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Dec 13, 2007 03:17 PM

Help!!! Need Good Restaurant in Pasadena

We are taking my mother out for her birthday and I need to find a nice restaurant to take her too that is not the Cheesecake Factory or Yard House or any other chain type restaurant. I would like to take her some place nice in Pasadena with good food and it does not have to be in Old Town any and all areas of Pasadena or the surrounding areas would be great.


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  1. You might try Arroyo Chophouse or Parkway Grill -- both are nice places, next door to each other on Arroyo Parkway.

    If she likes Italian, you might try Tre Venezie, which got a star in the recent Michelin ratings.

    Trattoria Tre Venezie
    119 W Green St, Pasadena, CA 91105
    (626) 795-4455

    8 Replies
    1. re: DanaB

      No further recommendations needed!

      1. re: carter

        Those places are certainly nice, but come prepared for a killer tab. Maison Akira isn't cheap, but within the range of most normal mortals. The food is always good, sometimes excellent, service and comfort impeccable, atmosphere quite calm - when we were there for Mom-in-law's b-day there was classical chamber music playing quietly in the background, so that you could listen to it or talk over it in normal tones. That's worth it to me right there.


        1. re: Will Owen

          I second the Maison Akira rec. Took my SO's mom there before a play at the Playhouse and she loved it.

          1. re: mbh65

            i vote for maison akira. out of all the suggestions it's a total mom place not unless your mom is a 30-50ish hipster...bistro 45 is excellent for a mom as well. my mother likes both places.

            1. re: trolley

              Maison Akira just isn't very good anymore.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                that's sad to hear. i haven't been to maison akira in about 2's such a great place i wish they would get it together. thanks for the update ipsedixit

                1. re: trolley

                  It really is sad.

                  I am a big fan of Maison Akira and really believe that Chef Akira is a magician behind the stove, but lately the restaurant seems to be adrift and without direction.

                  Entrees all served with the same vegetables, foie gras that is grainy and utterly tasteless, salad that is wilted and over-dressed, and plating that reminds me of classical Hungry Man TV dinners.

                  I'm pulling for a comeback, but not holding my breath.

                  Go to Shiro instead.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Mmmmm, SHIRO, one of my favorite places.
                    With this cold weather, I'd be happy with an order of their ravioli and a glass of red wine....mmmm.

    2. I wrote this a couple of weeks ago for someone else and I will use it again here. I hope it helps.

      Bistro 45 / very local, very good, pretty cool room, seasonal menu that is inventive and ever changing, excellent service. Rated very highly. I go here pretty often and have never had less than a great meal.

      Parkway Grill/ an outstanding restaurant that if it were located on the West Side, you couldnt get in. Very comfortable room and with a fairly priced wine list. Super solid American cooking. LA Magazine called this "Spago Beverly Hills" East. The only bar in town where you can get Bordo'''' by the glass. Thats a nice treat.

      Arroyo Chop House/ I can be very good or not. As a local, let me take those chances. Smittys, Arroyo Chop and Parkway are owned by the same fam but they are very different. Parkway is the Flagship and they treat is as such.

      Tre Venezia / a fav of Mario B and mine too. You will also see Hollywood here pretty regularly. Super creative Italian with a Euro-Hungarian twist. Its the only Italian restaurant that I have been to that features not one thing on the menu that is familiar and I love learning and exploring new things. Roasted red beet and fresh ricotta stuffed poppyseed ravioli? who knew....
      They also have an outstanding Italian based wine list full of opportunities.

      Smitty's/ good for a local night out (and I do) but....nope, not for something important.

      Dereks/ Rated by LA Magazine as one of the top 10 rest in the LA basin one year ago. I agree. In an unlikely locations and small but very comfortable and with a professional staff. Derek is an Englishman who takes his dining very seriously and his menu reflects it. Californian with a Continental twist. He will also do a special menu just for your table, if you plan ahead. The unusual thing in this case...he will design it around your personal fav things. That doesnt happen very often. I have been a part of a few of these and they are always winners. I love the place.

      Celistino/ a year ago I would have told you to go but after two really poor meals there recently (seriously) I would definately pass on this one. ( I read that Wolfgang loves the place ) but its off "the boil" for sure. Resting I suppose. When its your business and you are supposed to be a serious Italian restaurant: how do you screw up pasta and simple seafood dishes.... Dunno....

      The Raymond House/ a definate sleeper and a gem. Creative Californian food served in an original Pas Bungalow. They have a new chef, attentive staff and the cooking is on the money. Lighter in style than the others but great none the less.

      You honestly wont miss with any of these. But......if it were me....and what you have for dinner matters....and its important.....I would put them in this order....Parkway Grill, Dereks, Bistro 45, Tre Venezia.

      Zagat rates all of these really well and they are also all within a mile of each other so you dont have far to go no matter what you decide. The best of luck and let us know how it goes please.


      1. I second Bistro 45, although i haven't been there in a year.

        Also, treat your mom to the exquisite sunday brunch at the Ritz Carlton. That always impresses.

        And Madeleine's on green is very serene & cozy. Make sure to ask for a table in the room by the roaring fireplace.

        1. I'd go with Derek's -- that's always been very good when I've gone to Pasadena.

          1. Maybe Green Street Cafe could be an option. That Dianne Salad sure is tasty