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“Overpriced and overcrowded”

La Quinta Cliffhouse Grill and Bar
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Ranked #2 of 120 Restaurants in La Quinta
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $30 - $31
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions
Dining options: Lunch, Breakfast, Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Washington Street
Description: From the moment you approach the Cliffhouse you are surrounded by the dramatic sights and sounds of this desert destination. Jutting from a massive rock outcropping above the desert floor the Cliffhouse is renowned for its spectacular views across the valley and providing a lively, casual destination to enjoy a menu of American classics with innovative preparations focused on premium steaks and seafood at great prices. The historic ranch house ambiance complete with a massive fireplace, expansive windows and rustic beamed ceilings creates a warm welcoming environment from which to gaze at the magnificent mountains, share a meal and conversation and stay awhile. The menu highlights vibrant flavors from the valley along with a generous selection of fresh fish and seafood. The wine list has been thoughtfully chosen to complement the food and provide reasonably priced selections including rare and limited bottles.
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Overpriced and overcrowded”
Reviewed February 27, 2013

My wife declared her fillet mignon to be the best she had ever had, and her knife went through the steak like it was butter. My braised beef was excellent. Good service from a good waiter and the valet parking very efficient.

A website described the Cliffhouse ambience as "romantic and casual". As far as the former is concerned I have had more romantic - and cheaper - evenings at McDonalds or my local launderette. The place was so overcrowded that I was rubbing elbows with the two diners either side of me, I was nearer to the diner at my left-hand table than my wife, and I could hear his conversation a lot better. To my right, a client dressed down in shorts on a chilly evening, drank noisily from his beer bottle - very classy! I was constantly buffeted by clients and waiters passing by behind me because of the close proximity of all the tables. Due to the high level of ambient noise we had a job making ourselves heard to each other, so we skipped the dessert and coffee and were glad to leave.

If you are charging the silly prices this restaurant does, clients expect more than good food. A pleasant experience in a comfortable, uncrowded and spacious area is important. Being packed in like economy traveliers on Ryanair/South West was not enjoyable, and we shall not return.

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank HytheTony
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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896 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Carlsbad, CA
Level 6 Contributor
119 reviews
70 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
“Definitely Worth Going”
Reviewed February 25, 2013

We read the mixed reviews, but thought it was worth giving a try and we were glad we did. I wish we could have enjoyed the view, but we were there late on a Thursday evening and it was packed! We were able to be seated quickly however, and though the dining room in loud it was still a nice ambiance with the fireplace. Next time I think I would opt to dine in one of the smaller dining rooms on the heated patios.
The menu is not extensive and is heavy on steak and seafood, so this is not the place for non meat eaters (like me), but I was there for my hubby's birthday and was able to enjoy a beet salad and stuffed artichoke. The service was very efficient and attentive without an ounce of stuffiness. And the dark chocolate dessert was so rich and delicious. The bill for two of us was $80, so its a little pricey, but it was perfect for a special occasion dinner.

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Melissa S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
La Quinta, California
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Past their prime”
Reviewed February 20, 2013

Lots of people raved about this place and we just laughed when we sat down to eat...what a joke. The bar must keep this place alive!

Visited June 2012
2 Thank 816RV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Port Ewen, New York
Level 5 Contributor
96 reviews
76 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“The Total Experience”
Reviewed February 1, 2013

Cliff House is the real deal, the total dining experience, and worth every penny you spend. It is not so fancy or stuffy that you can't be yourself. You can be relaxed, casual and have a great time while eating excellent food in a sophisticated environment. You will be impressed from the moment you drive to the entrance and valet parking eases your burden in a very busy parking lot. The outdoor seating area makes for an exhilirating dining experience, but the waterfall is noisy and can interfere with conversation if anyone in your party is hard of hearing or highly sensitive to cool air. The indoor rooms are comfortable, but not nearly as unique. Our waiter was unusually friendly for such a busy restaurant. His food recommendations were spot on - - - we adored the roasted artichoke appetizer, the pork chop with brussel sprout hash and the crab stuffed shrimps. The sour dough bread was a huge hit - - - very crusty. Others in our aprty had the lamb shank and pronounced it perfect. We can't recommend deserts because we didn't have any. If you want to have room for desert, order the sunset dinner served between 4:30 and 6 pm for $19.95. The small appetizer and entree will satisfy your need for nutrition and then you will enjoy a rich, sumptuous dessert without too much guilt.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Dalyndog8909
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
89 reviews
48 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Delicious food, great views!”
Reviewed January 30, 2013

You need to go here if you want to escape the standard American menus.. I promise you won't be disappointed.

The duck was divine. Not too rich and very big serving (way more than I expected.). My husband had the lamb cutlets, which were cooked to perfection and was also a big serving.

The downside is that the restaurant is huge, so there is no feeling of intimacy or like you've found a special gem. Also, when the restaurant isn't busy, it feels quite strange and is obviously empty.

Staff are great. I bet it would be wondful to sit outside on warm nights. Free valet parking is also offered, which is a lovely touch.

I enjoyed it.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Lee W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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