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5 Best Riverside Hole-in-the-Wall Restaurants

5 Best Riverside Hole-in-the-Wall Restaurants

5 Best Riverside Hole-in-the-Wall Restaurants

These five best Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants are part of a diverse array of hole-in-the-wall restaurants that offer a truly exceptional dining experience. From the authentic Mexican flavors of Mario’s Place to the delightful Italian cuisine at Don Carlos Mexican Restaurant, and the mouthwatering BBQ at Big Papa’s Grill, each establishment has carved its own niche in the culinary landscape of the city. The Salted Pig and Golden Ox Restaurant have also left their mark with their unique and delectable dishes.

However, it’s important to note that these five restaurants are just a taste of the vibrant dining scene that Riverside has to offer. Beyond these exceptional establishments, there are countless other hidden gems waiting to be discovered by adventurous food lovers. Riverside is a city that thrives on its local, family-owned businesses, and hole-in-the-wall restaurants are a testament to the passion and creativity that the culinary community brings to the table.


Want more ideas to round-out your restaurant search?
A lot of great options are in these posts!
Our 5 Favorite Riverside Diners
5 Leading Riverside Hole-in-the-Wall Restaurants

1) The Salted Pig

The Salted Pig is undoubtedly one of the best Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants you’ll ever come across. Tucked away in a cozy corner of the city, this family-owned and operated establishment exudes a warm and inviting atmosphere that instantly makes you feel at home. With its unassuming exterior and intimate interior, The Salted Pig offers an authentic dining experience that combines a charming ambiance with exceptional culinary delights.

When it comes to their signature food, The Salted Pig truly knows how to impress. Their standout dish is the succulent Slow-Roasted Pork Belly. Tender and juicy, this melt-in-your-mouth delight is expertly seasoned and cooked to perfection, leaving you craving every bite. Served with a side of homemade tangy barbecue sauce and accompanied by a medley of seasonal vegetables, this dish embodies the essence of comfort food elevated to gourmet levels.

Main Menu Items:

1. “Smokey Bacon Mac and Cheese” This indulgent dish is a heavenly blend of rich, creamy macaroni and cheese, generously infused with smoky bacon. The combination of gooey cheese, crispy bacon, and perfectly cooked pasta creates a harmony of flavors that will satisfy even the most discerning mac and cheese connoisseurs.

2. “Sticky Honey Sriracha Wings” For those craving a finger-licking good appetizer, the Sticky Honey Sriracha Wings are a must-try. These succulent chicken wings are expertly glazed with a sticky honey sriracha sauce, perfectly balancing sweetness and heat. Each bite offers a delightful combination of flavors that will have you reaching for more.

3. “BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich” The Salted Pig’s BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich is a culinary masterpiece. Tender pulled pork, slow-cooked to perfection, is slathered in their house-made barbecue sauce and served on a toasted brioche bun. Topped with tangy coleslaw for a refreshing crunch, this sandwich is a true delight for BBQ enthusiasts.

Customer Reviews:

“The Salted Pig is a hidden gem! The ambiance is cozy, and the staff is incredibly friendly. I ordered their Slow-Roasted Pork Belly, and it was absolutely divine. The meat was incredibly tender, and the flavors were outstanding. A must-visit for food lovers!”

“I stumbled upon The Salted Pig while exploring Riverside, and I’m so glad I did. Their Smokey Bacon Mac and Cheese is out of this world! It’s the perfect blend of flavors, and each bite is like a comforting hug. I can’t wait to go back!”

“The Salted Pig has become my go-to spot for delicious wings. The Sticky Honey Sriracha Wings are addictive! They have just the right amount of sweetness and spice. The atmosphere is relaxed, and the service is excellent. Highly recommend!”

The Salted Pig truly lives up to its reputation as one of the best Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Its cozy atmosphere, combined with the warm and friendly service provided by the family-owned team, creates an inviting dining experience. They are one of the best Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants.

From the mouthwatering Slow-Roasted Pork Belly to the indulgent Smokey Bacon Mac and Cheese and the flavorful Sticky Honey Sriracha Wings, every item on the menu is crafted with care and expertise. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, The Salted Pig is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking exceptional food in a charming setting. They are one of the best Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants.


