Restaurant of the Week: Petiscos

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Petiscos, 211 W. 1st St. (at Harvard), Claremont

Occupying a tiny white house dating to the 19th century, when it was a railroad ticket office, and in more recent years home to Shrimps and Village Attic, Petiscos opened June 3. Directly across the street from the Claremont Depot, it’s the third venture by John Solana, the man behind Back Abbey and Union on Yale, which revolutionized dining in Claremont.

This one is a taco stand, the house serving as kitchen, and a fenced area behind holding picnic tables for dining, napkins in metal lunchboxes at each table. Restrooms are in the back and a plane from a kiddie ride is suspended in the air by cables. I don’t know why, but it’s cute, which might be reason enough.

The menu is simple: tacos, tortas and grilled corn, with beer, wine and sodas. No salads or sides. Tacos are $4 to $8, tortas are $8.

I’ve eaten here twice so far, both times with friends, and have had almost all the tacos: pork, beef, chicken, snapper and halibut. I’d order any of them again, with the pork, garnished with a slice of pineapple, my favorite. (Halibut and pork are pictured below.) A friend who got the veggie tacos (black beans, potatoes, jicama, onions, eggplant, zucchini and chiles, pictured at bottom) said the potatoes remind her of tacos she’s had in Monterrey, Mexico.

Petiscos is a rare casual eatery in the Village, although, befitting its name (which means “appetizers”), the tacos probably won’t fill you up, and you might find them a little pricey. But then, they use quality ingredients, in chef-driven recipes. Friends wish there were side dishes, like a salad (if you’re a vegetarian, all you can get is the veggie tacos and corn).

“It’s a fun atmosphere. I like the outdoor seating. This is my second time here and I’ll be back,” one said. “Don’t come with a big appetite. It can put a damper on an evening if you leave hungry,” another said.

I suppose if you leave hungry, you can always head to Back Abbey or Union on Yale.

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  • DebB

    If Petiscos means appetizers, then maybe the idea is to get you moving around Claremont. Start here for a taco or two, then on to Union on Yale for the main course, maybe catch a movie, then head to I Like Pie for dessert! And you can pretend it’s all good for you because you can walk to all of them.

    • davidallen909

      I like your suggested itinerary, Deb!

  • Doug Evans

    Fun times! I agree with the comment posted on the facebook link to this post that $4 is a lot to pay for a taco… But I also agree with the guy quoted above who liked the atmosphere and the outdoor seating. (THAT GUY WAS ME.)

    • davidallen909

      I might be concerned if you disagreed with your own comment!

  • Andy Sze

    I can’t wait to try this place. Ride bike from Cucamonga down to Claremont, eat tacos and bike back! Thanks for the tip DA!

  • Bob Terry

    It sounds nice and I hope the People’s Republic of Claremont can support this place, but really? Tacos from $4-$8 dollars? I’ll save the gas and stay in Altacucawanda and get my tacos at Juanitas or Taco Hut. At Taco Hut you get sassy and sweet waitresses all rolled up into one.

    • Andy Sze

      $4 is quite pricey.. but one prob with living in Rancho there is nowhere interesting to go eat and hang out. My wife asked me last night where do I want to go for dinner in Rancho? My response, i’d rather cook at home, there’s nothing interesting in Rancho. Anyways… I’m still looking forward to trying it out and then deciding if it’s really worth the price. While at Dripp in CH last night at 10:30, it was alive and hopping and we both thought ,there needs to be a place this in Rancho that’s not a chain restaurant bar.

    • Andy Sze

      Bob, I finally went to Petiscos and I can see why the tacos are expensive. they use high quality locally sourced ingredients, large protein portions, and the one taco I had (I previously had lunch somewhere else), was very well done.

      About a month ago, I was in Costa Mesa and while at The Camp, I walked into Taco Asylum and picked up a surf and turf taco, fried green tomatoes, and wild mushroom and peas taco. The surf and turf had pancetta, lobster, siracha cream, and I think arugula. Price tag… $6, but it was pretty damn good. I’m not sure I would buy it again, it’s pricey, but it was good one time experience. They also had very interesting selection of 4-5 housemade hot sauces…. all very interesting, locally sourced… and each very distinct in ti’s heat and flavor.

      it’s artisan eateries like Petiscos that are coming up all over LA (with some flowdown into Orange County) that make food very interesting. I’m glad to see Petiscos in Claremont as this is one of the very few places with interesting, “inventive” cuisine east of the 57, though I do admit it is pricey.

  • Andy Sze

    was going to go to Petiscos for dinner but turns out they close at 8 pm?!!! WTH? We went to 3 other DA reviewed restaurants instead. Boiling Point for stinky tofu hot pot, 85 Degrees C where it was packed (and they ran out of bread, kitchen could not keep up), and then onward to Dripp.

    • davidallen909

      “We went to 3 other DA reviewed restaurants”?! A trifecta!

  • Andy Sze

    i went to Petiscos 2 weeks ago during Pie Week. I started with Huevos Rancheros at Lily’s Tacos on La Verne and Garey. Very good… $4.50+tax. Lily’s is one of my favorite places in Pomona. Road over to Claremont. Could not resist a taco at Petiscos. Ordered the Red snapper… excellent. $4.00+tax.. obviously cost a lot more… its expensive but I can see why they cost so much. it was a huge contrast between what I could buy for $4.50 in Pomona vs $4 in claremont.

    • davidallen909

      Glad you enjoyed Petiscos, Andy, and I agree with what you said, above and below, about locally sourced, high quality, etc. If all you care about is price, you can always find something cheaper. Also, I’m a fan of Lily’s as well. Haven’t written it up here, but should.