Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Aug 30, 2006 08:40 PM

Good, obscure eats in Pasadena - Paseo area

Just moved from Silverlake to the Paseo Colordado area in Pasadena (no, not IN Paseo). I am very familiar with old town, but not so much with that area (Los Robles/Lake/Arroyo/Fair Oaks). The only places I know are Parkway, Chop House, Houstons, Maison Akira and some bad Mexican joint named Don Julio's or the like.

It would be great to get a list of places around there - all prices/cuisines/shapes and sizes. I've seen a placed called that any good?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Clare, there are two decent places in the arcade next door to Maison Akira - El Portal, a Mexican joint that's OK if not as wonderful as they think they are, and a Japanese place up front (on Colorado) whose name I don't remember, but they've got some really good and cheap sashimi and stuff. A bit west from there is La Fiesta Grande, which I like but my wife hates (it's either too crowded and noisy or else there's live music). WildSwede, a Pasadena person writing frequently here, says they have the best margaritas in town.

    Back into Old Town, but staying on Green Street, Kuala Lumpur is an Indonesian restaurant on the north side between DeLacey and Fair Oaks. It's gotten some dismissive reviews here, but all of our many meals there have been excellent.

    And unless they fired and replaced everyone including the owners since we were there, avoid City Thai at all costs.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Will Owen

      The Japanese place is Sachi Sushi. Very friendly service and reasonable bento box meals.

    2. Some places I enjoy eating at:

      Across the street from Vroman's is a Yucatan place called Yahaira's that we like to frequent. In that same arcade is a fairly decent Thai restaurant (the name escapes me though).

      Matsuri on Green St. is great for Japanese food, and for wonderful sandwiches there's Connall's in north Pasadena on Washington Blvd.

      1. Celestino on South Lake is excellent Italian, I had the spaghetti with fresh sardines recently--ohhhh soo good.

        Across the street on Lake is Smittys: Don't do it! Food is so horrid.

        Further down on Lake is Burger Continental, known locally as BC. It's a local hangout. Greek/Middle eastern, burgers, sandwiches; with belly dancing performances on weekends. Big plates of food. It's just kind of ok to me.

        For incredibly superb Northern Italian: Tre Venezie on Green Street in Old town. It does not seem to get the fanfare that it completely deserves. Very regionally authentic northern italian food; all pastas made in the kitchen; unusual dishes; service is magnificent, I fell in love with the waiter on the spot.

        2 Replies
        1. re: slacker

          I've heard Tre Venezie is tre expensive. True?

          1. re: Clare K

            It can be, depending on what and how much you order (ie, sharing an app or two apps, same with dessert). But it's not exactly break the bank prices by any means.

            They have this small menu of "conversation" drinks with a historical explanation of how these drinks were sipped in the "conversation" gathering room before (i think) a meal. Oh I wanted one of those! But did not partake, will next time.

        2. Oh, I have too many to lists...but here are a few of my favorites over the years...Italian Kitchen (off Union & Colorado) for lunch and wine, Sushi of Naples on Green St, Cafe Verde on Green (amazing gourmet Mexican and killer Mojitos!), Cafe Bizou (great affordable french w/ $3. corkage!), Los Tacos for everyday Mexican (Fair Oaks & California), Monty's Steak house for fabulous American fair plus some really stiff drinks (price tag too), but great!; Green Street (Del Mar & Los Robles) for amazing grilled sourdough sandwiches (try the Stephen's) and a great NY steak with Diane's salad, OH and the Mediterranean Grill (off Del Mar and alleyway behind Lake) unbelievable grilled chicken & steak! Happy Eats! ;)

          3 Replies
          1. re: Guerrilla Dining

            Green Street fka Green Street East (when it was on Green) is actually on Shoppers Lane (behind Lake Ave., not Los Robles) at Del Mar. Regardless, it's a good rec for good food, good portions, and good prices. Just don't go on Sunday around brunch time--inundated.
            In addition to the numerous other places mentioned, you might check Wolfe Burgers at about Lake and, I think, Walnut, and Avanti (for pizza) in the same vicinity opposite side of Lake.
            I do agree generally that sushi in Pasadena is mediocre.
            Best new atmospheric respectable scene not so cheap find is Magnolia hidden away in the 300 block of South Lake. Good drinks, decent bar food. Actually a pretty decent, filling cheese and fruit plate for $9.

            1. re: mc michael

              i like magnolia too. and as for not so cheap, the food is 50% off on mondays and i don't find the quality any better or less as other days of the week. i like the burger, trio of fries (sweet, yukon, reg.), and the magnolia salad.

            2. re: Guerrilla Dining

              I'm so glad that someone else enjoys Italian Kitchen. It's always been one of my "hidden" spots, especially for meatball sandwiches and simple pasta dishes. No, it never pushes the envelope, but it's made well and tastes great.

              Right on Green, a few blocks west of Lake, is a tiny Italian hole in the wall called Tarantinos.

            3. The gelato stand in the Pacific Asia Museum (a block from Paseo) was just written up by Jonathan Gold and is fantastic.

              On El Molino and Colorado is Zona Rosa, a pretty good coffee shop with great chocolate drink concoctions.

              East on Colorado, just past Lake is Europane- one of the best bakeries in LA.

              In the same mall is PresidentTwo Thai, which IMO is the best Thai in Pasadena and it delivers. Further East is Zankou and Haidar Baba for Armenian and Persian respectively.

              North of the 210 on Lake and Orange Grove is Tonny's which is (a)the best Mexican in Pasadena, (b) open 24 hours, (c) has fresh squeezed juices and blended fruit drinks, (d) dirt cheap.

              Also North of the 210 on Lake is Roscoes Chicken and Waffle.

              5 Replies
              1. re: oro3030

                nice list. the gelato stand you're referring to is called Bulgarini. it's only open at the pacific asia fri-sun. 11-6 and now he's serving at the laemlle on the weekends in the evenings. sweet! this is real gelato made the old fashioned way which many people are not accustom to and it's very good. the mango is outstanding and we just tried the hazlenut. whoa.

                i need to try zona rosa another time with another barista before i comment.

                1. re: revets2

                  to clarify it's the laemmle next to vroman's not in old town.

                  1. re: revets2

                    Actually, I think Bulgarini expanded the hours in the museum from Wed.-Sun.

                    1. re: oro3030

                      they've told me they're desperately looking for a better retail space with a kitchen where they get good foot traffic in the evening. they'd like to stay in the pasadena-area. if you have suggestions, let them know at