Claremont, CA: Restaurant guide

I love Claremont and have been coming here for years. I used to spend time with my family here when I was a kid. I went on dates here in college. Paul and I got married in Claremont, even though we lived in Santa Monica at the time, and now we live here.

Consider this list like Chrissy Teigen’s list of L.A. restaurants, which she was criticized for by L.A Times writer Jenn Harris. (I still care for them both any way, by the way.) I’m no restaurant critic. I may have missed your favorites as I still haven’t been every where but these are my personal favorites.

Casual

Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza 
This is where Paul and I usually go for a cheap date night. It’s a Pasadena, California-based chain that is based on the Chipotle concept as a made-to-order approach to serving customers. The menu has signature pizzas, but you can also go through the line and say what custom toppings you want. Located: Near the Packing House on the corner of 1st and Indian Hill.

Eureka!
Great food, craft beer and signature cocktails define this restaurant. Their menu changes seasonally, but there are mainstays. My current favorite things on the menu are the Wings, Cowboy Burger and the Fish N Chips. Located: On 1st street, on the corner of the Packing House near Cornell Avenue.

The Back Abbey
The restaurant is a gastropub located inside a historic mission-style building. It looks nice from the outside and it’s okay inside too, but it bugs me that the furniture is ripped. Also, you can’t make reservations and it’s seat yourself, but that’s usually not a problem. Trust me when I say the food and drinks makes up for it. My favorite menu items: Soft Bavarian Pretzel, The Back Abbey Burger and Brat. The signature mustard is perfect. Located: On North Oberlin between 1st and 2nd.

Date night

¡Viva Madrid!
There is usually a wait and for good reason. It’s a small place and you will end up sitting close to your neighbors, perhaps even sharing a table but that just adds to the cozy atmosphere. The decor makes it feel like you’re actually in Spain. I’ve never been to Spain though. It’s all small plates, which I love because you can try a lot of things. Located: Down a hidden hallway next to 42nd Street Bagel on Yale Ave. between W. Bonita Ave. and W. 2nd Street.

Elvira’s
Paul and I first went here when I was pregnant with Maggie, then came back to celebrate his birthday this month. The food is amazing. There is an an outdoor patio with firepits that I want to sit at next time. Located: On Foothill at the Old School House development.

Union on Yale
I usually get either the charcuturrie plate, pizza, or both and share with Paul. They have a good drink menu. There’s a big outdoor patio here. I’m big on outdoor patios, if you couldn’t tell. Located: On Yale Ave. between between W. Bonita Ave. and W. 2nd Street on the side with Bert and Rocky’s.

Drinks and Small Plates

Casa 425 Lounge
I’ve only been here once but I will definitely be back. The setting is so relaxing. It’s in the Village Plaza, but the hotel walls are so high that you feel a bit secluded, in a good way. The service and food were both great. The menu has unexpected, creative items. The photos above and at the top of this post were taken at Casa 425. I also love the casual seating and fire pits. Located: On North Oberlin between 1st and 2nd.

The Whisper House
This bar holds a special place in my memories. I celebrated my 21st birthday here and had this as the after party spot for my wedding. (When I went the first time it was The Hip Kitty Jazz & Fondue. It has changed name and ownership). Both times were with groups and we sat on the patio around the fire pit, which worked out great. Their drinks are awesome but I can’t speak for the food. Located: On 1st Street, on the corner of the Packing House closer to Oberlin Avenue.

Dessert

I Like Pie Bakeshop
I don’t just like the pies at this bakeshop, I love them. They offer sweet and savory pies. Try the pice cream. It’s like a pie sundae and they have three flavors of Bert and Rocky’s ice cream to choose from for it. Located: On Indian Hill near West 2nd Street.

Bert and Rocky’s
Out of every place on this list, I think this is the one I’ve been going to to the longest. I remember coming here as a kid. Bert and Rocky’s serves homemade ice cream, plus candy and treats, including fudge and caramel apples. Located: On the corner of Bonita and Yale (across from Rhino Records).

Paradis Claremont Ice Cream Cafe
This ice cream chain first opened in Denmark in 2000 and expanded to America in 2009. So, it is not a unique local find but I also haven’t seen many of these ice creak shops around so I included it on this list. The ice cream and gelato is always made fresh with local ingredients and that shows. One of my favorite flavors that I think is always on the menu is Bacio, a chocolate ice cream with hazelnuts and chocolate chips. Located: On N. Indian Hill Blvd. between West 1st Street and Santa Fe Street.

Bakery

Crème
This charming bakery is a must stop in Claremont. As the website says, it “features hearth breads and pastries crafted with traditional recipes and time tested methods.” My favorite things I’ve tried are the buttermilk biscuit, cinnamon morning bun, apricot Danish and the French bread. Okay, really everything. Located: On Harvard Ave. between W. 1st Street and W. 2nd Street.

Some Crust Bakery
The storefront has two entrances: one for the cafe and one for the bakery. The cafe makes great sandwiches and good coffee drinks. The bakery has delicious pastries, including danishes and bear claws. They’re fairly quick at getting a line down, but the place gets busy sometimes, particularly during the Sunday farmers market. Fun fact: My wedding cake was from Some Crust Bakery. Located: On Yale between 1st and 2nd.

You may be wondering how Crème and Some Crust are different. They both sell pastries and sandwiches. I would say Some Crust makes me think of an American bakery and Crème has more traditional French items. Also, Some Crust has a larger lunch menu and sells cupcakes. Crème sells artisan loaves of bread. Honestly, I have barely gone to Some Crust since Crème opened and now I go to Crème almost every Friday.

Tea and Coffee

Augie’s Coffee House
This coffee shop has a cool atmosphere and great specialty drinks. The espresso drinks are done really well. I had an amazing macchiato there. It’s also connected with an ice cream shop but I haven’t tried the ice cream. Located: Inside the Packing House on the bottom level.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf 
My love for Coffee Bean runs deep. I’m glad this town has one. I will rarely settle for Starbucks. I’ve never been disappointed at this location, either. Located: On Indian Hill between 1st and 2nd Street, by the Village Square.

T & Joy
Almost every time we’re in the village lately, Paul wants to stop by T & Joy for boba. Sometimes I get tea too but I didn’t by like boba in mine. His go to here is the Thai tea with boba. I like the lavender latte. They also have a casual food menu with things like popcorn chicken bento boxes but I haven’t tried anything. Located: On West 2nd Street (across from Pizza and Such and City Hall) between Yale Ave. and Alley 43.

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