I never hear much talk of Thai Dishes on Colorado, just east of Morengo. I've eaten at many of the Thai places here in beautiful Pasadena, Saladang, Saladang Song, Chandra, Thai T, and a few others. Thai Dishes has it all, decent service, the best curries, great atmosphere, great location...
Has anyone had any luck at any of the new places in the Paseo? We ate at the Border Grill soon after it's opening (usually a bad idea) and were very pleased. I had a mole/chicken dish that was great. The made-in-house tortillas were a bit doughy.
Just thought I'd put in my two cents, as I live in Pasadena. For the sake of brevity (thats a laugh) I'll limit my comments to Pasadena area restaurants, most of which have already been mentioned.
ok, where to start. . .
For asian food you are in luck, as there are many excellent choices.
1)FU SHING serves the best Sichuan I have ever had, but remember, order the Sichuan dishes. This is the only place for properly made Kung-Pao, as well as a host of other Sichuan dishes (avoid the Sichuan firepot, however, unless you are a big fan of tripe and blood sausage-I don't mind it, but my guests were mortified)
2)KUALA LUMPUR: What more can I say: some of the best food in LA. Period.
3) SALADANG-a good pick for good to great "American" Thai dishes (chicken curry, etc.) but I find SALADANG SONG right next door much more interesting. Nice patio.
4)WOK N ROLL-oh I'm going to get it for this one-let me first point out that the room is one of the tackiest, loudest, and most annoying dining ares I have ever experienced-damn near unbearable. That being said, they do an extremely high volume of business so the fish is generally of pristine freshness and quality. If the sushi wasn't so damn good I would absolutely hate this place. But the sushi has made me a regular customer(i recommend the sushi bar only).
5) and I am suprised no one mentioned this one-KANSAI serves great Japanese noodles and is quite inexpensive-the perfect lunch place.
6) YUJEAN KANG still serves some very, very tasty chinese.
7) SHAAB on north raymond-and this one is for my chowhound homies-is just fantastic. Very authentic traditional Japanese cuisine, the uni chawan mushi is one of the most delicious things I have ever had in my mouth. Exceptional sushi, shabu-shabu, tempura, and ankimo.
Now my other faves, in no particular order.
1)CAYO, while not always completely on the ball, is quite good. Mr. Beltran has a way with foie gras that is sublime-maybe its just the large portion size and I, like the chef, am a sucker for duck liver. Fish and meat entrees are generally very good, but avoid the NY steak. Buck ninety-nine corkage:he-heh, thats cool.
2)as much as I don't like to admit it, for my own reasons, the RITZ CARLTON dining room is quite good for dinner, but only if you demand that the chef pay attention to you. The tasting menus can be something special. It is too expensive in my humble opinion, but as you are staying at the hotel, I don't know if this is much of a concern.
3) MAISON AKIRA is pleasant enough, although their wine list leaves much to be desired (i.e., it blows). The food isn't anything to write home about, but it is pretty solid stuff and often quite tasty. Get the specials or ask the chef to take care of you.
4) The undiscovered godhead Mexican food at PUEBLA TACOS (NE corner of Lake and Orange Grove)makes for good afternoon eats. Their carnitas-loose fatty chunks of pork fried crisp in lard-are simply to die for-literally; you will feel your arteries close with each mind-numbingly delicious bite.
5) ZANKOU CHICKEN near the city college on Colorado is another one I'm suprised wasn't mentioned. Crispy rotisserie Armenian chicken with a wierd garlic paste. What more could you ask for?
a few closing comments:
TRE VEN-whats it called....is good eats, but WAY overpriced. The wine list is outrageously over priced and they frown on bringing in your own-a pathetic 20 bucks per bottle.
LA LUNA NEGRA-more misses than hits, but the Sangria goes down easy and the live entertainment is usually pretty good. Stop in for drinks maybe?
SUSHI ROKU-I'm not a fan, but people seem to like this place. Is it the room?
I now realize this posting is going up too late to help you but I've written too much to not post it anyway, if only for the amusement of other hounds.
Peace and Grub y'all
As a current New Yorker and transplanted Pasadenan, I would say stay away from downtown LA. Not worth it for atmosphere and area, and you can get good food in Pasadena. If you have time for a fabulous brunch go to the Doubletree Hotel on Los Robles (between Union and Colorado Blvd.) Dining in Old Town is a good option, though it can get crowded on weekend nights, so reserve. Tommy Tang's (Colorado Blvd) has excellent Fusion Thai cuisine though the decor is a little dull. If it's a warm night, Trattoria Sorriso on Colorado has a lovely and tiny patio, so does Cafe Santorini, good Greek/Mediterranean, next to the AMC movie theater (in a sort of hidden courtyard, entrance next to Victoria's secret or the Gap. There is an Il Fornaio there as well, which isn't my favorite, but is good in a pinch. Other true foodie places are in South Pasadena -- Shiro's and Nick's are both very good, look in yellow pages for phone/addresses. If you're grabbing a super quick super cheap lunch, there is a tiny taqueria in a shopping center at California and Fair Oaks (across from Bruce Graney antiques) called Los Tacos that I still dream about. The All India cafe on Fair Oaks between Colorado and Green St has some of the best Indian food I've ever tasted, and the Market City Caffe next door has semi-decent Italian food and another lovely patio. For more patios, McCormick and Schmicks is next to the Doubletree and has a beautiful view of City Hall and some decent seafood. Have fun! If you have time, go to the Huntington Library and Botanical gardens, which is very near the Ritz and absolutely beautiful. They do afternoon tea and cafeteria lunch, but it's just gorgeous.
