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Inexpensive places to eat lunch in Pasadena along 210?

I work in Monrovia, my friend at JPL, so we often meet in Pasadena for lunch, along the 210. There's only so much The Hat and Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles we can eat.

I'm thinking between Lake and Santa Anita, but those aren't hard rules. More than 10 minutes off the freeway and we're cutting into valuable eating time!

Any recommendations would be appreciated. I'm looking for places that are above McDonalds and below $15/person.

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  1. Tonny's and Top's come to mind.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Chowpatty

      While I was off looking for the Top's Kobe beef burger thread you were recommending it! This is the location that is just barely off the 210 Fwy at 3838 E. Colorado Blvd.


        1. re: ecpark10

          Third Top's - it's cheap, tasty and you can practically see 210 (at least the on ramp) from the parking lot. Their pastrami sandwich is better than Hat.

      1. Viva La Estrella Tacos


        Lee's Hoagie House

        Lee's Hoagie House
        2269 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

        1. A few off the top of my head:

          Viva Tacos La Estrella
          Lee's Hoagie House

          I've tried to add links for all of them, but I'm unable to add more than one link.
          Lee's is on Colorado near Sierra Madre. Lupita's is at Colorado & Sierra Madre. La Estrella is on Foothill & Altadena.

          Lee's Hoagie House
          2269 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

          1. Don't forget Fredo's for very good cheesesteaks and the Pie 'n Burger for excellent hamburgers, hash browns, and pies. (PnB could stretch your 10-minute rule, depending on the traffic.)

            Fredo's Phillys
            720 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91104

            Pie 'n Burger
            913 E California Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91106

            1. Europane on Colorado (950 E. Colorado) - just east of Lake- has great sandwiches and other goodies. You could also try Robin's Woodfire bbq on Rosemead near Foothill - casual place, decent lunch fare. There is also a Whole Foods across the street... and a Chipotle just west on Foothill.

              1. I'll second the rec for Fredo's for Philly cheesesteak. Another place near the freeway for a great sandwich is LuigiOrtega, right by PCC. And I used to go to Zankou on Colorado but I haven't been in years.

                1. king taco on arroyo parkway.
                  Mediterranean Cafe on Lake/Del Mar (i like the lamb plate).
                  hamburger hamlet on lake (if you're into burgers and willing to pay more than $6.)

                  1. A few more options -

                    Zelo Pizza

                    Folks at my work like Mongolian BBQ on Rosemead and Colorado. It's quick and relatively inexpensive

                    La Nueva Posada - on Foothill just west of Sierra Madre Villa. Pretty inexpensive lunch specials IIRC and usually pretty speedy service

                    Pasadena Sandwich Company - on Sierra Madre Villa just north of the 210

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: RoxyGrl

                      I've eaten at the Mongolian BBQ place on Rosemead and Colorado a bunch of times and highly recomend it. Good food, cheap.

                      1. re: RoxyGrl

                        I second all of these. Also, a little closer to you (if your friend has time to drive to Monrovia), would be LeRoy's on Huntington Drive & Mayflower, or several choices on Myrtle in Downtown Monrovia, like Wang's Palace or the Canadian Cafe.

                      2. If you're looking for Chinese food, there's a lot of choices in Arcadia.

                        Phoenix Food Boutique (good rice plates, and cheap; love their drinks)
                        1108 S Baldwin Ave
                        Arcadia, CA 91007
                        (626) 446-7668

                        Din Tai Fung Restaurant (for dumplings)
                        1108 S Baldwin Ave
                        Arcadia, CA 91007
                        (626) 574-7068

                        Sinbala (Taiwanese food)
                        651 W Duarte Rd # F
                        Arcadia, CA 91007
                        (626) 446-0886

                        1. I live at the top of Lake Ave, so I know what you mean, it can seem like slim pickings around here.

                          I'd second the Euro Pane rec. Their sandwiches are great as are their desserts, and the 'wiches and a drink will run you about $10. Only downside (to me anyway) is that you're usually just getting the sandwich and a piece of fruit, I wish they maybe did some mixed greens, but the soup is good too.

                          Not too far off Lake and Colorado (west of Lake, south side of the street) is Yahaira's, which I really love. The fish tacos are great, and all their food is fresh and not overly drowning in sauce. Even tho the fish tacos are fried, it's a good chunk of fish with the fresh salsa and cabbage and it feels healthy.

                          Lovebirds Cafe (Colorado, just east of Lake, on the north side) is good too. My friends love their chicken salad.

                          I have to disagree with everyone on Fredo's Philly. My husband is from Philly, and we have eaten there a few times since it opened, and it seems to be getting worse each time. We feel like the meat is sketchy - not unsafe - but just not the cut (or maybe the way it should be cut) for a Philly cheesesteak. South Street in Burbank is better.

                          1. More Chinese food recs for Arcadia... Tasty Garden on Baldwin (south of the Baldwin/Duarte intersection) and Chang's Garden on Duarte (east of the Baldwin/Duarte intersection... in the same strip mall as Sinbala).

                            1. Pei Wei, the fast food version of PF Chang's, is quick and tasty. Vegetables are fresh and they serve brown rice. It's located on Foothill, next door to Best Buy, across the street, on the northeast side.

                              Also, Nordstrom's Cafe is surprisingly gourmet and reasonably-priced. But you'll have to navigate through that massive parking lot at the Westfield shopping mall.

                              1. I third the EUROPANE suggestion. Their openfaced hot eggsalad sandwich is INSANELY good. Din Bin Whatever Dumpling on Baldwin is decent but way too far and the line is way too long. PIE & BURGER is classic and has GREAT burgers and the WORLD;s BEST coconut creme pie and not too far off the FWY.