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Restaurant Tour in Pasadena

My friends and I are planning to have some kind of a restaurant tour around Pasadena, Old Town and whatnot, this summer :]. Do you guys have any suggestions for us? Preferably some that serve reasonably priced, GOOD food (we are still full-time students=/). A nice atmosphere will be a plus, but not a must. Thanks!

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  1. saladang song is fun

    1. Some of my favorites:

      - Buster's (Fosselman's ice cream)
      - Chado Tea Room (Tomato Basil Soup, Salad w/strawberries, honey, poppy seeds)
      - Pie n' Burger (Thin Pancakes)
      - Europane (Lemon Bar, Croissants)
      - Gourmet Cobbler Factory (Cobbler a la mode!)
      - Gerlach's (Seafood)
      - Lebanese Kitchen (Hummous, etc)
      - Pasadena Sandwich Co (Sandwich & fries)
      - Saladang Song (Green Curry)
      - Tutti Gelati (Cinnamon, Peanut Butter Gelato)

      My to-do list:

      - All India Cafe
      - Bistro K
      - Briganti
      - Bulgarini Gelato
      - Firefly Bistro (brunch)
      - Fox's in Altadena (breakfast)
      - Fu-Shing
      - Houston's (Veggie Burger)
      - Huntington Rose Garden Tea Room
      - Jones Coffee Roasters
      - Julienne
      - Marston's (for breakfast)
      - Nicole's Gourmet Foods
      - Senor Fish (Scallop Burrito)
      - Shaab
      - Shiro (Catfish)
      - Tarantino's Pizzeria
      - Tre Venezie Trattoria
      - Yoshida (Sushi)

      1. a few that haven't been mentioned yet:

        king taco
        21 choices
        zankou
        green st
        bistro de la gare
        bistro 561
        akbar

        1. My favorite restaurant in Pasadena is Red White + Bluezz on Raymond and Green. Up the block is Vertical, which is a very good wine bar also. Right across the street used to be Xiomara (now called Mojitos, I believe) but Yujean Kang is still there.

          My other faves are La Luna Negra on green near Buca di Beppo, The Kitchen on Union and Delacey, Cafe Santorini in One Colorado.

          As mentioned, there's Saladang and Saladang Song, but also head out toward PCC as there are cheap eats near there that aren't bad, especially Luigi Ortega.

          6 Replies
          1. re: SauceSupreme

            haha thanks guys...hmm are Thaitalian, hurry curry, gyu-kaku and mi piace any good?

            1. re: meeshellee

              Haven't been but Thaitalian has been often dissed.

              1. re: mc michael

                I can vouche for Thaitalian being incredibly bland and uninspired.

              2. re: meeshellee

                what SauceSupreme said.

                re Thaitalian...it's good but just wouldn't necessarily consider it a destination spot...see recent reviews which are positive. I liked their soup, nice on a cold evening, tho' would choose Saladang Song for Thai, for both the food and patio ambiance.
                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/387796

                1. re: meeshellee

                  gyu-kaku is good....i could dare to say slightly on the salty side (and i'm heavy handed with salt) but i definitely like it!

                  mi piace is also good. great bread and i've ordered the seafood salad countless times. i've also heard other items like pasta were great.

                  i second tutti gelati. amazing gelato.

                  and if you want lower fat go to 21 choices. they do mix in on the marble stone yogurt like coldstone does ice cream... but i think its better. i <3 21 choices!

                  also don't forget zankou chicken (get the garlic sauce!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HEAVEN) order the half chicken platter. roast chicken comes with pickles, chopped tomato, garlic sauce, hummus, and pita. i always ask for some lettuce to add inside.

                  i went to kabuki on colorado the other day thinking it was going to be awful (my friend dragged me there) but i had very good sushi rolls and a good chinese chicken salad for lunch.

                  le pain quotidien is also known for being really delicious. that is next door.

                  houston's has amazing burgers and ribs.

                  saladang is definitely good thai food

                  hey is that jamaican place still there? if it is, beware of the SPICY food! i ordered medium jerk chicken thinking i could handle it..and it blew my mouth off! lol

                  stay away from that tapas bar on colorado. barcelona. awful, awful!!!

                  also stay away from buca di beppo. long waits and horrible italian food.

                  bulgarini gelato is OKAY. tutti gelati is MUCH better (and closer to the action)

                  1. re: meeshellee

                    In my opinion mi piace is good. Most of the complaints i've heard ( which doesn't bother me that much) are that it can get loud and kinda cramped in the space.

                    I would second saladang and saladang song i like both a lot, as well as 21 choices. Bistro K is excellent though you'd have to make reservations way in advance since the place is tiny and only serves dinner ( Might be a bit pricey for students as well its french food).

                    A couple other places I like in the area though not necessarily in Pasadena are.

                    Fair Oaks Pharmacy -- Old Fashioned Soda Fountain where you can get Phosphates and other really fun desserts and things.

                    Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles -- I'm sure you've heard of it. We have one here too.

                    The Hat -- Great Pastrami and pretty much an institution in the area. More for a quick bite/fast food than a sit down restaurant.

                    Mission 261 ( San Gabriel) -- go if you like dim sum

                    Din tai Fung ( Arcadia) -- legendary dumplings and also a legendary wait .. Get these to go cuz that line is almost always about an hour.

                    Dish ( La Canada) -- Great breakfast I hear they're regular food is also good.

