Claremont’s reputation as a regional dining destination has been on the rise in recent years, thanks in part to the efforts of local restaurateurs John Solana, Ed Inglese, Sal Medina and others, and the work of chefs like Stephen Rudicel and Jose Ruiz. With a growing number of regionally acclaimed restaurants and dozens of locally owned eateries keeping the food scene fresh, it’s no wonder that LA Weekly and NBC Los Angeles has declared Claremont a “food neighborhood” that’s “worth the drive” for foodies and tourists.
The city will host its third annual Claremont Restaurant Week, July 10-19, 2015, to showcase its many pubs, grills, sandwich shops, bakeries, and fine dining restaurants. Visitors will discover a wide variety of cuisines as many of the city’s locally owned eateries and hotel restaurants will participate by offering prix fixe dinner menus.
“A famous college town with international visitors demands a high level of fine dining experiences,” said Andrew Behnke of Discover Claremont, the Claremont tourism board. “We know tourists come to Claremont for the shows, museums, trips into the mountains, festivals, regional events or when visiting the colleges. Now is a great time to come Discover Claremont for its dining as the city is emerging as a culinary center for eastern Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire.”
With half of Claremont’s more than 80 restaurants located within the walkable downtown area, visitors can choose to enjoy the city’s free parking and literally stroll to wherever their appetites lead them.
In the famous Claremont Village, epicureans encounter wood-paneled restaurants, bustling outdoor cafés and gourmet bakeries. Popular Italian choices include Inglese’s Italian chophouse Tutti Mangia with chef Jose Ruiz, La Piccoletta in the alley off of Indian Hill Blvd., and the longtime local favorite Aruffo’s Italian Cuisine. Diners will find tapas at Viva Madrid, Afghan dishes at Walter’s, and locally sourced dishes at Rudicel’s The Press Restaurant (Rudicel also owns Mariposa Creamery). Solana’s Claremont restaurants include new American cuisine at Union on Yale, tacos and small plates at Petiscos, and one of Southern California’s “best burgers” at The Back Abbey.
In both the nearby Village Square and Packing House, diners will find rare wines, microbrews and fine American whiskeys at restaurants that include Eureka Burger and Medina’s Packing House Wine Merchants, while the Beer Belly Deli serves up American fare and brews. The Hotel Casa 425 lounge and outdoor living room is known for its signature margarita and offers a small plates menu served by its outdoor fire pits. Other Village Square favorites here include La Parolaccia and Casa Moreno.
Popular favorites outside of the village include Portuguese at Euro Cafe, Thai at Sanamluang Café, Lebanese pizza at Al Amir Bakery, and local brews at Claremont Craft Ales. At DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Claremont its Orchard Restaurant features locally sourced ingredients, while its lively PianoPiano dueling piano show – featuring some of the West’s top performers – serves up classic American pub fare. Another local choice that combine entertainment with fine fare is belly dancing at Casablanca Bar and Grill; while fine dining meets Broadway at Ben D. Bollinger’s Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theatre just a few blocks north of the village. Along Historic Route 66 (Foothill Blvd.) tourists will also find stylish restaurants like Darvish and Inka Trails, sushi choices including Hayato, hand-made flour tortillas at Patty’s Mexican Food, and freshly made sandwiches and picnic meals at Wolfe’s Market.
A weekend stay in Claremont means visitors can enjoy a leisurely morning stroll through the region’s largest farmers and artisans market in downtown Claremont (every Sunday), and enjoy coffee and freshly baked pastries at places like Some Crust Bakery, Last Drop Café and 42nd Street Bagels.
A complete listing of restaurants, hotels, boutiques, events and more can be found at www.discoverclaremont.com.