Restaurants of the year

Not much point in penning a Restaurant of the Week for Dec. 23, although if you were planning to get a burrito or Thai food this weekend and needed my guidance, my apologies. Instead, let’s look back at 2011.

I wrote about visits to 39 restaurants, and to my knowledge only one of them (Buckboard BBQ) later closed. Then there was Freddie Mae’s, which closed after my meal but before I could write it up. Hiccups like that, plus vacations and special features like this, kept me from writing 52 RoWs in 52 weeks.

I hit at least one restaurant in every city of our coverage area, from Fontana to Chino Hills.

Among the highlights: Magic Lamp, Pho Ha, Senor Baja, Babylon, Eureka, Corner Deli, The Deli, Roberta’s Village Inn, The Heights, Red Chilli House, Nara, Sabor Mexicano and Molly’s Souper. None of my meals was terrible or inedible, although lunches at 2nd on 2nd St. and Zeke’s came close.

It’s too much trouble to look all those up and link to them, but if you’d like to read or reread them, that’s what the search function is for, as well as our city-by-city category listings. I’d encourage you to make use of both.

Where did you have a memorably good or bad meal in the Inland Valley in 2011?

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  • DebB

    We had our family Christmas last weekend, with my brother and his fam coming in from out of town. While out shopping one day, we needed a place to eat lunch. I checked out all your RoWs for the past few months, and we decided to try the Corner Deli. Loved it! I had the Korean BBQ and liked it very much. I wish the restaurant was a little closer (I’m in Pomona) but I’ll definitely go there again.

    [Deb, I'm pleased to have rendered assistance. -- DA]

  • valarie

    Don’t forget the best Chinese Food is at Dragon Inn – Corner of Foothill and Archibald – North East Corner. We went there again yesterday for my daughter’s 21st birthday dinner. It’s just excellent food. Freshest, cooked to order food! I’ve eaten there for years, and they always take such good care of us at the table, bring each dish to the table piping hot and absolutely perfectly cooked. Excellent food!

    Lunch menu. Dinner menu. Just fantastic place to eat.

    Comfortable, very very clean and relaxing place to chow down on excellent chow mein. I just love Dragon Inn!

  • Donna

    Vince’s Spaghetti, best and busy all the time.

  • Bob Terry

    My MOTY, meal of the year, was at Paisano’s Restaurant at The Vic. It was over 7 months ago and I can’t remember the name of the dish but it consisted of slipper lobster tails, scallops, shrimp and an assortment of other “goodies” in a light garlic cream sauce served over angel hair pasta. I feel a return visit coming soon….

    [That does sound good. A mighty MOTY. -- DA]

  • Don Stockwell

    Can’t beat TACO LITA !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Go there every two weeks….

    Anyone that went to CHS during the 60′s, knows of this place !!!!!!!

    [The remaining one is in Arcadia, for those who don't know. -- DA]

  • G. R. Poirier

    I think China One in Fontana at Summit Ave near Target is making some amazing Chinese food. The place looks like Panda Express but tastes like The Panda Inn. I had lunch at the Dragon Inn and wasn’t that impressed. It was average to good. Not bad, certainly.

  • rich

    now i know you have no idea what your talking about, tried them all the past years, and had better food at mc donalds, majic amp was ok but doesnt even come close to some restaurant back in philly, the 7 stars in phoenixville has it beat hands down, people in claif dont know good food all they call about is the price out here, you can feed a person from calif doog food and they will eat it if you make the plate look good, all they cre about out here is the price

    [You'll have to enlighten us about what you ate at McDonald's that was better than every place listed here, Rich. -- DA]

  • shirley wofford

    When one is attending a free concert at CA Plaza, in LA, as I did on two recent, Dec. Fridays, there is nothing tastier and more fun than sitting water-courtside with a box from the adjacent “Panda Express”–honey-walnut shrimp, tofu and eggplant, rice and sprouts topped with sweet and sour sauce–yum. Then, the fortune cookie said that the world was ready for the great things it’s going to get from me. Less than $10.

    Any other trip to LA, which I will be doing, on my excursion, to see the floats, January 3, would require a stop at, “Philippe the Original”, at Alameda and Ord. Philippe’s, as everyone calls it, is my alltime favorite eating place. Can’t wait for that beef stew, cole slaw, and tapioca pudding. Less than $10.

  • shirley wofford

    My husband and I are hurriedly trying to use up all the restaurant coupons that have been in the restaurant, ad flyers, for the past few months. I need to get all I can, before I must choose which, “Weight Watchers” group, to join.

    The best restaurant coupon, is for the two-person feast, at “Stuart Anderson’s Black Angus”. It is absolutely decadent. Today, seems like a good time to indulge in another, of our, once-a month, culinary favorites–”In-N-Out”.

    (Now, I’m feeling real bad, and real guilty. I need to do a few days, serving at a homeless shelter, as punishment for my display, here, of food paganism. That will be one, of my resolutions, to add to losing weight.)

    [I worry this blog is enabling your guilt, Shirley. -- DA]

  • Will Plunkett

    For sheer hype status, it’d have to be Five Guys Burgers in RC.

    Most food was fine but not super-fine for me this year. Now, next year, I expect several apocolypse-related businesses to open (briefly).

  • DAve

    Norm’s in Claremont is slammed ALL THE TIME… however Christmas eve I noticed that on their facebook page they have a $2 off coupon so if you can successfully avoid the wait I strongly suggest it.

    Not the greatest, but consistently lovely.

    Gee Rich sorry to disappoint you so but while you were learning the ways of the gourmond I guess we were learning to spell and use grammar correctly.

    Philippes’ micro-sandwiches are unacceptable, tasty little five-biters.

    The Pantry abides.

    Merry Christmas everybody!!! Funny thing about the origins of Christmas…

    [Thanks for the comments, DAve. But...Philippe's is "unacceptable"? I can't accept that. -- DA]

  • shirley wofford

    I wonder, if Dave and I are, going to the same Philippe’s. I gave up the French Dip a long time ago, because it is just too much meat–unless, I am going to a Dodger game, which I haven’t been able to do, the last two years, because of the ownership of, “You know who.”

    (In those days, I stuffed the sandwich and tapioca pudding in my tote, and got on the bus, to the park, and fed my face, prior to the first pitch.)

    The beef stew, is in a light, tasty beef broth, with a few chunks of beef, and lots of big chunks of potatoes, carrots, and onions, and celery. A handy little secret–if the place is overcrowded with long lines, you could just skip the sandwich, and order all the other goodies, like my meal, at the condiments counter.

    (I went to the Pantry once, and the restroom was stopped up, and flooding, with water, all over–not too appetizing.)

  • Frank Costanza

    Serenity now, people, serenity now. Philippe’s lamb dip is heaven on a bun…and I should know…I was a cook in the Korean War. When I was in L.A. trying to market the “bro”, I mean…mansiere, I found this gem and can’t wait to go back. DAve must have walked into a Subway to even consider his remarks.

    [The dips aren't better than your paella, though, Mr. Costanza. -- DA]