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Hungry in Claremont

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Is the Inland Empire really a chowhound's wasteland ??

Any bright suggestions for Claremont, Pomona, Upland,and Cucamonga ??


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  1. the sycamore inn, which i believe is in rancho cucamonga/ontario - right across the Lamplighter off of Foothill. IE families go there for a great steak in a homey setting

    8318 Foothill Blvd Rancho Cucamonga , CA 91730 Phone: (909) 982-1104

    new york grill at the ontario mills (across the street) if you want to break the bank and have that 'fancy' steakhouse feel.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jaydee

      Re: Sycamore Inn vs New York Grill, the food at Sycamore Inn is better. You also have a branch of Woody's BBQ in Rancho Cucamonga.

      You might check out Braserie Astuce in Pomona (on Foothill) - no personal experience though.

      Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

      1. re: Chino Wayne

        Braserie Astuce is closed for the summer while they move to their new location in the new Claremont Village annex. I have only eaten there once and it was just okay. I have been enjoying the Thursday night wine tasting which is very nice. $10 get you 5 tastes, usually there is some theme and appetizers which range from generous to so-so. Very casual and the wine guru is friendly and usually brings a bonus bottle from his personal cellar. We will miss this until next September.

        1. re: coconutz

          We had a miserable meal at Brasserie Astuce in Pomona last year.
          I don't know how their new joint is in the Village, but I would never go back after my one and only meal there. Search this board for my February, 2007 review.

    2. hmm...couldn't seem to find previous Claremont threads posted over the last year...so here goes...

      Aruffo's Italian Cuisine
      126 Yale Avenue, Claremont
      (909) 624-9624 haven't been there but some speak highly of the pizza!

      Harvard Square Cafe
      206 W. Bonita Avenue, Claremont
      (909) 626-7763

      my experience: good food, incredibly "awkward" service...don't go if you're not in a manana state- o'-mind.

      The Press
      129 Harvard Avenue, Claremont
      (909) 625-4808
      eclectic "California" cuisine including vegetarian specialties. Excellent composed salads and fish preparation. The bar becomes a student magnet on weekend evenings, but dining before the 10 o'clock hour insures a pleasant experience. Ignore the sidewalk crowd milling outside the front door...Bar serves a great martini. Music on Friday-Sunday evenings...sometimes rock, sometimes folk...

      Tutti Mangia Italian Grill
      102 Harvard Avenue, Claremont
      (909) 625-4669
      "Nice" Italian - white table cloths, giant floral displays, lots of eye-candy. It's an attractive place with good atmosphere, and I've had reasonably good food here, just nothing outstanding for the price or the ostentatious service.

      Viva Madrid
      225-B Yale Avenue, Claremont
      (909) 624-5500
      great tapas! fun bar!

      Walter's Restaurant
      310 Yale Avenue, Claremont
      (909) 624-4914
      Especially like going for breakfast, but open thru dinner too. Lengthy menu with lots of Afghani specialties (think herbs/spices); afghani fries are a great side dish.

      Cafe Allegro! in La Verne on 3rd Street... Nice little italian place with that little Italian place feel.

      El Merendero in Pomona for burritos

      El Taco Nazo in San Dimas or Pomona for fish tacos.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Local
        Hungry in Claremont

        Thanks ! ! !I've been to Walters any number of times...........Sometimes great.....sometimes not great.....Beakfast and the Afghani fries ( for breakfast lunch or dinner ) are the best of the menu.....Be sure to tell your server that you do not want re-heated fries...They should be soft like little pillows....

        1. re: Hungry in Claremont

          Agreed...they do lose something in transition ;-)

          Forgot to mention Yanni's (Greek)- salads are always satisfying and good grape leaves...they're big on salt, but I just ask for more lemon!

        2. re: Local

          I've only been to 2 of the restaurants in that area of Claremont, Viva Madrid & Yanni's. Viva Madrid had some really good tapas. Plus I sat at the bar next to some lovely young co-eds. So I liked that place a lot, even though the wait was horrifically long. Yanni's I didn't care much for. First of all, half the menu was crossed off. Second, the waiter spend all his time at one table, which I think were his friends. But he totally ignored everyone else. And third, it was too dark. I guess it's supposed to be romantic but I like to see what I eat. The food itself is decent but not great.

        3. Walter's is excellent!! Great romantic and peaceful atmosphere if you sit outside on the patio. My hubby started taking me there when we were first dating. We usually go for lunch when the budget is tight (lunch is about $10 a person), but I have been for breakfast and dinner also and all food has been excellent. If you go, be sure to try the bolawnies appetizer with the mint chutney. I am addicted to it and when I go I usually buy a bottle of the chutney to take home.

          Link: http://www.waltersrestaurant.net/defa...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Wendy8869

            Zikes - you're so right!!! The mint chutney is absolutely addictive...truly an "all purpose" sauce.