2) Mario’s Place

Mario’s Place is unquestionably one of the best Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants you’ll come across. Nestled in a charming corner of the city, this family-owned and operated establishment exudes a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. With its unassuming exterior and intimate interior, Mario’s Place offers an authentic dining experience that combines exceptional cuisine with a warm, friendly ambiance.

At Mario’s Place, their signature dish is the delectable Osso Buco. This Italian classic is a true masterpiece of flavors and textures. Slow-cooked to perfection, the tender veal shanks are braised in a rich tomato and herb-infused broth until they become incredibly succulent and fall-off-the-bone tender. Served with a generous portion of saffron-infused risotto, this dish is a true celebration of Italian comfort food at its finest.

Main Menu Items:

1. “Bruschetta Caprese” This appetizer is a delightful marriage of flavors. The Bruschetta Caprese features grilled bread topped with ripe tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and creamy mozzarella. Drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and a balsamic reduction, each bite bursts with the vibrant and refreshing taste of the Mediterranean.

2. “Linguine Frutti di Mare” Seafood lovers will rejoice with Mario’s Place’s Linguine Frutti di Mare. This pasta dish is a delightful medley of linguine noodles tossed with an assortment of fresh seafood, including succulent shrimp, tender scallops, and juicy clams. The pasta is perfectly cooked, and the flavors of the seafood are enhanced by a light and flavorful garlic white wine sauce.

3. “Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola Sauce” For those seeking a mouthwatering steak, Mario’s Place offers the Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola Sauce. This premium cut of beef is grilled to your desired level of doneness and accompanied by a velvety gorgonzola sauce that adds a rich and tangy dimension to each bite. Served with roasted potatoes and sautéed vegetables, this dish is a carnivore’s delight.

Customer Reviews:

“Mario’s Place is a hidden gem in Riverside! The Osso Buco is simply divine. The meat is incredibly tender and flavorful, and the risotto is the perfect accompaniment. The cozy atmosphere and friendly staff make it an unforgettable dining experience.”

“I can’t get enough of the Bruschetta Caprese at Mario’s Place. The combination of fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella on the perfectly grilled bread is heavenly. It’s the perfect way to start a meal.”

“The Linguine Frutti di Mare is a seafood lover’s dream. The pasta is cooked just right, and the combination of shrimp, scallops, and clams is fantastic. Mario’s Place never disappoints!”

Mario’s Place is undeniably one of the best Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants. As a family-owned and operated establishment, it offers an intimate and inviting dining experience. They are one of the best Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants.

From the tantalizing Osso Buco to the flavorful Bruschetta Caprese and the indulgent Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola Sauce, the menu at Mario’s Place showcases a diverse range of dishes crafted with passion and culinary expertise. With its warm ambiance and exceptional cuisine, Mario’s Place is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to savor outstanding food in a charming setting. They stand out among the best Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants.


3) Don Carlos Mexican Restaurant

Don Carlos Mexican Restaurant is truly one of the best Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants you’ll come across. Situated in the heart of the city, this family-owned and operated establishment brings the authentic flavors of Mexico to the local community. With its unassuming exterior and cozy interior, Don Carlos Mexican Restaurant offers a genuine dining experience that combines mouthwatering cuisine with a warm and inviting ambiance.

When it comes to their signature food, Don Carlos Mexican Restaurant is renowned for its tantalizing Carne Asada Tacos. These flavorful tacos feature tender, marinated strips of grilled steak, nestled in soft corn tortillas and topped with freshly chopped onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. Each bite offers a harmonious blend of smoky, savory, and citrusy flavors that will transport your taste buds to the streets of Mexico.

Main Menu Items:

1. “Enchiladas Suizas” The Enchiladas Suizas at Don Carlos Mexican Restaurant are a true delight. These enchiladas are filled with your choice of tender chicken or cheese, smothered in a creamy and tangy tomatillo sauce, and topped with melted cheese. Served with rice and beans, this dish offers a comforting and satisfying combination of flavors and textures.

2. “Chiles Rellenos” For a dish with a kick, the Chiles Rellenos are a must-try. These stuffed poblano peppers are filled with a flavorful blend of cheese, spices, and sometimes ground meat. Lightly battered and fried to perfection, they are served with a zesty tomato sauce and a side of rice and beans. The combination of the mildly spicy peppers, gooey cheese, and savory sauce creates a truly memorable culinary experience.

