Restaurant of the Week: The Bowl

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The Bowl Thai Cuisine, 1105 N. Mountain Ave. (at 4th), Ontario

After a decade as Super Bowl Thai, this restaurant was bought by the people who own Mix Bowl, a Thai restaurant in Pomona. They renamed the Ontario location simply The Bowl and gave it a similarly cutesy mascot. (This one’s a woman. The Pomona mascot is vaguely boy-like.) Don’t ask me where “bowl” comes from: Other than a few soups, everything is on a plate.

A friend and I went there for dinner recently. Weird coincidence: Based on the design and roofline, both The Bowl and Mix Bowl appear to be in former Wendy’s locations. Interesting business model.

The interior is clean and bright, like Mix Bowl, with tiled floor and neon accents. Booths have purple cushions. I liked it, and there’s more elbow room than Mix Bowl, which is busy and a little cramped. The menu isn’t quite as expansive as Mix Bowl’s, where there are now upwards of 150 items. The Bowl has about 80. (Confusingly, the menu starts with No. 11.)

The server recommended the curries. We split a yellow curry with chicken ($8, bottom), which incidentally was in a bowl, and one of the specialty items, Bowl Noodles with chicken, spaghetti noodles, onions and tomatoes ($9, below), which arrived on a plate. We liked both items, neither one of which is on the Mix Bowl menu. As with Mix Bowl, this is what you might call the diner version of Thai food: It’s not fancy, and it comes out of the kitchen fast. Service was friendly and attentive and nobody chased us out when we were lingering.

You might prefer Lucky Elephant, which is exactly two blocks north on Mountain, both for its food and elaborate decor. I do. But The Bowl is a pleasant surprise, and I’ll return there too. It’s a little more casual and a little more fun.

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  • Troubled by Nouns

    Do you plan to eat every item on the menu?

    • davidallen909

      No. Even if I tried, the missing items 1 to 10 would trouble me.

  • Andy Sze

    curious why don’t they call it Mix Bowl as well? There’s this thing called branding. I’ve eaten nearly every item at Mix Bowl over the 8 years I lived in North Pomona (yes I’ve been there that many times). Thanks David.. I might go there tonight. Thai food in Rancho is a bit lacking.

    • davidallen909

      Maybe it’s not Mix Bowl because the menu is too different from the Pomona location. I know what you mean about Thai food in RC. But have you tried Green Mango? It’s by Ontario Mills but is in RC.

      • Andy Sze

        i haven’t tried green mango. I usually stay away from the more formal thai restaurants. They always seem to disappoint me. Mix Bowl, Samuluang, Ord Noodles, Ruen Pair.. those places I really like. There’s a place on Kenyon and Miliken in RC called Bonsee Thai. the owner used to work for Mix Bowl. I’ve eaten there a few times and it’s pretty good, but I really don’t go there often enough.

  • DebB

    I was heading in the direction of Ontario Mills today (1/3/14), so I perused your Ontario RoWs and decided to try The Bowl. I walked in just about noon, and there wasn’t a soul there, although a few more people came in while I was eating. I ordered the Pad Thai with pork, and liked it very much. I would definitely go there again.

    I have to admit, I’ve spent most of this afternoon wishing I’d taken home half of my meal, instead of eating the whole thing at once – they’re very generous!

    • davidallen909

      Good that you liked, bad that the restaurant was so empty. I had dinner there on a cold night a couple of weeks back and got one of the soups. Really hit the spot. The restaurant was one-third full. I left three-thirds full.