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Oct 23, 2006 04:37 PM

Recommendations for Weekend in LA/Pasadena?


I live in the SF bay area and usually post there. I'm heading down to SoCal to see some friends. I will be staying with a friend in Pasadena (1 block from Caltech). I was hoping to receive some good restaurant recommendations in the Pasadena and West LA area (though K-town/Hollywood/ south La Brea is also good). I'm looking for any of the following types of places:

1)Good, authentic sushi (Toro,aji,uni, scallops, mirugai, i.e really fresh fish and unique fish as well), $60/person should be the max.
2)Californian/Seafood ($60/person)
3)Deli, i.e esp. pastrami sandwiches
4)Mexican food, especially Al PAstor/carnitas/goat/fish tacos
5)Brunch/late breakfast (Pancakes/waffles/eggs bendict..etc)
6)Korean BBQ
7)trendy places to go Bar hopping...

Thanks for your help in advance. I really appreciate any input you can offer.

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  1. 1) Z's sushi in Alhambra (very close to South Pasadena). Sit at the sushi bar if possible.

    2) Parkway Grill in Pasadena has great seafood and bistro fare. But with wine, it will run over $50 per person. I hear Magnolia on Sunset in Hollywood is good and not too pricey. Hungry Cat in Hollywood is known for their seafood, also very trendy - might get out of there for just under $50 a pop.

    3) One place only: LANGER'S in downtown LA.

    4) Loteria taco stand in the Farmer's Market at the Grove. Or, Yucca's on Vermont in Los Feliz (a tiny stand - get it to go).

    5) Coffee Table in Eagle Rock, Marston's in Pasadena, Campanile on La Brea in Los Angeles (amazing sour dough pancakes), BLD on Beverly in Los Angeles.

    6) Tons of places in K-town - most of them good. Not sure about specifics, tho.

    7) 4100 bar in Silverlake, Downtown Standard Hotel rooftop bar (but it'll cost you $20 per person and the doorman is picky), Bodega Wine bar in Paseo Colorado in Pasadena, Cinespace in Hollywood...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Clare K

      if you go to the Standard on Tuesdays there is no cover

    2. 1. Sushi Ike in Hollywood (6051 Hollywood Blvd # 105, (323) 856-9972)

      2. Derek's Bistro (


      3. I'm not a pastrami fan, but if you are then Langer's would probably be the place to go (


      4. Babita (1823 South San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, (626) 288-7265)

      5. Mike and Anne's (


      6. Soot Bull Jeep (3136 Wes 8th St, Los Angeles, (866) 564-0014)

      7. ?

      Enjoy your stay.

      1. If you're staying 1 block from Cal Tech, you might be staying next door to me!

        1) In the Pasadena area, Z Sushi is definitely the place to go. It's not the best in the county, just the best in the area. Studio City (San Fernando Valley) probably offers the most "best" sushi places. Do a search on this board for Nozawa. It's not for everyone, but many consider it about the best in town that won't cost $300/person. A reasonable Studio City alternative (and my favorite) is Tama Sushi. Again, there are many other posts on this board about Tama. Can't recommend anything in WLA, since I'm hardly there any more, but I've often read positive things about a place called Mori Sushi. Again, lots of comments on this board.

        2) There aren't any great seafood places in Pasadena. For California cuisine, here's another vote for either Parkway Grill or Derek's (both in Pasadena).

        A new place is set to open in Pasadena, supposedly this Thursday, which has a lot of potential. The chef, Sara Levine, really knows her stuff.

        3) Langer's. NOTE: Langer's is only open until 3 or 4 in the afternoon, and is closed on Sunday. Right off the MacArthur Park stop on the Red Line, near downtown.

        4) Lately, I've gotten hooked on La Estrella, in Pasadena - the one on the NE corner of Foothill & Altadena. Another poster mentioned Babita in San Gabriel - fantastic upscale Mexican regional cuisine, but definitely NOT a taco spot. The total opposite end of the spectrum. But excellent. It can be costly, if you order expensive wine. Main courses are in the $18-$25 range, IIRC.

        5) In Pasadena, Greet Street restaurant is a favorite late breakfast/brunch spot. In San Marino, it's Julienne Bisto.
        Julienne is closed on Sunday. Another good brunch spot in South Pasadena is Firefly Bistro.
        The food can be a bit hit-or-miss, but in my experience, the lunch/brunch menu is more successful than their dinner. Great outdoors (tented) patio. Perfect spot for brunch on a day that isn't freezing cold. Just steps from the Mission St. stop on the Gold Line.

        6) Soot Bull Jeep, in Koreatown. Great bbq, done over real charcoal. NOTE: don't wear nice clothes. You'll leave smelling like BBQ, guaranteed. The place is VERY smoky. It's a lot of fun, and the food's great, but you WILL smell like your dinner afterwards.

        7) I'm not one to do much barhopping, and certainly not at trendy places, but my favorite watering hole is Ye Rustic Inn in Los Feliz. It's a popular joint, but not trendy. It's basically a neighborhood dive bar. Very friendly and unpretentious, but that's not to say that "trendy" people don't go there. Excellent wings, by the way.

        Enjoy your stay!

        1. Hide Sushi for affordable, high quality sushi in West LA. You might also try Sushi Gen, which is downtown.

          If you're interested in good mexican food, then I would suggest Tacos Baja Ensenada in East LA, the taco truck in Venice on Lincoln/Rose, and any number of taco trucks that roam Whittier Blvd in East LA.

          Langers for pastrami -- you've got no choice in the matter.

          For Korean, I strongly recommend Sa Rit Gol. It's as authentic as I've seen in K-Town. The panchan are outstanding. I've been raving about it on chowhound for weeks and have yet to hear someone disagree. If you're looking for something a bit more anglicized, then you might try Chosun Golbe, which is very good, but it's no Sa Rit Gol.

          For good breakfast, there are a ton of options, all dependign where you are. In Pasadena, people like Marston's, which is pretty good. In downtown LA, there is The Original Pantry, which I love because it is a throwback and it is a part of LA history. I would recommend that.

          1 Reply
          1. re: glutton

            For breakfast, just walk to Pie & Burger on California (just before Lake). They open at 7am on weekends.

          2. I'm a SF transplant myself, now living in Pasadena. Welcome!

            1. A number of people have mentioned, but Z Sushi is the best sushi in this area and definitely one of the better sushi restaurants in LA (given the price). Sit at the sushi bar towards the left. That is where the head chef works. His name is Toshi & is very nice. The only thing to be aware of at Z is that Toshi tends to take his time so if you're impatient, don't go there.

            2. Haven't been to enough to say but have tried Parkway Grill and Little Door. Decent but nothing like what's available in the Bay Area.

            3. The Hat. Old school, artery clogging, nightmare causing, pastrami sandwiches.

            4. Tonny's (Goat, Chili Verde, Pozole), Tacos Baja Ensenada (Fish Tacos), and Taco Truck (Don't know the name) on Fair Oaks (at the Nisikawa Auto Service).

            5. Pie n' Burger (Good ole American diner experience), Marston's, Juliennes, and Crepe Vine.

            6. Not a big bar hopper but Magnolia looks decent.


            1 Reply
            1. re: phooi

              Magnolia on Lake is quite nice-- you step inside and forget that you're in the middle of the sleepier part of Pasadena. And the all-day happy hour on Mondays is AWESOME. all the food is half price and i love their cheeseburger, their delicate crispy onion rings, and their fries trio (two types of potatoes and yams with 3 different dips). Salads are a little heavy on the dressing but good.