Son a freshman at Pomona College
Congratulations on your son's college choice and acceptance. Hope he enjoys it.
Claremont in general is cute, but there is not a whole lot of great food there. It has more people with suburban values in eating than not. I would not eat in any Chinese restaurant in the area that does not cater to Chinese clientele. That said, there are a few more interesting places that the average suburban chain-littered landscape. But the good news is that in the San Gabriel Valley, a bit to the west, there are many fantastic places worth driving to.
I'll leave it to you to search this board for dim sum, but here are some places near you I like for other things.
Sanamluang is a great little Thai restaurant within a mile or two. It is in a dumpy strip mall anchored by a Mexican grocery store, but it is cute inside and the food is very good and reasonably priced. I like spicy the beef salad, the fish cakes, the pad thai has silky chewy noodes and tang, the General's Soup is Chinese style with egg noodles and I think you have the option to have some of the soups dry-fryed. Duck noodle soup is very good. Many items on the menu, also hot pot. Juices too. It is on Indian Hill Blvd, just a bit South of the 10 freeway, left side of road.
Viva Madrid is great Spanish Tapas, can get very crowded. I've only been twice but it was good and lively.
I like the small Senor Baja chain for good bargain on fish taco's, they have $.99 specials Tues, Wed and Thurs.
There are plenty of good Vietnamese restaurants around the general area. I recently tried one in the shopping mall anchored by Stater's Grocery store in Upland, just a few miles away, on Foothill and Mountain (not the Mountain in Claremont, the one in Upland.) I also go to Pho Ha (I think it's called) in Rancho Cucumonga.
There is a nice Korean BBQ place on Holt in Montclair. It also looks like a dump but the food is quite nice. Just called Korean BBQ. For Bulgok. the flavor is excellent as is some of the panchan especially the spinach and eggplant. I hope the link I posted below is the right one, think so.
One of my (and my college daughter's) favorite places to take a short drive to is Din Tai Fung in Arcadia. If you make sure not to drive when the traffic is against you, you can do it in 25 minutes or so. They have delicate, but porky Chinese soup inside dumplings with a pork meatball. I would not bother to get any other kind of dumpling here though, just keep ordering more of those. I do love the thing called Appetizer just about as much (cold marinated strips of tofu, bean sprout, chile and other stuff in a sesame marinade.) and the vegetables sides are really simple and good--like stir fried green beans with garlic. I'm sure other things are good, but the soups have not been a huge fav of mine. Shanghai rice noodle thing is okay. You can read alot about this place on this board. The also have a new 2nd place around the corner to handle the crowds.
Din Tai Fung Restaurant
1108 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007
Sanam Luang Cafe
1648 Indian Hill Blvd, Pomona, CA 91767
225 Yale Ave Ste B, Claremont, CA 91711
1620 W Foothill Blvd Ste B, Upland, CA 91786
Korean B B Q House
4232 Holt Blvd, Montclair, CA 91763
There were some good reports on 3 Forks, but I've never been. My brother went to school at Pomona, and we used to drove back to Rowland Heights for food when we took him out. ;)
Happy Harbour's the best order off the menu dim sum place in Rowland Heights. Hong Kong Palace has the cart style. If you go there at noon expect a long wait.
I drive another 25 minutes and go to Elite at Monterey Park for dim sum, even though I can probably walk to Hong Kong Palace.
really - rowland heights, (colima rd, fullerton rd) and hacienda heights or diamond bar should be fine.
If you read chinese (or not) check out
I haven't been but given the structure of the info my guess would be
Capital Seafood, New Capital Seafood, Hong Kong Palace, Sam Woo DIm Sum, and Seafood VIllage. The numbers are listed, and a quick call will tell you if they serve dim sum (cantonese yum cha).
Good luck - that's a bit far east for me, and a caveat - the listings are a few years old so definitely call to make sure they still exist.
I'm going to have to agree with wanderinglady. Good Chinese food is scarce in that area. You are much better off in Rowland Heights, Alhambra/Monterey Park, or Diamond Bar.
However, if in search of great sushi there's Kazama in Claremont. The chef used to have a place in Upland before he moved to Claremont. Oddly enough, there are also plenty of sushi joints on Foothill in Upland that are quite good (Kishi, Arigoto, Sho).
Your closest bastion of authentic Chinese restaurants is in Rowland Heights / Diamond Bar. These are towns near the industrial parks of City of Industry, where many Chinese / Taiwanese / Korean owned companies have their HQ's, so many restaurants serve those constituents.
Happy Harbour is a good choice for upscaleish new school Hong Kong dim sum. Hong Kong Palace is more traditional Cantonese seafood house that does dim sum as well. Both would be good choices.
Pomona's not too terribly far from Arcadia, Alhambra, San Gabriel, Monterey Park and the other surrounding towns which make up the single largest Chinese population in North America. How far are you willing to drive for some incredible Chinese food?
Hong Kong Palace
19101 Colima Rd, Rowland Heights, CA 91748
Happy Harbor Restaurant
1015 Nogales St # 126, Rowland Heights, CA
I can't think of any dim sum places close to Pomona/Claremont, but there are a lot of places in the Rowland Heights area. Seafood Village is pretty good, and it's just off the 60 freeway (about 20-30 minutes from Claremont). If you're not familiar with Southern California traffic, believe me, this is a relatively short distance! You may want to do a search for "dim sum" and "rowland heights" on the L.A. board.
Claremont itself has a few nice places, such as Walter's (Afghan/Mediterranean) and The Press (has live music at night). I think there was a recent thread on this board about restaurants in Claremont, so if you did a search for "Claremont" on the L.A. board as well, you should come up with a few threads.
Unfortunately, the 909 doesn't offer too much for foodies, but if you do the above searches, I think you will be in good shape.