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Downtown Riverside Restaurant Recs

Other than the Mission Inn, where are great places to eat in downtown Riverside. I'm open to price, type of food, etc.


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  1. Gram's BBQ Palace:


    Great "soul food" restaurant around the corner on the pedestrian mall heading up towards the convention center. Really, really flavorful bbq ribs, sides and sweet potato pie. Legendary.

    1. Mario's Place, which is directly across from the Mission Inn,is excellent. I live in LA, but I am in Riverside for business frequently, and I have always found the food to be outstanding. If it were in LA, it would be subject to a lot of buzz. I like the Mission Inn too, but Mario's far outstrips it (and many places in LA). It is a real find.


      1. If you want something casual and tasty, go to Lake Alice Trading Company and have one of their yummy burgers and delicious shoestring fries.

        1. Duane's is pretty good, though the prices are pretty high. The seared Ahi tuna was delicious, not oily like some places tend to overdo it. The atmosphere is very pleasing and formal. I'd recommend it considering the rest of the options in Riverside.

          1. Canyon Crest Town Center in the corner is Romanos Family Rest. Great Italian Food ~cheap eats~ call for reservations on weekend nights. Great for a date

            1 Reply
            1. re: allecat22

              the sandwich place at Canyon Crest plaza - if that's all you need for lunch - is good. The outdoor seating is decent (ie feels more patio-ish than sidewalk)


              for other sandwich place - with definitely a casual patio well off the street - some people like Back Street. It is casual.

              i have been to both many times - I'd still go to both - each has its own character.

            2. Try Any of the restaurants attached, omakase one of our favorites.

              2 Replies
              1. re: cprentice

                I went to UCR..brings back memories. Mario's is great..Northern Italian fare. Duane's has great prime beef.

                1. re: cprentice

                  After S. Irene's glowing review in the LA Times, I went to Omakase the next day. Everything she said is correct: (1) The food is exquisite, (2) it is rather expensive, (3) the portions are very small, and (4) the place was empty. I predict it will be closed soon. The problem is that the portions are not simply on the small side; they are the stuff of cartoons. I left almost as hungry as when I arrived, and - true confession - I stopped off for fast food on the way home.

                2. Not much info on Riverside on this board. During my short visit, I heard positive things about Mario's and the relatively new ProAbition. I went to the Salted Pig twice in two nights, a gastropub that has a pretty great beer list and some tasty food. They had Pliny the Elder on tap the first night I was there, and also the even-harder-to-find Kern River Just Outstanding IPA in bottles on my second visit.

                  Dishes I tried:

                  Brussels sprouts: good. Were less charred than I would have liked. The sauce was supposedly kimchi but seemed more sweet and spicy.

                  Burger and fries: fries were awesome. McDonald's in cross-section but crispy, hot and delicious. They're house-cut and what I wish In-n-Out's fries would be like. Burger patty was excellent. Ordered medium rare it came just on the medium side of that, but reputable. The grind on the beef was a bit coarse which I found really pleasing, and the flavor of the meat was excellent. Would definitely get again.

                  Pork rinds: Pretty good. Some pieces were underdone (i.e. chewy rather than crispy) and the seeasoning seemed a bit one-dimensional. Needed something to spruce it up.

                  Brisket sandwich: OK. Brisket was chopped which isn't really my thing, and the sauce with the meat was a bit sweet.

                  Street tacos: pork belly, salsa, kumquats, arugula and a few other ingredients. Excellent.

                  All in all, great beer and while the food has a few misses, I wouldn't hesitate to go back for the burger or to try their many other attractive menu items. The oak-fired wood oven subtly perfumes the whole place, and that is just about my favorite smell in the world. It would be great to try some of their wood-oven grilled meat plates, but I'd probably do that with a dining partner or three.

                  Simply Simon is a bakery/cafe that has a very decent croissant.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: bouncepass

                    i meant to post here - you're right - Riverside & Redlands ... I suppose it's a locals know kind of scene

                    i posted above about "Jammin' Bread" at Canyon Crest plaza (they have info on Facebook)

                    and Back Street - on Nelson St - http://www.backstreetriverside.com/

                    Mission Inn is definitely nice - no doubt - the heritage, the architecture, the outdoor dining surrounded by lovely gardens ....

                    in Redlands - we really like the neighborhood supermarket called Gerrard's

                    and the deli - with the potato salad - I can't think of the name right now (we never look at the name) - State St Deli I think. In the old downtown area.

                    1. re: bouncepass

                      I believe that Riverside & Redlands are covered on the California board.