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Lunch in Old Pasadena

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I'm looking for lunch recommendations for today in Old Pasadena. Any type of food, casual environment, with total bill at less than $20 per person, including food and beverages. I have tried Crepevine, Noodle World, Cheesecake Factory, Mi Piace, Afloat Sushi, King Taco, and a few other places, and I'm looking to try somewhere new. Has anyone tried the new Mexican place on the corner of Arroyo and Colorado? Thoughts? Thank you.

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  1. Villa Sorriso might fit your bill. My friend and I had a nice lunch there not too long ago. The lunch specials ought to help you stay in your budget.

    1. I'd suggest Central Park, about three blocks south from Colorado on Fair Oaks. Well away from Old Town madness, but still well within walking distance. Better parking, too.

      1. I was going to suggest Crepevine, but you've already been there.

        Some others:

        Le Pain Quotidien (great bakery/cafe - hearty homemade breads, soups, sandwiches and salads) - they're next to Kenneth Cole

        McMurphy's Tavern - On Fair Oaks close to Green St, they have great fish 'n' chips and some pretty good lunch specials

        As for Central Park, I would not recommend. I had a very dissatisfying experience there and will never go back again. Their red wine was warmer than room temp and our seared Ahi was as tender as a brick.

        3 Replies
        1. re: brattenheimer

          Yikes! Not my experience there at all, but I haven't been in almost a year. As it is associated with a chain, maybe after they'd been open a while they went slack. I know that one or two things I've had there seemed to have been cooked on autopilot - not bad, just mindless.

          1. re: Will Owen

            Moot point, I may be incorrect, but it is more a business of a series of related concepts, Wild Thyme, Beckham Grill, Shakers (which used to have a couple or three locations), Diner on Main. Does that constitute a chain, I just wondered? I guess I think of a chain as a franchise or privately owned company that has restaurants with similar footprints, style, menu, pricing, but I am not expert in symantics.

            1. re: MaryT

              Well, the Wild Thyme and Shakers are just Denny's with a different look, and while Beckham's is better, it is not that much better and warranting of any major praise, unless you are in need of a martini!!!

        2. Hi, everyone. Thank you for the suggestions. I ended up trying the new Mexican place called Fred's on Arroyo and Colorado. This may be a chain, but I have never tried it before.

          There was a woman making corn tortillas at the restaurant. The guacamole was very good-- fresh and tasty. The total was about $20 because we shared a combo plate and ordered an extra carne asada taco. The tacos were very big, filled with sliced steak, shredded lettuce, white sauce and fresh pico de gallo. The chips were slightly seasoned. The salsa that came with the chips was okay (not great). The taquitos with chicken were very good. Overall, I thought the service was good and the food was reasonably priced. I will probably go back for Taco Tuesdays, where the tacos are $2-3 each and the drinks are also cheap. I would go back.

          I have been to both Central Park and Villa Sorriso. I would go back to both places. My favorite places in Old Town remain King Taco and Saigon Noodle. I also occasionally like to hit up Noodle World. I like Central Park for breakfast. I have not tried their dinner. I think the setting of Villa Sorriso is very nice, on a sunny day, and the food is decent. I do think Villa Sorriso ends up being a more expensive place to eat, but this is also because we ordered alcoholic beverages there. I thought the lychee martini at Villa Sorriso was pretty good.

          Thanks, again. I will check out Le Pain Quotidien and McMurphy's Tavern when I get a chance. A nice beer and some fish and chips sounds good. :)

          3 Replies
          1. re: katkoupai

            Have you ever been to El Toreo Cafe for Mexican? Great place for Mexican.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              I have never been inside El Toreo, but I have walked by it many times. Is it really that good?

              1. re: katkoupai

                I enjoy it. The burritos are very good and the salsas are always fresh.

                Is it a destination locale? Goodness, no.

                But it is worth a visit if you've worked up a good appetite patronizing the shops in Old Town.

          2. I like Barney's. Not the big one (former Q's) with the big gross food; not Barney's Beanery. But the small one, Barney's Ltd., a couple of doors from Barne's & Noble. It's comfortable and casual. I get a tukey dip and a beer, and I'm pleased.

            1. I know this is late, but next time, try Azeen's.

              3 Replies
              1. re: mbh65

                Actually my question was regarding the term "chain" but I can't somehow equate Wild Thyme and Diner on Main and Shakers with Dennys, even if they are not chowhounder kind of places perhaps. And Beckham Grill compared to Dennys you surely have not eaten there or you hate some owner of the "chain"? That really seems a stretch there, I am almost confused by your comparison. It may not be the greatest place but it is nothing like a Dennys geez. There are so many older couples that hold that place dear, and I guess you think they are just getting serice with diner food? Dennys has fried artichoke hearts with an okay mayonaiisey aoili? Dennys has the variety of choice prime rib cuts? Dennys has that endive goat cheese salad? Dennys has that creamed spinach? Dennys has that Yorkshire pudding? Dennys has that oh I give up.

                1. re: MaryT

                  Just outside of Old Town on Fiar Oaks you will find Gales. Very solid Italian food and its not expensive at all. $20.00 would easily take you though lunch pp. Its owned by a very nice couple and you will be well taken care of. Good pizza, solid pasta's, grilled meats and nice salads. I go there frequently and have never been disapointed. Almost across the street are two very good Thai restaurants owned by the same family. Saladang and Saladang Song. I usuall go to Song because I like the room and I think the food is a little more inventive than that of next door. Some hard core Thai addicts claim that they have both been "westernized" but I dont care. The food is delicious and I love it. They are also fairly priced for what you get.

                  There are many others in the area but if you want to stay close to Old Town and want something different: try one of these.

                  1. re: thomtompkins

                    Thanks. I might try Gale's soon with a friend who loves Italian food. :)