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May 4, 2010 04:45 PM

My suggestions+request for new/funky in the West Inland Empire? Covina, San Dimas, Claremont, Upland, Pomona, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Chino etc.?

So, we all know that you must be West or South of the San Gabriel valley for a high concentration of good food. The netherland at the border between LA county/San Bernadino county (between the SGV and the true inland empire) is somewhat of a foody wasteland.

Covina, San Dimas, Claremont, Upland, Pomona, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Chino : I'm looking at you!

But then there are those chow-ish gems in a strip mall, or a weird retro place......give me your intel!

I would add that I've tried nearly all the restaurants in downtown claremont....most are passable but not great.

I posted some of my recon near Pomona here

More Local goodies:

The oaxacan place El Fortin
(ask for a selection of Moles - not as good as Moles a la tia, but still v tasty


Donut Man


The Magic Lamp
(more for the swinging pensioners and oldskool steak house than the food


Owen's Bistro
(a valliant attempt at bistro food in this neck of the woods that succeeds quite well


(run by an ex Nobu chef - delicious suhsi, esp the 'new style' specials


Dissapointments (locally recommended that I didn't like):

Centro Basco
(waay too homey - no flair in cooking at all


Loving Hut (ex Veggie Era)
(lost it's pizzaz since it became a chain - although cool cult area


<strong> What are your Chowish or unusual suggestions? </strong>

Particularly interested in weird old restaurants, or genuine strip-mall-run-by-a-family-who-knows-their-indigenous-food restaurants.

Centro Basco
13432 Central Ave, Chino, CA 91710

Owen's Bistro
5210 D St, Chino, CA 91710

Donut Man
915 E Rte 66, Glendora, CA 91740

Veggie Era
903 W Foothill Blvd, Upland, CA 91786

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  1. China Point in Rancho Cucamonga, on Archibald. It's a typical chinese takeout joint for the most part...except for their chao ma mien which is hand pulled noodles in a complex smoky spicy seafood broth. This version puts to shame versions in SGV and Monterey Park. No joke

    China Point
    9028 Archibald Ave, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

    6 Replies
      1. re: jackattack

        Except Azuza is not part of the Inland Empire, more like San Gabriel Valley.

          1. re: jackattack

            Regardless, the OP listed Covina in his post title.

            1. re: ChinoWayne

              Yes, that's my point exactly. The OP is not just looking for Inland Empire.

            2. re: jackattack

              No, Covina is San gabriel Valley! Just like Azusa.

      2. For pizza: San Biagio's Pizza and Red Devil Pizza (both located in Upland)
        Fried Chicken: Louisiana Fried Chicken (Rancho Cucamonga), Southern-style fried chicken with all the traditional fixings so much better than that chain...and it's located a few doors away from China Point
        Broasted chicken: Old World Deli (Upland), it's fried, but it's not fried...super moist and flavorful chicken...get the spaghetti salad, won't regret it
        Chinese: Dragon Inn (Rancho Cucamonga), they make some excellent honey walnut shrimp...I come here for this dish alone every time I'm too lazy to drive to Chinese food central
        Persian: Darvish Restaurant (Claremont), just had my husband's 30th birthday bash here and was so impressed by the service and the made everyone happy...even my picky-a$$ eat American food only in-laws...loved the chicken kabobs and the saffron basmati rice
        Peruvian: Inka Trails (Claremont)
        Italian deli: Claro's Italian Market (Upland) I love love love their Italian cold cut sandwich because it includes proscutto
        Doughnuts: The Donut Man (Glendora) rocks...strawberry donuts...peach donuts...can't ask for more than that
        Ice Cream: Handel's Homemade Ice Cream (Upland) and Dr. Bob's (historic downtown Upland) artisan-made ice cream that's rich and creamy and DELISH
        Italian-fusion: Caffe Allegro (Upland) super yummy fusion food...I love their seafood dishes

