Friday 27th November 2015,

Red Hot Kitchen – Riverside

Scott May 17, 2011 Comments Off on Red Hot Kitchen – Riverside May 17, 2011

Red Hot Kitchen – Riverside
So you’ve heard of Kogi, the LA-based Korean-Mexican food truck that is often credited with started this whole taco truck craze? Take that style of food and move it to a real restaurant in Riverside off University Avenue between UCR and downtown. Enter Red Hot Kitchen in Riverside, the heavily talked-about Asian-Mexican fusion eatery in the Inland Empire.

Red Hot Kitchen Riverside - OrderingWhile the concept of Asian-Mexican fusion was not created by Red Hot Kitchen, it is certainly the only restaurant that we know about in the Inland Empire of this kind. The original location is located in Los Angeles, with the second location in Riverside opening on March 2, 2011.

The setting in Riverside is a perfect distance for those who work or live downtown as well as UCR students who want to leave the campus. While University Avenue left much to be desired just a decade or two ago, longstanding efforts by the city have turned this once dilapidated thoroughfare into a patchwork of old and new, though much work remains. For those of you who know University Avenue well, Red Hot Kitchen is located near Bobby Bonds Park/Cesar Chavez Center and D’Elia’s Grinders.

Red Hot Kitchen Riverside SignThe food at Red Hot Kitchen is like nothing else in the region (though we make no guarantee that you won’t have a preference for your LA or OC spots). Our favorites are the Kimchi quesadilla and anything with bulgogi, though the employees recommend the fish tacos. Basically, pick your favorite style of Mexican food (tacos, quesadillas, burritos, etc.) and match it up with your favorite Korean food. The chefs are glad to add kimchi (picked cabbage) to any item. The taste of the food is often complex, with spicy and sweet elements throughout, including teriyaki sauce and Sriracha hot chili sauce. Other sauces await you at the condiment table.

Red Hot Kitchen Riverside - Menu 2The decor is edgy, new and a good use of a very dated building. Kudos to the ownership for finding cool ways to turn an old diner, complete with semi circle booths and a Denny’s-esk look, into something that resembles the funky look of a yogurt shop. Unlike a food truck, you can actually grab a seat here (and not a curbside “seat”). Plus, you know where this is, always awaiting your hunger (well, until  9 p.m. through Wednesday night, and until 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, which is in the right direction as this is great late-night food).
For those looking for a restaurant that is new, funky, and maybe a bit LA, this is your spot. Given that the restaurant has racked up 48 reviews on Yelp! in just 10 weeks, there’s no question people are talking about this. Our bet is that this cuisine will find it’s footing in Riverside, and likely elsewhere in the Inland Empire.
Categories: Casual Dining & Fast Food, Food, Riverside, The Inland Empire

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About The Author


Born and raised on the western edge of the Inland Empire, Scott lives and works in Riverside as a private practice attorney, attends concerts, enjoys good food and makes feeble attempts at comedy. He may be reached at

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