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Better ____ in Pasadena/SGV region?

I spent the first 18 years of my life in Pasadena, but have spent the last 18 living elsewhere in the country (currently Bay Area). Whenever I visit my parents back at home in Altadena, which I am doing this weekend, we go to the same ol' restaurants, time after time. Can you please help me expand their repertoire? They don't like to spend a lot of money on dinners out and don't want to have to drive more than 20 minutes from their house in Altadena.

Here is where we USUALLY go when I'm in town. Any suggestions for DIFFERENT, possibly BETTER places try in these same categories, to get them out of their rut?

* Thai: PresidentTwo in on Colorado Pasadena

* Homestyle Japanese: Masa on Colorado in Pasadena (my parents tried the trendy, made-over Masa, and didn't like it; they're Japanese American and want something more old school)

* Sushi Japanese: Ai on Fair Oaks in South Pas (again, they're old school and don't want to go somewhere loud with too-crazy sushi)

* Vietnamese: Golden Deli

* Chinese: Fu Shing on Colorado in Pasadena

* Mexican: Acapulco, the original in Pasadena (ugh)

* Middle Eastern: Lebanese Kitchen on Washington in Pasadena

* Pizza: Domenicos on Washington in Pasadena (would want a good takeout place nearby)

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  1. Try my website. It contains information about numerous restaurants in the area:
    http://www.geocities.com/raytamsgv

    1. I love GO CHINA - Lake and Walnut South of Ralphs same side of the street. I park at that end of the parking lot. They'll deliver too and I have NEVER had a problem of them mixing up a delivered order. For Pizza, I like Tarantinos- very casual. Very busy and inexpensive. Family place. Green and Hudson - (626) 796-7836 784 E Green St

      1 Reply
      1. re: Kitchen Queen

        Go China rates below disgusting for me. I work right next door and no one out of 250 people in my office would even dare enter this place.It is cheap I have gone twice inthe past two years and second time was worse than the first. It gives Americanized Chinese food a bad name. I ordered Orange chicken and was all dark meat and fat. Rice is the cheapest I have ever had at a Chinese place and with real food minutes away in Alhambra, San Gabriel, Rosemead this place is an embarrassment. But the water was good....

      2. Thai - there is no good thai in Pasadena

        Homestyle Japanese: Sakana in Arcadia

        Sushi Japanese: Yoshida in San Marino

        Vietnamese: Golden Deli is a can't miss; Vietnam House right across the street is good as well.

        Chinese: Why not try some place in Monterey Park or Alhambra? Maybe Triumphal Palace in Alhambra?

        Mexican: El Portal

        Middle Eastern: Wahib's in Alhambra

        Pizza: Zelo's Pizza in Arcadia (dine-in and takeout)

        1. I've lived most of my adult life in Asia, particularly Japan and China, and have been in the Altadena/Pasadena area for the past 6 years. Here are my suggestions:

          Thai: Saladang in Pasadena
          Homestyle Japanese: Suehiro Cafe in Little Tokyo
          Sushi Japanese: Sushi Gen
          Chinese: Yes, Fu Shing (Szechwanese food via Taiwan)
          Mexican: El Huarache Azteca (York Blvd., L.A., near Eagle Rock)
          Middle Eastern: Shish Kebab Express (Washington in Pasadena; better than Lebanese Kitchen!)
          Pizza: Casa Bianca (on Colorado in Eagle Rock)

          1. For sushi: I second Yoshida in San Marino. Sakana in Arcadia used to be awesome, but has gone downhill after the change of ownership.

            For Chinese, go to Arcadia:
            Full House on Golden West/Duarte for dim sum or Cantonese seafood
            Chang's Garden on Duarte/Baldwin for northern cuisine food (i.e. kung pao, hot & sour)
            Din Tai Fung for soup dumplings in Arcadia on Baldwin Ave. (go early or risk a long wait)

            1 Reply
            1. re: WHills

              agree with all the chinese recc in the previous post. the soup dumplings are hard to get on the weekends and not available on weekdays. the juicy pork dumpling is the main attraction here.

            2. thai food - song or saladang - song is much more interesting
              japanese- sushiya on foothill and alta dena drive - small good quality
              middle eastern - kebab express (I would go up the block to garni market and buy your own kebab- their beef and lamb are delicious)

              1. Sushi: I like Z Sushi in Alhambra, pretty much at the confluence of Atlantic, Garfield and Huntington Drive.

                Chinese: in Pasadena proper, Fu Shing is my choice, unless you want to go in a slightly different direction (foodwise), in which case I'd highly recommend Yujean Kang, in Old Town.