        San Biagio's New York Style
        1263 W 7th St, Upland, CA 91786

        Donut Man
        915 E Rte 66, Glendora, CA 91740

        Claro's Italian Market
        1655 N Mountain Ave D, Upland, CA

        Darvish Restaurant
        946 W Foothill Blvd, Claremont, CA 91711

        Handel's Homemade Ice Cream
        373 S Mountain Ave, Upland, CA 91786

        Caffe Allegro
        186 N 2nd Ave, Upland, CA 91786

        Inka Trails
        1077 W Foothill Blvd, Claremont, CA 91711

        Dragon Inn
        8031 Archibald Ave, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

        Red Devil Pizza
        659 E 15th St C, Upland, CA 91786

        Old World Delicatessens
        281 S Mountain Ave, Upland, CA 91786

        5 Replies
        1. re: attran99

          Second the rec for Inka Trails. There's also a branch of Cafe Allegro in La Verne, on Third (?) just east of D street.

          Inka Trails
          1077 W Foothill Blvd, Claremont, CA 91711

          Cafe Allegro
          2124 3rd St, La Verne, CA 91750

          1. re: Jack Flash

            I have only been there (Upland) once and wouldn't likely return.

            1. re: coconutz

              Meant Cafe Allegro.

              Cafe Allegro
              2124 3rd St, La Verne, CA 91750

          2. re: attran99

            Unless it re-opened recently, there has been no Dr. Bob's in Upland for 3 or 4 years now. Bert n Rocky's in Upland has also closed, but still has a shop in downtown Claremont

            1. re: attran99

              Inka Trails is a revalation. I'm no expert on Peruvian food, but this place serves some of the most delicious chow around. I can't remember the name, but the pale green sauce they serve with bread (and lots of other things) is addictive. The aguadito soup alone, either chicken or fish, is worth a few hours drive. I've eaten there at least twice a month since March (after having passed it by for years) and have yet to find a dish that is not a delight. From the ordinary exterior one wouldn't expect much, but inside there is a somewhat romantic dark wood and red table cloth ambiance that encourages relaxation and gustatory enjoyment.

              Inka Trails
              1077 W Foothill Blvd, Claremont, CA 91711

            2. Flappy Jack's for pancakes (Glendora)
              Rocky's for pizza (Glendora)
              Auline's for Mediterranean (Glendora)

              Auline's Restaurant
              338 E Route 66, Glendora, CA 91740

              2 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                Glendora is also not a part of the Inland Empire.

                1. re: ChinoWayne

                  But it is part of the area where the OP is interested in: see title and first post.

              2. Kwon's on Holt in Pomona


                breakfast at BC Cafe in Claremont


                Cafe Allegro in La Verne


                Old World Deli (Upland and Covina



                Claro's Italian Market (Upland and Covina



                3 Replies
                1. re: laliz

                  I love breakfast at BC Cafe in Rancho Cucamonga, too. Blueberry pancakes there taste like flattened blueberry muffins.

                  1. re: attran99

                    I always forget there is one in Rancho Cucamonga too

                    Cucamonga Llc
                    12365 Foothill Blvd, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739

                    1. re: attran99

                      I have to say I went here once and had a combo breakfast and could only do 2 bites of the pancakes. I didn't find them good, just too heavy to my taste. I'm sticking with homemade pancakes in the future, if I ever get the urge again.

                  2. hi pslpsl,

                    let me chime in with pride for little chino hills...

                    1. mes amis, lebanese/mediterranean cuisine. (on pipeline and chino hills parkway)

                    sam is the owner, very personable. but more importantly, the food is awesome. tell him jack with the girls sent you. everything is very fresh, but perhaps the most exciting part is his 'journeys.' they're basically appetizers (that i have on occasion turned into stand-alone meals) with 4 different selections. almost like small plates, their style. in the picture attached, form the top and left, going clockwise (forgive me for not knowing the exact things in it) - chick peas, some meat in a creamy mixture; green beans in a tomato sauce; yogurt with pomegranate; and my favorite - sundried tomatoes, ground walnuts, and a dozen other ingredients in this paste that is at once sweet, hot, savory and intense.

