The balconies at Matchbox in Palm Springs overlook Palm Canyon Drive, offering some of the best people watching opportunities in the city. (c) GTH &Nathan DePetris

Tons of restaurants, cafes and dining venues dot Palm Springs. On most nights, the guys or the gals can be found paired up for a romantic dinner or clumped into groups for a night on the town. Below are 5 of my favorites:

•    Trio: Conveniently located in the uptown design district, Trio is the perfect place to grab a bite after shopping the afternoon away. An energetic and casual restaurant offering modern American cuisine, Trio has a great three course prix fixe menu for $19 from 11:00am until 6:00 pm daily. I recommend a baby beet salad as your appetizer, some St. Louis style spare ribs, and bread pudding for your desert, topped off by the Trio-tini.

•    Peaks at San Jacinto: High up on the mountaintop, Peaks is not so much in Palm Springs as above it. Located at the top of the aerial tramway on San Jacinto Mountain, this restaurant offers decent food, and unparalleled ambiance. Chefs use fresh vegetables and greens from the Coachella Valley, aged meats and more to create a dining experience at 8500 feet above sea level. While grabbing lunch and a hike are a good option for this venue, the stars really shine if you head up the mountain just before sunset and then dine while the lights of the valley below begin to come on.

The ride up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway offers visitors a chance to enjoy stunning views of the desert floor below. Arriving for dinner at Peaks just before sunset allows diners to watch the desert floor come alive as the city’s lights turn on. (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

•   Lulu California Bistro: At the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Arenas, this venue has changed several times over the last few years with the latest incarnation being the best. A funky and modern vibe fills the restaurant so grab a seat on the patio to people watch and enjoy such wonderful dishes as quinoa stuffed acorn squash or black mussels.

•    Matchbox: Located in the heart of downtown this upscale pizzeria offer stunning views of Palm Canyon Drive  and some of the best people watching opportunities in the desert. Arrive early and try to get a balcony table while you munch on classic and artisanal pies and enjoy the delectable cocktails offered by the bar.

•    Cheeky’s: Start your morning off with a fabulous breakfast at Cheeky’s. The menu changes weekly in order to allow the restaurant to serve seasonal, locally grown and preferably organic food. All of the items are delicious but make sure to check out the bacon bar where several types of pig candy are offered up including jalapeno and maple…yum!!

Matchbox is one of a multitude of dining options sprinkled up and down Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs. (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

If You Go: