Whether is it steak & salmon night at Scripps, Sunday BBQ at Frary, or taco night at Collins, the 5Cs undoubtedly have great solid dining options. Is it fine dining? Obviously not. Does it get a little monotonous as the year goes by? Certainly. However, the ability of students to eat at any of the 5C dining halls pretty much guarantees that one can find a decent meal on any given night.
In the midst of this vast array of dining options it is easy to forget that Claremont Village (or simply “the Village”) offers a multitude of fantastic restaurants only a few minutes’ walk away. While these dining establishments are often on the pricier side, a weekly indulgence or two doesn’t hurt, and is often a fresh reminder that there is a world beyond the 5C’s. Hence, here is a list of the best places to eat in the Village.
Best Burger – Tie between Eureka! & The Back Abbey
While everyone in Claremont has their own opinion in this so-called “battle of the burgers”, you honestly cannot go wrong with either one. Back Abbey has a better tasting, more succulent burger, while Eureka! offers considerably more burger variety (still at a very high quality). In terms of sides, Eureka! undoubtedly has the edge, as it offers delicious sweet potato fries and onion rings in addition to standard fries. Moreover, Eureka! has a spacious atmosphere coupled with a lively, positive vibe, while Back Abbey is more cramped and low-key.
Ultimately, it is very hard to choose between the two, and your decision will generally come down to what you are in the mood for. Whatever you do, don’t be that kid who settles for a burger from the Hub, unless you somehow enjoy chewing on dry pieces of rubber.
Best Italian – Tutti Mangia
In addition to offering the best Italian food in Claremont, Tutti Mangia is likely the best overall restaurant in town. While this fine dining establishment is far from cheap, one cannot deny the quality of the food, service and overall atmosphere. A wonderful place to celebrate birthdays, or perhaps to mooch off of mom and dad during parents weekend, this restaurant will not disappoint. Furthermore, while Tutti Mangia offers tasty pasta dishes as any good Italian restaurant should, it also has a variety of top tier steaks.
Best Mexican Food: Casa Moreno
There will come a time in everyone’s college career when they are painfully malnourished and just want to enter a food coma. Thankfully, Casa Moreno offers gargantuan burritos stuffed to the brim with rice, beans, cheese and your choice of meat. In addition, this restaurant serves a multitude of other tasty, lighter dishes for those who prefer getting a good night’s rest.
Best Dessert – I Like Pie
Although Tutti Mangia offers a top-notch dessert menu (the apple tart & cheesecake in particular), I Like Pie still wins this category by a long shot. The shop features a stellar array of seasonal miniature pies, all of which can be heated and/or topped with a generous dollop of ice cream. On a nostalgic note, I Like Pie also possesses a welcoming, charming quality as a result of its quaint embodiment of Americana. Although this will be a pricier dessert option, it is still a nice alternative to getting fro-yo at 21 Choices or Yogurtland.
Best Lunch Place: Crepes de Paris
This restaurant offers an array of jumbo crepes, ranging from strawberry to decadent Nutella, all of which come with Chantilly cream and the option of vanilla ice cream. However, what makes Crepes de Paris the best place to grab lunch in the Village is the delicious sandwiches. The roasted ham & turkey sandwiches are served warm on a flaky croissant, and are nicely complimented by the fresh salads. Although the restaurant makes an amusing attempt to create an authentic French atmosphere, it has a laid-back vibe and relatively friendly service.
Best Hot Wings: Espiau’s
Unless you aced your Spanish placement exam, pronouncing this restaurant’s name will not come easy. Espiau’s serves an odd combination of burgers and “Tex-Mex” food. If you’re smart you won’t order the burgers or Mexican food, as both are mediocre at best. And if you’re really smart you won’t go anywhere near the restrooms (you’ll see why). Despite this restaurant’s numerous shortcomings, the buffalo wings are, for some reason, delicious. This is definitely a great place to watch a football game, as the restaurant has a multitude of TV’s that show various sporting events.
Disagree with Harry? Want to offer your own superlatives list – Best Brunch, Best Hipster Coffee Shop, Best Restaurant for a First Date, Best Chain, Best Cost-Benefit Ratio, etc.? Join the discussion in our comments section below.