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Dec 1, 2003 07:18 PM

4 days in Pasadena/LA

  • d

So, I'm with my girlfriend here on work (hers not mine). Staying in Pasadena but we have a vehicle. Would love to hear some delicious suggestions for our four days here in the LA area. we're adventurous eaters and we'll need to get 3 meals a day here (plus snacks). cheap or moderately priced places would be great though we'd probably be willing to splurge one night.

Your suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

thanks so much,


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  1. If you are in the mood for good Thai, try the beautiful Saladang Song (directly next door to its sister restaurant Saladang). It would make for a great lunch in the wonderful patio

    383 S Fair Oaks Ave
    Pasadena 91105


    1 Reply
    1. re: Ernie

      I love Saladang Song too...had another good meal there last weekend. Not very expensive, considering the beauty of the patio at night.

    2. David-

      Welcome to Pasadena. There is basically no end to the amount and variety of food in Pasadena, but I would recommend Marstons (Walnut St. west of Marengo) for breakfast or lunch, but not dinner. Saladang on Fair Oaks for Thai, Gale's (also on Fair Oaks) or Sorriso (in Old Town on Colorado)for Italian.

      You may want to try Tre Venize (sp?) on Green Street, west of Delacy (remember that Green St. is one way, going east) or Celestino on Lake. Both are supposed to be kinda fancy, but I haven't had a chance to go yet. Others may be able to comment. Also the Raymond (a little further south on Fair Oaks) is supposed to be nice, too.

      If you just need some quick take-out food, try Himeko Chicken on Arroyo (yellow and black lettering), The Hat (on Lake, just a little north of 210 fwy), or Corner Bakery (near Lake and California).

      Enjoy your visit!

      4 Replies
      1. re: kotatsu

        I love the fries at The Hat, big, thick cut and they taste like potatoes. The burgers are good too. Chili dogs are not bad. If you need a greasy pastrami dip fix you can get that at The Hat also, don't try and eat two though, you will get a stomach ache, and not from the quantity of the food, but the overall greasyness of two is too much.

        1. re: Chino Wayne

          A good place for Chili dogs is Wolfe Burger, on Lake.

        2. re: kotatsu

          Tre Venezie - probably the best Italian in Pasadena. Better than Celestino or Il Fornaio or Mi Piace.

          Tre Venezie - 119 W Green St., Pasadena (626) 795-4455

          Celestino - 141 South Lake Ave., Pasadena (626) 795-4006

          Il Fornaio Pasadena, Old Town, 24 W Union St
          Pasadena, (626) 683-9797

        3. Here are a couple to start with:

          Burger Continental, 535 S. Lake Ave. They do have burgers but their Mediterranean specialties are what they do best. Beginning at 7:30 AM M-F they serve a buffet breakfast for about $5. Lunch and dinner prices are moderate and they are known for large portions. Printing the coupon at the URL below will save you 20%.

          Big Mama's Rib Shack & Soul Food, 1453 N. Lake Ave.

          You will probably want to spend some time in Old Town Pasadena. In an area of about 12 square blocks this former slum section was beautifully restored and contains well over 100 restaurants.


          5 Replies
          1. re: Sam D.

            I second Burger Continental. There bleu cheese salad dressing at the salad bar is hella good! I've had their buffet too...lots and lots to choose from!

            1. re: Kai

              Burger Continental might be ok for undergraduates looking to squeeze every last dime, but otherwise it's crowded, dirty & gross.

              1. re: Java Junkie
                Piggity Anne

                and that waiter is positively gholish (the one who is partially bald, sweaty, portly and scowling). If you are going there make sure to order Everything (I mean even salads) WELL DONE.

                1. re: Piggity Anne

                  Awww...he's sweet and harmless!

            2. re: Sam D.

              No offense, but if you were a friend of mine and you recommended Burger Continental to me, I would be seriously upset with you for such a recommendation.
              Their food is at best mediocre. The setting is okay but the food and the service is awful. I would rather eat at Gerlach Grill on Fair Oaks or Lebanese Kitchen on Washington Blvd. before I stepped anywhere near Burger Continental.

              My 2 cents worth

            3. For something more expensive, as you so far have gotten affordable food, try Yujean Kang for upscale Chinese on Raymond in Old Town, Xiomara for Cuban almost next door, and virtually nothing else in Old Town. However, Parkway Grill and Arroyo Chop House, both on Arroyo Parkway just north of California, both owned by the Smith Bros., are both wonderful doing California eclectic and Steaks/Chops. Neither cheap ($60 or so per person is a good average, assuming wine or mixed drinks), although the Parkway is slightly cheaper if you only opt for one. Also a very pretty place, if she needs one of those nights. Another poster recommended Himeko Chicken, also on Arroyo at Del Mar, which is fast food chicken, which is also better than you might expect. First time I have seen it mentioned on this board. Good, fast, affordable, and very convenient to the Gold line subway if you want to leave the area on the train instead of your car.
              Have fun.

              1. Personally, I would not support any recommendation posted here so far save that for Celestino. In general you will likely receive better recommendations (ie, more directly in line with what you seek) if you review the archive and request more detail on places that interest you.

                12 Replies
                1. re: Dbird
                  Pasadena Native Hound

                  Personally, I would not support any recommendation posted here that did not take your original request into account (i.e., cheap to moderately priced) Celestino is fine if you like Westside-style overpriced dining, but have found it completely forgettable for the price.

                  That being said, for a fantastic, cheap Middle Eastern lunch, try the shwarmas (their chicken sharma is delicious) near Cal Tech at:

                  Mediterranean Cafe
                  273 Shoppers Lane, Pasadena, CA 91101
                  (626) 793-8844

                  1. re: Dbird

                    Why? Horrible service, average food.

                    1. re: Spike

                      I haven't found it so. They do a lovely carpaccio.

                      1. re: Dbird

                        No offense, but there is more to Italian food than Carpaccio, and with so many options at more affordable prices, why go to a restaurant that cannot even decide on its name, having had 3 different ones in the past few years, yet all with the same owner?

                        1. re: rmc

                          Of what relevance is its name?

                          1. re: Ted

                            hmmmmm...Spago...Valentino....Ivy...I think names can say a lot over time...

                            1. re: Ted

                              Celestino is Mr. Drago's first name.

                              1. re: Griller141

                                I know that. "rmc" is implying that the changed names are a reason to avoid the restaurant, without explaining why it matters. It seems a spurious rationale to me.

                                1. re: Ted

                                  I know Celestino is his first name, duh! But if he cannot even figure out the concept, meaning changing the name and concept from pastaio to celestino, how can the public get too enthused over his indecision. Many westside and Valley restaurants have had trouble making a go of it in Pasadena and here is yet another example. Witness Pinot Pasadena, Sushi Roku, Jerry's Deli and even to a lesser extent Cafe Bizou.

                            2. re: rmc

                              I have gone to Celestino for the past three years at least and there has been no name change I am aware of. I mention the carpaccio because I am so fond of it, but over time I have enjoyed wonderful pasta with truffles, roasted sea bass, and fabulous wines (among other things) at Celestino. I have found Calogero to be a wonderful host. To be fair, it has been a year since I have been back and it is possible that things have deteriorated, but the Celestino brothers' standards there and at Drago have impressed on each visit.

                              1. re: Dbird

                                I agree. I've always had very good food and gracious service at Celestino. I was there last about 5 months ago.

                          2. re: Spike

                            I have to disagree as well. The wait staff has always been very gracious. We've gone to Celestino as well as the sister restaurants Il Pasteo and Il Piccolino in BH several times and have always been pleased.