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Best Italian Restaurant in San Gabriel Valley / Pasadena area?

Looking for the best Italian spot in San Gabriel Valley / Pasadena area - any suggestions?

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  1. Mi Piace in Pasedena...I went there quite awhile ago but I do remember an enjoyable meal and a great dessert.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Kahuna0913

      Charlie's Trio in Alhambra. That place is satisfying every time no matter what I order.

      1. re: Kahuna0913

        If anyone has dined at Portofino in LaHabra they'd be in for a treat. Northern Italian and also sauce dishes and roman column decor, very elegant. Gives you the feel of a Westside restaurant in the SGV. That's amore. If you prefer more casual Il Fornaio in Old Town Pas. they even have a glassed in private room w/seating for 20, I think?

        1. re: Kahuna0913

          Will they ever get rid of those butcher paper table cloths?

        2. Brigante in South Pasadena is the best in the area. Beats the pants of any of the places in Old Town, like Mi Piace.

          7 Replies
          1. re: rantsnravesnreviews

            I second Briganti. Mi Piace has decent food but they are known for their terrible service, and the place is so loud you can barely hear yourself think. Tre Venezie is terrribly overpriced and overrated in my book. Briganti, on the other hand, has authentic food, friendly service and a warm atmosphere.

            Clare K.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                I also agree you hit it on the head about Tre Venezie and Mi Piace. Brigante does not disappoint.

              2. re: Clare K

                Up until now, I have been content to merely read the posting of others. On the rec of this thread, my party of seven tried Briganti last weekend. The food was so-so—some dishes good and others mediocre—but the noise level in the indoor room was so loud that I became physically ill and had to go outside for a break. Once outside, I stood in front of the "outdoor" dining room and had to move away because of the noise coming through the plastic barrier. I'm not particularly sensitive to noise—this was a first for me. I will not be visiting Briganti again.

                1. re: FeelingALittleBreadish

                  I've been to Mi Piace, Il Fornaio, Louise's Trattoria, Scarantino's Italian Inn, Charlie's Trio (both Alhambra on Main and the one off of Huntington Drive), and Buca Di Beppo. In my opinion, NONE of these places are even close to the quality I received at Brigante in South Pasadena. When I was there, it was a 'slower' night but I can see how it could get noisy, as the previous poster mentioned. Even with the noise, I will definitely be returning to Brigante.
                  Not only was the food very good but it felt like it was important to all the employees that we were happy and received excellent service.

                  1. re: FeelingALittleBreadish

                    Breadish, that's a shame that you had such an experience. I was at Briganti when it was newish and while families (including young ones) were dining indoors, it still retained an upscale sense about it.

                    You said the food was so-so. What Italian places do you like that are better than Briganti, especially in the Pasadena area?

                    1. re: SauceSupreme

                      i'm not from the area, so I can't compare to other restaurants, EXCEPT the night before we had a wonderful meal at The Raymond.

              3. Trattoria Tre Venezie. Incredibly delicious!

                1. Upscale Italian or old school red sauce?

                  1. Far Niente in Glendale is our favorite Italian in the SGV.

                    3 Replies
                      1. re: chefthisguy

                        Make sure you you go to the one on Washington St. The ones in Arcadia and Monrovia don'r compare.

                      2. re: socalqtpi

                        Far Niente gets no respect, but I agree it is always excellent. Nothing ever seems to go awry here. From the pasta to the veal chops, everything is served competently cooked. There are no surprises, but that;'s a good thing in view of the alternatives. Service is very reliable, wines are reasonable, and the place is fairly quiet. Perhaps this seems like faint praise, but there is nowhere nearby about which I can say that much.

                        1. Tre Venezie is the only even competent Italian place in the 626. It is, as noted, quite expensive, but the Northeastern Italian cooking would pass muster in Udine or Trieste, if at a third of the price.

                          Brigante is no worse than most of the characterless Brentwood places.

                          1. For upscale, I'd say Briganti. For downscale, I'd say Tarantino's

                            5 Replies
                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                I agree. Gales is good. I also like Tarrantino, but the atmosphere there is so "Sopranos". (thatas a good thing!)

                                1. re: rantsnravesnreviews

                                  Heh. Dark corners, cash only, maybe it's a mob front! *o*

                                2. re: ipsedixit

                                  You might also consider Milano's in Glendale for a family-friendly spot. We've gone there a couple of times before events at the Alex.


                                  1. re: ruddy

                                    By far Scarantino's Italian Inn in Pasadena

                              2. i like di pillas in rosemead... relatively cheap with good free bread and one of the better lasagnas i've tried ne where... however chowhounders tend to dislike it for the upscale stuff.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: lapchern

                                  Nothing wrong with "relatively cheap" in my book, I love Di Pillas! In Alhambra try Angelo's on Valley Blvd. east of Atlantic. Pizzas as big as your dining table. No delivery, darn it. Have to make that trip up traffic clogged Fremont, but it is well worth it. You gotta love a place that still gives out little calendars to their customers around the holidays.
                                  1540 W. Valley Blvd.

                                2. La Maschera Ristorante in Old Pas. it's near the Container Store.
                                  I went there once and it was completely empty.. which i found really odd. I wasn't sure if i should just go to another restaurant, but i remember reading only good reviews and they also got the zagat award.
                                  The service is great, they have a huge list of wines, and their food is awesome. I got their pork chops and it was juicy and perfectly cooked. We also go their pizza with smoked salmon (delish!) and the gnocci with lamb ragu (also delish!). It looks pretty sketchy from the outside, but it's definitely worth a try.
                                  Mi Piace is another place to go. MAKE RESERVATIONS. Their service is pretty slow but the food worth the wait and money.

                                  1. I recommend Gales and Celestino. I have not been to Tre Venezie, but my Italian (Venetian) adviser thinks it's great.

                                    I cannot say enough BAD things about Mi Piace. Mediocre food, abusively bad service, fairly high prices considering both, and way too crowded. Every few years I decide to give them another try, and every time they fail to surprise.