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Jan 4, 2008 12:39 PM

Best restaurant/wine bar in Pasadena area

My brother is coming in from Philadelphia and I want to take him to a nice dinner.
he loves to go out to eat and to cook and he is very into wine.
I have been wanting to try 750 ml. in S. Pasadena. Would anyone recommend it or any other suggestions would be welcome. Looking for something with an interesting menu and good wine list! Not too pricey, maybe something off the beaten path....

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  1. My favorite is RedWhite+Bluezz, though their menu is probably a bit pricey. There's also Vertical, which has swankier decor and more straight forward wine bar food.

    I have not made it to 750mL yet.

    1. Madeleine's on Green Street just west of Wilson is gorgeous with classy ambiance. A little pricey tho. They serve California French cuisine and have an extensive wine selection. Appetizers run from $8 to 19 for the foie gras. Entrees range from low $20's to low 30's. The restaurant is co-located within a boarding house for foreign exchange students. Rumor has it that this place sits on top of a maze of underground tunnels leading to Cal Tech Univ, and that Albert Einstein used to travel these tunnels during wartime. Fact or fiction? In any event, it makes for an interesting dinner conversation! Have a nice dinner with your brother.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Waverly SGV

        As an alum of Caltech, let me tell you, the coffehouse at the SAC is just a coffeehouse. However, the Athenaeum is a nice space. It's a private club, so unless you know a Caltech alum...

        1. re: SauceSupreme

          I'm not sure that Einstein frequented Cal Tech in search of a good cup of joe... But I agree with you about the Athenaeum. It's an exquisite "club" for members only. I was lucky enough to attend a hospital fundraising event there many years ago.

          1. re: Waverly SGV

            Well, I actually like going to the Ath for their monthly "Wine And Spirits Tasting"

            Here's the calendar:

            Oh look, Christopher Eme is going to be a guest chef. Huh. I'm still more interested in the upcoming Single Malt Scotch tasting.

            1. re: SauceSupreme

              Thank you for the calendar, SS. The dinner menu looks over-the-top gourmet. Chateaubriand carved tableside? Bananas Foster?? Mardi Gras??? Perhaps it's time to host a chowdown at the Athenaeum?!

      2. Here is the post on 750 ml. Generally it has not been well liked by chowhounds. Based on the negative buzz, I have not been there myself. I have been to Vertical, and it is very nice, but a bit pricey. I would go there again, but not often.


        1. I agree with Madeleine's and Vertical suggestions. Have heard 750ml is very pricey for what you get, but perhaps worth it for a special occasion. None of the three are bargains by any means but all good choices. You could stop by Mission Wine or Colorado Wine Co. for a tasting too.

          1 Reply
          1. re: imho

            I liked 750 ml, but it did come with a severe case of sticker shock (particularly so because I was still a tad hungry after the two of us spent well over $130, with a modestly-priced bottle of wine). We took my folks to Madeleine's for their anniversary & dad's b-day a couple of weeks ago, and I was actually surprised at how reasonably priced it seemed. The bill for five of us, which included a bottle of red, three glasses of white, & two glasses of dessert wine was $300 before tip. And, we had enough food left over to get an extra dinner for two (with the addition of our own salad). Given the warm, pleasant ambiance & professional, unhurried service, it seemed...well, not a bargain, but very good value.

            I'd also recommend Vertical or RWB. I like the food better at Vertical, but prefer the wine options at RWB (more reasonable pricing on the wine flights).

          2. We tried 750 ml. and were very disappointed and I haven't heard anything good since. The wine bars mentioned are a great way to begin, but you don't have to eat there. There's a funky place called the "Nose" in Arcade Alley and the owner seems to be really into his wine offerings.

            1 Reply
            1. re: karen g.

              I'll through a couple of ideas out there for you. 750ML is good and I've personally not had a bad dish there. However, if you look at Chow, you will see very few good things said about it. I didnt think it was expensive either, I guess its all relative. But it could be dicey if you listen to everyone else. Literally a block away on Mission though is a sure winner. Mike and Anns. The room is somewhat small but very comfortable and the service is very good and they know their menu. The menu is stocked with mainly unfussy things like flat iron steak, ricotta rav, rottis chicken, roasted black cod with miso, braised short ribs etc. Last night though I had three courses just to mix it up: a beautiful frise salad with red baby endive, lardon and poached egg, a diver scallop with puree of calliflower and port wine reduction and finished with a PERFECT crispy duck confit with braised cabbage and chipolline onion. The confit literally wouldnt hold its shape it was SO tender. Spectacular......and I'm in South Pas...?

              The wine list is simple and short with solid and fairly priced selections from Spain, New Zealand, France and California. They even serve a Gruner Veltliner by the glass and you dont find that very often.

              And like everyone else above I REALLY like Vertical wine bar. Its a beautiful space, and they probably have 40 wines by the glass as well as a sharp selection of by the bottle. The night I was there last week, the wine bar had about 10 people in it but the restaurant was completely FULL. I cant personally speak for the food but I have to think they must be doing something right for that to happen on an off night. Their stemware is also top notch so your brother will feel right at home. Good luck and have fun!