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Jan 9, 2008 09:17 AM

Help! Good, nicer ethnic places in Pasadena?

I'm looking for a nicer Mexican, Thai or other non-French/California fare in Pasadena for dinner. Just went to Mojitos, which was great, so looking for something else. Not interested in Madre's.

Clare K.

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  1. President Thai is fantastic, and if you go to the original President Thai and not PresidentTwo, it's a nice restaurant too.

    If you're interested in Indian food, there's also a nice Indian place in the shopping center at the corner of Colorado and Mentor. I don't remember the name off the top of my head though, but it's totally delicious.

    There's also an El Cholo in Pasadena for good Mexican food.

    There are several good, reasonably priced sushi restaurants too.

    I wish that the Malaysian restaurant was still in Old town, but last I checked, they were closed. Kuala Lumpur was what they were called.

    There are just a ton of great ethnic restaurants in Old Town Pasadena. If I think of any others, I'll be sure to let you know.

    President Thai Restaurant
    498 S Rosemead Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

    El Cholo Pasadena
    958 South Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91105

    18 Replies
    1. re: RaeRenee

      The Indian resto is New Delhi Palace, and while it's not the best Indian in SoCal, it's definitely better than the Old Town Indian options.

      A lot of people like Saladang Song for Thai. I'm not a fan of the food, but the decor is nice.

      1. re: garvanza girl

        See, for me - if I'm going to a restaurant, I'm there for the food. The ambiance is secondary. That's why I said President Thai. Both President & PresidentTwo serve *delicious* food. President has ambiance, though, where PresidentTwo (which is in the same building as New Delhi Palace (Thank you for knowing the name!!) has great food but "meh" ambiance.

        1. re: RaeRenee

          With you all the way re: food vs. ambience. I keep hearing good things about President Thai - will have to check it out soon.

        2. re: garvanza girl

          Really? New Delhi Palace is better than Akbar or All India Cafe? Akbar is pretty good Indian food. We always considered New Delhi Palace as kind of cheap and bland. Maybe things have changed?

          1. re: Kevitivity

            I used to like All India maybe 5-6 years back, but it doesn't seem as good now. And I really don't care for Akbar - rude service and bland food was my experience there.

            At New Delhi Palace, on the other hand, my request for "spicy" food always is honored. Just don't get the tough, chewy lamb!

        3. re: RaeRenee

          Anyone know if that Thaitalian place is still open and how they're doing? It's in Old Town. I had heard that they were good, but I've never been.

          1. re: RaeRenee

            President Thai sucks, and El Cholo is a close second on the suck scale.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Hey, everyone's entitled to their opinion. What would you recommend?

              1. re: RaeRenee

                I like PresidenTwo (have not been to President yet) very well, it is my go-to Thai place since I had to ixnay my most favorite, Chandra. However, they do not do everything well. Their larb definitely leaves something to be desired (but I still get it) while their Pad Thai is one of the best I have had, and they do the Basil Chili SO VERY GOOD! I also really like their Tom Yum soup. However, their Lard Na is not as good as other places. I was there earlier this week and we wanted the mango with sticky rice, but they had no mango. So she suggested the fried bananas with the rice. It was DELICIOUS! I will be ordering that over the mango version from now on. Also, the service at PT is always gracious and speedy. They know me now since we go at least once a week for lunch.
                Song is nice, but I was not overwhelmed. Saladang is pretty good (the owner used to be a chef at Chandra, that is why a lot of their items are the same-tasting, but much more expensive).
                El Cholo on the other hand... the worst of the lot of Mexican in the area.
                I agree with Fru on the La Cabanita rec. Go for their pork chops (I taste the sauce in my dreams!!).
                El Portal - I have been disappointed in my recent visits. Recently, I ordered the burrito which I posted on about 6 months ago and it has come out cold, with the waiter not caring a spit about it. Service was also lacking. I have not been back. Paseo Cantina is good - I have not had this problem, but others have mentioned the service is lacking. Their tortilla soup and homemade tortillas and coconut flan are fantastic!
                Clare - would you please post on ThaiItalian? I always love your posts! Thanks!

                  1. re: WildSwede

                    What happened to steer you away from Chandra?

