Mom and Pops offer good eats

College students have little spending money for dining at expensive restaurants. Luckily, Riverside is a culinary mecca of inexpensive, quality food.

With endless options of cuisines, it may be difficult to decide what to try first. Whether students want an affordable night out or an evening for two, there are plenty of fantastic eateries to visit.

Here are two local favorites with the average dish costing less than $10:

1. Best Thai Cuisine

1735 Spruce Street, Suite F, Riverside, CA 92507

This is a first choice for many reasons. Best Thai is a hole-in-the- wall mom-and-pop. It recently acquired a second storefront next door that accommodates larger parties. The restaurant is decorated with pictures and paintings, giving guests a small taste of Thailand’s culture. Best Thai is known for its exceptional, timely service. It may look like an average Asian restaurant, but their dishes are always excellent.

When trying a new cuisine, it is wise to ask the server for recommendations or simply try staple dishes. Pad Thai, Panang and Chicken Satay are meals those new to Thai food should try because of their simplicity, extraordinary flavor and presentation.

Most Thai dishes are served with numerous garnishes, which are on the plate for a reason. Generally, taking a small piece of each garnish in addition to a bite of the main dish teaches how to eat the dish the way it was intended.

For instance, the Chicken Satay is a yellow curry-marinated chicken appetizer. It is usually paired with a cucumber and onion relish and a peanut sauce. Getting a bite with these different elements together is an explosion of flavor that cannot be emulated.

For an authentic Thai experience, Thai Iced Tea with Boba is a necessity.

2. Bella Trattoria Italian Bistro

Mission Inn, 3649 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA 92501

Walking up to this restaurant makes customers believe they are in a small Italian village along the Amalfi coast. It is located in the northeast corner of the Mission Inn building. There is indoor and outdoor dining. The regulars like to sit outside in its charming courtyard under the arches that hold up the historic building.

The restaurant serves southern Italian food and features a brick oven in which they create their signature pizzas. Brick ovens give pizza and breads a crunch regular conveyer or convection ovens cannot.

They serve soup, salads, paninis, pasta, pizza and other specialty dishes. All are highlighted with numerous choices in each category.

The Athena pizza, a wonderful mix

of ingredients, is made with an Alfredo sauce base, chicken, basil, artichokes, olives, tomatoes and mozzarella and feta cheeses.

For pizza lovers who value authentic, wood-infused flavor, give the Athena a try. Bella Trattoria is a charming restaurant for those who value exceptional food, service and atmosphere. It is sidewalk dining at its best.

3. Sevilla

3252 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA 92507

Sevilla is an eloquent Spanish Fusion restaurant that only serves tapas, Spanish appetizers. They scream of Spanish flare in an unusual way.

The Seafood Crepe, Fried Calimari and the Rioja Braised Spare Ribs are just a few excellent choices.

Each dish is created with authenticity in mind. The Seafood Crepe is comprised of shrimp, scallops and clams with a lobster and saffron sauce. Each dish is prepared to stand alone. Bold and extravagant flavors can be expected from every tapa.

This restaurant based their menu on the idea of small, bountifully- flavoredmeals.

Sevilla’s menu is designed to let their customers enjoy the food in an authentic, after-hours atmosphere. The dishes are intended to be shared and enjoyed in the traditional Hispanic fashion, emphasizing great company.

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