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Feb 19, 2008 05:23 PM

Good Restaurants in the Inland Empire

Does anyone know of any good places to eat in the Inland Empire?

I'm looking for:

Sushi: omakase style
Mexican: fast food, not chain stuff like Taco Bell (bleh!)
Italian: romantic and casual
Steak: specifically grass fed beef

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  1. Can't help you with any of those options.

    However, China Point in Rancho Cucamonga does a hand pulled spicy seafood noodle dish (aka chao ma mien aka jampong) that is stellar and better than any version I've had in SGV or Rowland Heights.

    China Point
    9028 Archibald Ave, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

    1. OK, this is 9+ months late, but here are my suggestions:

      Omakase Sushi: Domo Sushi, Upland
      Quick Mexican: Los Jarritos II, Pomona
      Romantic/Casual Italian: Rosa's, Ontario
      Grass Fed Beef: Three Forks, Claremont

      1 Reply
      1. re: Robert Thornton

        No worries, I haven't checked this site in a while. I would agree with some of your suggestions--I am a regular at Domo sushi in Upland (weekly omakase), but just curious to know what else is out here. Three Forks I believe is now The Forks and is now closed due to the kitchen fire in the middle of the night a month or two ago. I heard it won't be open for several months. I'll be sure to try the others--Thanks!!

      2. I can't speak for the others, but my favorite sushi in the IE (omakase) is Sushi Kimo in Redlands.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mayjay

          Thanks--I'll have to try it--soon!

          1. re: mayjay

            I have not re-visited Kimo's for 2 yrs. now but have tried it several times with mixed results on fish quality but he was very rude EVERY time so I prefer to drive to Ken's and I live in Redlands.

          2. I like Kazama Sushi in Claremont. It used to be located where Domo is now. Sushi is FAB...I love the spicy tuna, and his salmon is buttery melt-in-your-mouth good.

            Kazama Sushi
            101 N Indian Hill Blvd Ste C1-104A, Claremont, CA 91711

            2 Replies
            1. re: attran99

              Hmmm... I went there a few times when they first opened and the waitstaff was unsure about the sushi they were serving--I had lots of questions that they couldn't anwer. They also didn't have omakase in place when I sat at the bar,and the sushi was okay--the kitchen staff wasn't sure how to prepare certain Japanese items that are typical in a Japanese restaurant. The owner and his wife seem very knowledgeable though...

              1. re: Foodie 1

                You are right about that...the waitstaff is not the best. When it was located by my house, Shu (the chef) worked the sushi bar, his wife worked as hostess and waitress, and they had one lone helper in the back. It was truly a delight to eat there...but the new location does not offer the same homey comforts of the old location. I'm my opinion, he shouldn't have left Upland.

            2. getting recommendations for mexican food in riverside (and i'm assuming this applies to the rest of the I.E. as well) is tough. most of the places that people recommend on sites like yelp (Anchos near Hole and La Sierra; Pepitos near Van Buren and Arlington) really aren't that good, and are usually Tex-Mex.

              that said, I think a good place to start for mexican food in the I.E. are the food courts of the big mexican grocery stores like Tapatio and Cardenas. the food isn't the absolute best you'll ever find anywhere, but it's MUCH better than just about all of the "mexican" food you'll find in non-mexican neighborhoods. they usually have very high turnover and cater almost exclusively to a mexican clientele, so the things you'll eat there are a decent approximation of what mexicans in the I.E. consider to be "mexican" food. they'll have a lot of familiar dishes (tacos, burritos, etc) but please try the different soups and stews they have in the steam trays. they are usually of decent quality and are very close to what mexicans eat at home.

              also, stay away from places whose name ends with "erto's" or "eto's". they are usually pretty greasy and cater to high school kids. if you see a mexican drive through place with carne asada fries on the menu, drive away immediately.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ceviche

                THANK you!!! Ya, I'm not into Tex-Mex, especially on my trips to Texas in search of decent Mexican food. I really can't stand American cheese in an enchilada, or deep fried burritos with chili--the kind you put on a hotdog. I'm down for some good pozole if you know of a place! The place you mentioned above in the steam trays sounds perfect.

                1. re: Foodie 1

                  foodie, you had me at "pozole"!!!!

                  definitely start out by going to one of the big mexican markets (Cardenas, Cazares, Tapatio) on the weekend, they'll likely have pozole. if they don't, try the menudo instead, it will often have the same hominy that pozole has.

                  once you've sampled all the different goodies at the big markets, try to find a good mariscos (seafood) restaurant in a mexican neighborhood. one local chain called Mariscos Espinoza is pretty good, and my parents say that the one in colton has mariachis on weekends. ole!!!

                  i would say that you should categorically avoid any sit-down (the kind where a waiter brings you your food on a ceramic plate) mexican restaurant in the I.E. unless it has the word "mariscos" in the name. almost every sit-down mexican place that i've been to in the I.E. serves the same yellow cheese enchilada type dishes, with flavorless refried beans and rice on the side. these types of places tend to cater to americans, and you'll rarely see mexicans (as opposed to mexican-americans) eating there.

                  here are some steam-tray goodies you shold try at the mexican markets:
                  - pozole
                  - menudo
                  - caldo de res : usually a light, almost clear beef broth stew with big hunks of beef brisket, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, etc.
                  - albondigas: the aformentioned big chunks of potatoes and veggies, but with big beef meatballs instead of brisket. tastes like my childhood!
                  - any seafood stews, especially the famous "siete mares" (seven seas): these will usually have crab legs, octopus, shrimp, krab, and possibly scallops and fish chunks.

                  all of the above stews should be enjoyed with spoon in one hand, and a rolled up tortilla in the other hand to munch on in between spoonfuls.

                  happy eating!