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Nov 8, 2007 03:24 PM

Pasadena Bistro - Madeleine or Cafe Bizou

Help! I'm taking my SO out for dinnner for her birthday and I don't have a lot to spend (I wish I could afford the Rtiz or The Raymond) and I have scoured this board and I'm so confused. I want this to be nice and romantic even though I don't have a lot to spend. She doesn't eat Pork or Beef and I would rather not go Asian. We are new to Pasadena and I would like to stay in the area and I'd like to keep it between $100-125 with tax and tip. I have a reservation at Cafe Bizou and I don't know if i should change it.



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    1. If you don't mind driving for 7 minutes to the west, head over to Eagle Rock and take her to Cafe Beaujolais. I've yet to take anyone there who doesn't love it.
      They arguably have the best French Onion soup I've had to date and I've had a bunch.
      They have a signature Halibut dish that's mouth watering. The Filet Mignon is amazing as well as the Salmon. They have an extensive French wine list at very reasonable prices. The servers are all French and believe it or not, they're extremely friendly and helpful. Ask them to suggest a wine and they will. Best of all, you''ll walk out spending $100-$120 for the two of you, including a bottle of wine and tip. Most items on the menu are $15.00-$20.00. When busy, it can get a little loud. Reservations on a weekend is recommended. I think their theme is "French food without the attitude".

      Cafe Beaujolais
      1712 Colorado Blvd
      Eagle Rock, CA 90041
      (323) 255-5111

      Cafe Beaujolais
      1712 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041

      4 Replies
      1. re: Joe

        Bistro de la gare in So Pas. (I believe same proprietors as Cafe Beaujolais)

        1. re: Cecilbee

          The original owners of Cafe Beaujolais sold it quite a while back and are the owners of Bistro de la Gare. I have never been to Madeleine's and would like to some day. I have been to Bistro de la Gare, Cafe Beaujolais and Cafe Bizou. I think they all offer great value and I like them all but I would suggest that you look at the menus for all of the above before you make your decision. I have also been to Cafe Verde. Very good and innovative. The owner is quite engaging as well.

          1. re: Fru

            No wonder! I went to Cafe Beaujolais a long time ago and didn't think it was anything special, the food was just ok. So I could never understand the raves it gets on this board. I really don't like Bistro de la Gare, at all. Well that figures. Now I've got to get back to the "new" Cafe Beaujolais.

            Didn't care for Cafe Bizou either. Love the breakfast at Cafe Verde (haven't tried dinner), but a very very tiny, squishy place--charming though. Will be trying Madeleine's soon.

        2. re: Joe

          I haven't been to Madeleine, but I would agree with Cafe Beaujolais over Bizou, foodwise. Bizou does have booths, which is a bit more intimate.

          1. I've been to Madeleine's once, on Valentine's Day 2006. We enjoyed it but we weren't wowed. I've been wanting to go back. If you wind up there, please tell us all about it. It's walking distance from home, so a good report will hasten our return.

            I have one other suggestion that would certainly fit the bill money-wise: Cafe Verde. It's a tiny place, and whether it's sufficiently romantic is open to question. It's certainly pleasant, but it's so small that it doesn't lend itself to intimacy except for the fact that you sit really close to each other. If you went in the middle of the week (Wed. or Thurs.), it might not be as busy, and therefore more romantic. It's BYOB, so that really helps keep the price down. If it's warm enough in the evening, you can even sit at a table outside (candlelight!), which amps up the romance factor.

            Cafe Verde
            961 E Green St, Pasadena, CA 91106

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jack Flash

              Cafe Bizou is a great bargain for old style, cheap gourmet food. Have a good time without breaking the bank. Very popular with the older crowd.

              Madeleine's is the heir to the old Halie's location: a big modified mansion in Pasadena. Four of us enjoyed a great dinner there tonight in front of the fireplace.

              Everything we were served, from the seared scallops to the venison was delicious and interesting (a la California cuisine). The service was excellent, but then again it was no trick, as we were there on a Wednesday night. A restaurant has no business opening its doors if it can't at least provide excellent service on a Wednesday. We'll definitely be back.

              The four of us each enjoyed an appetizer, a main course, dessert, and coffee, and we shared two bottles of wine. The price, including tax, tags, and freight, came to about five bills, so it wasn't cheap. Nevertheless, we felt we got a good value.

            2. Def. go for Cafe Beaujolais. It will be worth the drive and the food is incredible.