Pasadena Food

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  • In 'n' Out Burger $ Tastiest, juciest burgers in town. Good deal for the buck. Awesome milkshakes made out of real ice cream. Mostly a drive-through, but there are a couple of outdoor tables. Double-double animal style is a must. A good indication of how good this place is can be found by noticing that the line for the drive-thru is always about 6 cars past their entrance - the chain is still family owned, not overextended, and it shows. (1997) Sun-Thurs 10:30am-1:00am, Fri-Sat 10:30am-1:30am.
  • Pie 'n' Burger $$ A traditional diner-style burger joint with a lunch counter and formica tables. The burgers are juicy and good, but a little too small and a little too expensive. The service is attentive and friendly. Great selection of pies for dessert, especially fruit pies in season. (2003) M-F 6am-10pm, Sat 7am-10pm, Sun 7am-9pm.
  • Tommy's Original World Famous Hamburgers - Multiple locations. A Caltech tradition - make a "negative time Tommy's run" when the clocks move back. Among local burger joints, Tommy's gives the best value for money, at least if you like chili on your hamburgers. The chili fries are good too. The only downside is a fairly limited menu.

Misc Fast Food

  • Jack in the Box - Colorado and Hill
  • Carl's Junior - Colorado and Hill
  • McDonald's - Colorado and Holliston
  • Burger King - Colorado and Bonnie


  • Euro Pane Bakery$-$$ Now with two locations, (the original) 950 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, (the fancy new) On Colorado Blvd. across from the Paseo Colorado.
    • Everything here is made fresh, by hand, daily. Love it, no peers in the area. Has a very neighborhood, ask the server type of feel. An extreme devoteé of all things pâtisserie will likely find some faults around the edges, but if you can find a place that is consistently better... let me know!! Euro Pane is a very good bakery that also happens to be a solid café. They offer bread, pastries, scones, muffins, tarts, quiches, sandwiches, and soups. Their coffee is from Jones (way to keep it local!) and the brewed coffee is quite acceptable and they also offer free refills. They have a good espresso machine, but the staff is very hit and miss on preparing a high quality espresso drink. Make sure to say hello to the owner, Sumi Chang who earned her pastry stripes under Nancy Silverton at the now gigantic La Brea bakery (which now supplies all the so-so mass produced pastry items at the other coffee shops in Pasadena, except Lovebirds). She has put together a very cool neighborhood café. Some of my favorites are the macadamia nut tart, sea salt caramel macarons, smoked salmon sandwich, and the blueberry brioche. (2010)
    • Excellent fresh croissants, cookies, savory and sweet pasteries, and wonderful sandwiches (including a couple of veggie options). Pleasant walk from campus for a mid morning snack or lunch, although it can get crowded on weekend mornings. For a faster lunch, call in your order ahead of time. (1998)


  • Winchell's - The delicious opposite of health food!


  • Julienne's - $7-15 A cute little restaurant where you can find tasty sandwiches and creatively done salads. The avacado labb on a French roll was awesome. Great atmosphere, too. Overall, much better, in my opinion, than Green Street Cafe, about the same price.

Fried Chicken

  • Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles - $5-10 Amazing
    • Gritolicious- the word says it all. Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles specializes in greasy grimy giblets and grits. The atmosphere is terrible (be sure to sit away from the televisions in the north room) and the service quality varies, but the food- oh, the food. They have chicken breasts so big and juicy that just thinking about them brings water to my mouth. The greens are fantastic, and the chunk potatoes are to die for. The specials very from day to day, but when in doubt, they're a great choice. (1999)


  • Grandview Palace $7-12
    • This is the kind of restaurant that is best enjoyed as take-out, although it's not super cheap. They serve the standard array of Americanized Mandarin and Szechuan dishes. The food was less impressive in the dine-in experience. I've heard that they have frequent problems with the Health Department. (1998)
  • Oak Tree Inn $13
    • Oak Tree Inn is a very good, traditional Chinese restaurant. It's not terribly authentic, but there are often many Chinese patrons eating there (a good sign) and the food is great. Be warned that there is often a wait on Friday and Saturday nights.


  • Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf - Tiny shop that serves special tea and coffee, and will be happy to sell you some to take home. Try their iced mocha: it's the best around! They also sell all kinds of teapots and other coffee/tea accessories. Best iced coffees within walking distance of Caltech.
  • The Coffee Gallery Backstage - A hell of a lot more personality than McCoffee (aka Starbucks), this little place is really worth the 10 minute drive up Lake. It has all the usual suspect drinks in an eclectic environment (great for a date). Backstage is a hidden intimate little performance venue where I've seen some of the best acoustics sets in Los Angeles. The staff are fast, courteous, and interesting, and the bulletin board may surprise you.
  • The Equator Coffee House - One of my favorite coffeehouses, and it's close. Nice atmosphere, including comfy sofas. Prone to appearances on TV commercials and shows. Occasional live music. Open until midnight most nights.
  • Peets Coffee and Tea - One of the closest places. Frequented by Techers who prefer the coffee over the Starbucks blend across the street. Mostly takeout, but there is some nice outdoor seating. Good selection of coffees and teas, both prepared and packaged. If frozen, blended coffees are your thing, Coffee Bean is better, but otherwise Peets is great.
  • Starbucks - King of the coffee chains in the sense that Microsoft is king of software. $4 coffees with the ambiance of a hospital cafeteria. Milder coffee than Peet's across the street, good cider in fall. (2004)
  • Zeli Coffee Bar - Zeli is located right in front of Vroman's. For a long time I though it was actually part of Vroman's. Good to stop by before seeing a movie at Laemmle's, but they're closed by the time the evening movies let out. Semi-comfortable seating, but not that much of it.
  • Zephyr Coffee House & Art Gallery
    • Very...Norah Jones...Feels like home. Enough said. (2004)
    • Easily the friendliest and roomiest cafe in the vicinity of Caltech. Zephyr serves basic coffehouse fare plus delicious crepes/omelettes in the morning. The staff is really friendly, there is always comfortable seating (including a garden patio area) and there is a decent selection of board games and magazines scattered around. In addition, the cafe hosts artists' exhibitions. A bit far from Caltech, but for anyone with a car, this is a nearly perfect cafe. (2004)
  • Zona Rosa Café - Come to have nice quite conversations and to relax. It's a nice atmosphere with coffee, tea and lots of goodies. They're best known for their incredibly rich Mexican hot chocolate. I happen to like the Equator more but this is a good place to pass a little time too. There's lots of eclectic, cozy furniture upstairs. A good place to stop by after a movie or play. Open reasonably late.
  • Andy's Coffee Shop - One of the last great coffee shops. A great combo of rock bottom prices, great atmosphere, very close proximity to campus, and total anonymity to Caltech people. The food is passable standard diner fare, but it has an authentic charm that I cannot recommend enough. (1999) M-F 6am-4pm, Sa 6am-12noon.


  • IHOP - An american staple

  • [ Carrow's]

$5-10 815 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena; map; (626) 799-0561

Carrow's is open 24 hours and nicer than Denny's. They have a huge variety of food and pretty good service. Their infinite refill hot chocolate and drinks are a must. A nice respite after a grueling homework set. (1998)

  • Denny's

$4-8 2627 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 795-0192

What late-night review would be complete without Dennys? A big mistake though. The cheap meals offerred on television commercials aren't available during late-night hours, so you end up paying too much for too little. The "skillet" items are tasty, but have enough grease to turn your blood into jello. Bacon is always overcooked, and even their pancakes seemed microwaved. With all the other late-night choices available, avoid Dennys! The Grand Slam Breakfast is a good deal when available for the reduced price (most mornings). IHOP is generally a bit better. (1999) 24 hrs.