                    2. happy kitchen - right by the albertson's on peyton dr and grand ave.

                    be warned - the ladies who work there are not very well-versed with their english, but the amazing food more than makes up for it. their beef rolls, shanghai spare ribs, and almost every soup in there is delicious. the shanghai spare ribs are almost a bit of a misnomer - there are no bones, but small pieces of rib meat that are coated in a light batter, dusted with sesame seeds, coated in a sauce that hints of orange and char-siu at the same time, and (most likely) wok-fried to a tangy goodness.

                    a few other mentions:
                    3. the 99 ranch food court (more like take-out counter) is really not bad.

                    4. good time cafe - taiwanese food, deep fried little oysters.

                    5. california noodle, our pho place.

                    6. los portales, in chino actually, but probably my favorite mexican place. their molcajete salsa - roasted tomatoes and roasted peppers, i think., fiery, smoky, made fresh, and when they run out for the day that's it. like their lengua, and i've even requested a half and half of their 2 sauces - a mole and ranchera (iirc).

                    7. senor baja - fish and shrimp burritos, with their smoked yellow chiles.

                    8. thai corner, decent thai food, for being 5 minutes from my house.

                    9. thai kitchen - a new place, a bit pricier than #8, but a step up. the restaurant has a more western aesthetic hint to it.

                    10. ojiya - for a sushi place in our neck of the woods, often with many japanese patronizing it, that's a good sign. i'd say the best in our city. it is nowhere near sushi shibucho in costa mesa, but i'd say within 7/10 of it. they always have ankimo, uni, and abalone sushi for around $12 or $15 (and they serve the liver too!). very high our list.

                    11. sushi ten - off the 71 and soquel canyon exit, i'd rank it a little lower than ojiya. the langoustine popcorn is worth the visit. comparing it to ojiya, they are a bit more modern, while ojiya is more traditional and imaginative.

                    12. first class pizza, off the 71 freeway and soquel canyon exit. afterburner pizza - jalapenos and tabasco. our family enjoys getting the big one where they let you choose for different flavors. there was a change of ownership, but still tastes the same - as in good.


                    8 Replies
                    1. re: jacknhedy

                      Wow, I may have to stop by Happy Kitchen when I am in the area next Tuesday.

                      1. re: coconutz

                        Happy Kitchen is great. A bit pricier but food is on point. Young Dong is right next door and has serves great Korean tofu and bbq.

                        1. re: A5 KOBE

                          I gave it a try and got some 'to go'. They let me know right away that they will make orange chicken or teriyaki chicken even though it is not on the dinner menu. Also point me to the chow mein section.

                          The beef roll was just okay for me, haven't had one before, likely wouldn't order again, I ate that in the car on the way home. does it have some kind of gelatinous meat along with sliced beef? I'm not great with that texture. Liked the cilantro flavor. A bit dry. The spareribs were good, especially when I tasted them hot in the car. Reminds me a bit of Orange Chicken, but pork.Good, but not great. My mother really liked the leftovers. The Mapo tofu had really good fresh tofu, but was a bit bland. There wasn't hardly any spice at all, even though it had a chile pepper next to it.

                          The menu is really laid out interestingly with sections for Taiwan, Shanghai and Szechwan, among others. The also have mini individual hot pot, which looked good. Some good set lunchs too. I will come back, and try more variety to see which things I like.. Korean place next door looked good. Both nice little places.

                          1. re: coconutz

                            Standing by for further reports on Happy Kitchen, gotta wean the Mrs. off of P.F. Chang's.

                          2. re: A5 KOBE

                            Young Dong was really good. Stopped there after church today for a most enjoyable meal. Loved the seafood tofu soup and the bulgogi. The sizzling scallop and shrimp were impressive, too...only the scallops were perfectly cooked...the shrimp not too much, but the sauce was great!

                            1. re: attran99

                              Yes, the seafood tofu is my favorite. I also like the bbq chicken, galbi and the bimbimbop.

                              Definitely a change in scenery too from the offerings in Chino Hills.

                        2. re: jacknhedy

                          Website for Mes Amis which was reviewed in the latest Westways Magazine (June 2012). Sound like a real find (and thanks to Jack n Hedy for coming up with it all the way back in 2010).

                          1. re: Servorg

                            We really like the mezzes at Mes Amis.

                            Also had a decent meal recently at Union on Yale in Claremont.

                            Has anyone been to Bistro Provincia in Covina yet?