          2. r
            Robert Thornton

            Yeah, Walter's is the obvious choice. I'll add to the recommendations for The Press and Tutti Magnia. If you want a greasy spoon, I like the Village Grill.

            1. Wow, I've been to all of those places, I used to work in Pomona many moons ago. Claremont is wonderful because they have a huge pocket of independant restaurants all in one area, great for a Chowhound.

              But to jump on the band wagon, Walter's is excellent. Their salads are VERY delicious, I like the Salmon and Thai myself, my husband likes the one with avocado, I cant recall what it's called. Also, I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend trying their brownies, they've got a lacing of caramel sauce in the middle, and are decadent, positively addicting, but I recommend only eating half at a time.

              Across the street is a decent Indian place. I love the Press.
              And Harvard Square I haven't had any bad experience with. Sometimes, the waiters/staff get busy b/c of the rush of people, especially in the patio so service is sometimes slow, but I guess I expect that of a BUSY place.

              Arrufo's is really yummy, we used to take clients there from time to time. Good Pizza's, but their fish is good and seafood pasta. Viva Madrid, yes, excellent tapas, reminded me of Madrid.

              Upland/Montclair has got Tokyo Kitchen, and Kishi's. Both have excellent Japanese and sushi. There's also an excellent hole in the wall place for Chili called BUCKBOARD, located on Foothill blvd, near the San Antonio Hospital.

              Sycamore Inn is also delicious. In Rancho, there's nothing great, a lot of chain restaurants, there's a brand new Thai place. The food is pretty good, I've had better, but it's big news for Rancho because there was NOTHING remotely good by way of Thai. It's called the Thai T, located on Foothill blvd, just east of Vineyard, in the Wendy's/Big Lots shopping center. They offer free refills on Thai Teas when you dine in.

              Furthermore, for a good sandwich, Cherony's Deli, with many locations in and around Rancho Cucamonga. The original "cherony" was on Haven and 6th, she sold it (the new owners are very nice) and her and her family are now near the Ontario Mills Mall, next to a gas station, right off (north) of the 10 fwy on Milliken. Via Vanetto is another cafe/sandwich place who's original owner sold (the new owners are also nice) that has a great grilled chicken sandwich, and the tuna salad and sandwich is delicious.

              6 Replies
              1. re: odelotj

                Don't forget La Picoletta! This tiny little Italian place is in a converted garage behind Some Crust Bakery. It keeps odd hours and I can never seem to go when it's open, but when it is it's absolutely delicious.

                1. re: thatssometa

                  La Piccoletta is not the La Piccoletta of the past. Does anyone know if the original owner Linda has opened a new restaurant? She was the chef there for like 20 something years and she closed it down every year for the month of August to go back to Italy. Her food was heavenly. I spoke to someone in the Village recently and was told she is still around. (sightings have been reported :) )I find myself craving the anchovie and garlic sauce she made with just the right combination of crispy garlic and anchovie bits. Her food was not pretentious or showy it was just always perfect. Italian food is a gift when it is prepared by someone who understands and respects the simple nuances. I was in Rome last month and found a restaurant called "Sora Giuseppina" hidden near the Jewish Ghetto. It has been there something like 40 years and it reminded me of "the little one" (the translation of the name La Piccoletta) that we used to have right next door in Claremont. If you go to Rome seek out this restaurant and hopefully it will still be run by the same people and if it is you will understand what Linda's La Piccoletta did that was so special.

                  1. re: sonoitaliana

                    In response to Sonoitaliana, I live in Claremont and the food quailty at La Piccoletta has certainly changed in my opinion. I believe Linda is back doing private parties and personal catering in the area. I have been there a number of times in the last few years and it was best when Linda owned it. I think there have been 2 owners since her in the last couple of years. I have taken friends and family there and no one was impressed. It was just a pasta dish that we could make at home. The service was terrible in a place the size of my closet. I love the small intimate setting but the food recently has been a let down. Too bad for such a charming little place that used to be a treat to enjoy.

                    1. re: Hawgwild

                      We also live in Claremont and had a great meal at L Piccoletta a couple months ago. They prepared a filet mignion with a reduction sauce that was about the best I have ever had. We were also a fan of the previous owner, Linda, too. Viva Madrid is worth a visit, as is Tuti Mangia. I had a bad experience at Yanni's, most everything else mentioned in this thread is pretty good.

                      1. re: Hawgwild

                        Thank you for the information. A friend of a friend was a guest at a dinner party Linda cooked for last weekend and sent me one of her business cards. If anyone is interested she has a website: www.foodstreet.com. ( She is cooking for a party in my home next month!)