  • Fair Oaks Pharmacy

$3-7 1526 Mission St., South Pasadena; map; (626) 799-1414

An old fashioned soda fountain that uses Fosselman's ice cream. They also have surprisingly good sandwich and salad type food. This is a fun place to go for a Saturday lunch. No dinner. Check out the cute website. (2004) Mon-Sat 11am-8pm, Sun 11am-7pm.

  • [ Johnny Rocket's]

$5-8 52 Hugus Alley, Pasadena; map; (626) 793-6570

Since The Rose City Diner was horribly transformed into Ruby's, it is one the few fifties-styled restaurants left in California. Go for both the food and the atmosphere. (1997)


  • * * *

830 E. California Blvd., Pasadena, map; (626) 793-3337

Rose Tree Cottage has one of the best English High Teas in the area. Tea is served three times in the afternoon, so call ahead for reservations. Only the full tea is available: a selection of excellent sandwiches followed by scones with a heavenly clotted cream and jam, then fresh fruit. The quality is excellent and the ambience charming. The place really is a cottage, tiny, with low ceilings and crammed with an assortment of English items ranging from the typical floral Victoriana to stuffed game and the relics of English gentlemen explorers, and some more American kitsch like colored christmas lights. A variety of items are for sale including numerous tea sets, silver accoutrements, cook books, imported food products, and a roomful of Beatrix Potter items. Perishable items such as the clotted cream and fresh-baked scones can also be purchased. In all, it is a charming and very filling way to spend an afternoon close to campus. (2004) Tea served at 1:00, 2:30 and 4:00 pm Tues-Sun.

Huntington Tea Room $12

  • * * *

1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, map; (626) 683-8131

The Huntington Tea Room inside Huntington Gardens is a really nice way to take a break while you see the gardens. The tea is an all you can eat buffet, with miniature sandwiches (including cucumber), fruits, cheeses, and desserts. Of course, they have tea and coffee too. Even though tea is traditionally in the afternoon, I make my reservations for noon to have lunch. Huntington Gardens and the Tea Room are a great place to take parents and visiting guests. Admission to the gardens is not included in the tea, but is free on the first Thursday of every month. Reservations are reccomended, but there is a cafeteria-style restaurant next door in case you can't be seated. (1998)

ea Rose Garden $15

  • * *

28 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, map; (626) 578-1144

Although not the best tea room in Pasadena, Tea Rose Garden still provides an excellent tea that surpasses most. The best bet in the large menu is the High Tea package. You can pick from several types of tea sandwiches (including a very nice chicken salad and a peppery cucumber and watercress) and scone flavors. The meal is served in typical fashion, on a three-tiered stand, with clotted cream (beautifully garnished with pansies), jam, fresh fruit, and cookies. The seating is limited and quite crowded on weekends, so make reservations in advance. The typical tea paraphernalia are sold, including tea sets and assorted Victoriana as well as a small but nice selection of flowers. (2000)


Beckham Grill $15-20

  • * *

77 W Walnut Street, Pasadena, CA 91103

Nice place to feast on roast beef and trifle (and find out what trifle is), while reveling in the wood and pewter decor and sympathizing with the serving maids and scullery boys dressed for the part. Good selection of fine clarets. Don't fall for the fact that it looks like an English pub from the outside - while they serve you a delicious Guinness for $6, this is not a place to go for beer and snacks! (2004) T-Th to 9:30pm, F-Sa to 10pm, Su-M to 9pm

Lucky Baldwin's $$

  • *

17 South Raymond Ave., Old Town Pasadena, CA 91105 and 21 Kersting Ct., Sierra Madre, CA 91204

Known more for its great quality of beer, Lucky Baldwin's serves good pub food as well. While nothing here is very unusual or makes me want to come here for a meal, it is a great accompaniment to a few (or several) pints.

Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt

Wed, 01/20/2010 - 5:27pm — tek_editor Baskin Robbins $2-4

  • *

561 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena; map; (626) 795-9356

I like the catchy names they give their ice creams and yogurts. Nice variety of flavors and good wacky colors. (1996)

Buster's Ice Cream Stop $2-4

  • *

1006 Mission St., South Pasadena; map; (626) 441-0744

Each wall has been painted a different color, the clientele is young and hip, and there is live folksy music on many evenings. Light foodstuff (sandwiches, pastry, etc.), ice cream, and pretty good coffee. The upstairs is a comfy place to study when it's not crowded. If the Starbucks plague offends you, give this place a try. Typical coffee house prices. (1998)

Fair Oaks Pharmacy: see listing in USA/diners and cafeterias

Fosselman's Ice Cream $2-3

  • * *

1824 W. Main St., Alhambra; map; (626) 282-6533

Easily the best ice cream in LA. The ice cream is sold at several other restaurants (Buster's, Old Town Bakery, Soda Jerks, etc), but the trip is worth it because the selection is enormous. It is a family-run tradition. Don't miss the mango sorbet and the many chocolate flavors. (1997)

The Place For Yogurt $2-5

  • * *

380 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena; map; (626) 568-1484

Fat free, low calorie and really, really good! Very close to campus, at the east end of the Burlington Arcade. (1998)


Wed, 01/20/2010 - 8:14am — tek_editor Akbar $8-12

44 N Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena; map; (626) 577-9916

If you are looking for authentic Indian food, then avoid Akbar, which serves Cal/North Indian food. Ideally located (in the heart of Old Town Pasadena), Akbar offers a rather limited selection (especially if you are vegetarian). The food tends to be uniformly rich, but quality varies from day to day. Pricy, and dishes don't come with rice. Try the mango cheesecake for dessert. (2004)

All India Cafe $8-15

39 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena; map; (626) 440-0309

All India, located in Old Town Pasadena, fits its location well. The food is reasonably decent if not wonderfully authentic, usually not too spicy, and priced like all its neighbors. If you make a reservation, it's a decent place to bring a large group. (2000)

New Delhi Palace $5-10

950 E. Colorado Bl., Pasadena; map; (626) 405-0666

Uninspired Indian food in a pleasant atmosphere. Quality and value both mediocre, but the food is still enjoyable. You're better off going to Radhika for a nearby Indian lunch buffet, though. (2002)


Buca di Beppo $15-20/entree

  • *

80 W. Green St., Pasadena, map; (626) 792-7272

Buca di Beppo is a fun restaurant. Once your name is called, the host leads you to your table via the kitchen where all of the chefs say hello. Before you order, the waiter will warn you that it's family style and all of the food is BIG. One entree will more than fill two people, so it's the perfect place for a large group of people. You won't leave hungry! Their calzone (wrapped pizza) is ususally quite good. They typically exceed in the use of tomato sauce (kind of New York style food). Only open for dinner, reservations recommended. (2001)

Celestino's $12-18

  • * *

141 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena, map; (626) 795-4006

The food is quite good and nicely presented. The service tends to be a little slow, but very friendly and accomodating. Contrary to most "Italian" restaurants here, the cuisine and personnel are actually Italian! Newly renovated 2004. (2004)

Gale's $9-25 452 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, map; (626) 432-6705

This is the best Italian you will find in Pasadena. The restaurant is small, and you can see the chef's cooking your meal. Each meal is made when you order it, so they can customize things to your liking. The owners are wonderful, and the food is out of this world. I highly recommend the bruschetta and the capellini pomodoro. (2004) T-Th 11am-9pm, F-Sa 11am-10pm, Su 5-9pm.

Il Fornaio $12-25

  • * *

24 W. Union Ave., Pasadena, map; (626) 683-9797

The atmosphere is pleasant, and the food is good. Bartender is cool, so if you can't get seated right away, have a martini. The main dining room is quite noisy, so try to get seated in the smaller side rooms. Every month they change their specials (based on a regional theme). Look into these specials for some original items that are not the usual stuff you get in Italian restaurants around here. (2004) M-Th 11:30am-11:00pm,F-Sa 11:30am-Midnight,Su 9am-11pm.

