Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Where to Dine in Pomona?

Lately I've been thinking about where we dine in Pomona. Our city has lots of great Latin American/Mexican restaurants, but so little of anything else. Yes, we have all of the fast-food franchises, but finding a place for a nice evening sit-down meal can be a challenge for those times when you want something that's not Latin.

While we still have a Sizzler here in the city, we don't have the chains such as Outback Steakhouse, Chili's, Olive Garden, Applebee's, Red Lobster, etc. For those we need to go just outside the city limits. But what about when we want a similar dining experience here? Something beyond Food Truck Thursdays at Fairplex (although we do appreciate that and it's a place to get some great food).

Here are some of the places Mrs C and I like to go. Hopefully you'll add yours as well.

Downtown Pomona

Sakura Ichi is a very nice place for Japanese food. A good bar menu, with happy hour specials makes this a great place for those occasions when we want "small plate" fare. Of course if you want Sushi or Tempura, you can certainly get full meals in a beautiful space.

The Drink at the Fox is also a great "small plate" place but they're not open all the time and you have to kind of stumble upon them.

Pho Vi Some good Vietnamese Pho at this place. Not something we crave, but decent on a cold day.

The Hamburger House is the new name for the oft renamed 2nd Street Bistro. While we haven't been there yet, it appears to have a good menu of "gourmet" burgers.

The Rookery is the new name for the previous Joey's BBQ. Under the same ownership and management, the menu has forgone BBQ for the gourmet burger route. The burgers are fresh and well done and the appetizers, which include fried pickles, onion rings, and grilled cheese, are worth the trip. Now if the room only looked a little less like a BBQ joint. This one does compare favorably with Eureka Burger, and with wait service is a step above the new Claremont Rounders.

Alladin, Jr. Not really a fan of middle eastern cuisine, but the place seems to have a loyal clientele.

A mention has to be made of Cassie's Soul Food, which isn't a sit-down restaurant but has some great take-out.

Fairplex Area

McKinleys The restaurant in the Sheraton Fairplex offers up good solid food in a nice atmosphere. Again, you can get some great appetizers and "small plates" in the bar or have a very good/fresh salad in the main dining room. Not an everyday place, but certainly worth going to.

Finish Line This is a spot we recently rediscovered. While casual, it's a decent sit-down place with good food. We especially like their 1/2 price Mondays where any of their Main Entrees are 1/2 price. This means that you can get their NY Strip Steak dinner (Steak, mashed potatoes, vegies) for $7.50. While not the best steak dinner I've ever had, definitely the best one at $7.50. This is part of the off-track betting parlor that at night has a sports bar theme with lots of large televisions everywhere for those who like to keep an eye on the score. But they keep the sound down so it's not as intrusive as some similar places I've been in.

Pomona Valley Mining Company The old stand-by is good for an occasional dinner with an expansive view of the city.  To be honest, I usually end up there for banquets rather than a regular evening meal, but their Sunday Brunch is a must at least once or twice a year.

I'm sure that I'm forgetting some, but these seem to be the main places to go for dinner. Do you have suggestions? I'd love to hear them.


Anonymous said...

Don't forget about Day Day and Dukes!

Goddess of Pomona said...

Are you sure Finish Line is in Pomona and not La Verne? Too sports barish for my taste to even venture in. Seems like the only Pomona places my family eats is Pho Vi and much less regularly Mix Bowl Thai on Indian Hill (but in Pomona), but then again we don't eat out too much these days.

John Clifford said...

According to their web site their address is:
Fairplex Gate 12
2201 N. White Ave. Pomona, CA 91768

That's Pomona.

John Clifford said...

You're right. Forgot about Mix Bowl. A favorite when our daughter is in town.

Skrip said...

Rawken Sushi across from the Rookery in Downtown Pomona too. Of course, go before 9pm because it becomes a club, er, uh, loud music.

John Clifford said...

It's the club atmosphere that would prevent me from trying it. Is it good? Do they have anything beside sushi?

John Clifford said...

It's the club atmosphere that would prevent me from trying it. Is it good? Do they have anything beside sushi?

theabc said...

I'm amazed no one has mentioned the Kellog Ranch Restaurant at the Colins School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at Cal Poly.

theabc said...

I'd hate to say, aside from non- sit down Mexican places and the two thai places (Mix Bowl and Samaluang), Kerllog Ranch @ Cal Poly, there are few sitdown places to eat that aren't dismal.

I've eaten the sushi places downtown and they are dismal. The new 2nd Street Cafe I've yet to try, but have been wanting to try that for a while.

Viet places, after the closing of Pho Express, I've had little reason to eat Viet anymore. Pho Vi is ok.. but I limit myself to the bun bo hue and cafe su da there.

I've done places such as Guasalmex and Biriaria and didn't like them. Cocineros Mexican Grill (formerly El Rodeo) was a favorite of mine which I went to every other week for a couple of years, but that's not really sit down either.

I don't know. If I want to eat, I go to Diamond Bar, Rowland Heights or Pasadena and sometimes Claremont.

What I would like to see is regional mexican food in Pomona. Sadly, despite the huge Mexican population, if I want region mexican food I have to go to LA.

theabc said...

There's also the Coco Palm. There's a certain novelty factor.. but it's really no different than any other event restaurant on a hilltop such as Luminarias in Monterey Park, Castaways (Glendale), Odyssey (Granada Hills), etc etc.

Grand Buffet next to Winco Foods? The Middle Eastern place next to the former Lucky's in Phillips Ranch was good.. but that's gone now.

I ate out nearly everyday weekday for 3 years... but aside from Thai and Viet sit down, nothing is really appealing in Pomona that is a sitdown ???

calwatch said...

Pho Hoa on Indian Hill is different a bit more hole in the wall but in some ways is more authentic.

Grand Buffet is very popular with everyone on weekends. An excellent value.

Don't forget Aladdin Jr. in North Pomona. Or Graziano's Pizza in Phillips Ranch.

Sure for a city of 160,000 Pomona is lacking in restaurants, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

calwatch said...


I've already found some interesting ones I never heard of and I've lived in this town for many years. Day Day & Duke's Soul Food? Thai Orchid Garden? Zuby's Cafe? I've never heard of these places before... maybe it's time to do a David Allen style tour of Pomona restaurants? Hit me up.

goddess of pomona said...

is day day and soul's the bbq place on the south side of Holt near Groom Time barber shop? Yes, THAT groom time barber shop (been in the news for the wrong reasons). I just noticed that bbq place a couple months ago, and it actually looks like it would be good (well, okay, the storefront is nicely done).

goddess of pomona said...

there's also a new bbq place "Fairplex BBQ" where the enterprise rent a car used to be on white, just below orange grove.