Restaurant of the Week: Citrus Kitchen

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Citrus Kitchen, 10431 Lemon Ave. (at Haven), Rancho Cucamonga; closed Sundays and Mondays

This is in Rancho Cucamonga’s upper reaches, two blocks above the 210 and across from the Trader Joe’s center. Citrus Kitchen is in a small center with a few shops and restaurants, and a clock tower whose time is perpetually wrong.

I’d heard good things about Citrus Kitchen, which opened in spring 2014, and met a friend there for lunch recently. The space is small and seating is limited; nearly all the chairs were taken, and there was a line to order, a good sign.

They have seven basic meals of shrimp, chicken (several styles), salmon, tri-tip, tofu and vegetarian, which you order in either “snack” or “meal” sizes. With a snack you get one side, with a meal two, from a choice of 13. Snacks range from $6 to $8, meals from $9 to $13.50. You also choose one of their 14 sauces. The whole “choose your protein” bit reminds me of Dr. Grubb’s in Claremont.

In examining the menu, it was heartening to read the list of sides, which included couscous medley, local vegetables, vegan black beans, butternut squash saute, and kale and quinoa. There can’t be many places in the 909 with such an interesting assortment.

I got citrus shrimp ($8 snack) with kale and quinoa as my side; my friend opted for the citrus salmon ($8 snack) with the same side; he also got a second side ($3 for a small), baked shoestring fries. It took a good 15 minutes, long enough that I considered asking if we’d been forgotten, but it was during the lunch rush.

The end result was great, though. We both liked our seafood, the kale and quinoa was light and healthy, and the fries were crispy. It also seemed like a lot of food.

The only observation I’ll make is that one entire section of the L-shaped serving station doesn’t seem to be used for anything; if that remains the case, it might be worth removing it to put in an extra table or two. The restaurant seats about 18, including one outdoor table.

Nice spot, many healthy options and vegetarian-friendly. Upper Rancho has more fun.

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  • Joanne Dallas

    Thanks for a veggie friendly option with some actually interesting vegetarian choices. This make it nice for my comrade and me. I have my eye on the salmon. We visit Corky’s fairly often so we’ll look for this nearby alternative.

    • davidallen909

      If you eat there, let us know what you thought.

      • Joanne Dallas

        Will report.

  • DebB

    I had to drive to Rancho this afternoon, so I timed it for lunchtime and decided to try the Citrus Kitchen. I must have hit it just right, because there was no line, although there also was no place to sit. I did manage to snag the outdoor table, though, which was pleasant.

    I didn’t realize until I re-read your post just now that I ordered the same thing you did – citrus shrimp with the kale and quinoa side! It was quite good and plenty of food. I had the garlic sauce, which was pretty tasty. As you said, it took awhile to get my food – at least 10 minutes. But overall I was happy with the meal and glad to have healthy options.

    I wondered if the unused side buffet is left over from a former Chinese place, or if they are hoping that they will eventually have enough customers to keep food there. They definitely need more seating.

    • davidallen909

      Glad you found the place and liked it. You may be right about the serving or buffet station having been inherited. Well, they’ll sort things out, I’m sure.