The Kitchen $8-14

  • *

78 W. Union Ave., Pasadena, map; (626) 796-9802

The Kitchen is a pleasant Italian restaurant just on the northern side of Old Town. Unlike most Old Town options, it steers away from the trendy upscale "nouvelle" style, serving such hearty standards as garlic bread, calzones, pasta, and pizza. The decor is crisp and bright and the portions are large -- get a calzone for dinner and be set for lunch the next day too. I've found the service friendly but inconsistent in quality and promptness. The food, however, is always good. Free delivery and takeout available. (2001)

Louise's Trattoria $10-15

  • *

28 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, map; (626) 568-3030

Located in the heart of Old Town Pasadena, this is a popular American-Italian restaurant. The bread is excellent, the pasta is "al dente" and there is a wide selection of sauces. Service and quality of food qre not very consistent. If you have space after the main entree, try their tiramisu, which is fantastic. (2001)

Mi Piace $10-18

  • * *

25 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, map; (626) 795-3131

Mi Piace is a very LA restaurant. The food is pretty good; the desserts are great. Their bar is well stocked with hard-to find items, such as fancy tequilas and grappa. The menu is somewhat inconsistent: entrees range from delicious to mediocre. The calamari appetizer is especially good. Pumpkin ravioli is excellent. It has a lively, bustling atmosphere and is usually packed with well-heeled patrons. Expect a wait on weekends. The new lounge area next door is extremely attractive, good music.(2004)

Old Spaghetti Factory $6-10

  • * *

1431 Buena Vista, Duarte, map; (626) 358-2115

A lot to eat for little money. More styles of spaghetti dishes than you ever thought possible. Complete (big) dinners for under $7. Antique decor is interesting. (1998)


Ai $1.50-2.00/piece, $8-15/entree

1013 Fair Oaks Ave., South Pasadena; map; (626) 799-0534

One of the best Japanese restaurants. Ai seems to have made a reputation for itself, since there is usually a long wait to get a table (fortunately, they provide benches). They have excellent sushi, with more varieties of fish than usual, and most of the standard teriyaki, tempura, etc. Their portions are not as large, and their combinations not quite as much of a bargain as Sakura, however. (1998) T-F 11:30am-10pm; Sa-Su 5pm- 10pm; closed Mon.

Kabuki $1.00-1.50/piece

3539 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 351-8963 Large menu of half-price sushi that includes most of the standard favorites. The fish is pre-cut, and the quality is a little spotty (the rolls tend to be good, but the fish isn't the best), but it's cheap enough to still be worth trying. (1999)

Shogun $10-15

470 N. Halstead St., Pasadena; map; (626) 351-8945

Chefs cook at griddles embedded in your table (huge tables- can seat eight). Beef, chicken, lobster, fish, and scallops are served at dinner, and they also have a good sushi bar. Half-price sushi at the bar is a nice lunchtime special. The crunchy roll is intriguing. (2004) Su-Th 5pm -10pm; F-Sa 5pm-10:30pm

Sushi of Naples $2.00-2.50/piece, $12-18/entree

735 E. Green Street, Pasadena; map; (626) 578-1123

Naples does not refer to the city in Italy. They serve average sushi, but do not get the iced green tea or the chicken teriyaki. The lunch specials are a good deal. The chirashi (Sashimi Bowl) proves that they know how to make really good sushi rice. The boats are fun, but pricey. (2004)

Latin & Caribbean

Kingston Cafe $15

  • *

333 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena; map; (626) 405-8080

Kingston Cafe has a homey decor with friendly staff. The dinners come with appetizers and soup or salad. The appetizers, fried plantain and festival, were delicious. However, when the main entree came, I was disappointed. Although the portions were well-sized, I found the jerked chicken to be a little dry and the curried chicken bland. Personally, I have had better Jamaican food, and I think you could too. (2000) Tu-F 11-2,4-9 Sa 1-9

Mexican (table service)

Amigos $6-10

  • (restaurant),
  • * *(bar)

