Restaurant Guide–San Bernardino/Riverside

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  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources (see bottom of page for further explanation)

Chino

Centro Basco–13432 Central Ave. (Basque) Closed Mon & Tue, closed Sat lunch.  Basque food that reviewers say is better than in Nevada & Idaho. However, the restaurant says it is “Basque inspired” (so maybe some things are have been changed to make them less authentic but more flavorful). (Dining room is open 10-4-21)

Coachella

Carnitas La Piedad–49625 CA-86 (Mexican) Open daily 9 am to 6 pm. Small menu with carnitas being the specialty. Reviewers say not only is this very good, but many other items as well. Cheese enchiladas are topped with chile that is not wimpy. (Dining room is open 10-4-21)

Colton

Gul Naz–1624 E. Washington St. (Pakistani) Closed Mon.  Serves halal food with what is described as very good herbs and spices. People say everything is very delicious. (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Island Breeze–1063 S. Mt Vernon Ave. (Jamaican) Closes at 6:30 pm (closed Sun).  Jamaican food that seems to be done the right way. (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Maharajah–1091 S. Mt. Vernon Ave. (Indian) Closed Tue (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Formerly called Ravi’s. Family run restaurant with very good food. Thali is recommended (sampler plate). (Takeout only 8-19-21)

Corona

Kra Z Kai’s Laotian Barbeque–1218 Magnolia Ave. (Lao) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Sun).  Lao restaurant that specializes in short ribs, chicken, and other BBQ meat (Asian BBQ just means that it is slow cooked). Lao sausage is also recommended. Papaya salad is spicy, but there are no surprises and you will know what is spicy and what is not. One person said this is real, everyday Laotian food (and this is what makes it so good). Also in Stanton, CA. (Dining room is open 8-29-21)

Min’s Dumpling House–1297 E. Ontario Ave. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Several types of good dumplings, but xiao long bao is recommended (several say this is the next best XLB to Din Tai Fung, which is the best). They are glad they have a place like this in Corona. Also has a location at 440 N. McKinley St. (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Eastvale

Little Eastern Cafe–4910 Hamner Ave. (Chinese) Open daily 11 am to 8:30 pm.  Reviewers say it has a real Chinese flavor. Menu is not extensive (especially with authentic items) but it does seem to have so good dishes such as yu xiang pork, braised tofu, and boiled fish in chili sauce. (Dining room is open 10-4-21)

Loma Linda

A Dong–25685 Redlands Blvd. (Cambodian) Closed Mon.  Vietnamese restaurant that supposedly also serves Cambodian food (but this isn’t reflected by reviews I have seen). People respect it because it has been in business for a long time and remained consistent. (Dining room is open 7-25-21)

R Thai Cuisine–25685 Redlands Blvd. (Thai) Closed Tue. Thai people say it is authentic. Mom & pop place that sometimes has snags in the food or service because they have a large number of customers (but mostly they manage to keep up). (Takeout only 7-25-21)

Note: Loma Linda is well known for having a large vegetarian population, but I could not find a large number of vegetarian restaurants listed. Tess’ Place was popular but now is apparently closed. The best bets seem to be Thai and Chinese restaurants in Redlands and San Bernardino (R Thai in Loma Linda has some vegetarian dishes, and probably A Dong as well).

Montclair

Szechuwan Garden–8851 Central Ave. (Chinese) Open daily (open until 9:30 pm). In a search for an actual authentic Chinese restaurant in the Inland Empire I found this place–supposedly has very good Sichuanese food that will save you a trip to Monterey Park. Menu sounds good, and food looks good. (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Norco

Cowgirl Cafe–2859 Hamner Ave. (American) Open daily 6 am to 2 pm.  Known mainly for its breakfast–reviewers say it is better than the other choices in the area. Chicken fried steak and biscuits & gravy are popular items. (Dining room is open 10-4-21)

Palm Desert

Alps Village–77734 Country Club Dr. (German) Dinner only (closed Sun).  Located in a strip mall, it is certainly not upscale although reviewers say it is a little pricey. Good reviews, and I think it looks interesting because popular items include jagerschnitzel, cabbage rolls, spaetzle, and real German pretzels. (Dining room is open 10-4-21)

