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Sierra Madre Dinner

I searched the board for recent posts about this area but didn't come up with much at all.
What are some great places for dinner in the area? Money isn't an issue... if its cheap FINE, if its expensive, FINE. I just need good food.
I am coming in from the westside so, would love to try something that we don't find much of around here.

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  1. There are several resturants in downtown Sierra Madre. I living there, have eaten in all of them except Mountain View Sushi, while none are really awful, none in my opinion are very stellar either. I would stay away from Lozano's for sure, service is always awful, food inconsistent, never great, I ordered a grey goose martini there once it tasted like gin, my rare steak came out well done and the owner (also the only waitress in the place, she is too cheap to get a decent size staff) was appaled that I sent it back. I have been many times hoping that it would get better, never has, probably never will. The mexican place is not very good either. I like the fish and chips at Lucky Baldwin's and the Gyro at Corfu (but its not on the dinner menu). Only Place in Town has a decent breakfast, have not been to the Thai place since it changed owners. Good luck.

    1. I had a very nice dinner at Corfu, Sierra Madre's Greek restaurant. Although the service was spotty, I thought the food was quite good. DH and I split a huge Greek salad and the combo kebab plate. I'm not sure if it is called that on the menu, but it had a skewer of chicken and two of beef. That was plenty of food for both of us, with lots of leftovers to take home. I wouldn't give it ten stars, but it was quite tasty and didn't cost too much.

      1. If you consider to expand out, like to the neighborhood cities, such as Arcadia, Pasadena, or Monrovia, you can have more choices and better food. One of my favorite is Din Tai Fung Dumpling House on Baldwin in Arcadia. But the wait can be very very long after 6:30pm, especially on weekends.

        1. I've gotten pretty good Italian food at Cafe 322. The entertainment was great and free when I was there. The staff was nice. I will definitely go back.

          4 Replies
          1. re: BN1

            I'd like a broader menu at Cafe 322 menu, and I've had several people complain about the serving sizes, but the prices are lower in concert with that.

            Casa del Rey has good spinach enchiladas except they are cold in the center half the time, but no hot salsa of any sort. Their other stuff is average. Service is flaky when they are really busy. I've overheard people say they go there because it is the only Mex place in town.

            Corfu owner of many years just sold, and they have a new (expanded, new owners are Armenian and own a clothing store called Attitude down the street, they've added quite a few new items to the menu). I'm pretty certain the cook changed, because when I went back to try it recently, I got the moussaka and it was gross and very orange-greasy from the ground beef fat, and there was almost no eggplant, which was undercooked. We tried several things on the menu on that visit, none of them seemed like they did before. We did not even take our leftovers. But >> maybe they are just working out the kinks in the "transition". I used to like the very rich Roquefort chicken breast too with the oven roasted potatoes, maybe I'll try that next time. And the above mentioned gyros.
            (Not that it was great before, there were a few things on the menu that were pretty good.)

            I have not been to Lozano's but I've heard some stories . . .

            Only Place in Town is nothing to drive for, but is okay for most things. I like their Angus burgers okay. Their chicken pot pie is nice and junky, but has no vegetables, and a section of puff pastry for the "pie".

            I've been to the original Lucky Baldwin but not the SM one, I wondered if the menu is the same and the food the same.

            The "new" Thai place seems like the same cook they had before. Not bad, not great. She forgets how the menu reads, so sometimes the list of ingredients you get won't match the entree description. (I go in the evening, they may have other cooks.)

            1. re: MaryT

              When did Corfu change hands? I thought that the owners daughter (Corfu) was married to the guy who runs attitude as she is there sometimes also? Have not been there for several months, buit the last time I was there for breakfast I did notice a few new faces.....

