Where to take the Mother In Law after a Sunday afternoon at the Norton Simon
I think she's a fairly adventurous eater, but the day out will be in honor of her 65th birthday, and I want the atmosphere to be quiet enough for decent conversation and somewhat special (really fancy places make her a bit uncomfortable). As a West LA girl, I know almost nothing about Pasadena and its environs.
If we can't come up with something in Pasadena, I may try Literati II, which provided a solid, good meal when I went there for dinner with my mother.
Thank you in advance!
If you want foreign, I'd say Raymond Ave is your friend: Xiomara, Yujean Kang and Cafe Bisou. If you want American, Parkway Grill. If you want seafood, Shiro in South Pas. All in all, I'd say Parkway is the sort that grandmothers and MILs tend to like best.
There is always Houstons and El Cholo. If she is feeling adventurous, you can always go to Saladang or Saladang Song.
I say the thing to do on a Sunday afternoon after Norton Simon (having done exactly this many times) is to stroll through Old Pas until Mom finds something she likes. There's Brazilian, there's sushi, there's Italian. Why spoil the good weather by having to be trapped in a car in bad traffic? Just park in the Delacey lot across from Union Cattle and meander down Colorado.
As far as recommendations, I like Italian Kitchen on the corner of Union and Delacey, I like La Luna Negra on Green, and Bar Celona on Colorado.
Crepes, panini, wine with lunch; casual French-ish bistro: Crepe Vine http://www.thecrepevine.com/
Historic, charming, great food: The Raymond in south pasadena http://www.theraymond.com/
Lovely, comfortable, good food (last time I was there), with its own herb garden: Parkway Grill http://www.theparkwaygrill.com/
I had to weigh in here because I don't agree with some of the suggestions (or, I want to clarify for you). It is hard to find stuffy, formal places as this is So. Cal., but if you were to try, the Ritz Carleton would be a place to look. The food is not good at the Terrace, and it is very expensive for what it is.
While I go to Green Street and Saladang all the time, I think that they are too casual/pedestrian for your occasion, in terms of service level and ambiance. But, if Thai/Vietnamese interests the ML, then certainly do go Saladang. For Houstons and El Cholo, I have the same issue -- too everyday and Houstons can be loud.
Smitty's is a reasonable suggestion (food seems mixed) and cozy, but the poster is right about the noise. If you are eating late, however, this shouldn't be a problem. Across the street, Celestino is a good Italian restaurant that is elegant, but not stuffy. For Italian, it is probably your best bet.
For haute Chinese, the Yugean Kang suggestion is a good one and it's quite close to the museum. Parkway Grill is also a very good suggestion. The room is very pretty, noise level is good, tables have room to breathe, and the service is a notch above normal LA.
Two restaurants not mentioned were The Raymond and Marstons. These are both cozy little hide away spots in old/historic cottage type of buildings. Marstons is most famous for it's salads and is casual. On weekdays there is always a big line outside -- people love it. The Raymond (http://www.theraymond.com) is a little more formal feeling, but hardly formal. It is certainly a very memorable, special insider-Pasadena spot.
I'd suggest Julienne, but I'm pretty sure it is not open Sunday.
Hope this helps.
If you are doing the Norton Simon thing this coming Sunday, PLEASE beware that the doo dah parade starts around 11-12noon, and thus parking etc. will be a mess, both at the Simon and/or afterward. Make sure you do NOT go this coming Sunday.
Wow, we didn't know about the DOo-Dah Parade. That changes everything...don't want to deal with the parking and crowds.
Okay, time to punt. Thanks for your suggestions, Hounds. We'll try those places another time.