Flor de Jalisco–42215 Washington St. (Mexican) Open 11:30 am to 9 pm (closed Sun).  Reviewers say food is delicious and authentic. Has a varied menu including mole. The negative ratings I saw were for the service (not the food). This is a down home restaurant (not a touristy one). (Dining room is open 10-4-21)

Palm Springs

El Mirasol–140 E. Palm Canyon Dr. (Mexican) Closed Mon & Tue.  Maybe the best Mexican food in Palm Springs. Seems to be California style. (Dining room is open 7-25-21)

533 Viet Fusion–1775 E. Palm Canyon Dr. (Vietnamese) Dinner only (closed Mon).  Good Vietnamese restaurant with interesting dishes (seems to be a little pricey though). Some say Rooster and the Pig has better Vietnamese food, but it is takeout only. (Dining room is open 7-25-21)

Fuzion Five–285 S. Palm Canyon Dr. (Vietnamese) Closed Tue.  Perhaps the best choice for traditional Vietnamese dishes such as banh xeo. Higher prices, though, than most visitors would find in their home town. (Dining room is open 7-25-21)

Jake’s–664 N. Palm Canyon Dr. (American) Open daily except Tue dinner and Sun dinner.  Upscale soup and sandwiches with items such as Hangar steak and eggs sandwich. (Temporarily closed 8-19-21)

Lulu California Bistro–200 S. Palm Canyon Dr. (American) Open Daily.  Has an array of upscale American food. Featured on Gil’s Blog (some dishes that look good include oven roasted turkey and filet mignon. (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Pomme Frite–256 S. Palm Canyon Dr. (Belgian) Dinner only (closed Tue & Wed); lunch on Sat & Sun.  Pommes frites, stroganoff, chicken vol au vent. Some reviewers say the main courses are the best items here (not so much the pommes frites, salads, etc.). (Dining room is open 7-25-21)

Shanghai Reds Bar & Grill–235 S. Indian Canyon Rd. (Seafood) Dinner only (closed Mon & Tue).  Known for its fish tacos. This is probably a good place to get good food and not spend as much money as at the average Palm Springs restaurant. (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Sherman’s Deli & Bakery–401 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way (Deli) Open daily 8 am to 9 pm.  Gil describes this as “an old-fashioned kosher-style Jewish deli to which savvy patrons pilgrimage from all over the world.” The food seems to bear out the claim. Also in Palm Desert. (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Rancho Mirage

Catalan Mediterranean–70026 Hwy 111 (Spanish) Dinner only (open daily).  Spanish tapas restaurant (one reviewer said they have a two course fixed-price menu for $25). Almost all reviewers give it five stars. (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Francesco’s Cafe–72047 Dinah Shore Dr. (Persian) Closed Sun.  This is an Italian and Persian restaurant, but reviewers recommend ordering from the Persian side of the menu. Ambiance is like a down home diner (but one reviewer said they charge $23 for a dinner–would probably be for something like the lamb chops). (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Redlands

MU Restaurant–309 W. State St. (Thai) Closed Sat lunch; closed Sun & Mon. Vegetarian Thai food that many say is very authentic (they also have meat dishes). Note: closed between 3:00 and 4:30 in the afternoon. (Dining room is open 7-25-21)

Rui’s Shanghai Bistro–1711 W. Lugonia Ave. (Chinese) Closed Tue.  Authentic food that people say tastes like the food in San Gabriel Valley, but with less menu selection. Their main food style is Shanghai, but others are offered as well (particularly Sichuan). (Dining room is open 7-25-21)

Thai Spoon Cafe–802 W. Colton Ave. (Thai) Closed Mon.  Good reviews. I don’t know if it is totally authentic, but there are no indications in the reviews that it is not. (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Riverside

