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xiomara v. mi place v. other late nite old town eats?


i have friends coming into town late and we are all thinking of getting together for a late (10:00 pm) appetzier/dinner/dessert/drinks in old town pasadena since folks may already be out in that area...

i was reading the boards and xiomara seemed to stand out to me.... i also heard about mi place.. but then i've heard mixed reviews for those.... i've been looking through the old threads, but i didn't quite find what i was looking for.

we are looking for a lively (but not TOO young) crowd where old friends can mix and mingle and catch up in a great environment with great food. i was looking at parkway grill, but it appears to be pretty expensive and i can't seem to tell if it's in old town....

someone suggested yardhouse, i thought that it was more of a "club" with food... and well, i don't think most of them will be feeling the "club" vibe....

also, will we need to make reservations for a group of about 10 folks for a late night affair????

oh and if you don't like a spot, please state why =)


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  1. I recently read somewhere that the Pasadena location of Xiomara closed and that the only one left is on Melrose.

    7 Replies
    1. re: yinyangdi

      Bummer! The food was excellent and they made killer mojitos with cane juice (yum).

      1. re: yinyangdi

        Xiomara in Old Pasadena is not closed (I drove by there a few days ago). Late last year, their "sister company" (Cafe Atlantic) moved into the same spot as Xiomara, so there are 2 restaurants at the same street address.

        1. re: socalqtpi


          EXCLUSIVE: Xiomara Pasadena Closing
          Thursday, March 22, 2007

          When we put all of Pasadena on the Deathwatch a few weeks ago, we had one of Pasadena's long-standing go-to places on the list. Xiomara just didn't look very busy anymore, then we heard it was for sale, then a reader forwarded a promotion that offered a $15 menu for 15 weeks. That kind of sealed the DW deal. Turns out, the tip about the restaurant selling was completely true. Xiomara in Old Town is in escrow, and come April 15 the only place to get those hand-shaken, fresh sugar cane mojitos will be at chef/owner Xiomara Ardolina's second location, Xiomara on Melrose. Ardolina just told Eater LA that after 15 years, it's time to slow down a bit, and since she lives near the Melrose location, she was ready to let the original go. She was emphatic that she will not be closing the Melrose location, but only "make it better." No details about the new Pasadena owners yet, but calls have been placed. More as the story develops.
          · Eater Deathwatch: Pasadena [Eater LA]

            1. re: Local

              Thanks for the update! I am glad I can still get the excellent mojitos.

            2. re: yinyangdi

              WOW...thanks for passing along that information. I guess driving by & seeing the sign lit up is not enough of an indication of how business is going. I should have done more research before posting...my bad.

              1. re: socalqtpi

                I just got off the phone with the new chef (Robert Humphreys)...Xiomara in Old Pasadena is indeed still open for dinner though they will be undergoing some renovations & may be changing the name soon. Just thought I'd pass the information along.

        2. You can make reservations at a number of Pasadena restaurants online at www.opentable.com. I made a reservation for Crepe Vine through opentable.com and for Villa Sorriso recently, without a problem.

          Mi Piace is open late. I have had dessert and coffee there. The cappucino and dessert were mediocre, but the location is good, and they have sidewalk dining. I have read negative reviews of it on this board.

          I have never been to Xiomara.

          I have been to Yardhouse at the Paseo Colorado. If you want to people watch, Mi Piace is better, because it is located on the street level of Colorado Blvd. You get a steady flow of pedestrians there. Yardhouse is upstairs in the Paseo Colorado. On the weekends, it is super crowded. It has a sports bar atmosphere. They have a very large selection of beer, and a decent appetizer list. Mi Piace has more of a sidewalk cafe feel to it. Depending on when you go, it can also be very crowded. I went to Mi Piace mid-week, late at night, and there weren't too many people there.

          Considering the time you are going, I would call to make sure they are open on the time and date that you plan to go. I am surprised by how many places close by 9 or 10 (depending on the day) in Old Pas.

          There are others who may be able to offer more info on this board. I will pass along an old thread, as well. Good luck.