              1. re: rantsnravesnreviews

                I don't know the official date, the owner had to come back during escrow for 4 extra weeks (she got married a year or more ago, and after years of being there 3 meals a day, like 362 days a year was happy to retire). If she is related by marriage to the new owners, she never mentioned it. She does have a daughter in her mid 20s, so maybe you are correct. But there is a new menu which retains most of the old menu and adds a lot of Armenian dishes. And instead of the bread she used to provide, the new bread is pita. I've only been there one time since she left though, so my experience with the new situation is limited to a few dishes.

                1. re: MaryT

                  Oh that bread was so good toasted with breakfast!!!!! Bummer. I suppose I will give it a try, maybe the breakfast potatos have changed. I didn't like the greek potatos for breakfast with eggs.

          2. i wouldn't suggest cafe 322. we had the worst wait for our food the first and the last time we went there. after our cheese plate which was pretty good (but who can mess up a cheese plate?) we waited nearly 50 minutes for our food. we tried to walk out and pay for what we ate about two times but the elusive waitperson (who was elusive only when we were sitting there) would miraculously show up and insist our food was coming right up. then when it showed up it was as though they had taken a can of clams and dumped on top of over cooked pasta. not very good food. i'd take it to lucky baldwins, have seat outside and order a fish and chips.

            1. 322 is a fairly nice and inexpensive sit down with Italian influenced food. If the weather's not too hot, the outdoor patio has some nice views of the mountains. The Lucky Baldwins branch here, IMO, is superior to the Pasadena one but it will probably be noisy and service can be spotty.
              My choice would be for an Italian Dip at 322 on the patio with a glass of wine and Pigs in a blanket or mussels at Lucky B's with a nice Belgian ale on the side.
              Only Place in Town is more of a coffee shop. Good breakfast and Sunday brunch. There are some good things on the menu but a lot of mediocre too.
              Nano Cafe, techically east Pasadena but on the border of Sierra Madre is an above average coffee shop.
              Haven't been to Lozano in a few years, it was very good when I was there but sounds like it's declined according to the views here.
              Tried Corfu once a few months ago, found it bland.

              1. there's probably a reason you don't see much on the boards for SM. it's a cute, quaint town and we love it, but not many good eats.

                we eat most at MOUNTAIN VIEW SUSHI mostly because we like his rolls, but you definitely have better sushi on the westside.

                i agree with an above poster who suggests DIN TAI FUNG. if you're coming all this way, you might also want to try BULGARINI GELATO in altadena. it's also something that the westside doesn't have at this caliber.

                while in SM, try visting E. WALDO WARD a terrific maker of preserves and other conserves. they still own their own orchards. you'll think you've driven into a grove in santa ynez. if you're a meat eater, TAYLORS OL' FASHIONED MEATS on the corner of baldwin and sierra madre is a legendary butcher shop. DON TAYLOR is famous for how he ages his meat and how he ties his rib eyes. for a caffeine fix, try BEAN TOWN. they're grinding COFFEE KLATCH beans and they serve FOSSELMAN'S ice cream. there's music on the weekends.

                5 Replies
                1. re: revets2

                  Is Taylor's Ol' Fashioned Meats associated with Taylor's Steakhouse? or is it strictly a meat market?

                  1. re: The Oracle

                    no association whatsoever. Tex & Margie Taylor opened TAYLORS STEAKHOUSE in 1953. Their son, Bruce now runs it. Don Taylor of TAYLORS OL' FASHIONED MEAT MARKET in SM is his own operator and a l.a. county treasure. i went in to buy some rib eye and wanted a TAYLORS canvas bag and they told me, "oh, we usually have a load of them, but martha stewart was here and she bought all of them as gift bags for the steak she bought for various people." oh-oh.

                  2. re: revets2

                    If you go to E Waldo Ward, get their Brandied Figs - they are phenomenal!!

                    1. re: WildSwede

                      WildSwede--I haven't tried their Brandied Figs, but I love their seafood cocktail sauce, spicy bbq sauce, jams and syrups. When I visit their gift shop, I feel like I've stepped back in time.

                      E Waldo Ward & Son Marmalades
                      273 E Highland Ave, Sierra Madre, CA 91024

                      1. re: WildSwede

                        I went on marmalade tasting spree not too long ago, and decided that their tangerine marmalade was the best. So delicious.