3. “Carnitas” Don Carlos Mexican Restaurant’s Carnitas are a mouthwatering delight. This traditional Mexican dish features tender and juicy pork that has been slow-cooked to perfection, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth texture and rich flavors. Served with warm tortillas, guacamole, pico de gallo, and rice and beans, the Carnitas are a feast for both the eyes and the palate.

Customer Reviews:

“Don Carlos Mexican Restaurant is a hidden gem! Their Carne Asada Tacos are some of the best I’ve ever had. The steak is incredibly flavorful and tender, and the combination of toppings adds a burst of freshness. This place is a must-visit for Mexican food lovers!”

“The Enchiladas Suizas at Don Carlos are out of this world. The tomatillo sauce is tangy and creamy, and the melted cheese takes it to another level. It’s a dish that satisfies both your stomach and your soul.”

“I can’t get enough of the Chiles Rellenos at Don Carlos. The peppers are perfectly roasted, and the cheese filling is delicious. The tomato sauce adds just the right amount of tanginess. It’s a flavor explosion in every bite!”

Don Carlos Mexican Restaurant is undeniably one of the best Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants. As a family-owned and operated establishment, it exudes a welcoming and authentic atmosphere. From their mouthwatering Carne Asada Tacos to the flavorful Enchiladas Suizas and the tender Carnitas, every item on the menu showcases the rich and vibrant flavors of Mexican cuisine. They are another of the great Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants.

Whether you’re a fan of tacos, enchiladas, or traditional dishes like Chiles Rellenos, Don Carlos Mexican Restaurant is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a genuine Mexican dining experience in Riverside. They deserve to be ranked high among the great Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants.


4) Golden Ox Restaurant

The Golden Ox Restaurant is undoubtedly one of the best Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants you’ll ever come across. Situated in a charming corner of the city, this family-owned and operated establishment has become a popular culinary gem in the local community. With its unassuming exterior and cozy interior, the Golden Ox Restaurant offers an authentic dining experience that combines delectable cuisine with a warm and inviting ambiance.

When it comes to their signature food, the Golden Ox Restaurant is famous for its mouthwatering Mongolian Beef. This dish features tender slices of beef stir-fried with an array of fresh vegetables in a savory and slightly sweet soy-based sauce. The beef is perfectly seasoned and cooked to perfection, offering a delightful combination of flavors and textures that will leave you craving for more.

Main Menu Items:

1. “Crispy Orange Chicken” The Crispy Orange Chicken at the Golden Ox Restaurant is a true crowd-pleaser. The chicken is lightly battered and deep-fried to a perfect golden crispness, then tossed in a tangy and zesty orange sauce. Each bite offers a delightful contrast between the crispy exterior and the tender, juicy chicken, complemented by the vibrant citrus flavors of the sauce.

2. “Shrimp Pad Thai” For lovers of Thai cuisine, the Shrimp Pad Thai is a must-try. This classic dish features stir-fried rice noodles tossed with plump shrimp, bean sprouts, green onions, and crushed peanuts, all coated in a flavorful tamarind sauce. The combination of sweet, sour, and savory flavors creates a harmonious balance, making this dish a favorite among both locals and visitors.

3. “Beef Chow Fun” The Beef Chow Fun is a popular item on the Golden Ox Restaurant’s menu. This Cantonese dish features wide rice noodles stir-fried with tender slices of beef, crisp bean sprouts, and scallions in a savory sauce. The smoky flavors from the wok impart a unique touch to the dish, making it a satisfying and comforting choice for noodle enthusiasts.

Customer Reviews:

“The Golden Ox Restaurant is a hidden gem! Their Mongolian Beef is absolutely delicious. The beef is tender, and the sauce is the perfect blend of savory and sweet. It’s a flavor explosion in every bite. Highly recommend!”

“I can’t get enough of the Crispy Orange Chicken at the Golden Ox. The chicken is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, and the orange sauce is bursting with tangy flavors. It’s a delightful dish that always satisfies my cravings.”

“The Shrimp Pad Thai at the Golden Ox is fantastic. The noodles are perfectly cooked, and the combination of shrimp, crunchy bean sprouts, and peanuts is delightful. It’s a go-to dish whenever I’m in the mood for Thai cuisine.”