                      2. re: sonoitaliana

                        Sorry, don't have a comment on the old owner, but I'd like to know too.
                        I used to love La Piccoletta, but about a month ago I got food there and it wasn't even bad, it was inedible. I let them know via email twice, the second time being a bit annoyed, and they responded with contempt and disrespect.. No offer to refind my money or anything, just accused me of not having a good palate and not knowing how food should be. Out of 5 stars, the meal was a 1. Seriously horrific. Could not eat the pasta. I would have given another chance because although the food it not what it once was, they have tried and done well. I would have given another change, I say, if they had not been so anti customer after I complained. They suck now. Won't ever go back unless they sell it.

                  2. Don't forget Donahoo's chicken in Pomona (on Garey)! It may not be fancy, but those are some skillfully fried gizzards. And the ROLLS....

                    1. Thanks good info.
                      Good eats at the Village.

                      1. New York Grill never diappoints. And it usually isn't too expensive, but my husband and I don't drink. Great steaks. Not all the steaks are prime like they used to be, but a few of them are- you just have to ask.

                        Las Campanas in Rancho Cucamonga is a great Mexican restaurant. A little more upscale and the decor is awesome.

                        Tokyo Wako in Ontario is another favorite.

                        For a GREAT sandwich, go to Gandolfo's off Milliken and 7th. Real New York style. They have killer breakfast sandwiches too.

                        I have heard of a prime steak house in Claremont called Three Forks. I haven't been there, but I know it is in the Village area. They serve Kobe beef, so they really know what they are doing if they even dare put that on the menu.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: wli2184

                          I took my wife to Three Forks for her birthday a couple of weeks ago, and it was not a good experience. We had reservations, but we still had to wait 40 minutes for our table while people without reservations were being seated ahead of us. The only good thing we had in the whole meal was the french onion soup. Everything else was over-seasoned, way too fatty and gross. Their take on creme brulee, while an interesting concept was poorly executed and had almost no flavor. By the end of the meal, we felt like we should have saved $70 and eaten at the Outback.

                          1. re: Velvet Elvis

                            I sympathize with your disrespectful treatment, but the food at Three Forks is the best in the area, in my opinion. I didn't find it fatty or overseasoned. Desserts are not their forte. Not cheap and the place has gotten so popular that the waits are a problem. Less so at lunch.

                            1. re: Griller141

                              The experience Elvis had at Three Forks is not unlike my own. Having someone who has taken the time to make a reservation wait 40 minutes for their table while seating others without reservations is breaking rule number 1 in any restaurant. It means you are oblivious to the purpose of taking reservations to begin with. The uneven reviews on the food and service do not indicate a healthy future for this restaurant. There is no excuse for serving desserts that "are not their forte" why would they even consider serving it if it does not meet the standard of excellence they promote and charge a significant sum for in their establishment? Your review leads one to believe there is wonderful food being served here, unfortunately not every diner is served that wonderful food.
                              However everyone does get that large check at the end of the meal.

                        2. I've lived in Claremont many years. We have been to all the restaurants listed above. We absolutely love Sycamore Inn, great prime rib and service! Hands down, best restaurant in area.

                          Tutti Mangia and Walters have decent food, but very bad service. We've been to Tutti Mangia several times but will not be going back. We had reservations and waited almost an hour, to finally be put at a table right next to the bar (not pleasant). Walters we've tried about five times and also won't be going back due to it's service. Last time we went we asked for a booth (they only have a few) and was told there weren't any open. Not one minute later someone walked in and they seated them in a booth. We mentioned it to the hostess and she didn't apologize and said they had just cleaned the table (not true, all in one minute). We've had many experiences with Walters that were unpleasant. Adding mushrooms to our omelet cost $2.00.

                          On a good note, we really enjoy the Press. Great service, great food (a little loud past 10:00 but that's okay). There one of the healthiest restaurants we've been to in the area. Would love to see a great Mexican restaurant come into the village, the new village is lacking any good restaurants.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: birdsarecute

                            Sycamore Inn is a real treasure. The best in the area by far.
                            Agree about Walter's - and it hasn't changed in five years despite seemingly new wait staff every few months.
                            Try Harvard Square. It seems to be one of the few places that gets it consistently right. Also some of the new fast healthy(ier) food places on Indian Hill just north of the tracks in the new Cannery Mall are fine.

                          2. Little further away in Chino is Owen's Bistro - great place for lunch or dinner, just off of Central near city hall

                            1. Well, since the thread has been re-opened (one hopes that "Hungry in Claremont" either found food or moved away in the intervening five years)...

                              ...I can't believe there have been 27 replies and not a single mention of the fried-dough paradise that is Donut Man in Glendora. Technically not the IE (it's the outer edge of the 626 area code, not the 909) but IE-adjacent... and in spring and summer, those fresh-fruit doughnuts, holy MACKEREL drool.

                              Donut Man
                              915 E Rte 66, Glendora, CA 91740