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Pasadena Recs

What are your favorite places to eat in Pasadena or within a 10 minute drive (note: NOT downtown LA)?

Looking for quick informal lunch spots and high quality dinner places that are pleasant to sit in /have nice ambiance.

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  1. Daisy Mint
    Green St Restaurant
    Europane
    Pie n Burger

    Arroyo Chop House
    Yujean Kang's

    1. Parkway Grill ($$$$, but delivers the goods, great ambience)

      In Arcadia, Din Tai Fung (the new side, very nice room and the rare treat of a Shanghai-style dumpling house)

      Firefly in South Pas (bistro fusion, tented outdoor room, very pleasant)

      Gus's BBQ in South Pas (newly spruced up & the Q is pretty good)

      1. Second all the recommendations, at least the ones (most of them) we've been to. I would add:

        In South Pas, Bistro de la Gare and Mike & Ann's.

        In Pasadena, La Grande Orange and Central Park.

        In Arcadia, around the corner from Din Tai Fung is Chang's Garden on Duarte Rd. Big Shanghai-style menu and very friendly service.

        In San Marino, between El Molino and Los Robles on Mission St., Julienne is about as pleasant a place as you get, if it's not too hot and you sit outside. Good food, if a tad pricey, but worth the bother. Big catering shop for delightful takeout, too.

        9 Replies
          1. re: burumun

            I work in Pasadena Old Town and find Pasadena is a terrible desert for great food. It's obviously too white and rich to have the ethnic wonders, and too out of the way to have truly great high-end eats.

            I usually go to Eagle Rock for Oinkster, Highland Park for My Taco, Green St Tavern in Old Town, or any of the great chinese places in the SGV

            1. re: echoparkdirt

              How can the center of the known universe possibly be "out of the way"?

              Okay, we're a tad short on great Asian, if it's Chinese you're talking about, but that's what the rest of the SGV is for. Perhaps you don't like anything at any of the suggested places, and the ones in my price range are not GREAT in the way some of the bigtime big-chef joints west of us might be, but the only depressingly bad meal I've had at any of them was a grilled NY steak at Central Park, and that had to be a f***up rather than something normal. Now, Old Town emphatically IS a desert, unless you're willing to wander off a few blocks, but that's our secret: it keeps the trendy twits and the turistas safely out of our hair, the former at the likes of Villa So-risible and the latter at the Cheesecake Factory, and lets us have a nice semi-quiet dinner at Daisy Mint or Firefly.

              1. re: echoparkdirt

                Pasadena is a majority/minority city and has been for many years - this is where Jackie Robinson came from. There are certainly rich, white enclaves, and Old Town seems to mandate an industrial-strength blanderizer, but that's only a few square blocks. (That being said, Aziza and Tibet-Nepal House aren't bad)

                Try the carnitas at Mi Casa, the chile verde at Tonny's, the first-rate pupusas at La Caravana or pretty much any of the lunch specials at El Taquito Mexicano.

                1. re: condiment

                  Haha...i think we all love Pasadena, but food is not the reason why. I've never tried Tibet-Nepal -- it was beyond my capabilities to imagine that such a place would actually be good in Pasadena -- but I may try it one of these days.

                  What really angers me about Pasa is all the fake "Italian/Mediterranian" places that are too expensive and mediocre, like santorini and mi piace

                  1. re: echoparkdirt

                    Tibet-Nepal is very good indeed, and apparently quite authentic. Amazing, being so close to Old Town. But then we loved the Malaysian place, too, and then they got forced out.

                    1. re: Will Owen

                      Kuala Lumpur was hands down my favorite place in Old Town. Ronnie Ng was an amazing chef. I wonder where he wound up?

                      I'm not really prepared to vouch for the authenticity of Tibet-Nepal - it certainly seems to lack the austerity of the Tibetan place I used to love in Jackson Heights - but even thinking of it as an an Indian restaurant, it is the best in the area.

                      Now that Tre Venezie's quality has fallen off a cliff, the panini at Porta Via are about as good as it gets in Pasadena Italian.

                      1. re: condiment

                        Wish I knew where - they were talking about opening something before too long, but where and when we never found out. Losing that place was really shattering to us, as there is nothing of that quality/price ratio in that area. We could attend a gallery opening or whatever with no worries about having to drive somewhere else for a good meal at a decent price. And they were so welcoming and friendly, too.

                        1. re: Will Owen

                          His sister owns Yazmin in Alhambra, and Ronnie developed the recipes, but it isn't quite the same. Still: wonderful rojak, curry laksa, nasi lemak, etc.

          2. Add Cafe Verde and Malbec to the recommendations thus far.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jack Flash

              malbec has some delicious menu items, lest you care to take three hours to complete your meal due to service issues , I would recommend going elsewhere for lunch.

              perhaps cafe verde a few steps down for that informal lunch?

            2. Quick informal lunch=Wolfe Burger on Lake. Inside or enclosed patio or outside, menu with more than burgers, beer, informal. Park in the back. You'll be pleased.