Fantastic Café

Review by: Ant George

Spending a day out driving on a warm California summer gets you in the mood for certain foods. For me, I am always jonesing for a classic road-side diner. Not just your average fast-food joint, these restaurants offer nearly everything you can think of: burritos, sandwiches, pastas and salads, and of course – a wide variety burgers and fries. Few do it better than those at Fantastic Café – a small chain of shops offering some of the best roadside fair in the game.

Opening their first location in Torrance in 1979, the folks at Fantastic Café have been delivering high quality food, fast and friendly service, and reasonable prices at nearly half a dozen locations spread across the greater Los Angeles area.

What to eat at Fantastic Café in Norco, CA

Waffle Breakfast Combo: Is there any more beautiful combination of words in the English language than “breakfast all day?” – as a non-early riser, being able to feast on delectable breakfast offerings morning, noon, and night is a dream. The waffle was chewy, slightly sweet, and a great touch of cinnamon. Eggs cooked to order and bacon on the side (pro-tip: ask for extra crispy bacon)

Onion Rings: Unless you have an allergy or aversion to the main component, it is really hard to not love an onion ring. Crunchy, a little zing, and just the right amount of salt. These are breaded, rather than batter dipped, which gives them a slight dryer texture but one that travels and holds up well. A deliciously creamy ranch is provided to dip – one of the best ranch dips out there, but they are equally delicious with ketchup or just on their own.

Chicken Tenders: These behemoth offerings of juicy chicken tenderloins are seasoned so well that they may be the best drive thru tenders out there. Eat your heart out Cane – these bad boys are plump and crunchy and not dry in the least bit. Served with fries and toast and your choice of dip, the barbecue and the ranch are perfect accompaniments.

Grilled Cheese: A simple food that sometimes hits the spot. Add bacon and avocado to turn this grilled cheese into a delicious melt that will leave you wanting to order another. Not too greasy but also very buttery and crispy – a perfect sandwich for anyone at any age.

Club Sandwich: Deliciously stacked with crisp lettuce, juicy tomato, crunchy bacon, and smokey turkey – a heavenly diner staple, layered between perfectly toasted bread. Great with mustard or dipped into their decadent ranch dressing, it comes with a mountain of fries and could easily be split between two people without leaving anyone hungry.

The concept of a drive-thru diner seems to perplex those who don’t reside in California – they picture typical fast food faire easy enough but the deeper offerings of steaks, salads, Mexican food, and breakfast staples go beyond what they’re use to being able to get from the comfort of their own vehicles. Every state should be so blessed to have a drive-thru diner of any kind, let alone the multiple locations that we have with Fantastic Café.

Though the location in Torrance was unfortunately met with a devastating fire that all but destroyed it, the spot in Norco, and all throughout Los Angeles, still are there to fill the void. And though lost, it is not forgotten- the community and people working there are in the process to rebuild original location better than ever. Truly a testament to the inviting, warm, and delicious atmosphere that is all in the name.

What To Eat

Fantastic Cafe: Onion Rings

Fantastic Cafe: Waffle Breakfast Combo

Fantastic Café: Chicken Tender Combo

Fantastic Café: Turkey Club Sandwich


Fantastic Café Recipes


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