                    2. I'm very familiar with this part of town but actually haven't eaten at many of the restaurants here. Bean Town is a great coffee house near all the places people are taking about here so you ought to check that out. They serve more food items now (mosty soups and sandwiches). Village Pizza next door is pretty good (a little pricey IMHO) but it is well, pizza so nothing special.

                      1. The gist of all the posts so far is dead on: "SM is a great place to live, but I wouldn't want to dine there..." But that's not a problem. Unlike the west side, you can drive across a whole page in your Thomas Guide in about 10 minutes out this way.

                        You're better off searching for some fine dining in Pasadena or serious ethnic in Arcadia (etc) and then enjoying some Fosselman's from Bean Town and strolling SM as a post-dinner activity. Beautiful town, nothing special for food.

                        1. I second all the opinions about food in Sierra Madre. Living there now for 7 years, have not had a memorable meal at any place. Why not venture into Pasadena instead, it is on the way from the Westside.

                          A favorite, and consistently good, place for a Thai meal is Saladong Song on Fair Oaks.

                          Happy eating!

                          1. Sierra Madre isn't a place for fine, exceptional dining, but it is a good place to find special ingredients for home cooking.

                            Taylor's Meat Market has exceptional prime meats, including homemade sausages and the best marinated tri-tip I've had. The staff can provide tips on how to cook the meat. As I mentioned before, E. Waldo Ward & Son has great bbq sauces, jams, jellies. I love their seafood cocktail sauce. Savor the Flavor is a great gourmet shop. The owners are extremely nice and they have everything to make home-cooked meals special.

                            Taylors' Ol' Fashioned Meat
                            14 E Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre, CA 91024

                            Savor the Flavor
                            11 Kersting Ct, Sierra Madre, CA 91024

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: chowhound chloe

                              I go to Casa Del Rey for the spinach enchiladas la di dah oh soooo god. But tell them well done and you're going to send them back because otherwise they are are cold in the middle. Mmmmmmm. Oh, I take salsa verde really hot with me it's a gringo mexican place (sorry if I did not sound politically correct and all)

                            2. At the very least, you can get a great beer at Lucky Baldwin's. Pretty decent British pub food, to boot.

                              1. Previously I had been to Lozanos establishment on four occasions-all with my wife only. Based on these experiences, we looked forward to sharing the restaurant with a larger group. On Thursday, October 4, 2007, I brought a business party of eight for dinner. We had a reservation at 6PM. We arrived on-time to a mostly empty restaurant. After our party was seated, we waited over 30 minutes before our server even approached the table. Finally, our waitress took our cocktail order, and to our surprise, made the drinks at the restaurants’ mini-bar. When the drinks came (it is now almost an hour since we were seated) it was difficult to detect if there was any vodka in the numerous cosmopolitans and martinis we ordered! In short, they were extremely watered-down.

                                We all proceeded to place our dinner orders. Four of our party took our waitresses recommendation of "blue nose bass" the days special. After another twenty minutes, the waitress returned with the pronouncement (and a giggle) that they were out of the blue nose bass! This was extremely difficult to grasp inasmuch as the restaurant was essentially empty when we arrived and, even at this time was barely half filled. Trying to be gracious in the face of this implausible excuse, I convinced the affected parties to order the swordfish. When the orders arrived, it was a total embarrassment. The swordfish steak was in actually, a fish cutlet-barely 1/2 thick and overdone. Other guests in our party had equal dissatisfaction with your salmon dishes (i.e., over cooked and skimpy portions). I sincerely hope they address their service and quality issues.

                                1. I live in East Pas/SM Adjacent and agree with the posts here. Cafe 322 is probably about the best thing going in SM, although I have had a couple of good meals at Lozano, which is very hit or miss. The new coffee place Steamers is also pretty good. Pasadena has much better choices. Monrovia is also worth checking out.