If you plan your trips around food, you’ll savor every morsel of Southern California’s favorite foodie haven. The city of Claremont, declared a “food neighborhood” that’s “worth the drive” by LA Weekly and NBC Los Angeles, offers abundant dining experiences. This is an essential directory of the local gastronomy favorites, and we hope you’ll try at least two on your next visit to Claremont. We promise all gourmands will be back for more!
“ The array of international restaurants [in Claremont] is way too trendy and more haute than any regular municipality of 35,824 residents has a right to host, which makes it a must-stop for people whose college years are decades behind them.” — Sacramento Bee
With half of Claremont’s more than 70 restaurants located within the walkable downtown Claremont Village, the age-old question of where to get a good bite around town is as simple as following your nose. When you arrive—hungry, of course—you can enjoy the city’s free parking or hop off the Metrolink and stroll to wherever your appetite leads you.
Having so many epicurean delights at your fingertips could get overwhelming, so we’ve compiled options for every meal of the day! Bon appétit!
Gourmet All the Way
Claremont has many great options for breakfast and brunch, ranging from casual cafes to upscale restaurants. Here are some of the best breakfast places in Claremont, California:
- Some Crust Bakery: This beloved local bakery and cafe has been a staple in Claremont since 1916 and is known for its delectable baked goods, yummy breakfast sandwiches (Egg Sliders), fresh croissants and coffee. We love the chocolate raspberry croissant! Definitely try one of their famous fruit pinwheels.
- The Last Drop Cafe: This cozy cafe in the Claremont Village serves bagels, muffins, pastries and croissant sandwiches. Enjoy a plethora of choices to drink including, slushies, smoothies, teas, coffee and espresso drinks.
- Bardot: While primarily known for their craft cocktails, Bardot also serves a delicious brunch menu on Saturday and Sunday, featuring sweet and savory dishes —like the Crème Brûlée Waffle and the Eggs Florentine. Small plates, salads and sandwiches are also available for brunch. The Bloody Mary menu adds some excitement and spice.
- The Spot Cafe: A classic diner-style breakfast spot, The Spot Cafe serves all the breakfast staples, including pancakes, omelets, and breakfast burritos, as well as salads, wraps and sandwiches for lunch. Enjoy fresh juices, smoothies and shakes or order your favorite espresso drink.
Claremont has diverse lunch options, from casual eateries to upscale restaurants.
- Pizza N Such has been a Claremont institution since 1977 and offers a variety of classic pizzas, salads, and sandwiches.
- The Back Abbey is a gastropub primarily known for its impressive beer selection, but it also offers a menu featuring dishes with a Belgian/German flair. They are known for their incredible burgers, but the Schnitzel and the Desserts are well worth the indulgence.
- Wolfe’s Kitchen and Deli features hand-made salads, a delicious grill menu, a Boars Head full deli, a Healthy Meal Plan and Shakeology Bar!
- Gus’s BBQ is the epitome of true Southern hospitality and some of the best real pit BBQ around. Need some Southern comfort food? Definitely eat at Gus’s BBQ! Start with Cast Iron Cornbread, followed by Texas Beef Brisket, dry rubbed and smoked for up to 14 hours.
Other options for foodies:
Visit the Cheese Cave, a family-owned and operated full-service cheese shop, and grab a gourmet sandwich and a creamy tomato soup—after sampling a few decadent artisanal cheeses. You can mosey to one of the Claremont Colleges with your delicious victuals for a picnic lunch.
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Or, if you’d rather have full service, you can go to Union on Yale for a wood-fired Forest Floor pizza with a trio of mushrooms and black truffle cheese. We also recommend the Burrata Caprese Tartine or The Hot Chick, a buttermilk battered chicken sandwich—that’s unlike any other you’ve had. Their outdoor patio is a beautiful spot to enjoy your meal.
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Claremont has a dinner scene worth staying an extra night to try as many restaurants as possible. Some of the best places for dinner are walkable from your hotel.
- The Meat Cellar: This popular steakhouse offers a variety of high-quality cuts of meat, seafood, salads, and other entrees. The atmosphere is classy and sophisticated but still comfortable and welcoming. Go for a Jamon (ham) tasting and stay for the Australian Wagyu Tomahawk steak.
- Bardot: This luxe restaurant and lounge is known for its craft cocktails, but the food is equally impressive. The menu features a variety of shareable plates and entrees inspired by global cuisine.
- Packing House Wines: This wine retailer, with a bar and full-service seasonal restaurant, offers small plates and charcuterie boards. With Burgers, Ribs, Seafood, Chicken, Lamb and Chorizo on the menu, you’ll find something for every foodie. Plus, they can offer a wine to pair from one of their talented sommeliers.
