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Good Italian in Pasadena

I am looking for a great Italian Restaurant to go to after a football game at the Rose Bowl. I like homemade pastas in a cozy setting. Please no Bucca de Beppo places.

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  1. Briganti's in S. Pasadena. Do a search, all good revues

    1 Reply
    1. People on this board seem to really like Briganti - I've never been so, can't weigh in however, some other options you should probably consider are Celestino on S. Lake and Tre Venezie on Green St.

      141 South Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

      Trattoria Tre Venezie
      119 W Green St, Pasadena, CA 91105

      1 Reply
      1. re: bodie

        Wholeheartedly agree. And I would definitely add Briganti.

      2. I like Domenico's for their Eggplant Parmesan, Garlic Bread and Clam Chowder soup (which I think is a special?) though I don't actually like eating in the restaurant.. just get it to go.

        Domenico's Italian Restaurant
        2411 E Washington Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91104

        2 Replies
        1. re: adevejian

          I also like their antipasto salad!

          1. re: adevejian

            They are closed for vacation until after labor Day. But it's the best place on here. So it's not in Old Town, sorry, your loss.

          2. Note that we don't all love Briganti. I for one find it relentlessly mediocre, like a bad, expensive Brentwood place transplanted to South Pas - Celestino does the same sort of food much more carefully. Tre Venezie is wonderful, although expensive and specializing in a region, Friuli, that you may not have in mind. Domenico's, on Washington near Altadena Dr., serves the kind of homey, straightforward Italian-American pastas and pizzas we all grew up eating.

            1 Reply
            1. re: condiment

              I def. agree that Briganti is mediocre at best. Celestino is one the best italians in Pas. Gale's is also very good.

            2. you might add Gale's...not a little trattoria type place, but definitely not Bucca... nicer environs, food is good, south of Old Town central...not a checkered table-cloth/Chianti-bottle candle kinda place, but not chichi either.


              452 S Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105

              7 Replies
              1. re: Local

                I tried Gale's over the weekend. The best thing was the house salad. I found the food to be exceedingly bland. Not a place I'd go back to anytime soon.

                1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

                  curious what you had...i stick with seafood pasta, linguine with clams, or the special fish for the evening. Though I don't eat there regularly, the shellfish and fish filets have always been fresh and flavorful, sauces not too heavy, but with depth and zest, ...particularly remember a lobster with vodka sauce over linguine that was pretty good stuff ...dunno...and unfortunate, as even a good salad is rarely enough to be a deal maker.

                  1. re: Local

                    Wife had linguini with clams, I had linguini with scampi. The sauce was almost like water, just almost tasteless. She ended up dousing it with pepper, and even that didn't help much. The shrimp and the clams themselves were fine. Unfortunately, Domenico's is closed for vacation, or I would have went there. They know how to do it.

                    1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

                      ...such a different experience...the broth on my clams was briny and tasted of white wine, leek, and subtle hints of ocean...the seafood linguine may have been a special, ...sauce was not a thick sauce but had substance and hints of citrus, fennel and again, flavorful. That said, no question that Gale's is a different style than Domenico's... I'm not a big Domenico's fan because i find the "old style" tomato sauces with all the oregano, etc. to be a bit heavy handed for my current tastes. To each is own - glad that Domenico's works for you ;-)

                      1. re: Local

                        the lingiuni scampi I order at Domenico's is not a tomato/oregano sauce at all, but rather lemon/butter/garlic/white wine sauce. Sounds like you haven't been in a while

                        1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

                          Sorry, not what I meant. Actually, I never got around to the scampi because, over many years of going to Domenico's, I've just never been particularly impressed with their food- whether pizza, basic pasta/marinara sauce or pasta/clam sauce combinations...other's I've dined with have had their scampi- too much butter...just not my gig...and yes, you are correct, it's been at least two years since I was last there.

                          1. re: Local

                            Fair enough, for me there's no such thing as "too much butter". Curiously enough, Domenico's is known for their pizza, but I've never thought it that great. I'd much rather have pasta, veal parmesan, a sandwich, or even a calzone before pizza there.

              2. I like Gale's and Celestino, as mentioned above. Il Fornaio also is consistently good but not cozy. Avoid Mi Piace... terrible service that's rude more frequently than not, mediocre food. My Venetian friends like Tre Venezie, which is quite an endorsement, but I have never been myself.

                1. Briganti is fantastic and not expensive. I think Trattoria Tre Venezie is horribly overpriced and the food is good to just okay; at those prices, it should be some of the best Italian food you've ever tried.

