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dinner with a famous foodie- claremont recs needed

Help! I'm meeting an aunt who I haven't seen in years for dinner in Claremont next month, and I need a really good place to eat. Why, apart from my endless quest for good food like all my fellow chowhounds? Because my aunt is a well known food writer and chef, and I don't want to pick a bad restaurant and be embarassed. It can be an ethnic dive or an upscale restaurant. Let me know where YOU would take her.

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  1. Bert 'n Rocky's Ice Cream for dessert!

    1. Falafel at Saca's in The Claremont Village is exceptional, but not appropriate for dinner. If you get a chance, go for lunch. Pair it with a trip to The Claremont Juice Co, which has great combinations of juices and smoothies.

      Yianni's Greek is my favorite in The Village. The avoglemono soup is very good, as are the braised lamb shanks.

      Tutti Mangia has, IMO, the best Italian in The Village but is certainly nothing exceptional as far as Italian food in general.

      We used to drive down to Pomona for pho.

      None of these places are probably the best of ___ in LA County, but pretty good for Claremont. One of the few things Claremont has that no other place in LA has is Some Crust Bakery. Amazing croissants and cookies, and the chocolate cake is to die for (if you have the appetite of 10-12).

      3 Replies
      1. re: Pei

        ah yes, i often crave that falafel from Saca's. but you're right, not suitable for dinner.

        1. re: Pei

          For Italian in the village, what about La Piccoletta? I always thought that was a good back-to-basics Italian restaurant.

          1. re: ironykettle

            you know, this was actually my first instinct as well. but i haven't been in a couple of years so i'm glad to hear it's still good.

        2. Here's an FYI to your SOS.

          Translation - I haven't persoanlly been, but I've seen it recommended before. If you've got time, try it out yourself first.


          1 Reply
          1. re: JBC

            That's the name! Viva Madrid is a lot of fun, and the food is fine. Actually, I think it's pretty good tapas for LA regardless of location. I've had better tapas in other cities, but not in LA.

          2. take a drive to west l.a., and go to orris on sawtelle

            1 Reply
            1. re: budlit

              Or take a closer drive to SGV for some fabulous Chinese food. China Islamic or Chung King or Meilong Village or ...?

            2. Walter's on Yale Ave. in Claremont Village.

              1. I love Walter's Afghan fries and dipping sauce! Also Buffalo Inn for buffalo burgers and homemade potato chips, or Sanamluang for Thai. I think that's just over the border in Pomona.

                1. I'd second Walter's. Just curious, if you aunt is famous food writer and chef, wouldn't she know where to go? Unless of course if she is from out of town. But even so, wouldn't she be able to get some ideas from colleagues who know that part of LA?

                  What I am trying to say is, if you aunt leaves the choice to you, she would probably be very gracious and be agreeable to anything you choose.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: PeterL

                    you're quite right, i shouldn't stress over this. she is from out of town and that's perhaps why she left the choice up to me. thanks for the suggestion!

                  2. If Auntie doesn't have good Mexican food where she's from then I'd suggest Los Jarritos which is one of the best in the greater LA area not just that area.

                    Los Jarritos Restaurants
                    Address: 3191 N Garey Ave, Pomona, CA 91767
                    Phone: (909) 593-7012

                    1. If you want unpretentious and lovely, I'd suggest Sofi. It's authentic Greek food with rich flavor and fabulous presentation. I'm not sure if it still is, but was family owned and operated. They have a beautiful outdoor garden with hanging flowers that makes you forget you're in the city. The presentation appears really upscale for the price and the service is very attentive. If you make reservations (not a must), request to be seated outside.

                      If you want semi-pretentious and "name brand" ... where you KNOW that the food and service will be right on, bite the bullet and make reservations at Spago. Since she is a chef and food writer, she might like to go somewhere where she can check out the work of a well-known colleague. Similar to Sofi, when you make reservations (a must), request to be seated in the courtyard for a more intimate dining experience.

                      Along those lines, Frida is a nice choice for Mexican. It's a very unpretentious choice considering it's Beverly Hills location. I've been there a few times and haven't been 100% wow-ed, but I also didn't try the Mole that everyone raves about. Your aunt might think it is cool that all the recipies were passed down from the family of the executive chef ... that's kind of a neat twist.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Daisy Gatsby

                        So did Spago open a branch in Claremont?

                      2. A great ethnic dive in the area is Pho Ha. Obviously, they serve Vietnamese fare. There's one on Indian Hill just north of Holt (there's another in Rancho Cucamonga on Foothill Blvd., but that's farther for you.) The place doesn't look like much but the pho and other Vietnamese dishes are excellent. They also offer a few Chinese plates, but they don't look as good.

                        You might also want to check out Spaggi's on the northwest corner of Foothill and Benson (south of Lowe's). It has a nicer (read: snottier) atmosphere and some people swear by the food. I've been there once and it was very good but the waiter was a snob so we haven't gone back.

                        Another great place is the Euro Cafe. It's owned by a Portugeuse family and they have continental and portugeuse food. It's pretty casual, a little like a coffeehouse, but very nice. And the food is delicious, including some really fabulous desserts. They are on the southeast corner of Mills and Baseline in the Vons shopping center.

                        1. This thread is long-gone-cold but I just joined.

                          As you probably know Claremont/Pomona has many fine Thai restaurants. There is a SUPER-fine one in La Verne, on Foothill Blvd, called Bangkok Blue. I've heard from two separate sources very familiar with Thai food from residence in Thailand that it's the best Thai food they've enjoyed stateside. (& I've cherished every bite I'd had there...)

                          Don't know address, but it's in the shopping center with Target on the south side of Foothill. There are several strip-malls within strip-malls at that location (only in the IE) so you'll need to be patient--it might be hard to find at first.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: brunosmom

                            Welcome to Chowhound, always happy when new noses are sniffing out the good stuff in this neck of the woods.

                            1. re: brunosmom

                              Here is the website for Bangkok Blue (the food is delicious) in case anyone wants it: www.bangkokblue.com. It can be hard to find among all the storefronts there (a friend of mine told me it was closed, but I guess she just forgot where it was) but it's worth the search.

                              1. re: debclark

                                Had to jump in this long cold thread when it meandered to Thai in Claremont

                                My Mother in Law is from Bangkok and her absolute favorite restaraunt when she comes to LA to visit us is "Mix Bowl" on Indian Hill just south of the 10.

                                She says it is absolutely authentic thai "street food".

                                Open late too. And they deliver.

                                I like the pad kee mow, the kanom pak kard, general bowl, green curry. They have an authentic thai dessert bar too with fruity ices. Plus yummy drinks including boba if you want.

                                The ambiance is like an asian style diner. Pretty spectacular salt water fish tank though.

                                No joke, they would eat there twice a day when they would come visit us in Claremont.