I spent 7 years living in Upland before we moved back to civilization due to personal and practical lifestyle reasons. I’ve got quite a few suggestions for you.
+1 to Some Crust, Viva Madrid, and Donahoo’s. The cakes at Some Crust are very good if you ever need one. The tapas at Viva Madrid are great. I don’t really drink coffee, but everyone loves Coffee Klatch (sp?).
Juanita’s III (Ontario - located just right off the 4th Street exit on the 10) - This place has the best nachos in the area. They have ladies who make the tortillas fresh all day long, and while you’re waiting for your food and they’re not as busy, they might pass you a fresh one to snack on. My kids used to get freebies all the time. My favorite is the pork chile verde nachos with all the toppings. Ask for extra extra hot sauce and slather that on…it’s a tad on the spicy side, but it’s so good. Prices are way reasonable and portions are huge. My husband also likes the burritos and my kids enjoyed the potato tacos. We try to go every time we find ourselves back in the neighborhood.
San Biago’s Pizza (Upland and Montclair) - Laid-back Sicilian-style pizza. The pizza is really good here. The Sicilian thick crust is no joke, and fills you up fast. The location on Mountain off the 10 used to be cash only, not sure if that’s still the case. However the Upland Colonies location will take plastic.
Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream (Upland and Rancho Cucamonga) - This place makes some of the best ice cream in the area. Their flavors are robust and much like what they claim to be. Graham Central Station really tastes like a graham cracker in ice cream form. Love chocolate and peanut butter, then the Buckeye is for you. I don’t like bananas, but their banana cream pie is fantastic…the bits of crispy vanilla wafer cookies are great. We also like blueberry crumble, strawberry cheesecake, and the kids like the sherbets and sorbets. They have $1 scoop Wednesdays. Upland is a walk-up window location and Rancho is more like a shop.
https://store.claros.com/ (Upland) - Get all your Italian market needs here. I love their deli, and get an upgraded prosciutto sandwich every time I visit. They have pastas, sauces, and great bulk sausages.
http://oldworlddeli.com/ (Upland and West Covina) - They make a fabulous broasted chicken. Really it’s a lot like fried chicken. The potato wedges that come with it are great, too. The deli salads are good here, too. I love their pasta salad.
https://m.yelp.com/biz/pho-mai-upland (Upland) - Located in the same strip mall as Handel’s and San Biagio. I started going here right before I moved. The nice Vietnamese family makes good pho and beef stew. Prices are reasonable for the area.
http://www.phoha.net/index.html (Rancho Cucamonga) - Solid pho. Spiced and seasoned well. The family knows what they’re doing. This was close to our house, so we went whenever I had a craving.
Darvish Restaurant (Claremont - close to the colleges) - Habib is a great guy and his Persian food is very good. The lunch specials are reasonable because for $10 you get a lot of food. I am in love with his basmati rice with saffron. We’ve done large family dinners and parties there, and were treated very well.
The Back Abbey (downtown Claremont) - One of the first gastropubs to open in the area. It’s a family-owned place (they also own Union on Yale down the street and Petisco’s taco stand down the street). The beer selection is quite good, if you’re into beer. Their burgers are fantastic, as are their duck-fat fries. They are the best duck-fat fries I’ve ever had because they are so ducky. They make all their own sauces. My kid loves the fresh pretzel and grape soda. It can get pretty busy, but I love sitting on the patio on a nice evening. Service here is always great.
Uno Tre Otto (downtown Claremont) - This used to be La Piccoletta one of the best Italian places in Claremont until the owners rebranded it. The quality is still high, but it’s not as homey as it used to be. Apparently, it’s owned by The Back Abbey family, too.
Lounge 425 - Hotel Casa 425 (downtown Claremont) - The patio lounge/bar is one of the nicest places to sit and have a cocktail in the area. The courtyard is lit up, and the mood is casual. We usually come here after having dinner in Claremont before going home.
Kazama Sushi (downtown Claremont) - It used to be owned by a former Sushi Zo chef and was down the street from my house in Upland. He and his wife ran the place and the fish and rice quality were fantastic. They then moved to Claremont to a new upscale location where the food continued to be good. Not sure if they still own it. There are a plethora of sushi places in Upland along Foothill Blvd…and I never understood why. However, I would suggest that you stay away from California Garden Sushi on the eastern end of Foothill in Upland…that place was terrible.
http://www.claremontcheese.com/ (downtown Claremont) - Great cheese selection and good sandwiches.
There are plenty more places in the area…it’s not a complete culinary wasteland filled with chains. I’ll add more when I’ve had time to really think about it, and will also provide you with places to avoid…because there’s a few clunckers in the neighborhood, too.