Last April I wrote about our visit to Cliffhouse and the fact that Cliffhouse had changed ownership as of January 1, 2012. This local favorite was taken over by the longtime owners of Pacifica Seafood Restaurant in Palm Desert. The new owners closed the restaurant for a major renovation this summer so back we went just last Friday to check things out.

Many local regulars to Cliffhouse avoid the front entrance and instead use the back stairway located on the far right of the building that’s set into the cliff. This path takes you directly to the Cactus Bar And Grill patio area set against the cliff and then into the interior space of the grill and bar.

Stepping inside on this visit we were amazed at the Cliffhouse transformation. The bar itself has been expanded and fills the majority of the room. The new Onyx stone bar surface is under lit and seating room at the bar has just about doubled.

Intimate New Lounge Area

Moving through the bar area takes you towards the front entrance where we discovered a intimate lounge area with leather sofas, chairs and ottomans. Bottles of red wine are stored on open shelves in this area, which is adjacent to the entry to the main dining room. Overall the renovation was tastefully done and seems to have been well received by the overflow crowd on this Friday evening.

The nightly happy hour at Cliffhouse is usually very popular and a bit crowded. We sampled several happy hour food items in the new lounge area including a nice pasta dish for myself, and a burger for Bill. The food was good and the service very attentive. The food menu in the bar is pretty much the same as before the remodel, but the dining room menu has additional Pacifica style entrees.

New Staff, Management And Improved Service

We noticed a lot of new staff and management during our visit. Several longtime employees have moved on to other establishments including longtime bar manager “AJ” whom we discovered is now the bar manager at Arnold Palmer’s Restaurant in La Quinta.

We will continue to recommend and enjoy Cliffhouse and expect it to be even busier this season as diners enjoy the new Cliffhouse. Cliffhouse is located just south of Point Happy Center at 78250 Highway 111 in La Quinta (1/4 mile west of Washington Street). (760) 360-5991.