- The Whisper House: The speakeasy-style bar and restaurant is open daily and offers crafted prohibition-style cocktails. Main Entrees include Jambalaya, Braised Short Rib, Butter Roasted Mahi Mahi and Tri Tip with a mushroom ficasse.
Prefer your flavor kicks on the historic Route 66? At The Orchard Restaurant at DoubleTree by Hilton, you can revel in the Ancho Chili Rubbed Grilled Half Free Range Chicken with rainbow Swiss chard, Chipotle mashed potatoes and a passion fruit jus. After dinner, watch the dueling Piano Piano show and then retire for the night in a spacious room at the hotel. Don’t forget to eat your chocolate chip cookie, a DoubleTree signature perk.
Claremont offers several establishments where you can enjoy happy hour specials. Popular places for happy hour include:
- Eureka!: This restaurant and bar offers fun dining experiences with “Hoppy Hour”, half off wine Tuesdays, Steal the Glass Wednesdays and even a dog-friendly patio. Enjoy discounted craft beers, specialty cocktails, and appetizers. The Lollipop Corn Dogs, Mac N’ Cheese balls and the Bone Marrow burger at Eureka! are as sinful as they are scrumptious.
- Magnolia Bistro and Wine Bar: exquisite plates, wine and selected Craft Beers from local breweries. Wine and Beer tasting is available all day, and Happy Hour is 4 – 6 pm!
- The Lounge at Casa 425: an alfresco atmosphere and eclectic California cuisine with hand-crafted cocktails, beer on draft and small plates. Relaxing lounge seating around gas firepits and outdoor heaters make this a cozy, romantic and favorite place to unwind.
- Espiau’s Mexican American Restaurant: A weekday Happy Hour from 3 -6 pm with live music and 20+ flat-screen TVs to watch endless sports; what else could you want! Stay for dinner too. This Basque restaurant offers a range of traditional Basque dishes, including paella, seafood, and grilled meats. The atmosphere is cozy and intimate, with a fireplace and outdoor patio.
Please note that happy hour offerings and times may vary, so it’s always a good idea to check with the specific establishment for their current happy hour details.
In Claremont, there’s no shortage of international fare. To begin your global foodie experience, you can revel in an Afghan Patty and Eggs at Walter’s, which offers eclectic fare and Afghan dishes. Try the Linguiça and 2 Eggs at the charming Euro Cafe. This casual counter-serve joint serves up Italian and Portuguese entrees. Be sure to save room for one of their delicious desserts.
For lunch, you just need to pick a region of the world. If you want Mediterranean food, you can go to Al Amir Bakery for Levantine flatbread made from the freshest, not to mention the finest, ingredients. Or you can go to Cafe X20 for authentic Mediterranean fare with a Lebanese flair, including flavorful kebabs, juicy shawarma and their signature lamb chops.
Craving Asian food? Menkoi Ya Ramen offers authentic Japanese homemade curly noodles and pork in a tonkatsu broth. Kazama is a top-notch choice if a casual sushi and sake experience is on your mind. House of Pong is a great choice for Asian Fusion and seafood. 50-Fifty Asian Fusion Cuisine blends together flavors from the East and West.
Tuesdays call for tacos and tamales! Go to Elvira’s Mexican Grill in the Old School House for traditional Mexican cuisine or Petiscos in the Village for gourmet tacos. Known for its generous cocktails and masterful gourmet creations, Casa Maguey is a newcomer to Claremont full of Mexican favorites!
Nosh on gourmet tapas or paella at Viva Madrid! while listening to Spanish music. Foodies, be sure to try the Bacon Wrapped Dates. The atmosphere is lively and festive, with live music.
The Quarter Creole (featured in Westways magazine) is the place for Red Beans and Rice with Hot Sausage.
If it’s Italian food you’re after, you’ll want to try the Salmone, a pan-roasted Scottish salmon with a blood-orange rosemary sauce, when you dine at the award-winning Tutti Mangia Italian Grill. This elegant Italian restaurant offers a range of classic Italian dishes, including homemade pasta, seafood, and grilled meats. The atmosphere is elegant but still warm and inviting. The irresistibly unforgettable Uno Tre Otto prepares traditionally inspired Italian cuisine in a century-old historic Claremont building. Their menu varies from the produce they harvest daily. They use only organic flour and create their pasta from scratch. It’s a well-kept Claremont secret and beloved by locals and foodies alike.
Life is batter with dessert; it’s one of the best parts of the meal. Claremont is a dessert-lovers dream, so indulge in some local favorites for goodness cake. Try a mini Chocolate Chess Pie at I Like Pie or the Elvis special with banana ice cream folded with peanut butter at Bert & Rocky’s Cream Co.
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Now that we’ve made you hungry, it’s time to book your stay and eat up!