When it’s 115 degrees in the desert, Si Bon is an oasis for me. Even if it’s a cool 70, it is one of my favorite restaurants in the Coachella Valley. My parents have lived less than 5 miles from Si Bon for a few years now and every time I visit them, I go. Within hours of landing I end up there. I hit In-n-Out Burger once I exit the airport because, well, double-doubles are not available in Michigan. I typically time my flights to land around lunch time. No matter what time of year it is, the immediate desert heat hits my midwestern self and dinner is, without question, Si Bon.
That desert heat means Si Bon’s delectable, cool cucumber soup and their “Maine Lobster Chopped Salad.” I know that it shouldn’t be a reality that their lobster is some of the best I’ve had in my life (and yes, I have been to Maine and several states in New England many many times), but it is. The dressing is creamy tarragon and it balances the sweetness of the lobster perfectly. They always slice up some avocado across the top of the salad and it is the best possible dinner on a hot desert evening.
The ambience: Si Bon is set up bistro-style with cool art, stunning lighting and a patio that is misted when it’s hot out and heated on cooler nights. This place is a destination.
I know I started with my go-to for dinner so now I’ll backtrack to breakfast. If you want it simple, just with quality ingredients, you can order the breakfast sampler. Staples like eggs, potatoes, and a meat but instead of toast their specialty Belgian waffle. Bacon is an option but why get it when you can choose a hand-crafted sausage? My go-to there is their simple “Authentic Belgian Twin Waffles” which is served with a decadent maple syrup. Speaking of decadence, you can get the “Mango Stuffed Belgian Waffle” or if you want something seemingly healthier, “Caramelized Banana Oatmeal” – it is all excellent.
In all honesty, I’ve eaten lunch dinner there and gone in for breakfast the next morning, then lunch or dinner again the same week. There is so much fabulous-ness on the menu and the flavors are diverse, so you feel like you are having a new experience each meal.
If you’re stopping in at lunch, give one of their waffle sandwiches a go! You guessed it, their signature waffles replacing traditional bread. The first time I realized these existed we were on the patio and I saw the fried chicken version get delivered to a guy at the table next to us. All of us (this includes him) were stunned at the size of it. He gave it a big thumbs up, so if I’m ever feeling like I want hot fried chicken in the desert, I am more than willing to try it!
For dinner, we always ask about the special but often order off the prix fixe sunset menu. My mom has gotten everything from schnitzel on special to a dinner plate of fried chicken, which is on their regular menu. If I’m not eating that lobster salad, I’m doing their “Mussels Marinière” for something light or the “Filet Mignon Au Poivre” if I’m hungrier, which is topped with an outstanding peppercorn sauce.
Dessert here is worth the indulgence. Their chocolate mousse is not sugary-sweet but is reminiscent of dark Belgian chocolate and is a favorite of mine. If you want something cool and refreshing, Si Bon has an array of gelato flavors to select from. You get dessert as part of the prix fixe menu as well and truly, it is a perfect portion, just enough to enjoy without feeling overly full.
Bottom line: the food is excellent. The service and ambience are upscale casual (my favorite in the desert!) and I cannot recommend this place enough if you end up anywhere close to Rancho Mirage.