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Help Finding a Real Place in Old Town Pasadena

Richard Ricasa Jun 22, 2006 04:22 PM

Hello Chowhound,

I'm having dinner with a great person tomorrow night who deserves more than just the usual chain restaurant. There are a lot of good places to eat in Old Town, but I'm trying to find something that's a little more unique and authentic. Pretty much any ethnicity will work. We've never been about atmosphere. We'd much rather have that one thing you can't find anywhere else.

Any help is appreciated. thanks to all!

  1. k
    klta97 Jun 22, 2006 04:28 PM

    How about Afghani food? Azeen's on Union and b/w Raymond and Arroyo is very unique and offers excellent food. I've been there at least half a dozen times and never had a bad meal.

    Link: http://azeensafghanirestaurant.com/az...

    6 Replies
    1. re: klta97
      Richard Ricasa Jun 22, 2006 05:19 PM

      Hello, thanks for the suggestion... what do you usually order there?

      1. re: Richard Ricasa
        ktla97 Jun 22, 2006 06:18 PM

        Food is quite good there. I personally like MANTU for appetizer. The SAMBOSA is good too, a bit like Indian appetizer. For Entrees, I like BADENJAN CHALLAW (eggplant and lamb), SABSI CHALLAW (spinach and lamb, served with vinegar sauce), and bf really likes kabobs. We had a group of 25 there once, everybody ordered different things, they all liked what they ordered. Haven't heard any complaints. For dessert, FIRNEE is really different but delicious. I also like their cardamom tea.

        Hope you give it a try!

        1. re: ktla97
          Richard Ricasa Jun 22, 2006 07:15 PM

          now you've really got me interested...

          I've never eaten Afghan at a restaurant, just home made...

          Thanks for the great info!

          1. re: Richard Ricasa
            Towens Jun 22, 2006 08:46 PM

            We had a truly outstanding lunch at Azeen's. We were one of two tables. Service was great. I'd go back in a heartbeat.

      2. re: klta97
        The Oracle Jun 22, 2006 07:01 PM

        I went for dinner serveral months back, was one of 2 tables occupied, and had a horrible meal. Really heavy on the oil, horribly slow service and I didn't like anything I tried (and I usually really enjoy ethnic foods).

        I've seen some great write-ups... so maybe it was an off night -- or perhaps I found a cuisine I simply didn't care for....

        If you do go, please report back. I wouldn't take someone there, unless they were an adventurous ethnic eater.

        If money isn't an issue, I'd suggest Tre Venzie. It's northern Italian cuisine - they have a large selection of grappa and will be a very unique dining experience (it IS pricey though - $75 a person, easy).

        1. re: The Oracle
          Richard Ricasa Jun 22, 2006 07:13 PM

          Thanks for the heads up... I have had home made Afghan cooking, but never at a restaurant. If I do try, I'll post a follow up... cheers

      3. a
        AquaW Jun 22, 2006 05:32 PM

        I like Xiomara - which is Cuban-Fusion; the 3-citrus scallop/shrimp ceviche is delicious, as is their signature mambo mojito drink (made with freshly-extracted sugarcane juice).

        Link: http://www.xiomararestaurant.com/

        1. r
          rollin'jagaimo Jun 22, 2006 06:27 PM

          For something a little different, try the Tibet-Nepalese restaurant on Holly St. It's an unique cuisine that is a fusion of Indian and Chinese. You'll see things like dumplings (aka mo-mo) or curry-like dishes.

          I was just there last week, and had an excellent dish that came on a sizzling hot plate. It was one of the chicken 'sekuwa' (clay oven?) dishes. Nicely spiced with cilantro and the yogurt chicken was nice and moist. The vegetable sekuwa was also excellent.

          It's in Old Town, not on Colorado, but on the quiet street of Holly. This place is a real treasure.

          Link: http://www.tibetnepalhouse.com/

          6 Replies
          1. re: rollin'jagaimo
            Richard Ricasa Jun 22, 2006 07:11 PM

            Thanks! i've been meaning to try that place too, not sure if you remember the Thai Restaurant across from there that was only open for a few months, but I thought they had pretty decent food... I ate there 3 times, 2 were good, one was bad... the chef had to be different that night. The place just never really ran right.

            1. re: Richard Ricasa
              ktla97 Jun 22, 2006 11:39 PM


              If you like Thai food, try Noodle World (aka Boba World) on Colorado and just a bit west of Fair Oaks. It's the only authentic Thai dishes I can find (more like a one dish meal) in Pasadena, IMO. They also offer some vietnamese noodles, but the owner (and most of the staff) are Thais.

              1. re: ktla97
                Richard Ricasa Jun 23, 2006 12:23 AM

                I love noodle world, it's a good honest place but I think it is still under renovation...

                1. re: Richard Ricasa
                  zack Jun 23, 2006 02:44 AM

                  it's now open for business again

                  1. re: zack
                    Richard Ricasa Jun 23, 2006 11:57 AM

                    you rule! oh how i missed the mango and sticky rice... it's good at the other localles, but old town is so much more convenient for me

                2. re: ktla97
                  caitybirdie Oct 10, 2006 09:17 AM

                  thai food, saladang! its the way to go!!! on fair oaks just south of del mar. yummie...

            2. g
              GI Joe Jun 22, 2006 09:03 PM

              Have you considered Maison Akira? The Emporer of Japan asked Chef Akira to prepare his apparently world famous Chilean Sea Bass upon his visit to LA. The crab salad with soba noodles was also excellent.

              Restaurant Scampi next to the Ice Box comedy club also serves a very good whole fried catfish. The crowd here seems a little on the older side, so peak dinner time is closer to 6p. My friends and I went at 7:30 on a Fri and tables were starting to empty out. Elegant decor. Good service.

              Parkway grill is also a solid all-around performer. Most of the main dishes are pretty safe, but make a point to try the Creme Brulee Napoleon. Presentation on all the desserts is exceptional.

              Arroyo Chop House is my 2nd or 3rd favorite steak house in LA. #1 is Mastro's. BOA is also in the top 3. Order the filet mignon and the chocolate souffle. Every steak is served with a trio of steak sauces. The bleu cheese sauce is awesome!

              1. c
                c-bo Jun 23, 2006 02:22 AM

                One of my favorite places is Yujean Kang's (on Raymond, 2 blocks north of Colorado). It is really good, gourmet Chinese food. Their crispy beef is so addictive it should be illegal.

                And while Cafe Bizou (corner of Raymond and Holly) is a chain, it is a local chain. It is the kind of place that is perfectly pleasant and relatively cheap, especially if you take advantage of their sweet corkage deal.

                Come to think of it, that square block has a lot of great places, including Xiomara, Akbar, Tibet-Nepal House and Cafe Atlantic.

                Good luck choosing.

                1. s
                  sandy Jun 23, 2006 02:09 PM

                  If you're looking for something unique, unable to find in other parts of town try Tre Venzie a tiny, tiny restaurant that's one building over from Twin Palms on Green Street. Removed from the hip and trendy of old town, they treat food like it really matters.

                  1. h
                    hpcat Jul 21, 2006 07:57 AM

                    La Huesteca is now open in Pasadena, on Fair Oaks south of Colorado, I believe. I haven't eaten at the Pasadena locale, but I love the food in Lynwood at Plaza Mexico.

                    1. caitybirdie Oct 10, 2006 09:18 AM

                      Parkway grill. ask for the atrium.

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