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Mar 7, 2009 11:40 AM

80th Birthday in Pasadena/downtown?

Help. My mother is turning 80 in a couple of weeks, and my sisters and i want to take her to dinner somewhere in the greater Pasadena area OR possibly downtown. My mother is NOT an adventurous diner, and she prefers rather low-key but nice places instead of stuffy, overly-formal and/or cutting edge restaurants. We want to keep the whole thing on the moderate side, price-wise. There will be about 10 of us. Any ideas? Thanks for any suggestions!

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  1. What about the Tam O Shanter in Los Feliz? I think of that place when I think of my in-laws. Also, tea at Huntington Gardens is nice.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Silverlaker

      Perfect suggestion, but a little out of the way for everyone. Thanks.

      1. re: soyarra


        Monty's Steak House
        592 S Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA

        1. re: cls

          no go...closed in early summer 2007.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        "Too fancy" for my mom. She wants something a little less formal. I wish there was a place like the Tam O'Shanter in Pasadena.

        Thanks, though.

        1. re: soyarra

          What about some of the places in the Paseo - the Brazilian place? Or Smitty's on Lake? Not too formal. And even though there are detractors here about the food, Burger Continental is certainly fun, and there ARE things there to eat. And certainly informal.

          1. re: Briggs

            Los Feliz is 10 mins from Pasadena -- I'm telling you, the Tam O Shanter makes everyone happy and fits your demo.

            1. re: Silverlaker

              Yeah, I may have to run this by everyone, even though it will be schlep for some. Thanks.

            2. re: Briggs

              Smitty's is an excellent suggestion - thanks.

              1. re: soyarra

                If Smitty's works, you might also consider Taylor's steak house (the one over in La Canada is only 12 minutes from Pasadena).

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Ha! I was just on their website - it would be perfect, if only they'd posted the prices on their online menu.

                Still, thanks.

                1. re: soyarra

                  Prices at The Derby are comparable to Tom O'Shanter and Lawry's.

          2. The Raymond? It gets mixed reviews here, but it's the kind of place my 80ish mother would love. I've only been for lunch, but I liked it.

            Il Fornaio in Pasadena might also work. They do well at accommodating groups, prices are on the moderate side, and I've always been pleasantly surprised by the food.

            Il Fornaio
            24 W Union St, Pasadena, CA 91103

            Raymond Restaurant
            1250 South Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91105

            1. How about Cafe Bizou in Pasadena? Nice place, good food not overpriced, and $2 corkage. One dollar soup or salad. Reasonable prices.

              2 Replies
              1. re: paprkutr

                Cafe Bizou is a great choice -- ! Listen, my in-laws are this age and I know this demo. Il Fornaio is not what these folks are used to -- they grew up on red-sauce Italian and I just don't think they really get this sort of place (sorry if I'm being a bit stereotypical here).

                If you can't go to Tam O Shanter, take a look at Cafe Bizou -- reasonably priced and they'll think it's fancy.

                1. re: Silverlaker

                  Cafe Bizou is perfect for her - we took her there last year on her birthday. Oh well.

                  Thanks, you guys.

              2. There's always Bucca. Not the best food, but I like family dinners there and it's definitely moderately priced.