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Suggestions for a celebratory dinner in Pasadena

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Hi All,

My husband and I are taking out his brother and wife for a celebratory dinner (new job / major life transition) and I'm looking for suggestions in the Pasadena area. We are looking for somewhere contemporary, and upscale (elegant yet still fun) where we can hear each other and have good conversation. Price range -- $20-25 entree is what we had in mind (although a little less, little more is fine if the ambience and food is right). Not something as stuffy as the chop house. It's for a Saturday night..
Thanks in advance!

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  1. Vertical Wine Bistro or Red, White & Bluezz would both fit the bill.

    Central Park restaurant is another option that will fit your budget.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jack Flash

      Second RWB, Vertical could be good too, but RWB is a bit more fun with better pricing/portions.

      Central Park does not feel fun nor celebratory, and not contemporary and upscale, to me.

    2. Madeleines on Green St. Awesome atmosphere and service.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jrupert

        I went there for Valentine's day in '06, I guess it was, and had a nice meal, but I wasn't really wowed. What do you recommend there? It's walking distance from my house, yet I never seem to remember that it's there.

      2. Cafe Bizou comes to mind, based on your criteria.

        1. May be a bit out of your budget (just a bit), but how about Shiro in South Pas?

          http://restaurantshiro.com/

          2 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            I love SHIRO!
            I love SHIRO!
            I love SHIRO!

            We had our friend's going away party there last month...it was great!
            It is one of those places where it is all about the company and the food.
            The room is just a room, but it pretty, the lighting is good and the chairs are comfy and you don't even notice it once the bread comes.
            The noise level is just right, it's mellow, but no one minds when a looney group of "respectable" foodies show up with 2 garden gnomes (who happily sat on the table while we ate-they were being given to me to keep safe while my friend is out of the country) laugh and drink and take pictures of the food and the garden gnomes.
            The service is always attentive, everyone pitches in.
            The food is always great! Oh, those Japanese raviolis!!! The wine list is lovely and we always bring a bottle or two.
            Have fun!!!

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Oh, and about the budget,
              Many times (I've been going since 94') we've made a great meal with just ordering apps!!!
              Right now, they have these stuffed squash blossoms...a cute little squash attched, always the ravioli (can't beat the price and the portion size!), any other cute/tastey sounding thing...the app sizes are great for sharing!!! can really make a meal...4 people could order 4 diffferent thins and an xtra ravioli and 1 large catfish and you'll have a banquet fit for a king/queen...YUM!
              Enjoy!