                For Mexican, I like El Portal or Margarita's (on Rosemead Blvd., just a bit south of Colorado). But for a far more interesting take on Mexican, you must go to Babita in San Gabriel. It's on San Gabriel Blvd., south of Valley. I think there was a recent chowhound outing there, and you can read its many praises if you search this board a bit.

                For middle eastern stuff, I usually go to Sahara, which is on Colorado a bit east of Allen (I'm almost positive the cross street is Grand Oaks, on the south side of the street).

                1. BULGARINI GELATO in altadena.

                  altadena drive at lake in the same mall is the rite aid and kragen auto parts across from nancy's pastries.

                  open wed.-sun. only 12-8pm

                  www.bulgarinigelato.com

                  1. Thai: maybe Pattaya Cafe on Colorado, but don't get your hopes up, it ain't Thai Town.
                    Vietnamese: hard to beat Golden Deli overall, but see if they like Phong Dinh on Rosemead
                    Chinese: if they haven't been to China Islamic, Little Sheep, or Macau Street, try one of them
                    Mexican: Tonny's or Babita (or Senor Fish in South Pasadena on Mission, but it's different)
                    Middle Eastern: Sahara
                    Pizza: Zelo, in Arcadia

                    bonus: Gelato, sorbetto, and now granita at Bulgarini off Altadena west of Lake.

                    hope this helps.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ttriche

                      I prefer Chandra to Saladang and Song next door place. Pataya and the two President locations I don't think so great IMHO, as is most Thai in this area less than ordinary.

                      I totally get their loving the "old school" Masa, someone in a thread even said they read the menu and left without even trying the "new" Masa. Why they kept the name I will never comprehend, because I assure you all the old customers probably hate it. Does anyone know a place like that?? I would really appreciate finding a replacement for the old Masa, I used to eat there a couple times a month.

                      I agree on Sahara (and the takeout Shish Kebab express being better than Lebonese Kitchen, which I have had intermittent luck with, and geez, the hours (?), but I thought this was about dining out), a little salty, could use more garlic in the tahini, I've said before. I've only been to Wahib's like 2x, but it seems a little "touristy"? Maybe it was just me.

                      Zelos often has groups dining there, especially on the weekends, that tend to "hang out" for a good. Try the beet and asparagus salads -- both great too, and big enough to share with 2-3 people at least. I still have to try their pasta, I always get pizza.

                      Domenicos? Okay. Not much Italian in that neighborhood . . . And it has its diehard fans for sure, although sometimes I wonder if it is more nostalgia talking!

                      For Chinese, I wouldn't try Pasadena proper as mentioned above, for a family outing, there's just so much better stuff not that far to the southeast. (Although I can't comment on that whole Go China thing above, because I've not been there.) Fu Shing, Yang Chow in east Pas on Col are better than passable though if you need it nearby, as are some of the entrees at the Eggroll Express (but again, takout, but right up on Washington near your parents) which does a lot of business in Altadena, the place is always busy busy. Some stuff is good but don't order the lemon chicken or teriyaki dishes for sure, not what you'd expect at all.

                      1. re: MaryT

                        Wahib's for Lebanese in Alhambra, also Pho 79 for vietnamese and triumphal palace for chinese. Gin's sushi in pasadena on colorado. lucky baldwin's for best bar food and belgian beer selection--stuffed sandwich rivals it on the beer selection but not for food, though not bad.

                    2. A good change from Domenicos would be Petrillo's Pizza. Ask for a thin crust unless you want the regular medium crust they serve. Also, the large is very large so if you order a medium and want pie cut slices request it or they will cut squares. The price for the amount of food you get at Petrillo's is maybe the best deal in SGV. Also, the quality and taste is well worth the price. I have tried Zelo's and find it to not be pizza at all but rather a corn crust with cheese that is way over priced for the small amount of food they give you. Also, there is a place in Eagle Rock (something pizza pie -- forgot the name cuz it did not impress me) that does make pizza with good sauce and sausage but IMO, the crust is not a pizza crust and the price is out of line for what they give you. Having gone to Domenicos I would say that the only one that would impress is Petrillo's Pizza -- price, size, and taste.

                      Petrillo's Pizza (eat there or take-out)
                      833 E Valley Blvd
                      San Gabriel, CA 91776
                      (626) 280-7332