Pasadena offers much more than youth soccer leagues, arts and crafts shops, and the very famous parade. From classic delis and burger joints to restaurants serving creative Spanish and Indonesian cuisine, Los Angeles' most famous suburb offers a myriad of old and new dining options. Here are 20 of our favorite places to eat and drink in Pasadena.
Bar Chelou proves that not all places to eat before the theater are boring. This dimly lit, moody bistro in the Pasadena Playhouse is busy all night as everyone shares hearty and beautiful dishes, such as pea and celery root puree with shredded smoked chorizo tuna. While most of the crowd at Bar Chelou had a show to see, the place didn't go away after the show. After 10 p.m., the bar area is full of people who are grateful that their children went to bed early. In the evening, drink a martini and order a lemon chamomile demi fredo (not exactly late night, but pretty good for Pasadena).
If you've ever dined at the original Howlin Ray's in Chinatown, you know you're in a chaotic parking lot with the occasional long line full of people discussing podcasts. That's why the new Pasadena store is a nice upgrade. Parking is easy, there's a large parking lot out back, upbeat staff (who can message you for updated wait times) keep the lines moving quickly, and a beer and wine menu with a raucous hip-hop playlist make it a top notch drinking place during the day. As for the spicy chicken? It's as juicy and crispy (and spicy) as ever. Even if you end up standing in line for a while, this place is worth planning your afternoon for.
Dos Besos can be summed up in three words: Precious. charming. charming. Those words sound a little trite, like how you describe a friend's cute (sort of) baby or a writer's movie you don't understand. But when it comes to Dos Besos, a tapas and paella restaurant in Pasadena, we mean it. This is a very good restaurant in the old town, the service is lovely and the food is very good, sometimes excellent. This is the place to be when you want to put on a fancy top and sit at your seat sipping sangria while sipping on a delicious paella. You will feel at home with colleagues, in-laws or someone who simply loves sausage.
At this family-run Filipino restaurant off Highway 210, you enter the adjacent restaurant through a convenience store and order buffet dishes at the counter, pointing to items that look good (or you can just ask the waiter for your Do you like that recommendation). what is good). The hand-rolled pork spring rolls were excellent and our favorite entrees were the braised eggplant with prawn paste and the succulent vinegar marinated chicken. When the meal is over, you won't appreciate the beauty of homemade nougat: they're like sticky, crunchy spring rolls filled with bananas. There's a reason they sell them in boxes of five.
Every time we walked through the door of Agnes' Barn on Green Street, we felt the need to escape city life and raise a few cows on a small farm up in the hills. There's a busy market and cheese shop in front, an open fireplace full of sizzling meat in the back, and large wooden beams tower over the dining room and back patio. Agnes isn't the first place in Los Angeles to embrace Midwestern nostalgia, but it's the only one that does it all. You'll find dishes like baked potato buns, cornbread eclairs and ice cream topped with puppy treats. It's definitely a gourmet meal, but they also know how to integrate childhood comfort into every element of the meal.
Pasadena is no stranger to iconic vintage architecture that draws people from all over Southern California. California Roast Chicken is not currently one of them, but it should be. This little downtown spot has been around since the 1980s and is home to some of the best rotisserie chicken we've had in Los Angeles. The star dish is the "32 Roast Chicken", a special and top secret recipe that uses a blend of 32 spices to coat the chicken. Spicy and salty with a hint of sweet and sour, it lingers on the lips all afternoon. Whether you live in and around Northeast Los Angeles or not, a solo lunch at RCC should be on your pilgrimage list.
You could call it a "destination" restaurant because Union is so good that people don't make it all the way east of the 405 to Pasadena. Everything in this Italian restaurant is made from scratch (bread, butter, pasta) and is of high quality. Pasta dishes shine here, such as squid ink clumache with Maine lobster and butter and torchetti with pork sauce. You can't leave without mushrooms and polenta. If you are looking for a place to have a good meal in the old town, this is the place for you.
Lunasia Pasadena is the second branch of Alhambra's premier patisserie, located on Colorado Blvd. in a large, modern room with plenty of space to accommodate large groups. You order on paper pads so you get carried away and end up with extra boxes of dumplings to take home (which is good). Our favorites are the shrimp balls and the light shrimp and spinach balls.
This tiny Italian deli in Pasadena has ham cut to order and shelves full of imported pasta. But the reason most people come here is for the famous (and anonymous) Roman sandwich. It's only $6 and consists of cured meats (capicola, bologna and salami) and some polo on freshly baked bread. Not only is it the best sandwich in Pasadena, it's also one of the best in Los Angeles County.
One of the busiest restaurants in Pasadena, Osawa has it all—hot pot, sushi, and sukiyaki—and it's all great. Although the menu is extensive, we usually order the signature sushi combo, which includes a blue crab roll and 12 pieces of premium fish. If sushi is not your thing, try to get a seat at the shabu shabu counter, as that way you can order from both the shabu menu and the à la carte sushi menu.
This casual French restaurant in the heart of Union St. is not as flashy as some of its neighbours, but Perle's gets it right with a romantic atmosphere and a menu of well-prepared French dishes. Our favorite dish is the Lyonnaise Frisian salad topped with bacon, poached egg, chicken liver mousse croutons and Dijon vinaigrette. It's a delicious salad, but it's bland and doesn't fill you up completely. It's important because you won't want to miss the clams and chips, served with soft garlic clams and crispy chips or spicy French onion soup.
This OG burger joint has been serving classic California-style cheeseburgers since 1963. The burger itself is pretty simple: an old-fashioned medium patty on a fresh bun with house-made Thousand Island dressing, American cheese, pickles and lettuce. But there's a reason they never set foot in it: It's one of the most iconic burger joints in Los Angeles. Pull up a stool the next time you're having a bad day at work and need some meat and cheese to ease your sorrows.
Chamo is a family-run restaurant that specializes in Venezuelan comfort food such as empanadas, tequeños and soft, freshly baked tortillas with more than a dozen fillings to choose from. Some of the tacos here are easy to make, so prioritize those inspired by Venezuela's national dish, pabellón criollo, and filled with black beans, fried plantains, white cheese, and a choice of shredded chicken or beef. We also enjoyed the arepa de carne mechada, filled with lots of shredded beef and simmered in a delicious tomato sauce, worth ruining a white t-shirt.
At a steakhouse, you probably know what to expect: decent service, high-quality meat, and good prices. Arroyo Chop House has absolutely all of these things and still stands out in the world of STK's and Ruth's Chrises. But let's not forget the most important thing: the best thing here is actually the chocolate soufflé, which is ordered at the start of the meal because it takes 45 minutes to prepare. It was very fluffy and tasted like chocolate marshmallow. The meats and sides are also good (ribeye is our favorite), and there are classic and beautifully prepared sides like creamed spinach, chunky potatoes and jalapeño corn soufflé.
There's nothing quite like sitting down with a good sandwich and listening to jazz, which is why we rarely skip Perry's when we're in Pasadena. The two-year-old smørrebrød shop isn't jazz-themed per se, but when you walk in, you'll see portraits of famous musicians on the walls and hear Duke Ellington's voice over the speakers. When it comes to music, it's clear that music is a priority. And of course some delicious sandwiches. The menu is extensive with everything from turkey clubs to tuna melts to hot pastrami with pepperoni, but if it's your first time, hey Joe! is it necessary. Filled with roast beef, pastrami, hot links, cheese, onions, diced peppers, mayonnaise and mustard, it's not a light sandwich, but it's somehow balanced: spicy, salty, salty and A good addition to the taste. .the campaign is connected.