                2. I would add Central Park to the list - just avoid the rib-eye, which they can't seem to get right for some totally inexplicable reason; their flatiron steak is wonderful. As for breakfast, while Fox's is OK, especially if you want pancakes and/or enjoy itty bitty sweet muffins instead of proper toast, I prefer the less elegant but more robust offerings at The Reyn coffee shop (corner of North Lake and Boylston, cash only).

                  Thaitalian has a very good bar and good to excellent food. Friendly if sometimes English-challenged service, reasonable prices. We like Green Street for lunch, but never have been impressed with dinner there. El Portal, in the arcade on Colorado between El Molino and Oak Knoll, is a pleasant, slightly upscale Mexican place with a pretty decent cochinita pibil on the menu. Right behind it on Green St. is Maison Akira, an expensive French joint with a subtle Japanese accent (and Japanese options on the tasting menu). Some folks have said they thought this place was getting a bit tired, but we very much enjoyed our one meal there - though I have to admit we weren't paying!

                  1. My favorite for Mexican is Rosarito #2 on Lake and Orange Grove. They have huge portions, the food is cheap and fresh, and the space is clean (although not fancy). You can have a huge meal for less than $7, including a drink.

                    I also enjoy:

                    King Taco (Arroyo Parkway, between Colorado and Union)
                    Zankou Chicken (Colorado Blvd., near PCC)
                    Saigon Noodle (Raymond, between Colorado and Union)
                    Pita! Pita! (Colorado, between Lake and Mentor)
                    Mediterranean Cafe (Lake and Del Mar, behind Baja Fresh)
                    21 Choices Frozen Yogurt (Colorado and Delacey in Old Town)
                    www.21choices.com

                    Please note that none of these place are fancy, but the food at each place is very good. I would happily eat at any of the above places right now. :)

                    1. Hey, I love this question.

                      My family and I go to Smitty's on Lake Ave for birthdays, etc. It's a little pricey, but good for a special occasion. It's a great steakhouse. Our favorite thing to order is the petite filet.

                      Also really good, which I've seen mentioned here, are Akbar, on Fair Oaks, and Cafe Santorini. Some times I have crazy cravings for Akbar, it's sooo good. Favorite dishes (don't hold me to the spelling) include the saag paneer (spinach w/ cheese) and tiki masala (a really good chicken dish). Cafe Santorini has great atmosphere if you can sit on the terrace.

                      Mi Piace is good italian.

                      I tried Vertical a couple weeks ago and had a nice experience. Great wine selection. Also, try the grilled cheese, it's crazy!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: JennaB

                        About that grilled cheese.... I had one there the other night, or part of one (first course). It was on raisin (?) bread or something similar. Was that your experience?

                        1. re: mc michael

                          Yep, that's the one. I had asked the server what type of bread it was and she said fruit bread, but it tasted like raisin to me. Quite interesting, not what I was expecting.

                      2. I just thought of one other place that I really like in Pasadena, Gale's. It's really good Italian. Located on Fair Oaks between Del Mar and California (near the Huntington Hospital).

                        1. I went to Buca di Beppo to celebrate my birthday earlier this year and the food was a bit...eh, let's just say that I asked the waiter specifically if the roasted vegetables are brushed/marinated with olive oil, he said no but it came to the table completely drenched in a pool of oil. It was kinda gross.
                          I went to Radhika's yesterday night with my family. While the food wasn't 100% authentic, the taste was wonderful. The tandoori chicken was sooo good and the waiters were witty haha.
                          I kinda want to get one restaurant for each cuisine =]

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: meeshellee

                            My Choices for the Area by cuisine.

                            Italian - Petrillo's in San Gabriel, i Like Mi Piace too but some of my fam thinks its to cramped/noisy.
                            Thai - Saladang/ Saladang Song
                            Indian - Rhadika's I guess, If i really want Indian I go to The India Restaurant in Artesia ( Worth the drive)
                            Chinese - Mission 261 for Dim Sum, tons of places in Monterrey Park.
                            Fast Food - Tommie's, The Hat, Ricks In Pasadena ( Try the Spuderito)
                            Breakfast - Martstons, Dish, Juileinne (More for girls my sisters love it a little dainty for me)
                            Middle Eastern - Zankhou, Lebanese Kitchen
                            Japanese - I Like Sushi and Maki in Arcadia maybe cuz its close, I've heard good things about Sushi Roku in Old Town
                            Korean - I go to Young Dong in Arcadia
                            Dessert -Vanille in San Marino, 21 Choices
                            Soul Food - Roscoes

                            Um.. thats about all I can think of at the Moment Still a lot of places I want to go to now that I'm off the College Student Budget ^_^

                            1. re: Mando

                              The India Restaurant is owned by the same guy who runs Kamal Palace at Marina Pacifica on PCH. When they tore most of it down to make it a cartoon lifestyle mall, he was closed for at least 3 years, so we began driving to Artesia to the other restaurant. I still think their benghan bharta beats all other hands down. The menus used to be almost identical, but I haven't been to either in 3 years. I agree, worth the drive. Thanks for the reminder. I'm still getting used to being up here in Altadena away from really good Indian food.

                          2. Would it be rude to suggest that you branch out from Pasadena? While there are some decent places to eat in Pasadena, it's not generally regarded as a great place to eat, especially on a budget. For budget eats, you'll want to head to the San Gabriel Valley, East LA, Highland Park, and Glendale for some wonderful ethnic eats.