                    1. re: Jack Flash

                      Ready? I have been ordering delivery from them since they opened. Every time, I would specify how many of each sauce: thai chilis in fish sauce, chili sauce, jalapenos in vinegar I wanted (types and amounts varying with what I ordered - but it was never ridiculous amounts). Every time it was wrong - EVERY time. Even when I repeated myself 5-6-7 times AND had the person taking the order repeat it. Then I would say "you sure I will get what I am asking for?" "Yes." "You promise, because last time you promised and it was not correct??" "This time correct, Yes." Great. Then it would show up wrong. FOR YEARS!!! YEARS!! Once I didn't even get ONE sauce and I called the manager and he had the same delivery guy bring it back to me - and he only brought me one - ONE. I said I asked for more - and he told me that I asked for too much. I told him that I was ordering, and had paid a lot of money to the restaurant and should get what I asked for, and I did not think that one small (those really tiny see-through sauce cups) was enough for me. Who the hell is he to decide what is enough when I took the extra time and repeated (ad nauseum, even to me) what I wanted. I tell you, he was lucky he was quick because my foot was on its way to his ass. I was so pissed! I called the manager and told him (me and Goff had become friends by now) that since I had to wait my Pad Thai had completely congealed and all my food was cold (not to mention I didn't get the sauces I wanted) so Goff did not charge me for the whole order. So I ordered a few more times, with them swearing that they would get it right. About 5 more times - still incorrect - with me adding 3-4 minutes to each call by repeating what I wanted and having them recite it back to me.
                      The final straw was when they messed it up the last time when I received no sauces whatsoever. I made the poor delivery guy stand there while I spoke with the girl who took my order and asked her to repeat what I ordered. She did. I proceeded to tell her that I did not have what I asked for in my bag. She said "Next time correct" I said "this is the time it should have been correct". Then I asked to speak with a manager and he came on (not Goff) and I told him what happened. First he started by saying their motto "Next time correct". I said that it is ridiculous - I had been ordering about once a week for several years and WHEN was it going to be correct - it had NEVER been correct in all that time. Then he changed his story and said that I asked for too much - what, one of each of those miniscule containers was too much?? When you get unlimited amounts when you eat in-house? So then I said it was bullshit when the girl I had just spoken to told me that next time it would be correct. So, I told the driver to take it back, kept both credit card receipts and that is the end of my love/hate relationship with Chandra.
                      Also, their service when you eat in-house is deplorable. Endofstory.

                      1. re: WildSwede

                        Yikes. That really is ridiculous. I've only had food from there a couple of times, and both times I've picked it up myself on my way home as I drive right by. When it comes to delivery, I've always gone with PresidenTwo. I did like the food at Chandra, though. But that kind of inattentiveness is so off-putting. I'm surprised it took you that long to give up.

                        1. re: Jack Flash

                          I've already done my whining in another thread, but for those of us tired of their dining in experience also, let's say we all write it off. And the last two times was clearly a different cooking mentality altogether, the nam sod was disgustingly greasy with cooked ginger instead of the raw chunks, etc. I don't want to get too started but this place has to have about the worst service anywhere, and those chairs could not be more uncomfortable.

                          1. re: Jack Flash

                            I know, Jack. But their food is/was SO DAMN GOOD. My general rule is usually quite generous - 3x you're out; but with Chandra, they got WAAAAY too many chances. Wonder if it was that they gave me the Tom Yum with just some mushrooms in it for 1/2 price? No other places will do that for me - I've asked. Pick up would probably be better since I can see what I am getting and tell them when I need something, however, the reason I ordered delivery is so I would not need to go anywhere!! LAZY! ;-)
                            Mary - you are correct about the chairs. I have only eaten in-house there a handful of times.

                      2. re: WildSwede

                        I only went to El Cholo once - everyone talked it up. It was the first time I'd tried Mole. I will say that Paseo Cantina is great. I had totally forgotten about that one.

                        Man! Now I want mexican! Thanks, WileSwede. ;)

                1. try saladang and saladang song for thai. Same owner both popular choices. Ones is more authentic, other more a date spot.

                  1. El Portal or Paseo Cantina might work for Mexican.

                    WildSwede wrote about Paseo Cantina here

                    1. Azeen's Afghani is supposed to be great.

                      1. Thanks to everyone who replied. After much research, we're going with thaitalian duet cuisine on Colorado. I've always thought the place has such a strange concept, but it fits the bill (nice atmosphere, not too pricey, great cocktail menu) and am interested enough to try it out. I'll report back on Monday!

                        Clare K.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Clare K

                          Just a note, I just went back to New Delhi Palace after a few months absence, on Jan 1st, and they served us with white ceramics that 1. held much smaller servings 2. didn't hold much heat. Similar to the problem with Radhika's serving dishes heatwise (they have those big square white ceramic flat plates, but bigger serving size than we just got the other ay). The food was still good and the service still iffy.

                          1. re: Clare K

                            Don't overlook the very interesting and completely different from most every other ethnic place in So. Calif, Tibet Nepal House in Pasadena.


                            1. re: Servorg

                              Oh my gosh, I had totally forgotten that place existed! They have *such* yummy stuff! Oh, and yak...which is too chewy for me. I knew there was a reason to go to Old Towne!

                              1. re: RaeRenee

                                Me too! There are so many places and I really do forget some of them - how sad. I need a list. I already have a to-try list that gets longer each and every day. Now I guess I need a been there/done that list to remind me!! ;-) Thanks Servorg!