When I chat with folks around town about my Miss Claremont website and blogs, I typically get the question, “So, what places does Miss Claremont like to eat at?” My answer always begins with “Well, that all depends! Do you like something casual or more of a romantic setting? Are you looking for amazing service or ample outdoor seating?”
Whatever the case may be, these are the places in Claremont I recommend in the category of outdoor dining, casual vibe, romantic setting, and celebrating a special occasion.
Elvira’s Grill. This authentic Mexican grill is located just outside of Claremont Village in the Old School House off of Indian Hill Blvd and Foothill Blvd. Elvira’s expansive outdoor seating complemented with stringed lighting, a water fountain, and lively atmosphere sets the stage for a memorable night. What’s even more memorable is their tableside guacamole, fajitas, shrimp enchiladas, and hand crafted margaritas.
They do not take reservations so expect to wait about 30 minutes for a table on weekend evenings. Be patient because it’s worth it!
Union on Yale. Good ol’ Union on Yale has consistently been my #1 spot to eat dinner because of their outstanding customer service, comfortable outdoor seating, ambient lights strung across the trees, fresh ingredients, and craftiest of cocktails. I highly recommend making reservations. The best outdoor seat in the house is a table for two situated between two fire pits to get you all warm and toasty.
The Back Abbey. Pre-pandemic, Back Abbey had a pretty laid back outdoor setting. Now, their patio has undergone a complete transformation that has stepped up their outdoor dining game.
Having been completely remodeled this year, their patio includes ample outdoor seating stretching to Laemmle Theater, a patio covering on the roof and on the sides, heat lamps, and stringed lighting throughout.
They have a complete cocktail menu, an extensive Belgian and German beer list, and delicious gastropub fare. They don’t take reservations so I recommend getting there early especially on weekend evenings.
Aruffo's Italian Cuisine. And the award for “most stunning outdoor patio” goes to . . . Aruffo's! Yes, folks, their back patio is gorgeous. They completely remodeled it in 2020 to include brick flooring, an outdoor brick fireplace, wood side panels, chandeliers hanging from the trees, heat lamps, and new seating throughout.
You’ll likely be greeted by Valerie Aruffo herself (be sure to say hi and introduce yourself, she is super friendly!) when you walk inside. Study the menu beforehand - they’ve got lots of authentic Italian cuisine options to choose from. They do not take reservations so it’s first come, first serve.
Keep It Casual
Kazama Sushi. When I want to have a casual sit down dinner the first place that comes to mind is Kazama Sushi. This place is near and dear to my heart as I have been a patron since 2014 and have never had a bad experience. Their sushi is always fresh, the servers and chefs are friendly, and their menu offers something for everyone.
Located in the heart of Claremont Village on Indian Hill Blvd, Kazama is always bustling. They don’t take reservations so check in with the host in the Village Plaza Courtyard.
Photo Cred: Far left photo from Kazama Sushi Yelp page
Casa 425 Hotel & Lounge. Two words keep me coming back to Casa 425 Hotel Lounge, “Fire Pits”. Most of their seating is outdoor and it’s very casual.
My favorite place to sit is the loungey area around the fire pits because it feels like an extension of your own living room. You can sit back, drink your wine, beer, cocktail, or non alcoholic beverage and enjoy the trees that have lighting throughout.
Enjoy dinner or appetizers such as the Cali Carnitas Burrito, Guacamole, Esquites Corn Dip, Mac n' Cheese, Wagyu Sliders and so more! If you’re lucky enough you’ll get the lovely Tish or Elizabeth to serve you.
Euro Café. Claremont is full of hidden gems and Euro Café is certainly one of them. Located in the Vons Shopping Center off Baseline Ave and Mills Ave, this Portuguese and Italian Food Café has the best paninis in town (love their Philly Cheese Steak and Tuna).
Other menu items include a variety of soups, pastas, and salad. Their drinks menu includes impressive espresso options, smoothies, beer, and wine.
