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Between Pomona and Fullerton...anything great?

I need to entertain a party of six for dinner in the area generally near or between Pomona and Fullerton. It can be a bit away, but not too far. Are there any really excellent special occasion restaurants in this area? We are looking for either American/California, French or perhaps Italian cuisine. Anything more ethnic (sushi, Chinese, etc.) will probably not work. Thanks for your help!

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  1. Brea has Taps which is nice (right off the 57 @ Imperial), La Vie en Rose (French country) and Cedar Creek Inn (off the 57 @ Lambert). Fullerton has The Cellar. All are nicer neighbourhood restaurants. I'd wouldn't consider them special occasion restaurants...but it fits the bill for going out for a nice, quiet dinner where you won't see kids.


    Taps Fish House & Brewery
    101 E. Imperial Hwy., Brea, CA 92821

    The Cellar
    305 North Harbor Blvd, Fullerton/Anaheim, CA 92832

    La Vie En Rose Restaurant
    240 S State College Blvd, Brea, CA 92821

    Cedar Creek Inn
    500 Pointe Dr, Brea, CA

    1. I recommend the Restaurant at Kellogg Ranch:


      1. I Love the Ye Olde Ship an authentic English pup in downtown fullerton for real English Curry.

        2 Replies
        1. re: irishkevbo

          I too love The Olde Ship, but it's a pub and a bit cozy...not quite special occasion. I love their curry (which I split w/Mr OCAnn) followed by their sticky toffee pudding...mmmmm.

          1. re: OCAnn

            I agree, I am an impatient reader so I didn't catch special occasion.

        2. I agree with Taps in Brea...I love their drunken mahi mahi and their oysters are simply the best I've ever had.
          Caffe Allegro in La Verne is a nice French Italian bistro. Their lobster bisque and ciopino dishes are quite fab.

          1. There are some nicer seafood restaurants around Rowland Heights, but they are chinese, so unless you want to reconsider...

            Taps is probably one of the classiest out of the list mentioned. I like Olde Ship also, but it's really a restaurant/bar and not 'special occasion' unless your party likes a pint and British food.

            I've heard Napa Rose in Anaheim to be good (pricey too), but never been. Is that too far? Das Ubergeek had a review a while back:


            1 Reply
            1. re: notmartha

              Napa Rose is definitely a special occasion place, with prices to match.

              Napa Rose Restaurant
              1600 S Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802

            2. Thanks for all of your replies, but I am afraid that to this point aside from Napa Rose, none of the recommendations really seems to fill the bill as a special occasion place. Napa Rose, is a bit far, and honestly, on two visits there I have not been overwhelmed. Sill hoping that someone will come up with something special.

              Taps sounds great, and we'll certainly try it for another occasion.

              4 Replies
              1. re: josephnl

                Hmmm...what would you consider a special occasion place? I think the problem w/north OC is that there really isn't an upscale, special occasion restaurant.

                Even I have to drive to LA or mid to south OC for that. Given your geographic parameters, your best bets might be The Cellar (the atmosphere is nice, the staff excellent, awesome wine list and solid food) or The Summit House (nice atmosphere, great view, costumed staff & good food).

                Even Brea's French restaurant might be too casual (though I love their food).

                Your options are a bit limited...so you might be asking for too much.

                1. re: OCAnn

                  You are probably right that I might be asking too much...but a real special occasion restaurant is what I am looking for. Surely I realize that I'm not going to find Melisse, Lucques, or Sona in OC. But in central - southern OC there are some places that I consider special occasion restaurants These would be Stonehill Tavern, Charlie Palmer's, Mastro's Steakhouse, The Hobbit...and even some less fancier restaurants such as Bistango, Marche Moderne, Mr. Stox and Pascal's Tradition qualify.

                  So...is there anything in this league that I am missing in the Pomona to Fullerton area?

                  1. re: josephnl

                    There's nothing up here the likes of Stonehill Tavern (where I have reservations for my own birthday dinner) =), CP or Mastro's.

                    In the second-tier of less fancy restaurants, I'd say definitely The Cellar.

                    Not sure about environs just north of us up to Pomona. Maybe other CH can chime in. Good luck!

