in South Pasadena...many young aspiring chefs would be so excited to be near Shiro's kitchen.
Beautiful food, clean, tasteful, elegant, sometimes simple, and always good.
attention to detail for sure.
Good wine/sake list and bar. Small room, not too fussy, it's all about the food.
From veggis, fish, meat to dessert, all is amazing.
While you're at Caltech, try and talk to Tom Mannion, who is trying to put together a cooking program *within* tech.
The Ath is nice, and I'm having dinner this week for a bourbon tasting, but I would say the best dinner in Pasadena is at Red White + Bluezz. Even when you take away the wine bar, it's still a great restaurant, if only a little pricey.
I would concur, though, with the Briganti and the Ritz Carlton recs -- the reason being is that, as a Tech student, your opportunities to leave campus will diminish as the workload increases, which means that he'll be eating in Pasadena quite a bit. Heading to South Pas or San Marino will be a welcome treat, even if he doesn't quite realize it now.