                  1 Reply
                  1. Dominicos? ha yea right. Scarentino's on Colorado (is fan fucking tastic)... it used to be called something else but its the same owners as the Scarentino's in Eagle rock or wherever it is... anyway its really good. ALSO for a more low-key italian try Manny's Pizza (they have everything not just pizza) at 16 N Fair Oaks Ave,, get their BBQ chicken pizza and you will DIE.. also their calamari and chicken parmegana(sp?) is really really good. PLUS they deliver (high five) if you live close enough like i do! yeah! Of course if you want to spend an arm and a leg for a small portion of ok food, there is Mi Piace.... but for after a football game i would stick with either Manny's or Scarentinos.. they are both less booshie and just have great food.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: poshlee

                      Is this the place that used to be called something like Dino's? Is it new owners then? I'm wondering because I didn't like the previous place at all. But a new, improved place I'm willing to try for sure, it's right down the hill from me.

                      And okay, I'm really stupid, what is booshie?

                      1. re: MaryT

                        Pronounced "boozhie", short for bourgeois -- taken as a pejorative to describe the clientele or decor as being too upscale. Synonym: scene-y. Think Paris Hilton or Marie Antoinette.

                        Also meant to describe one whose well-to-do appearance is masking their crass (and often hidden) roots. Synonym: poseur. Think Vanilla Ice.

                        I think Manny's would be a great place to go after a game, as its location within Old Pas allows you to have a Saturday evening stroll.

                        I like Briganti, but I don't know if I'd want to go there after a football game.

                        Manny's Pizzeria
                        16 N Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103

                        1. re: MaryT

                          Yes, it is basically the same (kept it in the family, just changed the name (there is another Scarantino's in Glendale) and updated the inside a bit. Menu is basically the same - but prices have gone up and they no longer have their early bird specials.

                          1. re: WildSwede

                            I liked the old Dino's (now Scarantino's) also....just for something way casual.

                        2. re: poshlee

                          I would recommend Tarantino's over Manny's. Their Shrimp & Garlic pizza is great.

                          Tarantino's Pizzeria
                          784 E Green St, Pasadena, CA 91101

                          1. re: adevejian

                            Agreed. Love their "Tucci's Special" (Shrimp & Garlic)...

                        3. Briganti is very good. The best Osso Bucco I have ever had, Be sure to make reservations. I was there at 6:00 last Saturday and it was packed. The hostess said they had a lot of business from a Westways review a couple of months ago.

                          1. Avanti Wood Fire Pizza is great and the service is very friendly.

                            Fredos is the best delivery in town. Its decent pizza and you get 2 for the price of one.

                            Mannys gets my worse vote. Service is not good, but I think it has to do with the manager being over boosy towards them infront of the customers. I actually felt uncomfortable while I was there watching her boss everyone around. Plus she wasnt too friendly with the customers.

                            1. I am new to this, so forgive my delay in replying. Am I the only person that loves Scarantino's on East Colorado? It's where Dino's use to be. It's not too far from Old Town. They have a delicious house dressing and Minestroni soup. They serve traditional Italian fare in a warm setting. I always get the Canneloni. Their Tiramisu is the best, although it's not made there. I prefer the original restaurant in Glendale/Eagle Rock because they sell carafes of vino. A party of two can wine and dine at that location for $40. It costs more at the Pasadena restaurant because we always buy a bottle of wine.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: marielewis

                                I love Scarantino's (was a fan back when it was Dino's, too). Someone had mentioned it already above. I love that they serve the great soup and salad and FANTASTIC bread with each meal. I always stick with their spaghetti with Napoli sauce and a sausage. Had the pizza - it was okay if eaten immediately when it came out, was not so great after. Lasagna and fish dishes (excluding the calamari filet) are very good as well. Wish they still had their early-bird specials, tho. They are also no longer open for lunch on weekdays (not sure about weekends) and that saddens me since it was a nice weekday lunch place.

                              2. Hello, I'm looking for a great italian restaurant for some carbo loading before a race next Saturday. We'll be going on a Friday night, and looking for good pastas in a casual atmosphere with reasonable prices (up to $20 an entree). Preferably somewhere not too loud. Are there any suggestions -- I see dominico's seems to fit the bill, I just want to make sure it's got lots of pasta options not just pizza with some pasta. I'm open to any suggestions in the Pasadena area.

                                1. Several people have mentioned Scarantino's in East Pasadena (the old Dino's); however, this particular restaurant closed back in June. I believe their Glendale location is still open.