The Golden Ox Restaurant truly lives up to its reputation as one of the best Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants. As a family-owned and operated establishment, it offers a warm and inviting dining experience. From their mouthwatering Mongolian Beef to the crispy and tangy Crispy Orange Chicken and the flavorful Shrimp Pad Thai, the Golden Ox Restaurant serves a diverse range of dishes that showcase the rich flavors of Asian cuisine. They are one of the best Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants.

Whether you’re a fan of Chinese or Thai dishes, the Golden Ox Restaurant is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking exceptional food in a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. They can definitely be counted among the best Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants.


5) Big Papa’s Grill

Big Papa’s Grill is one of the best Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants. It’s is a charming family-owned and operated restaurant located in the heart of Riverside. Tucked away in a cozy corner, this hidden gem has gained a reputation as one of the best Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants. With its warm and welcoming atmosphere, it’s a place where locals and visitors alike can experience delicious homemade meals served with a personal touch.

Big Papa’s Grill is renowned for its mouthwatering signature dish, the “Papa’s Special Burger.” This delectable creation features a juicy, flame-grilled beef patty, topped with melted cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, fresh lettuce, ripe tomatoes, and a secret house sauce. Served on a toasted brioche bun, every bite bursts with flavor, making it a must-try for burger enthusiasts.

Main Menu Items:

1. “Mama Mia Pizza” – A classic thin-crust pizza with a twist. Loaded with tangy tomato sauce, gooey mozzarella cheese, and a variety of fresh toppings, this pizza is a crowd favorite. The crispy crust, combined with the perfect blend of flavors, will leave you craving for more.

2. “Big Papa’s Ribs” – Tender and succulent, these fall-off-the-bone ribs are marinated in a special blend of spices and slow-cooked to perfection. The meat is slathered in a savory barbecue sauce that adds a delightful sweetness to each bite. Served with coleslaw and seasoned fries, this dish is a barbecue lover’s dream.

3. “Mama’s Homemade Pasta” – A comforting and satisfying dish that transports you straight to Italy. This homemade pasta is cooked al dente and smothered in Mama’s secret tomato sauce, made with love and generations of family tradition. Topped with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil, it’s a true taste of authentic Italian cuisine.

Customer Reviews:

“Big Papa’s Grill is a hidden treasure! The atmosphere is cozy, and the staff makes you feel like part of the family. The Papa’s Special Burger is hands down the best burger I’ve ever had. Every ingredient is fresh, and the flavors are perfectly balanced.”

“I stumbled upon Big Papa’s Grill while exploring Riverside, and I’m so glad I did! The Mama Mia Pizza blew me away with its thin and crispy crust. The combination of toppings was heavenly, and the generous amount of cheese made it simply irresistible.”

“The ribs at Big Papa’s Grill are out of this world! They were incredibly tender and packed with smoky goodness. The barbecue sauce had just the right amount of tanginess. I highly recommend trying them if you’re a fan of ribs.”

Big Papa’s Grill is undeniably one of the best Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants. With its family-owned and operated charm, this cozy establishment provides a warm and inviting dining experience. Whether you’re craving a mouthwatering burger, a comforting plate of homemade pasta, or some finger-licking ribs, Big Papa’s Grill has it all. They are one of the best Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants.

The signature dishes, such as the Papa’s Special Burger, Mama Mia Pizza, and Big Papa’s Ribs, are crafted with attention to detail and packed with flavor. If you’re in Riverside and seeking a delightful culinary adventure, be sure to visit Big Papa’s Grill for an unforgettable meal in an unassuming setting. They can definitely be counted among the best Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants.


Now you know why these are some of the best Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants just waiting for you to discover them. However, it’s important to let you know that this is not an exhaustive list of the best Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants and that this list is in no particular order.

So, whether you’re a resident or a visitor, be sure to explore the best Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants and venture into the lesser-known corners, where you’ll stumble upon more hidden treasures. The best Riverside hole-in-the-wall restaurants are waiting to surprise and delight you with their unique flavors, warm hospitality, and the joy of discovering something truly special. Take a culinary journey through Riverside and uncover the next best hole-in-the-wall restaurant that will capture your heart and palate.


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