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Early dinner chowspot by CalTech in Pasadena

We're looking for something scrumptious to have before a lecture, on a weeknight, should not break the bank. Ethnic preferred.

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  1. Caribbean Bistro
    526 S Lake Ave
    Pasadena, CA 91101
    (626) 795-0675

    This pan-caribbean restaurant has been through many name changes, but the food remains consistently good. The chef is from Venezuela but he serves a variety of caribbean dishes. And it's right around the corner from Cal Tech.

    If you want something dirt cheap, go to Zankou.
    Zankou Chicken
    1296 E Colorado Blvd
    Pasadena, CA 91106
    (626) 405-1502
    Only a one minute drive away.

      1. It's not ethnic, but Pie 'N' Burger is a throwback place. It always seems to generate a bit of controversy on this board, but if you like a decent hamburger with all the fixins', and other old-fashioned diner favorites like shakes, pies, etc., then this is the place for you.

        1. First off, as an alum, I feel the need to point out that it's one word: Caltech.

          And in order to avoid being labeled entirely as a grammar Nazi, let me point out that Saladang is on Arroyo, a few minutes away from campus. For an Americanized menu, go to the original; for something a bit more esoteric go to the sister restaurant next door in Saladang Song.

          11 Replies
          1. re: SauceSupreme

            As an alum, would you mind commenting on the various cafeterias at Caltech? E.g., the Citrus Bistro or Chandler.

            Worth going?

            1. re: ipsedixit

              I wouldn't go to Caltech for the culinary experience.

              The Ath has really gone downhill in recent years (both upstairs and downstairs). There is a prime rib/seafood buffet on Wednesday nights which is not bad, but possibly not worth the money.

              The food at the Citrus Bistro is OK, but I think one of its main charms is the environment. Less stuffy than the Ath, and less hectic and crowded than Chandler. Best place to go for a pleasant lunch on campus.

              The pizza at Chandler is a good value, and isn't bad. The mongolian BBQ is OK too.

              The food at the Broad Cafe is pretty limited. Painini's are the way to go.

              A lot of people eat at Ernie's Taco Truck, which is on campus in the mornings, and the afternoon. It's typically cheaper than on-campus options.

              1. re: bfez

                wow - though you don't recommend them, I never realized there were so many food stops on the Caltech campus.

                1. re: chica

                  do you need to be a student to be on campus, and go to the dining options ???

                  1. re: kevin

                    No - except the Ath - you need to be a member or know a member.

                  2. re: chica

                    Yeah - for a small campus - there are some options.

                    I forgot about the Red Door Cafe too, near Chandler. They have a few items, but they're really a coffeehouse. And the convenience store next to Chandler has typical convenience store food.

                    And also the undergrad Student Coffeehouse, which used to be open pretty late and had a pretty simple menu (burgers, fries, etc.) Haven't been there in a while, and don't know what's happened to it since the renovation of the South Houses. It was really for the undergrads though.

                2. re: ipsedixit

                  Citrus was only the planning stages during my tenure there, and so Chef Andre hadn't quite put his thumbprint on the on-campus cuisine. Broad hadn't even been built yet.

                  For the longest time, the best food near campus came from the sandwiches at Eddie's Market.

                3. re: SauceSupreme

                  Saladang is at 363 S Fair Oaks. A good choice for "Americanized" Thai (mainly less spicy than authentic Thai & tweaked in other ways for American tastes) very good, nice presentations. A little higher priced but still inexpensive & a little more upgraded atmosphere than usual Thai restaurants (but it's crowded- make reservations- & kind of loud). I haven't eaten at Saladang Song but I know it's more expensive.
                  As Sauce Supreme mentioned: "it's few minutes from campus"- very easy quick drive down California.

                  sassille-Since there are so many ethnic restaurants w/i 10 minutes of Caltech, maybe you could be more specific about type of ethnic and price range.

                  1. re: SauceSupreme

                    saladang and saladang song are both on fair oaks, just south of delmar on the west wide of the street.

                    1. re: SauceSupreme

                      Sorry for the misdirection; as all the repliers have pointed out, I have my streets mixed up.

                      Didn't get my degree in geography, apparently :D

                      1. re: SauceSupreme

                        Agree, Song is better but it's actually on Fair Oaks. Order the Shrimp crackers--they're awesome. Go very well with beer for a starter.

                      2. Thanks for asking about budget, something under $30 would be nice. No particular ethnic preference. We like all kinds of food, specially spicy and delicious.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: sassille

                          What about Indian food. Go on Lake street, turn east on Cordova, and left onto Shopper's Lane -- next to Greenstreet is Radhika's Indian restaurant. That's the closest 'ethnic' to Caltech I can think of...unless Madres, which is Cuban, more expensive, and imo, not very chowworthy.