21 Best Restaurants in The Inland Empire, California


$ Fodor's choice

Known for having the best poke bowls in California, this food-shack-turned-restaurant has a friendly, service-oriented hipster staff and dishes like smoked teriyaki chicken and Hawaiian pulled pork that blend the flavors of Tahiti, Jamaica, Hawaii, and other tropical spots. The tiki-style setting and consistently fresh food make this family-run restaurant a favorite in town, so plan to wait during high season. If you ask how sashimi-grade tuna lands in Big Bear, prepare to hear “from mystical mermaids” (it’s a secret source). 

Tutti Mangia Italian Chophouse

$$$$ Fodor's choice

A favorite of college students and their visiting parents, this storefront dining room has a warm and cozy feel and menu choices that include long-bone pork chops, osso buco, and pan-roasted salmon with blood-orange rosemary sauce. Bruschetta, fried calamari, truffle arancini, and other small plates, some seasonal, always entice.

102 Harvard Ave., Claremont, California, 91711, USA
Known For
  • wide selection of first and second courses and sides
  • martini and wine bar happy hour except Saturday
  • heart-healthy, low-calorie menu items
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon.; no lunch, Reservations essential


Superb cocktails and craft-beer samplers, a something-for-everyone menu, and the always swingin' streetside patio have made this gastropub one of Old Town's jolliest hangouts. Starters like blue corn Kobe beef hot dogs, smoked chicken wings, and crab and shrimp empanadas pair well with the drinks; standout mains include the 1909 burger (love the bacon-onion jam) and braised lamb shank. Brunch—all the usual suspects, plus peanut butter French Toast, grilled tofu and kimchi, ahi tartare, and other nouveau fare—is a mob scene on most weekends.

Recommended Fodor's Video

Apple Annie's


You won't leave hungry from this country-western diner, popular with locals for its family-style seven-course dinners. Perennial favorites include the Annie deluxe burger and the beefeater melt. The decor is comfortable and rustic; Western memorabilia hangs on the walls alongside pictures of cowboys, trail wagons, and outlaws.

Belgian Waffle Works


This dockside eatery, steps from where the Lake Arrowhead Queen departs on lake excursions, is quaint and homey, with country decor and beautiful water views. Dive into a mud-pie Belgian waffle with chocolate fudge sauce or try a Belgian s'more with a marshmallow-and-chocolate sauce; burgers, pulled-pork sandwiches, tuna melts, chili, chicken dishes, and salads are among the other fare. All go well with the microbrews or a Belgian beer.

28200 Hwy. 189, Lake Arrowhead, California, 92352, USA
Known For
  • 18 different waffles
  • healthy options and children's menu
  • great lake views from outdoor patio
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No dinner

Bert & Rocky's Cream Company


The sinfully innovative concoctions at this local ice-cream shop include mint Oreo, blueberry-cheesecake, and the Elvis special with bananas and peanut butter. The vanilla's delightful, too.

Himalayan Restaurant


At this no-frills storefront restaurant, it's best to order family style so that everyone gets a taste of the many Nepalese and Indian delicacies that are offered. Favorites include the spicy mo-mo (pot stickers), daal (green lentils), lamb and shrimp-curry vindaloo, fish and chicken masala, and clay-oven-roasted tandoori meats and seafood. The aromatic teas and lemonades provide a perky contrast to your meal's savory flavors.

Mario's Place


The clientele is as beautiful as the food at this intimate jazz and supper club across the street from the Mission Inn. The northern Italian cuisine is first-rate—try the penne rigate with oxtail ragù followed by the orange blossom–water panna cotta for dessert. On the last weekend of the month, jazz groups play on Friday and Saturday night.

3646 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, California, 92501, USA
Known For
  • classy setting
  • live jazz last Friday and Saturday of the month
  • first-rate northern Italian cuisine
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No lunch. Closed Sun. and Mon., Reservations essential

Meritage Restaurant at Callaway Vineyards


Impressively prepared cuisine and stunning Temecula Valley views from a shaded terrace make a visit to the restaurant at Callaway winery a memorable occasion. Pomegranate pico de gallo (salsa), radish and ginger vinaigrette, and other inventive flourishes add piquancy and pep to the mostly Mediterranean dishes, which include tapas made from slow-roasted meats and fresh seafood. Try the ceviche mixto or a grass-fed burger from nearby Sage Mt. Farm, or perhaps a thick, smoked pork chop with apple chutney, paired with Callaway's Reserve Syrah or one of the California and international craft beers poured here.

32720 Rancho California Rd., Temecula, California, 92591, USA
Known For
  • stunning valley views
  • tapas from slow-roasted meats and fresh seafood
  • wines and craft beers
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No dinner Mon.–Thurs.

Oak Glen Steakhouse & Saloon


After surviving three major setbacks (a fire, the pandemic, and mudslides) this family-owned restaurant, a traditional steak house with a modern twist, is now one of the best eateries in town. Classic American dishes have a Southwest-meets-Californian influence, as evidenced by the cowboy burger, steak house asada tacos, lobster mac and cheese, and salmon with honey-ginger carrots. Among the 10 “handhelds” is the top-seller “OG Burger” with your choice of shoestring or hand-cut fries or a side of onion rings. This upscale saloon draws a crowd for the all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch with bottomless mimosas.

Packing House Restaurant & Wine Shop


At this shop, bar, and restaurant inside a former orange-packing house, you can purchase wines from around the world and enjoy them on-site. Throughout the day, pair your selection with seasonal small plates and specialty cheeses and, for dinner, entrées like poke tostadas with sushi-grade ahi tuna and an organic beef burger with smoked bacon, aged cheddar, and spicy tomato aioli.

