fresh guacamole. The menu isn't entirely vegan but they do have a section dedicated to classics made vegan like nachos with vegan cheese, cauliflower, and or tofu, vegan quesadillas, vegan tacos, and a vegan burrito or bowl. Let's not forget that all the margaritas are vegan. El Patron is a Mexican food paradise and caters well to any diet.
Calling All: Hungry eaters, plant-based or not, El Patron has an option for everyone, and it's likely you're going to overeat. If you love margaritas, Latin music, and tacos, this place has it all. And, one thing to note, the portion sizes are jumbo so order accordingly.
Plant Yourself: Right now, they have big outdoor dining with heaters and tents. Order your food at the counter and the wait staff will bring it to your table. The best part is that when you're standing in line to order and hoping you score a table, the hostess will ask you where you want to sit and reserve the table for you and your party, so you're always guaranteed a seat to dine in.
Must-Order: The vegan nachos are a platter of cheesy tortilla chips covered in beans, onions, peppers, guacamole, cauliflower, and jalapenos, and are hands-down the best nachos I've ever had. The cheese is stretchy and hard to believe that it's dairy-free. We recommend ordering these to start but if your dinner party is small or you're dining for two, ask for the smallest size unless you want to sit there all night to finish every last bite. Then, order two margaritas, the prickly pear is my favorite, and enjoy a vegan burrito, filled with fresh vegetables, gooey cheese, tofu or cauliflower, and more.
Leave Room For: An order of rice and beans. This signature side-dish is full of flavor and completes the meal. Take some guacamole from whatever entree your order and add it to this dish. Or, if you need some heat as I do, ask for a side of hot sauce to drizzle over top.
7. Crossroads Cafe: 61715 Twentynine Palms Highway, Joshua Tree, CA 92252
Don't confuse this café with Crossroads Kitchen in Los Angeles because they are entirely different. We drove north 40 minutes to hike Joshua Tree and stopped at this quirky hole in the wall vegan-style café that caters to every diet. The restaurant is located off the highway on a strip across from the JT Trading Post and next to Ricochet thrift store, so you will probably drive past it the first time as we did. The diner feels right out of a Quentin Tarantino movie.
Calling all: Eaters who want a real-life western diner experience where tumbleweeds may cross the roads. But there's a not-so-traditional twist to the menu, they serve plenty of vegan options and even have meat-alteratives like the Impossible burger or seitan. This place is the spot if you want to help your dad, uncle, or best friend to experience the delicious side of vegan comfort food. This place is not for the health-conscious eater but that's the best part of it.
Must-Order: The hot as hell Seitan taco because it's life-changing. I ordered one knowing that if I was still hungry, I could always ask for another, but it was just enough and larger than expected. For a girl who loves hot sauce, this satisfied my heat-level and there was no Tabasco insight. The taco was fully loaded with thin slices of Seitan, a sweet chipotle sauce, green peppers, jalapenos, onions, cabbage slaw, and sliced avocado. The tortilla wrap was crisp on the edges and smooth in the middle. If you don't love spice, Caitee enjoyed her Impossible burger served just like the American classic, with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, and a side of piping hot fries.
Don't Leave Without: Ordering a Mexican Coca-Cola in the glass bottles to complete the true diner experience. The sugary drink may not be the healthiest option but it sure did hit the spot. Also, don't leave without stopping next door to the thrift store where they have a collection of antiques from clothing to typewriters. You have to check out the trailer full of one-of-a-kind trinkets you won't find anywhere else.