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Dec 27, 2011 01:02 PM

What's the best place to take your picky mom for her birthday?

Hello! This is my first post on Chowhound.

I want to take my mom out to dinner for her 57th birthday but am having trouble thinking of a place because her tastes are so particular.

She likes fresh tasting food, nothing too heavy. Only eats fish and chicken, and prefers a quieter ambiance.

Also, nothing too expensive (she will start nagging about the price even though I am paying for it) and nothing on the westside (we are in Pasadena)!

Her palate is kind of on the boring side and I want to challenge it by taking her somewhere a little more creative, or like classics done really really well and fresh.

If anyone could please help me with some ideas, I would appreciate it very much!

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  1. How about Mike and Anne's in South Pasadena, or maybe Vertical Wine Bistro?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chowpatty

      Mike and Anne's can be quite loud, esp. indoors.

    2. Doesn't get a lot of love on Chowhound but, Cafe Bizou would solve many of your issues. It shouldn't be too loud, it has fish options and has some of the best roasted chicken according to my husband. Well priced as well so your mom should have no reason to admonish you:) I love the monkfish over saffron shrimp risotto. Your mom will love the $1 & $2 soup or salad addition to your entree.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Fru

        I always pass by this place but never bothered to check out the menu. All the fish entrees look awesome! Thanks for the suggestion, definitely considering it!

        1. re: calvinklein

          You're welcome:) Have you ever been to Shiro in South Pasadena? Mostly fish. Was cutting edge a few years back but still very good IMHO. We were there about 2 months ago. Service good, attentive as well. Prices not quite as attractive as Cafe Bizou though. I thought of Parkway Grill too but again, higher price point. The acoustics aren't great. Last time I was there for lunch, there was a big party a few tables away with a couple of loud cackling hens. A bit disconcerting. Again, I think Cafe Bizou has everything your mom would want and I would and do eat at all 3.

          1. re: Fru

            +1 for Cafe Bizou... Also, you can order the sweetbreads for yourself and see if you can coax her into trying something new.

            If yo'ure going to consider the Parkway grill, then I think you should also consider the Arroyo Chophouse (same company).

      2. Based on your criteria, how about Parkway Grill? Not as good as it was in it's halcyon days in the late 80s/90s, but based on what you want it sort of fits the bill.

        If price wasn't an issue for your mom, I'd go to Royce. But, alas, it is.