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Need Glendale or Pasadena suggestions

Meeting another couple Saturday night for dinner. Would prefer ethnic (almost any). They're on a limited budget, so nothing too expensive. Any thoughts? What about Carousel? is Polka suitable? How about Salo Salo Grille? Anything else? Thanks in advance.

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  1. The one time I was there, Carousel was very tasty and a fun environment.

    1. Caroussel is good, also Shamshiri for Persian in Glendale, very reasonable.

      1. I would avoid Polka... the interior is kitschy drab & depressing.

        Try Shaab on Raymond for some awesome shabu-shabu/sushi. Their bento dinner combo is a good bargain too. There's also Gyukaku hibachi grill place on Green st, but it can get pricey if you've got big eaters.

        1. Polka is good - low prices, excellent service and the food is decent. It's something different, and perfect for people on a limited budget. A very welcoming atmosphere, although don't expect anything fancy by any means. It's comfortable and good, definitely not depressing.

          1. I also think Carousel is a terrific choice with a group. The food is very tasty and plentiful. Unless you are huge eaters, I would suggest the middle combo dinner rather than the one with everything. You will still get to taste their best, and the sharing is fun.

            I do recommend a reservation. On Saturday nights, I think they have live music. If you go early-ish, you can miss it; if you prefer to dine with it, inquire when you make reservations.

            2 Replies
            1. re: liu

              What about Salo Salo Grille? Is it good? Or is there another Filipino restaurant in the area that's better?

              1. re: bagdoodle

                Salo Salo Grille is good; the service is bad. I've been there a few times. I don't recomend the bulalo because the beef is not tender. I do recommend their take on sigsig. Other Filipino spots are Max's and Barrio Fiesta (Eagle Rock). Of the three, I like Barrio Fiesta. You could order a sinilab and split it since your friend is on a budget. The sinilab can feed up to 4 to 6 people. It a huge meat and seafood filipino bbq platter(ihaw ihaw) served on a bed of banana leaves.

            2. Mojito's replaced Xiomara on Raymond with a similar but significantly less expensive menu. Cuban and South American. Not cheap but not as pricey as before . . .

              2 Replies
              1. re: maggielyn

                Mamita's Peruvian on Brand Blvd in Glendale has really good ceviche and beef tallarine. Can't speak for the other dishes. I've only been there once.

                1. re: missmodular818

                  For Peruvian in Glendale, it's all about Lola's, up on Brand. Truly epic roast chicken.

              2. Note: I moved away from LA 4 yrs ago, so my recs aren't exactly current, but I do visit frequently, so barring significant changes, these places should still all be in business.

                How inexpensive and how casual do you want to go?

                1) Chinese: Fortune Inn, 117 E Broadway, Glendale, CA 91205 (818) 547-2833 (corner Broadway and Brand). Service and food are superior. (I recommend the Firecracker Chicken and the Garlic Green Beans.) The decor is calming and sophisticated, IIRC. Here's a link to their menu: http://www.fortuneinn.com

                2) How can anyone go to Glendale and not eat at Zankou Chicken? ( http://www.zankouchicken.com/ ) The beef sherma is excellent, as are the freshly-made falafels, served piping hot from the fryer, with a gloriously crispy crust. Their spit-roasted chicken is what madde them justifiably famous. No matter what you order here, *always* order some extra garlic sauce! It would make your shoe taste good.

                3) Pizza - In the Glendale/Pas area, there's only one: Casa Bianca! ( http://casabiancapizza.com/ ) I'm embarassed to say I've never tried anything else here, so I can't comment. Their pizza is outstanding: Thin crust, hand-tossed, just the right amount of cheese. Try the meatball and fresh tomato toppings! The ambiance is definitely NY style pizzeria: Noisy, bustling waitresses, vinyl booth and kitchen chairs. Parking is street only (and vigorously enforced) so its hard to come by, and there is *always* a line out the door, so get there early if you can.

