Best Lunch in Pasadena adjacent to a Metro Station
My car is in the shop. My girlfriend is in town visiting from Oregon. She's staying in San Dimas. We decided to meet half way - for me that's taking the metro to Pasadena. Where can we meet for lunch tomorrow in Pasadena that's relatively close to a metro station? It will take me 2-3 hours to get there from here - the west SFV -the food has to be worth the trip, although her visit is definitely worth it. Can you help?
Europane Bakery is a few blocks from the Lake Street station and that is probably the best food in Pasadena at the moment IMO. Great sandwiches, pastries, etc. PresidentTwo Thai is also in the same mall as Europane and it is arguably the best Thai in Pasadena. Also off the Lake exit, a few blocks North (less scenic) is Tonny's which is an excellent Mexican Cenaduria (like a diner).
Otherwise you are left with a lot of mediocre to decent places in Old Town Pasadena off the Memorial Park exit. Azeen's Afghani, Kuala Lampur Malaysian, and Mezbaan Indian are probably the best options.
In South Pasadena, on the Mission St. stop you have Bistro de la Gare and Firefly for more high end and Nicole's Gourmet for authentic French sandwiches and salads (croque monsieur, pate, salade nicoise, etc.)
Both the Memorial Park and the Del Mar stations are practically in Old Town. Saladang and Saladang Song (Thai) are across Central Park from the Del Mar station and then a block south on Fair Oaks; Kuala Lumpur (Malaysian) is on Green Street between Fair Oaks and DeLacey; we like KL and SS a lot. While Old Town is heavily infested with overpriced preening parlors and chain joints, there are some very good local and semi-local options as well. Mills Alley, also between Fair Oaks and DeLacey, running from Green Street to Colorado, has a wine bar whose name escapes me at the moment, but it's gotten some good buzz here. And the new branch of La Huasteca (yupscale Mexican) is on Fair Oaks just north of Green Street, as are some other places that people seem to like.
There is adequate food within walking distance of the Lake Avenue station, but maybe not so much variety, and being a pedestrian around there isn't nearly as pleasant until you're onto South Lake. Both Green Street (which is not on Green Street!) and Crocodile Cafe are supposed to be good - I've enjoyed lunch at Green Street much more than dinner. The one place on North Lake I can recommend is Avanti, at the NW corner of Union and Lake, a kinda-upscale Italian place with pretty decent "artisan" pizzas.
re: Will Owen
I second Avanti and the Crepe Vine Bistro (the wine bar being referred to above) as great choices. Avanti Cafe has really good wood-fired pizzas. My favorites are the glazed apple pizza and the roast garlic pizza. The link to their website is:
Crepe Vine Bistro has wonderful French grilled sandwiches and of course, you can't go wrong with any of their dessert crepes. The link to their website is:
Also from Memorial Park, there's Tibet Nepal House on Holly. I've never been disappointed by any meal that I've had there. One of my favorite appetizers to order are their momos, which are basically dumplings. For more info, go to:
Houston's is right across the street from the Del Mar station, but I'm not sure if it's open for lunch (I believe it is, though).
I'm assuming you want someplace that might be nice to sit and chat for a bit, as opposed to a primarily take-out joint.
Dona Rosa is not fabulous, but is a nice casual lunch spot; basically Mexican. They also have Mexican-style pastries. Located at the corner of Arroyo Parkway & California, it's a few blocks' walk from either the Fillmore or Del Mar stations.
For something fancier, there's Arroyo Chophouse and Parkway Grill, both on Arroyo Parkway close to California.
Note also that some of the other recommendations (Europane, President Thai) are actually a good 10 minute walk (at a brisk pace) from the Lake station. There's a place on Lake that I've seen but know nothing about, called Cafe Variety. I remember looking at the menu online somewhere and thought it looked interesting, but I know nothing about it.
But overall, I'd vote for Bistro de la Gare or Firefly in South Pas, for the combination of food and ambiance, especially since you're meeting an out-of-town friend.
I concur with Bistro de la Gare or EuroPane. Tell your friend to be extremely vigilant about parking, especially in South Pas -- they ticket for absolutely anything, from not curbing your wheels to parking for 2 hours and 3 seconds.
Also, it may be more worth it for you, depending on time, to take the Orange Line to Valley College and then the Commuter Express to Lake Street Pasadena... it's a coach-style bus and quite comfortable, and it means only one change of transport rather than three.