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Place for meal/snacks/drinks near Laemmle (Pasadena) - Help!!

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Catching to a pretty early flick (~7:15pm) at the Laemmle Playhouse today in Pasadena (one-two blocks east of Paseo Colorado) -- wondering if there are any recs for either drinks/snacks or a meal (much prefer the latter, since I'm having a light lunch.) Or alternatively, a nice place to grab dinner after the show (around 9pm) that's not gonna be jam packed with Friday night crowd.

I'm entertaining the thought of Bistro 561, but know that service can be incredibly slow there so not sure...

Walking distance to the theater helps too, but not necesssary if service is fast.

Much thanks!

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  1. Across the street from the Laemmle are three restaurants. There's El Portal and Yahaira's, which are both Mexican. There's also a sushi place as well. Oh and there's a wine bar also that also serves food and wine, of course.

    A little down the street on Colorado Blvd., there's also La Fiesta and an Indian restaurant, which I don't remember the name of.

    Right next door to the movie house is also a coffeehouse in Vroman's where you can get drinks/snacks.

    Hope that helps.


    1 Reply
    1. re: pleasurepalate

      Hi Abby, I agree with all your recs, and the Indian place is called Sitar and I am headed over there right now for lunch! ;-)

    2. There's also a new Famima on Colorado, one block west of the theater.

      1. an absolute MUST is bulgarini gelato pre- or post- movie (or both!).
        the cart will be in the lobby of the theatre -only on friday, sat & sun.

        1. some of the best and definitely the most authentic gelato in the southland is located right in the lobby of the laemmle! it's BULGARINI. they're the only ones i know of making the real thing from scratch.

          don't go anywhere without a dose of that and search the posts on this board for more info.

          if you're going as high-end as 561, you might as well hit bistro 45 on mentor, although it's been hit or miss lately, but consistently better than 561 for all the obvious reasons.

          3 Replies
          1. re: revets2

            too funny,revets2. i think we're having simulateneous afternon gelato cravings.

            1. re: ostudio

              lately, i'm always having a gelato craving, morning, afternoon, and night.

            2. re: chefthisguy

              bistro 45 isn't one of my faves by a long shot and i think it's really slipped. but the best meal i've ever had at 561 doesn't hold a candle to the worst night i've had at bistro 45 if you're purely looking at product.

              what's more, i think 561 is pricey for the raw materials they utilize.

              those students do bust their buns, though.

            3. Thanks for your help guys -- knew I can count on CH. Having never been to famima or bulgarini before, that's gonna be my game plan -- *crossing fingers for finding street parking*

              1. famima is a fun store, but don't expect too much food-wise. i've had soup, coffee, pastries, steamed buns, and packaged sushi as well as some bottled drinks and packaged snacks from the colorado/madison store and all were acceptable but not outstanding. i like the look of the store and the concept of high quality convenience, which is why i keep going back, but its not any kind of memorable culinary experience.

                bulgarini gelato on the other hand IS great.

                4 Replies
                1. re: go_bears

                  It's basically an upscale, Japanese 7-11. With a convenient, if overpriced, selection of Japanese junk food. (I don't mean that pejoratively, just nutritionally. I'm actually a big fan of what the Japanese did with American processed food.)

                  1. re: ozzygee

                    i wouldn't exactly sell it that short. its much better than a 7-11 in terms of quality, selection (including some healthy choices), and style. but it is a convenience store.

                    1. re: go_bears

                      If you can believe it, that was a recommendation to go there. (I meant 7-11 in function not form.)

                      I think it's awesome, and I hope they do well so we can get a full-service Japanese chain store in Pasadena.

                  2. re: go_bears

                    Well, I wasn't feeling super chow-ish and for pre-theater quick grub, famima seems to fit the bill (w/o being too heavy on my wallet) -- and actually I do believe I became a famima convert--cute store with interesting things ~ and the things I tried weren't bad at all (tiramisu & chicken/mushroom bao). And it opens pretty late.

                    And thanks for the tip on bulgarini--- the chocolate-hazelnut gelato is heavenly!!!