*Fun fact* They were one of the first Portuguese restaurants in Southern California and was voted best meal under $10 by the Inland Empire Magazine.
Date Night Oh Là Là
Uno Tre Otto. The number one place that pops in my mind for date night in Claremont will always be Uno Tre Otto. It’s a hidden Claremont gem located adjacent to the parking lot behind Some Crust Bakery. Personally I prefer sitting inside rather because of their intimate, cozy, and romantic setting. It’s dimly lit with about 5 tables.
The bartender is on a terrace mixing drinks to which the drinks come down in a dumbwaiter. The chefs are cooking the farm to table fresh Italian cuisine in an open kitchen area. They specialize in Italian wines (my favorite!) and you’ll need to make reservations should you consider dining at this gem.
The Quarter Creole Cuisine. If you want to impress your date with ambiance, authentic Creole cuisine, and superb customer service, go to The Quarter on the corner of Indian Hill Blvd and 2nd St. The Chef, Norm Theard, traces his roots back to New Orleans and cooks with love and passion.
You’ve got to try their Crawfish Biscuit and Shrimp Yvonne and, for all that is pure and whole in the world, leave room for dessert! Their Bread Pudding is out of this world and they have an impressive selection of Ports.
They now have a full cocktail menu with Lief as their friendly bartender mixing up the best sazeracs, Whiskey Sour, or Mint Julep. I highly recommend making a reservation and you’ll more than likely be greeted by the lovely and hospitable Tracy, who is one of the owners of The Quarter.
Viva Madrid. Ok, do you really want to impress your date? Viva Madrid is a can’t miss because it’s quite possibly the most authentic Spanish food you will have outside of Spain. Their paella, bacon-wrapped dates, and oxtail soup are my favorite menu items aside from their house-made sangria. Inside is decorated with festive, Spanish type art, figurines, statues, and knick knacks from top to bottom. The best part is the huge chandelier hanging from a sky painted ceiling.
Outdoor seating is now an option, however the best seat in the house is inside at the bar top. Get there early if you plan on going on a weekend evening as they do not take reservations.
Celebrate Your Special Occasion
Looking for a place in Claremont to celebrate your birthday, anniversary, promotion, or that you woke up this morning? These restaurants in Claremont are perfect for your special occasion or any occasion at all.
The Meat Cellar. Located just outside of Claremont Village, The Meat Cellar is an ideal spot for celebrating your special occasion. With a completely open dinner gives a friendly and upbeat vibe allowing patrons to relax and stay a while.
Given that The Meat Cellar is already a butcher shop, you can expect to have high quality cuts of meat including a tomahawk, bone in ribeye, choice New York cut, and more! They also have quite a few seafood options to choose from including a succulent lobster tail.
Their servers are friendly and professional and boy do they mix up some incredibly craft cocktails. The ambiance is on point with a huge hand painted mural of Claremont on the west side of the restaurant. Walk-ins are welcome but make reservations if you can.
Gus’s BBQ. Located in the northeast corner of the historic Claremont Packing House, Gus’s BBQ consistently delivers in big BBQ flavors, crafted drinks (whiskeys, beer, cocktails, teas, and malts), and hospitable service.
As stated on their website “Gus’s is a tribute to Southern life, where family, tradition and celebration are of the utmost importance,” making it the perfect spot to celebrate your special occasion. I recommend making reservations and sitting outdoors on the North side to get that gorgeous view of the foothills.
Tutti Mangia. Located on the corner of Harvard Ave and First St, Tutti Mangia takes the cake for outstanding customer service, best cuts of meat, world class seafood, and authentic Italian cuisine. The ambiance is very inviting having just remodeled their bar area, nicely dressed tables, and ambient lightning indoors. Recently they have expanded additional seating outdoors, however I recommend sitting inside to get the full experience.
For more places to eat in Claremont, check out these recently published blogs: