We have tried a good number of Chinese places
in Riverside, from the fairly yummy, to the okay , to the
downright awful. Honestly for my money, the best orange chicken
in town is at the UCR Cafeteria,
but beyond that:
Pretty good. Probably my favorite. We like the General's Chicken,
generally, but also some of the interesting Thai dishes that they
People love this, and indeed I thought it was yummy, but I never seem
to want to go all the way to MoVal or Tyler for it. It is really
pretty standard stuff. The appetizer platter had those icky liver thingies.
It does come on a mini-hibachi,
which is cool. [Michele: isn't that called a poo-poo
platter? Oh and the liver thingies might be called rumiaki or
something like that] [Aaron: I don't find them appetizing enough to
deserve a name.]
This is the new, cute little place at the corner of Chicago and
University. The place that was there before was so yucky that I
never actually ate there. [Aaron: she lies. We got one tiny
order of fried rice there out of politeness, and tossed it in the
parking lot.] [Michele: That can't be true. We never
litter] [Aaron: Given the indiscriminate pigeons in this
town, I wouldn't call it 'littering' so much as 'animal
cruelty.'] I was so very impressed with the classy exterior decor
that this new place implemented that I was determined to give it a
try. The ambiance is wonderful. There is a nice sitting
area with Chinese books to read and Chinese checkers and such and the
tables and chairs are really nice. They play some really nice
Asian pop, pretty loudly, and it's all just very nice feeling.
The food is pretty authentic, maybe a little too authentic for me, but
still tasty. We got a 1000 year egg and pickled bamboo with our
meals, and some fascinating relish stuff (we were too cowardly to eat
some of that). The food was pretty tasty though, and this
might be worth a try if you are looking for a fave. The Orange
Chicken tastes more of peanut and ginger than orange, but it's nice if
a touch unpredictable.
Super China Buffet.
This newish restaurant has definitely stayed in our rotation. It
is not a "often" restaurant, or you start to notice that a lot of their
foods start to taste the same, but as a once in a while restaurant it
is great. They have these really yummy mushroom caps and they
have all you can eat sushi. It belongs on everyone's Chinese
buffet list. Aaron mentions that it is hearty, if you can imagine
hearty Chinese food, and that it is tamed down for American palates,
which can be a good thing. They also have pizza and stuff for
There used to be a fabulous Mongolian grill at Tyler, but, alas, life
As far as we are concerned, there is really only one Pizza restaurant
in Riverside, though there is also a rather fine one at Big Bear...but
anyway...In Riverside, Capone's
is our be all and end all for pizza. The pizza is
dee-lish-us. It is not overly spiced and the cheese is
well...cheesy. The crust is thin and crispy, without just being a
cracker, and we are thoroughly addicted. The pasta is okayish,
though I doubt they are really going for stand-out fabulous on the
sauce has a bright taste to it and is not overdone with weird anise-y
I don't think I am allowed not to mention the
Getaway Cafe. I really do like the Getaway, just not for
pizza. They have all kinds of food from burgers to Mexican to
Italian and they deliver. So really, if you are sick of delivery
pizza, but don't feel like going out, this is a GREAT bet!
Pretty good sandwiches and cheap but tasty fries by the basketful.
I know, Italian and Pizza are supposed to be the same thing, but,
really, they aren't quite. We used to really like that place with
the yellow shingles on magnolia that looked like a baby chick and was
owned by the guy who is now the Ward 1 City Councilman. [Aaron:
Calabria. Which I always thought was too close to
"chupacabra"...the "Goat Sucker!"] I thought he swore up and down
that he would not sell that restaurant if elected, but alas.
Anyway, now our fave is Romano's. They have a great pink sauce
and I LOVE the spaghetti. Something people might know about me is
that I pretty much always order Spaghetti at any Italian
restaurant. I know, it really isn't classy. They also
deliver, but it just isn't the same. Their stuffed-type pastas,
including ravioli and lasagna, are also excellent. Also, try
their bruschetta, which is based on a balsamic vinegar. Intensely
Fazoli's is new and what a concept, "Drive through Italian!" My
fedora is off to them. Actually, I don't wear a fedora, I was
just trying to think of an Italian hat. Maybe I should just have
used the Italian word for hat. Lemme try again. My cappello
is off to them. Wait, I don't actually wear hats of any
kind. Oh well. Oh, and I forgot to mention pretty tasty, and great
Is it hopelessly plebe for me to say that most of my favorite places
here are chains? I really am in the middle of an area rich in Hispanic culture, but I just love Baja
Fresh and El Pollo Loco.
We tried Zacatecas once, and a lot of people swear by it, but it seemed
a little tasteless. The Sunday brunch at Acapulco (another chain,
I know) is very tasty and an unusual treat for out-of-town
guests. People seem to love Anchos, but in our eight years, we
have amazingly never made it there.
However, if you are looking for an adventure, I
cannot recommend Taco Tios (Mission and Chestnut) highly enough.
This place is awesome. I will say no more lest I spoil the
If Aaron and I are looking for hearty, and the boys seem relatively
mellow, we will head to Ontario and enjoy the ever fabulous Honey Baked Ham. I think
everything is good. In fact, everything is great. And the
prices are simply fantastic, considering the upscale food and good
portions you get. Cute ceramic plates are nifty too. The
only problem is that for some reason the Ontario Honeybaked is equipped
with, um, fake people. Really. There is a life-size
mannequin if Ben Franklin standing near the entrance like a
greeter. I have NO idea why. Odd. [Michele: Hey
don't knock the fake people, I love the fake people.]
There is a place in MoVal called Calhoun
and Perry's Rib Cage. If you like BBQ, I recommend
it. It is lip lickin'.
Thai on Spruce...it's all good. They even take ATM now.
Wouldn't it be funny if this really was the best Thai food? Not
just in Riverside, where indeed it might be tops, but in the whole
world. That would sure be something.
We are blessed. It would be wrong to live here among the bounty
which is Jammin' Bread and Simple Simon's and not appreciate
our great good luck. These places are stand-out sandwich places
with wonderful fresh-baked breads and tasty homemade soups and have I
mentioned their unbelievable sandwiches. These are places for
veggies and carnivores alike to rejoice in the concept of stuff between
slices of bread. The ambiance is drastically different in these
two places and one serves downtown while the other serves the
University and I hear vague grumblings of a falling out between the
owners. It's very "insider." Both are moderately expensive,
however, and you can expect to pay $8-$10 per person. Not
counting the (often delicious) desserts.
However, I don't want to neglect the sub. My Hero at the corner of Iowa and
Blaine does a nice little (very American) sub for a great price (their
'junior' special is only $1.25) and the Sub Station is tremendously popular
among the college crowd. I personally find that each has their
place, along with the Quizno's
at the village and even the Subway,
both at Canyon Crest and that dumpy little strip mall at Chicago and
University. There is also the most quaint and lovely place on
Spruce called, appropriately, the Spruce Street Eatery, that one really
ought to try. The proprietress is wonderfully friendly, and puts
together a great menu of soups and sandwiches. I am a big fan of
the pillow bread. [Aaron: try also the French Dip. No fake
people here, though. Sorry sweetie.] [Michele: I think they once had one of those little, kid-shaped mannequin
thingies that stand facing
a corner that we used to call "butt children," Eww. However, I
think they got rid of it.] Oh and if you really dig that really
granulated crushed ice like I do, this is a don't miss. Note:
avoid the lunch-time rush, as the Spruce Street Eatery is very popular
with workers from the nearby industrial parks on Chicago and Iowa.
We really do burger. I know this might offend people.
Sometime it really offends me, but I can't seem to get away from it.
Don't get me wrong, we love deep fried tofu as much as the next person,
but for some reason the burger maintains a place in our
lives. Aaron loves Yanni's
on Blaine, but for some reason it just seems too meaty to me.
[Aaron: truth. The patty extends past the edges of the (large)
bun, and you can get one of these monsters in a meal with fries for
under $5] [Michele: Oh and I think they have that really cool crushed ice too,
just like the Spruce Street Eatery]. I personally love Farmer Boys, which my mom says
doesn't have enough meat. So okay maybe it is not quite the
Atkins dream burger, but I am a borderline vegetarian, what can I
say. [Aaron: you could say that you adore FatBurger, meat and all...but they
grill that sucker down to charcoal, which is the way she likes 'em off
the barbecue too]. I am too cowardly to say, "may I have a
cheeseburger, hold the burger," (though this is actually a secret
off-menu order at Inn-n-out,
which is a local phenom, I think they even have tee-shirts) and a few
times Aaron has surprised me with burgerless burgers that he has ordered
for me. Many of you may be thinking, "duh, what about veggie
burgers?" I really don't like veggie-patties, they really suck
the taste right out of the condiments and the bun. [Aaron:
word. Tofu can be tofu, but it goes horribly wrong when they try
to make it seem like meat]. Aaron likes the open faced
chili burger at Farmer Boys, which for some reason they call a "chili
size" around here. It is just one of the many cultural
transitions we have made.
One Indian place is much like another around here. They are all
pretty good. For our money though, we would go to Bombay and skip Taj Majal.
The Market Broiler is the only
real answer around here. A great place. However, we are willing
to drive all of the way to Industry to go to the Joe's Crab Shack, just because they
have a playground. You really have to love a place that has good,
adult food, and a playground. Someone was thinking.