1076 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 577-1307

The food isn't really all that bad (although a few dishes taste like they're microwaved out of a box), and the Margaritas are tasty with plenty of liquor. The service is attentive, and the booths are dimly lit. Go for the bar on a Friday evening, not for the restaurant. Another reviewer writes: You're safe enjoying the margaritas, as long as you don't get tempted to eat anything ... (1998 & 2004)

El Portal $8-15

  • * *

695 E. Green St., Pasadena; map; (626) 795-8553

Great, traditional Mexican food at very reasonable prices. Seafood dishes can be found on their large menu, too. The atmosphere is classic, with sombreros and bright shawls on the walls. Full bar, great margaritas, and the best chips and salsa in town. (1998) 11am -10pm

El Torito $5-10

  • * *

3333 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 351-8995

Best Americanized Mexican food. Fresh guacamole appetizer is wonderful. Also some low-fat entrees that are very good. Free happy hour buffet. Sunday brunch is great, waffles and omelets made to order in addition to the usual fare, and champagne, all for about $12. (1998)

La Fiesta Grande $7

  • * *

624 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 795-5577

Great mole (chocolate and chili sauce). All kinds of people come here for the large portions of interesting Mexican food. The original crab enchilada was invented here. Live mariachi band every Saturday night. Order the taco bar and you'll get all you can eat taco fillings to make your own tacos for only $6.95. (1998) Su-Th 9am- 9pm; F-Sa 9am- 10pm

Margarita's Mexican Restaurant $6-12

  • *

155 S. Rosemead Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 449-4193

A somewhat overpriced Mexican meal- slightly insulting that they charge for tortillas. The place looks to be a dive, and doesn't really disappoint. They have an all-you-can-eat buffet, but we recommend avoiding it and ordering off the menu. (1999)

Mijares $15

  • *

1806 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 794-6674 145 Palmetto Dr., Pasadena; map; (626) 792-2763

Man do people have mediocre tastes. Their great margaritas are pricy; the entrees are disappointingly standard Americanized Mexican food. However, considering that Americanized Mexican isn't necessarily an evil, this place isn't all that bad .If you prize great food above ambience, you probably don't want to come here, but you could do worse for a date. (2002)

Puebla Tacos $5

  • * * *

700 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena; map; (626) 797-6884

Puebla Tacos serves great authentic Mexican tacos-even tacos de lengua! It's always crowded, but the service is quick so you don't have to wait long. This is a perfect place for those late night munchies. (1998)

Soly Azul $7-10

  • *

20 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 796-0919

Clean. Intimate. Romantic, even. Great tortilla soup. I found some of the food too salty. It's relatively new. The management will bend over backwards to make you happy. Serves Mexican food. Also has happy hours and Sunday brunch, which I haven't tried yet. (2004) Open until 10 pm weekdays, 11 pm Fri and Sat.

Yahaira's Cafe $7-10

  • *

698 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 844-3254

Review: Fresh, non-greasy Mexican food, limited menu but good food. A small place, with about 4-5 tables inside and 3-4 tables outside. Gets crowded at lunchtime. Parking: In back, accessible from Green Street. You can't see Yahairas from Green though, you have to park in the lot (2 hours free with validation) and then cross through a little patio type place with several restaurants to get there. (2004) Call for hours.

Mexican (takeaway)

Burrito Express $3-5

  • * *

1597 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 798-0844

Excellent burritos and mouth-watering quesadillas that are very good for the price. Recommend JVC (the best burritos in town) the Ito Burrito, and the cookie. Vegetarians, watch out because the beans have pork lard in them (it makes them yummy though). When you eat there, you can enter a drawing to win a free burrito. Everyone else that I know has won; not me though. They'll deliver a six-pack of burritos overnight anywhere in the USA. (1999) until 9pm.

