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Sunday. Pasadena. Brunch.

Driving up from Orange County next week to meet a gal pal for some good brekkie. My favorite meal of the day, period. Looking to meet around 11:30, but we can be flexible if places have a wait. I'd love a place that took reservations, though.

I've read about Marston's (she even recommended), but contemplating some non-traditional meals as well. I'm leaving it up to the Chowhounders to steer us in the best direction. Here are some I've read about:

* Green Street
* Japon Bistro
* Saladang
* Huntington Library (I know, San Marino....but I'm open)
* Burger Continental
* Le Pain Quotidien

I can go for traditional egg dishes or something sweet (French toast?). I'll even forgo the morning fare for lunch if that means an excellent recommendation. Or how about healthy options? Extra points for a place we can linger and chat and/or be convenient to retail therapy afterwards. I'm a sucker for ambiance, btw.


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  1. Too bad Julienne isn't open on Sundays. Made that mistake once myself.

    Firefly supposedly rocks out a superior breakfast/brunch menu, and you could wander around South Pas afterwards if that is your cup of tea.

    One of these days I have made a promise to myself to check out the Spot for Sunday brunch.

    1. Marston's is a great nook, but it's small and there's likely to be a wait (I don't think they take reservations). Plus, parking can be a pain, but their food is pretty good. I haven't tried it but the Raymond has a brunch menu and I'm pretty sure they take reservations.

      Both restaurants are close to Old Town Pasadena and Paseo Colorado so there's plenty of chances for retail therapy!

      1. Marston's would be my first choice, but sometimes it is a mob scene on the weekends. A very strong 2nd choice is Kathleens, on Lake, about 3 mins north of the 210 fwy. Excellent food, very attentive serivce, and they have croissant french toast (!). The thing to get however, is an omlette with the pumpkin or zuchinni bread.

        It just occurred to me that Mike and Anne's in South Pasadena also serves Sunday bunch. Only 1 meal, and so many choices.... Enjoy.

        3 Replies
        1. re: kotatsu

          OMG...the croissant french toast sounds amazing! I'm rencelty on a quest to find the best french toast in the city and I will have to visit Kathleens. Thanks!

          1. re: mintleaves

            Kathleen's also has a nice Eggs Benedict.

            1. re: WildSwede

              i had the best waffle ever at kathleen's. the decor is straight out of the 80's, but the food was great

        2. How about Maison Akira?

          1. Sunday Champagne Brunch at the Ritz Carlton Huntington Pasadena (The Terrace, not the Dining Room): http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Propert...

            The bonus: Spa service, and for any service, including a pedicure, you also get access to the fitness center all day.

            1. My favorite local brunch spot these days is: Mike & Anne's in South Pasadena (thank you ipse dixit!). They have indoor and outdoor seating and I'd think you would feel comfortable lingering. Not a TON of shopping options, but a decent amount of cute little botiques - perfect to stroll around). There's also Nicole's Gourmet you should pop into!

              Of the ones you listed - I'd go with either Green Street or Le Pain Quotidien.
              Green Street is great because they have a solid and diverse menu (check it out online). They are usually quite busy Sunday's, so you may not feel comfortable lingering too long. There are also a wide array of shops on South Lake to enjoy afterwards.

              I love the food at Le Pain Quotidien - great b'fast and lunch options, always very fresh - but not really a drive up from OC destination place. The benefit would be Old Town, of which you'd be in the heart... so that's the novelty factor. I'd say you'd be fine lingering here as well.

              Regarding your ambiance inquiry - Mike & Anne's wins by a landslide.

              1 Reply
              1. re: The Oracle

                I agree with The Oracle. Mike & Anne's would be great.

                Also consider Central Park on Fair Oaks, just a few blocks south of Colorado.

                Nix Burgers Continental (unless you REALLY enjoy belly-dancers with diner-type grub masquerading as Mediterranean fare) and Saladang (unless you like overpriced, pedestrian Thai food).

