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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  • Bob Terry

    Ok, Mr. Extra Meatball guy, Antonino’s is the only Italian restaurant that most of my family and friends go to…along now with Paisano’s. Their menu is so diverse and you happened to order my wife’s favorite. I hope your next visit there will be more enjoyable and if there are at least 2 of you…ask to split the “special” salad before your entree…it is to die for!

  • Dick Huse

    Although we have lived in Upland for the past 23 years when we wanted good Italian food we went to Portofino in La Habra. This is a building built to be an Italian restaurant. We went for dinner and lunch so often we developed our favorite waiter and became friends with one of the owners.

    Then we went to Antoninos. As soon as we saw the menu and tasted the food we thought “This is Portofino’s east.” It turns out that the owner/chef at Antoninos was the first chef at Portofino and the chef that developed the menu at Portofino.

    We have never had a bad meal at Antoninos, in fact we will as a party of five be there for lunch tomorrow, June 19th, my birthday. Although we go for lunch we order from the dinner menu, they have a greater selection.

    [Happy birthday, Dick. -- DA]

  • http://rickandbill.com Rick

    We like Antonino’s, and I’ll second Bob’s comment about the special salad… awesome. And for salmon, I think we need to be specific and ask for medium rare. TOO many restaurants tend to overcook it. We like Rosa’s in Ontario for fine Italian dining, but it’s a bit pricier than Antonino’s.

  • Kevin Salveson

    I love Antonino’s! It is by far the best Italian in Upland/Rancho. Their cream sauces are fantastic, and they generally offer exquisite high end food (satisfying, not skimpy) for reasonable prices. I give Antonino’s gift cards to all of my clients when they give me a referral (I am a financial planner specialist at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Claremont), and I have never had a client come back to say they didn’t appreciate it. This restaurant is superlative!

  • Pete S

    You’re right, you can do better or you can do worse. Been going there off and on for years and they seem to run hot and cold….perfect example is the Penne alla Vodka with Italian bacon. On the bacon sometimes you get a decent portion and sometimes you don’t. I do like their gnocchi..tough to cook. If it’s cooked too long it comes out mushy and if it’s cooked too short tends to be too firm. Most of the time they get it right.

    Met you on the second floor at Macys a couple of months ago, look forward to seeing you again. Take care.

    [Oh yeah, at the VG men's store. Thanks for the note, Pete. -- DA]

  • Andy M

    This is one of my favorite restaurants. The food is fantastic, and the specials are amazing. The most delicious dish there is the Salmon in the champagne cream sauce. Makes my mouth water thinking about it. My wife and I like going for happy hour for half price appetizers. Highly recommended!