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Need help with a casual dinner spot tonight (Pasadena area)

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Having dinner with a friend who is in town from Seattle. She's not into anything fussy - loves authentic mexican, Italian, bbq, burgers... that kind of thing.

I'm drawing blanks as to where to go - any ideas?

I think The Counter will be too 'fussy' - she liked Pie & Burger on a different visit...

My only requirement is that there be something on the healthier side for me (nothing fried, or carb-heavy, etc.)

Anything come to mind? Would love to stay around Pasadena (or within 10-15 minutes)

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  1. Central Park? Not fussy at all, casual American.

    Menu at http://www.centralparkrestaurant.net/...

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    Central Park
    219 S Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105

    2 Replies
    1. re: suvro

      I would second Central Park. Big favorite among friends both omnivorous and diet-conscious, with very good burgers, nice flatiron steak and sand dabs, and some (reportedly) excellent dinner salads. Tell your friend to avoid the mashed potatoes, but the gratin is wonderful (they'll sub it in if you ask) and the fries are good too.

      Tonny's is fun and very good, though, and if she REALLY wants non-fancy it certainly fills the bill. I've been in more posh bus stations.

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      Tonny's Restaurant
      843 E Orange Grove Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91104

      Central Park Cafe
      219 S Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105

      1. re: Will Owen

        "I've been in more posh bus stations."

        Yes, Will's right. Tonny's is not fancy, but it is "a clean, well-lighted place." Nothing to write home about except the food (and, often, very pleasant service, by the way).

    2. Pie 'n Burger was going to be my first recommendation, but since she's been there before, I say Tonny's for authentic, homey, non-fussy Mexican dishes in a casual sit-down cafe. Their carnitas and costillas are swell, as are the aguas frescas.

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      Tonny's Restaurant
      843 E Orange Grove Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91104

      1. how about elements kitchen?

        1. How about switching it up and going Indian? I have always liked All India Cafe.

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          All India Cafe
          39 S Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105

          1. So where did you end up - and how was it?