Skip to content

Gluten Free Palm Springs: More Great Finds

by Karen on April 20th, 2013

Spencer's in Old Palm Springs (photo from website)

It’s been a few years since my last post on Palm Springs and in that time some additional options have surfaced.  Wonderful options in fact for people who must adhere to a strict gluten free diet.

When we first arrived in the desert we bought a ton of groceries thinking we would have to cook most nights.  In hindsight I should have purchased much less to give us more flexibility.

On this trip we had four successful dining out experiences. Two were tried and true: the reliable PF Changs and The Cliffhouse but two were new to us:  Indian Wells Club (or IW Club as it is known –the restaurant is open to the public) next to the Hyatt in Indian Wells and Spencer’s at the Historic Tennis Club in old Palm Springs. 

The Cliffhouse is in La Quinta and features steaks and seafood and is a unique venue built into boulders similar to those found at Joshua Tree National Park. We go there for the simplicity of steak and vegetables but the other two restaurants offer a huge selection of noted GF items on their menus. 

GF noted menus:  IW Club  and Spencer’s   

I mentioned to the waiter at each restaurant that some people who order from the gluten free menu don’t necessarily have celiac disease, and that for us, it was absolutely critical that no cross contamination exist. Each waiter spoke to the chef and we thoroughly enjoyed each meal.

So happy!

IW Club in Indian Wells

I had two meals at the IW Club, a lunch following tennis with girlfriends and dinner with my celiac son.  He was so impressed that things like GF soup and beef stroganoff were on the menus– in 16 years we have never seen these items offered at any restaurant. Their online menus don’t indicate which items are GF but there are many items and each is clearly marked on the menu at the restaurant. Everything is very good!  At the IW there is outdoor seating perched up above the golf course.

We were there at sunset with a 180 degree view of the mountains and enjoyed a warm breeze.

Indoors is very comfortable with leather chairs and a club atomosphere.

this place was great!




Spencer’s at the Historic Tennis Club in Old Palm Springs

Spencer’s has a 60’s movie star vibe, very old school, classic Palm Springs.


Inside it reminded me of the Seattle legendary restaurant Canlis.


During the day their outdoor dining is fantastic and it is shaded from the sun as well as cooled on hot days with what appeared to be outdoor duct work for A/C.


At night the outdoor dining is lit with hanging balls:



All of Spencer’s menus are posted online and there are so many GF choices (they call them GFI-Gluten Free Item)  Sam had the Traditional Triple Decker Club Sandwich on what they called a GF potato bread that was very good.  We asked about the source of the bread and it was Udi’s, much to my surprise.  I haven’t seen anything that Udi’s calls potato bread so I assume it is their regular bread that shows potato starch flour as an ingredient. Sam has never been able to order a sandwich while dining out in his entire life so this was pretty exciting!


 Our friends ordered the Baja Shrimp Salad and said it was very good.


Spencer’s was selected as Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence 2012.

Chef Eric Wadlund has worked in some of America’s finest Four Star restaurants:  Azur by Le Bernardin, The Occidental, The Rattlesnake, and Terra Cotta and most recently at the renowned James Beard House.

We love the relaxed atmosphere of Spencer’s and the dedication of the kitchen to execute gluten free the right way.


And since I mentioned Joshua Tree earlier I have to put this in, it’s the skull rock at Joshua Tree.  Next time we will go ready to hike and plan to be there in the late afternoon for the best picture taking hour.


skull rock








No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Note: XHTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS