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Apr 4, 2013 07:06 AM

Lunch near the Huntington Gardens.

Getting to be that time of year for our trip to the Gardens. Any suggestions for lunch nearby? Would like charm and good food and good service.

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    1. re: Servorg

      Only thing good these days at Julienne are the pastries and desserts. Even the charm to the place is a bit tarnished.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        While it was probably better a few years ago I find it still works well for a post garden lunch.

        1. re: Servorg

          It's now diner food, at haute-cuisine prices.

          Don't let the surroundings of the lush San Marino environs and picturesque sidewalk patio fool your tastebuds.

          It's like thinking Melissa McCarthy is a waif simply because she's in a Versace gown.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            I gotta say I disagree. Was there less than a year ago and had the croque monsieur, and it was very good. It came with fries (pomme frites) and it was around $14 or 15, which I thought was very fair for the quality of the sandwich.

            We took my wife's cousin who was visiting from Japan and he thought his food was great, and even my wife who is a tough sell when it comes to food liked her lunch.

            So I won't damn it with faint praise, but say you can do much worse if you are looking for a nice setting and very tasty food.

            1. re: Servorg

              I remember a little seafood place nearby. Good seafood, not exactly charming. It was a family style place and the host owner was very proud of his fish. Do you know the restaurant I am thinking of? I fell into it 4-5 years ago.

                1. re: Servorg

                  Thanks Servorg. That does look like the place. Guess we'll go back unless I discover something more interesting. Thanks for the help. I'll wait to the kids go back to school We tried going to the LA zoo yesterday and with school out, the place was indeed a ZOO.

              1. re: Servorg

                We were there for brunch on March 15th after our nephew's "matching ceremony" at USC Medical school. They had several restrictions - they would only serve breakfast till a certain time (which was within 15 minutes of when we reached - then the kitchen would not take any more breakfast orders), but take orders for lunch only 1 hour later! So we had to hurry placing the orders for part of our party that had yet to arrive!
                They seated us inside in a very cramped corner - since we were a party of 6 adults and 1 infant.
                The food was decent, but not something I would go back for - I agree with the sentiment that it is decent food but at haute cuisine prices. The locale is charming, and if that is what one is looking for, then ONLY a good value.

                1. re: suvro

                  I won't comment on how they seated you, but I'm not sure I understand your first criticism. Match Day is generally on a weekday, and March 15th was indeed a Friday. A lot of cafes/restaurants have a "break" btw the different meals of the day on weekdays. Did someone from your party make a reservation or call ahead to let them know when you'd arrive?

                  To complain about a restaurant sticking to their usual cut off (presumably) and to say that lunch orders will be taken an hr later isn't something that's a valid criticism, IMHO, esp when they very clearly list their hrs and their intermission menu on their website:



                  1. re: ilysla

                    1. I had called to reserve.
                    2. I had gone after quite a gap - so I was not aware of their "rules"!
                    3. We were rushing from USC medical school and it was a spur of the moment decision.
                    4. We were not told there was an intermission menu. Had we been aware of that, we would not have felt rushed.

                    1. re: suvro

                      I wasn't aware of their rules, either, until I looked, but I normally do look if I go in during a gap on a weekday.

                      However, if you had called to reserve, they should've informed you about the intermission menu (b/c why would some call to reserve just to have soup?!). That's really unfortuante, and I'm sorry the experience wasn't better.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Gotta disagree with you on this one, ipse. Diner food? Not like diners with which I am familiar.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Mrs. O and I had lunch there a few months back - we were Christmas shopping in that neighborhood - and while lots of places would have been cheaper everything we ate and drank was just about perfect. I didn't write any of it down, but I do remember my delightful crab chowder and a nice brisk white wine. The only change I saw on the menu that I did not approve of is that the roast lamb sandwich no longer comes on that perfect rosemary/raisin bread, but I bet they'd make it that way if you asked.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      The food at Julienne has been very mediocre for years, not just recently.

                      1. re: pley

                        There's just been a precipitous decline in recent years.

                        It's living off of reputation and scenery, and knowing that they have a captive audience in the "old money" that resides in San Marino.

                  2. re: ipsedixit

                    It's fine. I have breakfast there pretty regularly and lunch is good too.

                2. The Raymond is probably your best bet in that immediate are if you want generally good to decent food *and* a bit of charm.

                  You should also look at Fiore Market Cafe, a bit more casual but very charming and very good house-crafted eats.

                  If it's on a weekend, try RaciĆ³n which has superb food, but lacks in the charm quotient.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    The Raymond just closed down for a "3 week" remodel...

                  2. Mike & Anne's in nearby South Pas; they have a nice outdoor patio that's great for lovely spring days (and food that doesn't suck).

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Jack Flash

                      "(and food that doesn't suck)"

                      Now you made me thanks.

                    2. If you forget about charm and good service, all of San Gabriel's superb Asian is right down the street

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: DWB

                        Ok DWB. I 'l trade charm and service for superb Asian. Suggestions please.

                          1. re: Baron

                            Wrong person to comment on that subject, but this forum is filled with info on SG & environs asian offerings. My quick favs within 15 mins of HBG are Golden Deli/Vietnam House or Sea Harbour Dim Sum. Enjoy the gardens, perfect time of year.

                        1. Try the cafe that is in the Chinese Garden. Yes there is a restaurant there, a hidden gem. I had an excellent beef short rib soup with rice noodles and mustard greens. You can sit nearby and enjoy a view of the lake and mountains while you eat.

                          1 Reply