540 W. 1st St., Claremont, California, 91711, USA
Known For
  • admirable by-the-glass wine selection
  • reasonable corkage fee
  • fine stop for wine and nibbles but also for dinner
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon.; no dinner Tues., Five wine tastings from $20

Peppercorn Grille


Filling pizzas, pastas, and steak and fish dishes make this clubby-looking restaurant a fine choice after a long day of skiing in winter or hiking in summer. Start with the signature New England clam chowder (bacon bits add a smoky touch), and follow it up with a salad with the zesty house Peppercorn Ranch dressing before moving on to a flat-iron steak. Other top selections include rack of lamb, surf n' turf, and pasta with shrimp and pasta. 

Pomona Valley Mining Co.


Atop a hill near an old mining site, this rustic steak-and-seafood restaurant whose decor reflects the regional mining heritage provides great city views at night. Although you're here more for the view than the food (heavy on steak and prime rib), it's generally well prepared.

1777 Gillette Rd., Pomona, California, 91768, USA
Known For
  • authentic gold-rush memorabilia
  • mud pie and bourbon bread pudding desserts
  • Sunday brunch
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. No lunch Tues.–Sat., Credit cards accepted, Reservations essential

Public House


A low-key gastropub inside a restored 1950s home, this Old Town spot with a sunlit patio hosts live music on weekends. A roasted 16-ounce New York steak over mashed potatoes satisfies carnivores; and the mixed arugula and quinoa with roasted red beet and goat cheese is a hit with those seeking more healthful fare. Craft beers by innovative Southern California breweries Lost Abbey and The Bruery are among the selections on tap.

Restaurant Gastrognome


Elegant and dimly lighted, with wood paneling, lace curtains, and an oft-glowing fireplace, "The Gnome" is where locals go for a romantic dinner. The overall feel is French, but the menu goes beyond the Gallic, with entrées such as calamari amandine, sausage pasta, and bacon-wrapped scallops and shrimp. The French onion soup always satisfies, and the roast duck with orange sauce and barbecued pork ribs are excellent as well. The crème brûlée makes for a sweet finale. For lighter dinner fare, check out the café menu.

54381 Ridgeview Dr., Idyllwild, California, 92549, USA
Known For
  • romantic setting
  • French-inspired menu
  • crème brûlée
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted, Reservations essential

Simple Simon's Bakery & Bistro


Expect to wait in line at this little sandwich spot on the pedestrian-only shopping strip outside the Mission Inn. At lunchtime, salads, soups, and sandwiches on house-baked breads are served (sandwich standouts include the chicken-apple sausage and the roast lamb topped with baba ghanoush); pastries, eggs various ways, and French toast are breakfast highlights.

The Lobby Riverside


Innovative food and drink menus make this clubby restaurant on the historic Main Street promenade very much shaken, and not stirred. Grab a front-row seat on the patio or head inside for a table overlooking the neon bar to enjoy cocktails such as the But First, Let Me Take a Selfie (arrives with a Polaroid of you) or the Bonnie and Clyde (arrives with a flaming counterfeit $100 bill) and entrées like the short-rib melt or the honey jalapeño–glazed salmon on peanut slaw. Vegans will be pleasantly surprised with a variety of options. It’s one of the few places in Riverside open daily for dinner, with a “last call” way past midnight.

3730 Main St., Riverside, California, 92501, USA
Known For
  • cocktails that are works of art
  • vegan and vegetarian options
  • late-night dining
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No lunch weekdays

The Sycamore Inn


Built in 1921, the Sycamore Inn occupies the site of a stagecoach stop on Historic Route 66. The specialty here is USDA dry-aged prime steak—portion sizes range from 8 to 22 ounces—but also on the menu are Chilean sea bass, Australian lobster tail, and Colorado rack of lamb. The wine list includes selections from the best Napa and Sonoma wineries; France, New Zealand, Australia, and South America are also well represented.

8318 Foothill Blvd., Rancho Cucamonga, California, 91730, USA
Known For
  • dry-aged prime steak
  • international wine selection
  • fireside dining
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No lunch, Credit cards accepted, Reservations essential

Vince's Spaghetti Route 66


A swooping yellow neon arrow points the way to this boisterous family eatery, open since 1945. The restaurant has been in the same location since 1984, and claims to serve more than 25,000 miles of spaghetti every year. The menu is limited, but the execution is reliable. The penne-like mostaccioli with meat sauce and the meatball sandwiches are excellent choices. Gluten-free pasta and bread are also available.

Walter's Restaurant


Afghan fusion is the focus at Walter’s, a restaurant still holding its original name since 1973 when owners swapped out burgers and fries for a menu of kebabs, lamb dishes, and lentil salad. The tandoori salmon with peach chutney and basmati rice is moist and flavorful, and for something familiar, you can still grab a pizza or burger. The original dining room domed in stained glass, doubled in size during the pandemic, to now offer courtyard seating and private dining spaces.

310 N. Yale Ave., Claremont, California, 91714, USA
Known For
  • Afghan battered fries with hot sauce
  • live music Wednesday 6–9 and Thursday 8–9
  • happy hour weekdays 4–7, weekends 8 am–closing
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Reservations essential

Wilshire’s Apple Shed


This café and cider-tasting room is about as charming as it gets, with a wraparound porch, rocking chairs, and views of Wilshire Peak. In winter, cozy up by the fire with a hot caramel apple latte, or linger longer for wood-fired pizza topped with pulled pork, apple slices, and mozzarella. Other eats include quiche, sandwiches, salads, and pastries. The “Shed” is also home to the Mercantile gift shop and the Oak Glen Tobacconist where you can light up the night.