          5 Replies
          1. re: katkoupai

            what's villa sorriso?

            i think we were going to head there during the weekend....

            i was also looking on msn city guides and they also mentioned sushi roku and cafe bizou... both of which i saw on these boards...

            oh and is the name mi PIACE or mi PLACE??? =) so i can call for reservations... have you eaten appetizers/other food there? i'm pretty open as to restaurants... so it doesn't matter if the spot is popular on these boards or not =) i just like getting a bunch of suggestions... (especially since i tend to find something good about each spot i go to if i have the right crowd with me =)


            1. re: kinipela

              Villa Sorriso is a trendy restaurant on the corner of Colorado Blvd. and Pasadena Ave. It's basically the beginning of the strip of Old Pas. It gets very busy on weekends. I still have not gone, because I had to cancel my plans to go. I can tell you that it is very popular and very busy. I live nearby and pass it all the time. They have outdoor and indoor dining. People on this board have recommended the drinks and have said the food is mediocre to bad. I would definitely consider taking a group of friends there, but apparently, it can get pricey. Here is a link with more info on the restaurant.


              1. re: kinipela

                Definitely Mi Piace (mee pee-yah-chee). You'd have a lot more late night choices in Hollywood...

              2. re: katkoupai

                It is very difficult to make reservations for a large party on opentable. It's a great tool to check which places are open that late but Kinipela will probably have to call the restaurant directly for such a large group.

                1. re: foodism

                  foodism, I think you are right. I recall having no problem booking a table for 2, but I did have a problem trying to book for 6. Maybe it depends on the restaurant. I've only used opentable.com twice, but I actually liked using it.

              3. i'm not sure what day you are speaking of. some restaurants serve much later than others. in old town, your best bet is VERTICAL WINE BISTRO.


                1. thank you so much for all of your suggestions =) i ended up calling for a reservation at mi piace.. apparently on weekends the kitchen closes at 1 am!!!!

                  but they asked me whether we wanted to be in the restaurant or the lounge... any thoughts???

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: kinipela

                    ack! never mind the lounge area... they said on weekend there is a $350 minimum per table... they didn't tell me that last night when i called! ack!

                    oh and i just called yet again... the kitchen closes at 1:00 am for main orders, and salads are until 1 am...

                    ack... hmm we'll see how everything else goes.. i'll post updates later....

                    1. re: kinipela

                      don't pay attention to citysearch, etc. restaurants pay big bucks to be editorialized there.

                      MI PIACE may not be your best choice even among some of the mediocre places to be.

                      1. re: kinipela

                        kinipela, I do not know about the food at Mi Piace, but I like the location. It is right on Colorado Blvd., in the heart of Old Pas. It may be end up expensive, bad food, but you might be entertained by the people. If you do go, I hope you have a good time. I just hope it's not too crowded when you go.

                    2. Wokcano is open late (until 2 AM Sun-Wed or 4 AM on Thurs-Sat) - though I'm not sure what cuisine you were interested in.

                      1. MY VERY FIRST CH UPDATE: (as you can see, it's long...)

                        ok here's my mi piace update =) thanks to everyone who contributed!!! =)

                        well, overall, it started out a bit questionable (seeing how the restaurant kept telling us different things), but then the rest of the night was great =)

                        so i made i reservation for 10--> which then grew to 11--> which by the end of the night grew to 12...

                        i made the reservation for about 10:00 pm.. and we still had to wait for a table.. i think we waited about 20 minutes or so... but when they sat us, they tried to squeeze all 11 of us in a table for 10... and there were men AND women, so you can imagine how unpleasant this was going to be.... some folks said that they would just meet us in the lounge and wait for us to finish eating.. which was not going to be cool at all.

                        the staff didn't seem to know what to do, and luckily a manager saw us trying to crowd around this small table and told us that he would fix something in the back so we would have more room.

                        about 20 minutes later, we followed them to the back where there is a smaller room (about 5 tables or so) and they had set up 13 chairs for us on a long table... and so we felt like we could breathe.. which is always good...

                        we started out my ordering wine, which i thought was a bit misleading, the wine list listed johannisberg, chateau st. michelle, and another type of reisling by the bottle. i ordered the johannisberg bottle, but they gave me the chateau st. michelle (which is fine too, but i always buy it as bevmo, so i wanted something different) one of my companions was adament that they had the johannisberg, but i'm more of an easygoing patron, so i accepted the chateau st. michelle. besides, i've had it before, i know it's not terrible...

                        i ordered the calamari, tuna tartare, and the caprese salad for the table. i don't eat calamari, but i order it anyway. the consensus was that the calamari had a good texture and was not rubbery. the dipping sauce was also a good accompaniment. the tuna tartare was really very good. they layered the tuna with wonton like strips, and i thought the combination was really very very good. nice and delicate and not overladen with too many flavors.