                    1. re: josephnl

                      I'm sorry to be so direct -- but what you're looking for doesn't exist. There may be something in Pomona -- I don't know Pomona or Diamond Bar at all -- but there is nothing in Fullerton, Placentia, Brea, Yorba Linda or La Habra (the north OC cities in question) that is on the level of the restaurants you describe.

                      With a couple of exceptions, Brea (which covers more than half of the drive from Fullerton to Pomona) is one long string of mediocre chain restaurants.

                      We've given you the best of what's available.

                2. The Cellar in Fullerton. Pane e Vino in Brea. Cat and the Custard Cup in La Habra. Summit House in Fullerton.

                  1. Wild Artichoke has great food, but is tiny and in strip center. And I think if you haven't been to Summit House you should try it. It is on top of a hill with great views and good, if traditional food. The Cellar has a new owner and chef and is better everytime we go. www.wildartichoke.com

                    714) 777-9646
                    4973-A Yorba Ranch Road
                    at the corner of Yorba Linda Blvd.,
                    Yorba Linda, California 92887

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: valh

                      I don't think the Wild Artichoke is special occasion enough for the OP.

                    2. Would restaurants in Claremont be an option? Claremont is right next to Pomona, and although it's in the opposite direction from Fullerton, restaurants there are only a few minutes' drive from Pomona. There tend to be more non-chain restaurants in Claremont than in the neighboring cities of the 909, possibly because of the colleges there.

                      I'm thinking of Three Forks in particular for a special occasion - I've been there for brunch and enjoyed it, and the LA Times gave it a positive review. Some mixed reviews on this board, although many were from when the restaurant first opened last year. It's an upscale steakhouse (also serves game).

                      1. Claremont info: I've had friends who dined at Three Forks - loved it though very pricey and some mixed reviews depending on entrees ordered. Tutti Mangia is great for special occasion ambience - Italian, white linens, etc. - though I haven't always been overwhelmed with the entrees. Orrichetta is fab and I've also had a very nice filet.

                        I usually prefer to dine in the alley on appetizers - caprese and caesar salads are excellent - and a pizza to share. The bar staff are friendly and nice selection of standard and unique cocktails. Nice to take a stroll in the Village or continue the festivities after dinner as well. Casa 425 has a great bar and patio seating, a couple of wine bars, etc.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: mxzm9

                          3 forks is good and a great place for special occasion.
                          Tutti Mangia is good but less than 3 forks as far as food.
                          Casa 425 is great for drinks and sliders or bar menu.
                          Packing House wines is a wine bar in the packing house offering charcuterie as well as cheese and sliders and mar menu from 3 forks.
                          On the very casual but good side, there is The back Abbey belgium pub. Great pub food and fabulous ales. There are several others but they don't meet your criteria....
                          As far as what you are asking for it's 3 forks.

                        2. How about Cat in the Custard Cup in Fullerton? I don't know if anyone's mentioned it yet. It's an eclectic menu with something for everyone. It's a cozy atmosphere with a very detail oriented bartender, piano player on the weekend. The food's delicious.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: creamydeluxe

                            I it mentioned above. It's in La Habra, not Fullerton.

                          2. Thanks everyone for your recommendations. It seems to me from all of your many descriptions that although there are several very good restaurants in the "inland empire", I still haven't seen anything that seems to be a really special restaurant in which to celebrate a very special occasion. Am I wrong?

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: josephnl

                              Yes....Three Forks in Claremont.

                              1. re: josephnl

                                Not if your criteria for a special restaurant is similar to a Michelin one - good food, good decor (meaning tasteful & upscale), good service, and most importantly - consistency. I doubt any is anywhere near Michelin 1 star.

                                I always ended up heading west for those 'special occasion' restaurants, maybe with the exception of Abe's Bluefin at Newport Beach (way far south from Fullerton).

                                1. re: notmartha

                                  I too love Bluefin. It's one of my favorites!

                                1. I'd also recommend The Forks or Tutti Mangia in Claremont.
                                  Another place to consider is Owen's Bistro in Chino Hills (off the 60 Fwy).