              2. 1) I wouldn't go to Burger Continental if I lived next door, so I would take that one off your list.
                2) The Huntington Library tea room is really commercial feeling, with serve-yourself buffet from refrigerated cases, and not at all exciting -- and unless you're really planning to walk the grounds, keep in mind you have to pay the admission fee plus the cost of the meal.
                3) Saladang for Thai is OK, and so is Japon Bistro. Both are fairly nice inside and walkable to shopping -- although you will be eating lunch, not breakfast, food.
                4) However ... if it was me and the weather was not too terrible, I would opt for brunch at Firefly in South Pasadena. Alternate picks: the Raymond or Marstons (someone mentioned Marstons is a mob scene, so lingering is pretty much not happening there, but it is right near Old Town's shops).
                Hope that's helpful.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Eastsider

                  I heartily second the Firefly recommendation - I've always had good meals there, never a disappointment. It's a nice atmosphere - you're basically eating outdoors under a tent. If it rains, they turn up the heat and it's really quite pleasant.

                  Haven't been to the Raymond for brunch, but recently had lunch there and it was quite good - far better than I expected.

                  I haven't tried Saladang Song for breakfast but I believe they offer Thai breakfast options (used to, anyway). But ipsedixit is right - overpriced, pedestrian Thai food is what they offer, albeit in a pretty setting.

                  Marston's is always overcrowded, and I never could figure out why - the food is pretty average.

                  And yeah. Burger Continental? Wouldn't eat there again even if they paid me to.

                  1. re: Eastsider

                    I third the Firefly recommendation, but only for brunch, as dinner-food warrants a mere "meh." I might opt to live off the European hot chocolate (available only during brunch) and their sangrias for a few days, if that were possible.

                  2. Le Pain Quotidien is pretty good.

                    Stay away from Central Park (overpriced Shaker's food--great at Shaker's, but not for more money).

                    Burger Continental in kind of dirty.

                    Marston's has had poor service on several occasions and the tables are thisclose together.

                    Julienne's is the best. Try to make it up on a Saturday if possible.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Spiff

                      Le Pain's hazlenut spread rocks. I could eat it right out of the jar- and they also apparently make a chocolate hazlenut version. Evil. And fantastic!

                      I agree with Spiff re: Central Park.

                    2. You are all incredible! This blows away all my 'key word searching' the other day on the boards. I am tossing most of the old list now *crumple* and updating it with:

                      * Firefly
                      * Mike & Anne's ~ for the french toast
                      * Le Pain Quotidien ~ you had me at hazelnut
                      * Kathleen's (yes, for the french toast)

                      will keep Ritz-Carlton/Maison Akira in mind for my fiance. I think he'd love them more.

                      gal pal recommended Julienne too....thanks ttriche for the 'no Sundays' notice. that would've been a downer.

                      now if only the San Diego posters were so helpful. I'm there Sat with little advice in sight.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: brekkie_fan

                        I've only eaten at Firefly once for brunch, and maybe it was on off-day, but I did not think it was good. Not planning on going back there...

                        1. re: Spiff

                          Unfortunately, it seems like Firefly has been on somewhat of a slow decline in recent months.

                          Or maybe it just has something to do with all the new places opening up around that area in South Pasadena, e.g. Bistro K, Mike & Anne's, Briganti, Bistro de la Gare, etc.

                        2. re: brekkie_fan

                          "now if only the San Diego posters were so helpful"

                          Well, it's easy to get quality suggestions from the LA Board because first and foremost, we're highly argumentative. :D

                          The Ritz Carlton brunch is nice because you also get to stroll through the garden.

                          1. re: brekkie_fan

                            If you haven't yet finalized your list, you might also consider adding the Crepevine (old Pasadena). Savory or sweet crepe for brunch is a nice treat, and then you can browse/shop through old Pas.

                            1. re: brahms

                              i would, if they didn't completely diss me the first time i went. we had reservations the first month or so they were open, and i stood at that host stand for five minutes waiting for someone to acknowledge me. never happened. we were treated like kings at Delmonico's in Paseo Colorado instead. sorry, but a big HELL NO to Crepevine. we gave our feedback to the owner, and despite the offer for a free meal, that first impression was enough for us. i'd MUCH rather go to La Creperie Cafe in Belmont Shore for an incredible crepe.

                              1. re: brekkie_fan

                                That sucks. I like the Crepe Vine folks, but that is no way to treat a customer.

                                Now they get to reap the rewards of pissing on a patron via the Interwebs. Ha Ha.