Bonafede-family matriarch Anita started JoJo's Pizza Kitchen more than four decades ago, and her discerning taste for ingredients is still identifiable in the menu. Though her son Joe, who napped on flour sacks in the back of the restaurant as a child, now runs the eatery, fresh basil and plum tomatoes grown in Stanislaus County still release aromas that hint at sun-soaked furrows. Through a dining room window, guests catch glimpses of chefs tossing freshly risen dough for pizzas or smaller chefs for their adorable giggles. They grate fresh parmesan cheese as wine cooks slowly down with mushrooms on the stovetop and chicken marinates in lemon and garlic. Servers bustle past, filling glasses with house wines or draft beers.
Resembling a space ship abandoned by aliens who had recently time-traveled to hang out with Le Corbusier, The Glass House is a portal to rock and dance sounds for music-lovers of all ages. It’s also a cornerstone of downtown Pomona’s close-knit arts district, surrounded by record stores, cafes, and vintage shops. Holiday-themed shows and fundraising concerts join young, on-the-rise bands on the calendar, along with established favorites such as New Found Glory and The Faint.
Indian cuisine is famously complex, but diners at Koyla Indian Restaurant get at least a peek at how it's prepared. The restaurant's signature cooking method is right in the name—koyla means "coal"—and chefs use its heat in full view within an open kitchen. Cinnamon and cloves, garlic and saffron fill the air as marinated chicken, shrimp, and goat simmer and sizzle. Although grounded in the cuisine of Northern India, founder Deep Singh and his chefs demonstrate a strong taste for experimentation. That's evident in the large menu's Indo-Chinese section, which holds hybrids such as chili paneer—the traditional Indian cheese spiked with house-made chili sauce. Pesto chicken and calamari masala reflect Singh's time as the proprietor of a small Italian cafe.
A mural of an especially cuddly-looking Taj Mahal brightens one wall of Koyla's softly-lit dining room. The motif continues as painted chili peppers wind around the room behind an ample buffet, served alongside champagne on the weekends.
Oktoberfest at Fairplex celebrates Bavarian culture with authentic German food, music, and plenty of beer. Each night, oom-pah-pah music supplied by The Rheinlanders fills the airwaves as visitors enjoy various German beers from Warsteiner and Beck’s. Domestics such as Bud Light and AmberBock also tickle taste buds, as do Jägerbombs. As fall pairs with colorful leaves and pumpkins that fly south for the winter, so also beer pairs with German cuisine such as bratwursts, black forest cake, and apfelstrudel. King Taco also serves up Mexican cuisine as tribute bands such as Sounds of Santana and Queen Nation rock out on stage.
From the glowing pendant lamps to the delicate European pastries lined up inside glass cases, Dolce Bistro & Bakery is the living, breathing vision of Alice Lee. Growing up in restaurants, Lee knew she wanted to start something of her own—but she wanted it to be unique. At Dolce, classic American gastropub cuisine is served alongside a variety of craft beers. Diners can enjoy sit-down service during breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Housed in a former lemon warehouse, Casablanca Bar & Grill fills spacious eating areas with the aromas of piquant Mediterranean cuisine. Chefs skewer beef, chicken, shrimp, and lamb kebabs and sauté seafood such as scallops and frog legs. Tender falafel balls can be dunked into tahini sauce or rolled across white tablecloths into the mouth of a dinner companion.
Live entertainment at Casablanca Bar & Grill engages eyes as well as mouths. On Friday nights, belly dancers swivel their hips as they weave through wisps of smoke from flavored hookahs. Paintings in ornate gilt frames keep watch over the festivities, and an outside wooden deck lets diners watch the sky for menu recommendations spelled out in clouds.