Anchos Grill–10773 Hole Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily. Probably California style. Fresh tortillas. Some say the best meals are the ones with meat (steak, chicken, seafood, pork, etc.). Popular on Chowhound. (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Best Thai–1735 Spruce St. (Thai) Open Daily. Very good reviews. Seems to be authentic. Reviewers say it is LA quality and that the vegetarian dishes are good. (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Las Campanas–3649 Mission Inn Ave. (Mexican) Lunch Fri-Sun; dinner Wed-Sun. Located in the Mission Inn Hotel. There are some reasons this probably should not be on my list (it looks expensive, you probably need reservations, and I don’t know if it is truly authentic). The reasons maybe it should be on the list: whether or not it is authentic, it looks like high quality food (and it probably is authentic) and I’m looking for places that will provide a unique and memorable experience with Mexican food (and this may be one of those places). The combination plate looks good from the photos. A lot of the food looks non-traditional, so the trick is to find out if it is modified in a good way or a bad way (I’m not sure how it will be). (Dining room is open 7-25-21)

Mamma Mia–10971 Magnolia Ave. (Italian) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  Very favorable reviews about the food’s flavor and freshness. Popular items include pizza, lasagna, and meatballs. (Dining room is open 10-4-21)

Oasis Vegetarian Cafe–11550 Pierce St. (Vegetarian) Closed Sat (closes early Fri & Sun).  Connected to La Sierra Natural Foods store, so the setting is much like a food court. Mainly has sandwiches and burritos, and they have good reviews. (Store is open with deli dining 8-19-21)

San Bernardino

Happy Family–2150 S. Waterman Ave. (Chinese) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm). Vegetarian Chinese food that reviewers say is quite good (even those who do not normally eat vegetarian). Has a few meat items also. (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Royal Dumpling House–1689 Kendall Dr. (Chinese) Closed Sun.  Diners say they are excited to have authentic Chinese food in San Bernardino, although it does not seem to be as good as you can get in LA. Specializes in Shanghai style dumplings including XLB. This is a mom & pop restaurant, so you don’t get “conveyor belt” food as you do at some of the larger restaurants. (Temporarily closed 10-4-21)

Temecula

Havana Kitchen–41955 5th St. (Cuban) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Mon)-open to 7 pm on Sat.  The big draw here is the Cuban coffee, but food gets equal compliments. Cuban sandwich is said to have the proper meat, sauce, and toppings that makes it both authentic and very good. Ropa vieja is popular. Sampler plate is recommended (and can probably feed 2 people). (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Nuristan Food–27287 Nicolas Rd. (Afghan) Open Tue-Sun (closes early on Sun).  Grocery store with a small restaurant that serves kabobs and other items (kabobs are fresh and natural, giving them a very good flavor). Note: Pamir Kabob House used to be a popular Afghan restaurant, but it apparently changed ownership and moved to San Diego (and now commenters recommend Nuristan even though it seems to have a smaller menu). (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Upland

Ashirwad–583 E. Foothill Blvd. (Indian) Closed Mon. Vegetarian Indian restaurant with very good food (and reviewers seem to know Indian food). Masala dosa is recommended, but has a wide variety of good dishes. Has thali (sampler plate). (Dining room is open 10-4-21)

 

Notes About This List:

This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others.  I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.  My own recommendations are in Bold.

I am not looking to include:

  • Fine dining (unless they are unique because of regional specialties)
  • Low end restaurants that are popular with locals but may not be of much interest to travelers or people in general (everyone will have to use their judgment on this one)

Extra consideration for the following:

  • The food is organic, fresh, healthy, or farm to table
  • The restaurant serves a relatively hard to find type of ethnic food and reviews are good

In addition to the regular guidelines I try to include:

  • The best Asian restaurants in the area even if they are not totally authentic
  • Particularly good Mexican restaurants (this usually means the food is from a particular state in Mexico or it is one of the best examples of a U.S. regional style)

Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

 

Sources:

Chowhound (Riverside)

Eater Los Angeles (Palm Springs Restaurants)

Gil’s Thrilling (and Filling Blog)

Google Maps

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp

Yelp (Wayne W.)

Zomato (Inland Empire)

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