Bday dinner in Corona or Riverside

Wife is working out of Corona for the week and it’s her birthday so we’re staying at the Mission Inn in Riverside. Any thoughts on nice places in the area to go for a birthday dinner? No cuisine restrictions.

Mario’s Place

Do not go to Duane’s (the restaurant @ Mission Inn)

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He’s right. Duane’s is not ideal.

Update: one night we went to The Salted Pig, a gastropub with a good beer list. The Clever Girl cocktail ($10) was well-balanced–with the bitters and pepper tequila playing off the pineapple and lime. We shared the kale salad ($12), which had indian flavors in its spiced labneh, though I wish the crunchy chickpeas were a little crunchier and more plentiful. We also got the obligatory broccolini ($9), which was one of the spicier versions we’ve had, mac and cheese ($9), which tasted like mac and cheese (delicious but not what I would necessarily call “elevated”), dirty fries, which were pretty good and garlicky and came with homemade ketchup, and the Animal Style burger ($16 + a little extra to get the aforementioned fries as a side), which honestly didn’t taste much like in-n-out given the sizeable bun, but had a nice char on the outside and was perfectly medium rare. It was pretty full inside, and service was pleasant.
http://www.thesaltedpig.com/

We got cappuccinos and a blueberry muffin at Molino’s Coffee the next morning. The muffin (warmed in the microwave) was good, and cappuccinos were what we were looking for in a hipster coffee shop. In the evening it was packed with Riverside students, but that morning it was mostly people getting their caffeine fix to go.
http://www.molinoscoffee.com/

We went to Mario’s the other night. Had the Yellowtail Crudo ($high teens) special, which tasted like good fish, though it was cut more to a sashimi thickness and had a somewhat off-putting sprinkling of paprika and maybe other spices on it. There was also good cherry tomato + microgreen alongside. I liked it, but would have loved it without the paprika. We also had the fried squash blossoms ($14), which basically were a conduit for delicious goat cheese + tomato sauce. Also shared a penne rigate with oxtail ragu ($22.50), which was umami-rich and wonderful and also enormous (splitting it in half still left the wife unable to finish her half and me feeling quite satiated)

http://www.mariosplace.com

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I would’ve found paprika on Yellowtail crudo perhaps a bit more than off putting… :wink:

It’s weird–it would have been great if they just didn’t include the spice (or just made it seared and had the spice on the outside). As it is it was still fine, just not as good as it could have been.