                        you can't really go wrong with caprese, but i wasn't too fond of the presentation because it made it difficult to eat. they layered the mozarella, basil, within the actual tomato itself, so instead of slices spread out, one huge layered tomato (still true to form) was in the middle of the plate. it was still tasty, but a bit inconvenient... nevertheless, it all ends up in the same spot anyway =)

                        i ordered the farfalle pasta with chicken.. and boy was that delicious!!!!!! i think the dish is really the farfalle with mushrooms, but i wanted chicken so i had them add it in. oh my goodness. it was soo creamy, i couldn't finish it (that and we had tons of bread and appetizers). one of my gfs had the calzone, and that thing was the biggest calzone i had ever seen. i think it was more than 12 inches long and more than 4 inches tall AND it was stuffed to capacity, instead of being full of hot air. my cuzin and her fiancee had the seafood pasta soups, which were just as good. the prawns were juicy.

                        some folks had already eaten dinner earlier that even (i had told them it was a late nite out), so they ordered a bunch of desserts. they ordered the chocolate soup, chocolate souffle, creme brulee, and something else... i want to say cheesecake, but i'm not too sure. one thing i appreciated was that everyoen got their food at the same time, so the dessert folks didn't have to wait for us main course folks to finish eating...

                        the creme brulee was so-so.. not enough carmelization on the top. BUT the chocolate souffle was delicious!!! the texture was good... and it was the first dessert to go... we wanted to order more, but were stuffed after eating so much.... my SO and his friend shared the chocolate soup... which they did not let me try... so that means it must have been really good. although they did welcome someone else to try, so that end of the table had their own lil intimate moment with the chocolate soup, berries, and whipped cream... hahaha...

                        the servers were very attentive and after the beginning weird moments, overall the night was great and we were so satisfied. it is a bit on the pricier side, but i wanted everyone to just eat and enjoy the experience, so i paid for the appetizers (lots).

                        we kinda laughed on the way out though because the lounge where the music was, was not appealing at all. at first they told me it was going to be live music (which i assume was going to be live musicians, and i even told the fellow musician in our group), but i think during dinnertime i distinctly remember hearing kylie minogue! hahaha the lounge area didn't look anything bigger than a kitchen, and it actually seemed pretty lame... but then again, my partying days are practically over, but even if i was still in a partying mood, i wouldn't go there....

                        i say that because they were trying to get us to buy a table in the lounge for $350.. don't do it. it's a rip-off. stick to eating in the restaurant itself.

                        so if you want to go somewhere to eat, and you have the time and money, then i actually would endorse mi piace. it's the kind of place you would go with friends. i suppose you can go there on a date too... but the place is a bit noisy and can feel cramped, so i would say it's good for friends. they also have outdoor seating, but i tend to not do outdoor seating 'cause of the smoke....

                        all in all, this place was exactly what i had in mind for a lively atmosphere to get everyone chatty, had great food, and was pretty relaxing =)

                        i'll probably go again when i have energy =) (or when i'm craving that chocolate souffle and the mushroom farfalle!!! yum!)

                        much mahalos again to everyone for all the great recs! i'll have to try out the other ones on another time =)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: kinipela

                          Kinpela, I'm glad you enjoyed your night there. I have read a lot of negative reviews about Mi Piace, so I was worried you might not like it. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed the food and the location.

                        2. Xiomara is fantastic. Shame if it's closing.

                          I will NOT go to Mi Piace again. I've been there a few times over the years (including recently), and every time the service is simply terrible. Offensive, really. Rude, slow, incompetent, and the food does not justify suffering the service.

                          If you want Italian, I suggest Il Fornaio. Always good. I'm sad that Sorriso morphed into Villa Sorriso a few years back. The original was excellent, classy, and well priced. Villa Sorriso is trendy and expensive, but still with good food. Louise's is OK, but I'm not a huge fan.

                          Next to Xiomara is Yujean Kang, an innovative Chinese restaurant. It's a good place for a group.

                          Gaucho Grill is OK for Argentinian food. It's also a good environment for a group.

                          All India Cafe is my recommendation for Indian food.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: bromion

                            I'm always surprised no one ever seems to mention La Luna Negra on the Pasadena boards. I've taken a few people there and have always had a good time- it also seems to be a great place to take large groups, and most of the tapas you can order there are quite large. Service is friendly, and on weekends there are live flamenco performances.

                            1. re: wenster

                              I agree with wenster that la luna negra is a good place...good spanish food with a live band, a fun place to hang out...

                              vive is fun too...salsa bar cum restaurants...they also have live bands on the weekends...

                            2. re: bromion

                              Actually Xiomara is not closing. I think they have a change of ownership. I haven't checked it out yet.