While Used Car Week packs the schedule with complimentary breakfasts, awards luncheons and refreshment breaks, you might find yourself wanting to stroll off the La Quinta Resort grounds to explore your desert surroundings. If so, consider some of these fine restaurants located in La Quinta and nearby communities.

Arnold Palmer’s Restaurant

We’ll bet you didn’t know the Coachella Valley surrounding La Quinta holds more golf courses than any other region in California. If you did, then Arnold Palmer’s might be a perfect place for you to indulge.

Named after the late King of Golf, this cozy restaurant features five themed rooms — the Masters Room, the British Open Room, the US Open Room, the Palmer Room and the Wine Room — all with a smooth clubhouse vibe. The menu offers everything from Alaskan halibut piccata and foie gras brûlée to comfort-food favorites like the Montgomery Inn Ribs and Arnie’s Famous Meatloaf. The Arnie’s Pub menu serves up bar-and-grille classics like fish & chips and an Angus burger alongside Spicy Fish Tacos and Chorizo-Crusted Tiger Shrimp in béchamel, offered at happy hour prices from 4 p.m to 7 p.m.

Recommendations: Double-Cut Pork Chop, Arnie’s Famous Meatloaf, Chef Matt’s Famous Butter Cake

Cliffhouse Bar & Grill

With an ambience straddling rustic and modern, La Quinta Cliffhouse impresses any who enter with its dry-stack stone walls, gorgeous grottos and waterfalls, beamed ceilings and absolutely stunning views of the desert and the surrounding Santa Rosa Mountains.

Aside from its décor, the restaurant prides itself in presenting “upscale casual dining,” starting with chilled oysters on the half shell or calamari and winding towards signature entrees like gluten-free Smoked Paprika-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin and Sugar-Spiced Salmon. The Cliffhouse Bar presents additional small plates like zucchini sticks and beer-battered onion rings to accompany its specialty cocktails.

Recommendations: Pan-Roasted Chilean Seabass, Blackened Catfish, Mocha Semifreddo

Castelli’s

Located in nearby Palm Desert, Castelli’s flaunts all the charm of an Old-World Italian tavern. As you might expect, the restaurant rails on its fettuccine alfredo, suggesting it as an appetizer or served on the side with their scrumptious local favorite, the Osso Bucco — on-bone veal shank, braised all day and served on a bed of mushroom risotto. Of course, there are many more traditional dishes on the menu, from pasta Bolognese and filet marsala to house scampi and rack of lamb. Save room for desserts and coffee, from the tiramisu and cannoli to the decadent Cappuccino Romano, a special blend of 12 ingredients including brandy, amaretto and Kahlua.

Recommendations: Fettuccine Alfredo, Osso Bucco, Cappuccino Romano

Mitch’s on El Paseo

Modern Pacific surf-and-turf is one way to describe Mitch’s on El Paseo’s menu. This sleekly styled contemporary joint in Palm Desert plates all courses from both sides of the North Pacific Ocean, from Japan to California, allowing you to pick and choose what style cuisine with which you’d like to begin and end your night. Want to start off with shishito peppers in ponzu sauce and move on to Dover sole Véronique? Done. Or would you rather begin with Dynamite Baked Oysters and graduate to sesame-crusted ahi tuna? The world is literally your oyster in this case.

Mitch’s also boasts a respectable sushi menu with familiar favorites and signature specialty rolls, as well as a happy hour lasting from 4 p.m. until close, if you’re into small plates and novel cocktails, like the White Cosmopolitan or a Gazpacho Bloody Mary.

Recommendations: Macadamia-Crusted Rack of Lamb, Chilean Sea Bass Misoyaki, 808 Roll

Cuistot

Situated in Palm Desert, an updated French-farmhouse look complements Cuistot’s contemporary Provençal menu, incorporating everything from Lyon-style baked seafood quenelles in lobster sauce and roasted rabbit with Basque ragout to Italian pastas like tomato-basil farfalle and tagliaterre with lemon, arugula and chanterelles. The offerings expand further to include other continental dishes like Scottish salmon, veal chop and sweetbread-stuffed quail, then hop the Atlantic to include New York strip steak frites and Maine Lobster Pot Pie.

Recommendations: Classic Cassoulet Toulousain, Braised Short-Rib Ravioli, the Floating Island


For more suggestions as to where to dine around La Quinta, check out the Used Car Week notebook after you arrive!

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