Restaurant of the Week: Antonino’s

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Antonino’s, 7945 Vineyard Ave. (at Foothill), Rancho Cucamonga

A Rancho Cucamonga favorite, Antonino’s has been part of the California Winery Center on the northeast corner of Foothill and Vineyard since the 1990s (although the original name, Chianti, had to be changed for copyright reasons). Antonino’s recently moved a few yards within the center to make way for Fresh & Easy, offering a reason to give them another try. (Intriguingly, it’s owned by the same man who owns Haandi Indian Restaurant, also in Rancho Cucamonga.)

Antonino’s is fine-dining Italian and it’s got the white tablecloths to prove it. My recollection of the old place is that it had a dated look and a pink and teal color scheme (or is that redundant?). The new interior is more inviting, with more windows and a fresher appearance. The atmosphere is sedate.

Service was friendly. We ordered clam linguine (technically, linguine con vongole) ($15) and salmon griglia ($18). My friend wasn’t impressed by her salmon. My linguine came loaded with clams, both fresh and canned. I liked my dish a bit better than she did. One flub: the server, in reaching across the table to put down my dish, tipped it, spilling clam broth onto my pants. Sigh. Well, at least she was apologetic about it. The dish was more liquid than she’d realized, I think.

Overall, I’d say Antonino’s is a nice local choice, inoffensive for business lunches or dinner with your parents, but your experience would be about the same at a Macaroni Grill, only less exciting. You could do worse, but you could also do better.

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