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Nov 1, 2007 11:09 PM

Bistro-ish in Pasadena Area

I've been tasked to find a restaurant for a small (4 or 5 of us) birthday dinner on Saturday night. Birthday boy has stated that he wants something "Bistro-ish" (though that seems to be somewhat flexible). We'd like to stay in the Pasadena / South Pasadena / Eagle Rock area, if possible.

What we're looking for:
Nothing too formal / dressy (someone will invariably show up in jeans)
Under $75 pp, before drinks
Decent wine choices (but since we normally drink swill, that's not essential)
Someone wants steak frites
Someone else wants some sort of seafood
I want French onion soup
Souffles for dessert would be marvelous, but also not essential
Willing to take reservations for such a small group

I've been perusing the archive and looking at menus and have narrowed the search down to the following - please note that we've not actually dined at any of these places and so any advice is welcome - and if you have any other suggestions, please offer 'em up.

Initial List:
Mike and Ann's
Bistro de la Gare
Derek's Bistro
Cafe Bizou
Cafe Beaujolais
Madeleine's Restaurant & Bistro
Le Petit Chateau (a bit further afield)


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  1. I would definitely go with Cafe Bizou. Nice bistro atmosphere, consistently good food, $2 Corkage fee if you're so inclined, AND they have many of the items on your list.

    1. Cafe Bizou and Cafe Beaujolais seem to be the best fit, Mike and Anne's is also good too -- others not on the list to consider are CrepeVine (great wine selection, and good french onion soup) and Bistro 45.

      But if you can do $75/pp for a bistro-ish atmosphere, I'd say go out of that area and check out Comme Ca in Culver City.


      1 Reply
      1. re: AquaW

        The CrepeVine in Old Town Pasadena was the first place that popped into my mind when I read their post. They had a kitchen fire not too long ago apparently so their menu has changed. Here's their site:

      2. i vote for cafe beaujolais -- they do great halibut. the filet is always good. the soups rule and the waiters are cute and french.

        went to the sherman oaks bizou last weekend. "prime rib" was chewy and swimming in thick, brown gravy. nasty.

        1. From your list, I would go with Madeleine's.

          I would nix Derek's because the food has gone down hill recently. Mike and Anne's is fine, except I think the menu would be a bit too limited to meet your needs.

          1. Thanks for all of the recommendations - we had to delay the celebrations for a month as the birthday boy had a nasty cold virus and didn't want to waste his special dinner celebration (we took him some pho, instead).

            Anyway, celebration is set for this weekend - we've narrowed down the choices to Cafe Bizou and Madeleine's Restaurant and Bistro (need to stay in Pasadena for the evening).

            We're definitely looking for more casual than formal (I'm wearing jeans).

            Comments on the two choices? Anything special (menu-wise) that we cannot miss?