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Nov 11, 2008 05:01 PM

Pasadena Recommendations

I spent some hours last weekend reviewing previous posts for restaurants in Pasadena. I copied many entries and when I went to save, I lost everything. I no longer have time to start over. I'm looking for a restaurant for Saturday night. I'm flying down with a friend to meet her daughter at college and we will spend Saturday in Pasadena (museum, shopping, etc.)

Can you recommend somewhere with great food, semi-casual, mid-price range ($40 - 60 each with salad, entree, wine) and fun. We're doing tapas on Friday so something different and please rule out Chinese.


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  1. Saladang Thai on Fair Oaks Ave. always gets good reviews on this board.

    7 Replies
    1. re: onebite

      "Saladang Thai on Fair Oaks Ave. always gets good reviews on this board."


      It most definitely does not.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        Second ipse. I'll never understand the attraction to that place.

          1. re: WildSwede

            I make the schlep to Krua, Renu Nakorn or Jitlada more often than not, but Saladang is one of those rare restaurants that does exactly what it sets out to do: light, fresh, California-influenced Thai cooking with decent ingredients. Enough with the haters.

            1. re: condiment

              Yes, but it still doesn't taste very good.

              1. re: condiment

                It has no soul. It tastes toooo clean, which of course is another way of your stating that it is "light, fresh, California-influenced Thai cooking"
                It could be referred to as the PF Chang of Thai food, and there is definitely a market for both types.

                1. re: carter

                  Well stated, Carter. I also agree with WildSwede and Ipsedixit.

      2. Several options come to mind. Celestino, Red, White & Bluezz, Vertical Wine Bistro are a couple of options; Cafe Verde is another; La Grande Orange & Central Park (these are a bit less expensive than the others mentioned above); Smitty's Grill. If you venture down to South Pas, Mike & Anne's, Gus's BBQ, Briganti come to mind.

        1. Since you mentioned fun, you should stick to either Old Town, (meaning Colorado Blvd., Fair Oaks or Raymond). Food will be okay, but fun to walk afterwards:

          Cafe Bizou (Raymond Ave)
          Il Forniao (Miller Alley)
          Cafe Santorini (Miller Alley)
          Gordon Biersch Brewery & Restaurant‎ (Miller Alley)
          Kabuki (not high end, but decent and affordable sushi and Japanese fare)
          Sushi Roku (decent and EXPENSIVE - great atmosphere - Miller Alley)
          Cheesecake Factory (always good for jeers on this board, but it's still more than okay)
          Mi Piace (haven't been in a LONG while, but have enjoyed it in the past).
          Louise's Trattoria (Colorado) dependable Italian fare

          On Lake Ave.:
          Smitty's on Lake Ave.
          Crocodile Cafe (casual)

          On Arroyo Pkwy:
          Parkway Grill (California fusion at it's finest - or was the last time I was there).

          Good luck

          1. Daisy Mint on Colorado, east of Lake - good Thai, nice atmosphere

            2 Replies
            1. re: Selter Head

              I'd agree - Daisy Mint was pretty good. More Thai-influenced than straightforward Thai, but good quality ingredients, nice service, and a pretty room.

              1. re: Vaya Con Carne

                I was going to suggest Daisy as well. I had two people take me there two separate times for my birthday recently (my choice) and everyone always loves it (I usually go at least once every two weeks for lunch). You will get out with way less than $40/pp. Do they have wine? Definitely casual. Get the Crab Wontons for apps. Steak salad, Garlic Green beans, eggplant, wings, Spicy spaghetti, Daisy Salmon (great), Tom Yum with sizzling rice, etc. Everything is very fresh. Stay away from the Pad Thai - this is the only thing I have had there that I did not like at all.

            2. I strongly second the previous suggestion of Red White and Bluezz-- it's always a great time, and live jazz plays in one half of the restaurant.

              Else, Villa Sorriso for Italian-- I think they're friendlier than Mi Piace.