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Birthday Help - So. Pasadena

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Pretend tomorrow is your birthday and you have to choose somewhere to be taken for your birthday dinner. Yes, my predicament. Thinking I want to stay in the area, I am leaning heavily towards South Pas.
I am thinking either Mike & Anne's or Briganti or maybe Firefly (or anything else you can come up with). Would anyone be willing/able to discuss these and maybe pro/con them for me? I have not been to any of them. Type of cuisine or price not of huge importance.
Thank you in advance!!

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  1. went to the raymond not too long ago and partook in their tasting menu. generous portions and quite tasty....service was very good as well. iirc, the TM is either $55 or $65pp.

    1. Shiro or Restaurant 561 would be my top two choices.

      The Raymond, as wilafur suggests, is also good, but I think I would prefer Shiro or 561.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ipsedixit

        i went to shiro @ 5months ago and found everything to be waaaay oversauced....so much so that even the foie gras could not be discerned. perhaps i went on an off night?

      2. Mike & Anne's is good and their food is contemporary which I like, but portions are a bit small. Had a horrible brunch at Firefly this year (it was like slop) so I won't go back ever again. Haven't tried Briganti yet. Love The Raymond's brunch, but haven't had dinner there in about 10 years, we remember it to be just okay. We really like Bistro de la Gare's brunch, but haven't tried their dinner, so I can't say. Lots of people like Shiro but I don't like their spartan interior -- doesn't complete a special dining experience for me so I've only been there once a long time ago. Hope that's of some help.

        1. Count me as a fan of Briganti. I've now been there 8-10 times since it opened. Had service issues on two occasions, but those were over a year ago at this point, and my most recent visit was fine. Food has always been solid. Obviously, it's Italian; Mike & Anne's is not (one visit, good food). Between the two I'd pick Briganti, unless I didn't want Italian, in which case I'd go with M&A. My experience with Firefly is two dinners, which were not bad, but not as good as they could have been (the menu and ideas were a lot better than what wound up on my plates); and one brunch, which I thought was a winner. They have a tapas menu at Firefly on Thursdays, since it's Farmers Market night. You'll want to make reservations wherever you wind up if it's South Pas, as places seem to get real busy that night (and with the recent closure of 750 ml, the choices have been reduced). I take it you've ruled out the other suspects (Gus's, Shiro, Bistro de la Gare), as well as the City of Pasadena.