                For a more rustic Italian, try Two Guys From Italy, 405 N Verdugo Rd, Glendale, CA
                Tel: (818) 240-0370. (Corner Verdugo and Lexington, right under the 2 Fwy overpass.) As with Casa Bianca, parking is hard to come by. However, their food more than makes up for it. The cream of carrot soup is the best I've ever tasted: Creamy, full of carrot flavor, ultra smooth texture, and of a gorgeous creamy gold color. Their cioppino is outstanding.

                If you will walk three doors down, you'll see Dean's Shoppe. If it's open, please go inside if you enjoy sleight of hand magic. Dean Dill is a top-notch magician and also friendly. His shop is a hang-out for other magicians and you'll never know who will be there when you walk in. Other magicians like to congregate there and jam, showing off their routines for each other. If Dean has time, he'll be glad to show you his work. I especially recommend his "Coin Explosion." Here's a YouTube link: ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpuh85... ) and also a link to another incredible offering: ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVt2cV... ).

                Now, if you and your friends want BBQ ribs, there's only one place, but you'll need to call a day ahead to reserve your ribs (beef or babyback) because they always sell out. We're talking that landmark of BBQ in Glendale, Pecos Bill's @ 1551 Victory Blvd, Glendale, CA 91201-2940 (818) 241-2750.

                It's literally a hole in the wall, barely large enough for the wood smoked grills and the owner and his only employee. The seating is two or three outdoor picnic tables with plastic chairs on the sidewalk in front of the ordering window. However, Griffith Park is across the street, so a rib picnic is easy to do.

                (One note: Other people love their chopped pork and beef, I do not. I've lived in Texas and IMHO PB's chopped meat sandwiches are too sweet, bland and soupy. However, the ribs are freakin' magic!)

                My second choice for BBQ is Ribs USA, 2711 Olive Ave. (Buena Vista St.) Burbank, CA 91505, 818-841-8872. It's a fast 8 minute drive down the 134 from Glendale, and is near St. Joseph's hospital. Wonderful baby backs, but the beef ribs are so-so. Sides are usually decent. Peanut shells on the floor, big screen tv in the corner set to ESPN. ( http://www.ribsusa.com/


                Hope this helps.

                1. If you are looking for good food on a limited budget, Polka is a great idea. It is kitschy for sure, but fun, not downbeat. And the people who run it are just lovely. It sure isn't fancy, though!

                  1. I concur with Carousel in Glendale for good food and fun environment. Not sure what "too expensive" means to you. If you check menu prices of Carousel on-line and they do not fit your budget, you might consider Elena's in Glendale for Greek and Armenian food. The food is excellent, great kebobs and tasty rice, environs are not like Carousel's though...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: LaLa Eat

                      Within the context of this outing being for two couples on a Saturday night, I second something more like Polka's. I am not sure why it is described as depressing above, but many posters on this board are like me and find it a nice place run by nice people, not depressing at all.

                      Casa Bianca is so crowded and noisy, it's "fun" but personally I would think too hectic for a nice, relaxing conversational dinner for a Saturday night. Carousel would also be better. And, no offense to Zankou, but that isn't really a 2 couples "dining out" kind of dinner, is it? I also like both Peruvian places mentioned, I haven't tried Mojito's yet but it is on my list.

                    2. Carousel or Raffi's in Glendale would be great. I've been to Polka many times, I love it, but I could see where it might not be everyone's bag. Also, Polka's cash only, BYOB.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: cjla

                        I was there this summer and they were serving wine. ? I have seen other posters mention this, did it used to be byob only, I'm only a recent person to it.

                        1. re: MaryT

                          I have seen them bring out a glass of wine to a regular--but they don't have alcohol on their menu.

                          1. re: cjla

                            that is really weird, i had 3 glasses of red wine, and my husband and 1 also, and we are not regulars, and we've only been there one time, we we are certainly not regulars.