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Restaurant for meeting of the families in Old Town Pasadena?

Hi all -

My BF and I are heading back to California from Boston and for a very rare occasion both of our families will be together. We'd love to pick a nice restaurant for us to all get together in - something not super expensive, but not too casual either. Great food and service are a must, while wine/cocktail list is less of a priority. We'd love to go somewhere a little more on the unique side and less on the chain feel side.

Any suggestions?

Thank you in advance!

Lauren

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    1. re: JAB

      I was thinking that - I went there when I was home last time and liked it. It's on the short list.

      1. re: laurenmurf

        Your comment about looking for something on the "unique" side leads me to think that you should investigate Racion as a venue for your get together. One of the LA board's most prolific contributors (ipsedixit) has recommended it here several times. and the menu and the food photos shows a very unique place to dine from what I see.

        http://racionrestaurant.com/

        http://www.yelp.com/biz/raci%C3%B3n-p...

        1. re: Servorg

          Warning, there have been down hill alerts since Ipse's recs.

          1. re: JAB

            Thanks both of you for your recommendations. Hoping to get a few more suggestions so if you can think of anything else, definitely let me know!

            1. re: laurenmurf

              Does it have to be in Old Town? I like La Grande Orange nearby for this type of thing - they have a very nice patio, and it's casual but the food is pretty good (Not particularly unique, foodwise, but well-prepared and it doesn't feel chainy to me.)

              A/K/A Bistro might also be a good alternative - it is in Old Pasadena proper. The Portobello mushroom fries are very good.

                1. re: laurenmurf

                  If you're looking for nearby, you might also look into Maximiliano HP in Highland Park.

                2. re: Savour

                  I'll second the La Grande Orange recommend. It's only two blocks from Colorado so I consider it in Oldtown. It's a good atmosphere for a get together and good food. Also, though it's a little farther down Colorado, how about Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana? Very good pizza, nice atmosphere as well. We just did Mother's day there with 7 people and they were very helpful.

      2. How big is your party?

        In Old Town, Cheval Bistro comes to mind. Parkway Grill actually came to mind first, but since you specified Old Town, their sister restaurant would be fitting for your gathering.

        1. Some ideas:

          Racion
          MIke & Anne's
          Shiro
          Vertical Wine Bistro

          Re Racion: I hesitate to recommend Racion -- not so much b/c some of the recent negative reviews as mentioned by Servorg -- but I don't think the atmo is necessarily conducive to a family get-together, if that's something important to you.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            "...not so much b/c some of the recent negative reviews as mentioned by Servorg..."

            No mention of negative reviews was made by me.

            1. re: Servorg

              sorry, you're right.

              It should be JAB.

          2. In spite of some things about the place that bug me, I think Cheval Bistro is the best place for such a get-together. Both La Grande Orange and Maximiliano tend to be hideously loud, with hard surfaces seeming designed to amplify the clamor. Cheval's food is very good, the service friendly and competent, and the prices are probably the most reasonable of all the Smith Brothers establishments. It's a comfortable dining room, too. Just be warned that the bus guys are trained to snatch away any plate that looks like you MIGHT be done with it, in case you're in the habit of going after sauce remnants with a bit of (excellent) bread.

            1. AKA Bistro is a strong choice...I visited recently with out of town guests and the food and patio dining were quite enjoyable