Lucky you! I stayed at the Ritz in Pasadena the week after Thanksgiving last year, and I must say that the service at the hotel is absolutely impeccable! Be sure to try a treatment at the Spa while you are there, a very relaxing and enjyable experience! If you are tempted to dine at the hotel, I would skip the Friday night seafood buffet - you'll miss nothing. My most enjoyable dining experience at the hotel was lunch on the outdoor terrace by the pool - good quality and pleasant surroundings. I second the reccommendation of someone else here regarding a walk around the Old Town - there are outdoor cafes and boutiques to nose around - a nice diversion. The Huntington Ritz really is one of my favoite hotels - enjoy your weekend!
Just a couple more suggestions and some additional comments.
Since you're staying at the Ritz, it's probably best to grab a taxi or rent a car to get around. There isn't anything within walking distance of your hotel.
But if you have a car, you should definitely check out Water Grill in downtown for seafood. Just a short freeway jaunt away on the 110S.
If you'd rather stay in the Pasadena area, Bistro 45 is another good bet. Ample wine list. Wonderful seared ahi tuna too. Another idea is to stroll Old Town Pasadena (Colorado & Fair Oaks), which is 3 blocks of restaurants, bars, and shops. Old Town is a safe bet to spend the evening since there's a lot to see and you're sure to find a restaurant that will appease the group's tastes. You might want to make reservations though because on the weekends it gets really crowded at dinner time. Just don't go to Clearwater Seafood though--they may be owned by the same company that runs Water Grill, but the food is nowhere near comparison.
If you don't mind driving a bit, I'd suggest heading to the Chinese restaurants of San Gabriel Valley. Just take Las Robles south, which turns into Atlantic Blvd. On Atlantic, you'll find Empress Harbor and Ocean Star--great for dim sum, and the dinner banquet food is good too. Or, when you hit Valley Blvd, make a left and head down to Del Mar where the big Chinese mall is. Definitely worth the drive to check out the Chinese Islamic place (I can't place the name! Well, there are multiple references to it on the board here).
re: Richard Foss
Mr. Foss is usually right on, but I will have to dissent on La Luna Negra, where I have eaten nothing but dreadful food on several occasions. (Hope springs eternal.)
Currently, I would recommend Xiomara for Nuevo Latino cooking higher than the general New York standard, Hugo Molina for 1983-style Spagoish food -- great flatbreads, read ``pizza'' -- and the great Kuala Lumpur.
Plus, of course, Euro Pane for bakery breakfasts (cinammon rolls are godly), El Taquito # 2 on Fair Oaks for home-style Mexican loncheria fare, and Shanghai Palace on Huntington for wonderful modernized Shanghai cooking. (BYOB at the latter.)
I have only been there once, on a Saturday night two weeks ago. We needed a fast place for dinner before a show, and I picked La Luna Negra pretty much randomly. We had the tortilla omelette, stuffed mushrooms, a pate that was only adequate but had an excellent sauce accompanying it, a salad, grilled sausages, and chicken paella. All were heavy on garlic, and from the complaints of the rest of the company it's a good thing that the audience was fairly far from the stage. I will try the place again and see if it holds up. Perhaps we were lucky at La Luna - The best of restaurants have bad days so perhaps the worst have good ones.
I agree with most of the above post, but be aware that nothing at the Parkway is inexpensive (especially the wines)and the number of ingredients in many of the dishes verges on chaos. If money is no object, the restaurants right at your Hotel are very good. Also, don't forget about Maison Akira on Green Street; it's one of the most comfortable rooms in Pasadena and it has a new take on French classics that is refreshing without being off the wall.
Downtown LA is the better bet, though, with the restaurants mentioned (the Biltmore is totally underrated - the restaurant is great and the Hotel is a true clasic - where else can you find a life size photograph of the 1935 Oscars?). Also, there's Checkers Hotel, right across the street with a great restaurant (visit the open air rooftop pool and spa while you're there).
I find THE PARKWAY GRILL (510 S.Arroyo Pkwy. (626) 795-1001) to be one of the best restaurants in LA, much less Pasadena. It has a warm, inviting atmosphere, personable and professional service, and excellent food. Many of the greens and vegetables come from the restaurant's own garden. I have had many dishes there, none were a disappointment. The short ribs (a special one night) were divine. Do try it. Also, a newer restaurant called DUCZ (the same owners, I believe; 110 S Lake St. (626) 792-9999) is also a good choice. The one meal I had there was very enjoyable. Many people are also fond of THE RAYMOND, which has a wonderful, romantic atmosphere. The one time I tried it, however, the food itself was only average. Don't be afraid to go downtown, either. It is not difficult to get to from Pasadena, and THE WATER GRILL (544 S. Grand Ave. (213) 891-0900) is one of the best seafood restaurants in the country. It is next to THE BILTMORE HOTEL a wonderful old hotel which has an incredible lobby and is a great place to have a drink. Have a great time!