Chipotle $4-7

  • * *

3409 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 351-6017

Tasty Cal-Mex food in a strange but pleasant atmosphere. A nice alternative to Baja Fresh - they take the same philosophy to Cal-Mex food but they implement it a bit differently for variety. Most people who have been to both Chipotle and Baja think that Chipotle is just a bit better. Also, it's a bit less anonymous - if you go frequently enough, they'll remember you, and I even got a free meal out of the deal once. Some find their menu limited (2002)

Del Taco $2

  • *

844 E. Union St., Pasadena; map; (626) 792-9842

Cheap tacos! ($0.45/taco) ~5/tacos/person = $2.50. Not even close to the best, but a little bit better than Taco Bell, and cheaper. Del Taco serves french fries along with their gringo tacos. Go on Tuesday for 3 tacos/99 cents (like they're ever expensive anyway), and notice all the strange folk that flock here for the deal. They will serve people on bicycles at odd hours of the night. (2002) 5am-11pm; drive-through open until 2am.

El Super Burrito $6

  • * *

3631 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena; map; (626) 792-4482

El Super Burrito offers a variety of Mexican dishes. It's fast food, and the only seating is a few outdoor tables, but the service is prompt and the food is fresh and good. Open 'til midnight daily. (2001)

Green Street Taqueria

  • *

730 E. Green St., Pasadena; map; (626) 795-2413

Their potato tacos are an unusual and tasty item. Otherwise, the menu is small and the food uninspiring. Drink refills are free. The woman running the place bothers me, but the cook is a nice guy. (2002)

King Taco $2-5

  • * *

45 N. Arroyo Pkwy., Pasadena; map; (626) 792-0405

Come here for the real Mexican-American thing. I don't normally like Mexican food, but this place is great. You can order everything from beef or pork tacos to ones made from beef brains or hog maws. It's even crowded in the middle of the night. King Taco has locations all over LA, and can be found at most sporting events and fairs. (1998) open till late.

Señor Fish $1.50/taco, $3-10/entree

  • * * *

618 Mission St., South Pasadena; map; (626) 403-0145

Heaven on a corn tortilla. Señor Fish has the BEST fish tacos, with either deep fried or grilled fish. The potato tacos, deep, deep fried and served with shredded cabbage and a mix of onions and cilantro, are also outstanding. Perhaps most surprising is that I have gotten some of the best flan there that I have ever eaten, including flan in Cuban restaurants in Tampa, which are as good as anything in Havana. I know that fish tacos may sound weird, but after Señor Fish you will be always on the lookout for more. (1999) open until 9pm

Taco Truck $1/taco

  • * *

510 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena; map

The Taco Truck sells several varieties of tacos (like carne asada, carnitas, barbacoa, sesos, cabesa, lengua) and has two kinds of sauce. Hours vary a bit, but it's usually around from dinner time until the food runs out. 3-5 tacos is a normal sized meal. The truck parks in a lot in front of Nisikawa Auto Services. (1999)

Taco Bell $2

743 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena; map; (626) 798-2238 1953 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 356-0099

Mexican fast food at rock bottom prices. You've probably eaten here before and you probably also know why: because you had $1.24 to your name at the time. (1998) M-F 7am-9pm; Sa-Su 8am-10pm

Middle East & North Africa

Burger Continental $8-12

  • *

535 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena; map; (626) 792-6634

The name makes no sense, but the t-shirts kick ass. They love techers, great student discount. Extensive menu with casual disregard for cultural boundaries and exotic live entertainment. People seem to be divided into two camps regarding BC. On one hand, it's a Caltech tradition, and the environment is great. On the other hand, the service can be slow, and not incredibly friendly. Over the last few years, the food quality has also been said to decline significantly, which is really a shame. Like most people, you'll probably go at least once, and make your own decision from there. (2002)

Cafe Santorini $15-20

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70 W. Union St., Pasadena; map; (626) 564-4200

A blend of Greek and Middle Eastern cuisine. Very nice decor. The service is slow but the food is good and the music is very hip. A little pricy ($15 per entree). If you are there, you might as well go to their bar, which offers the same menu and is one of the best places in the valley to go dancing. Cover is $7. (1998)

Father Nature's Lavash Wraps $4-8

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17 N. Delacey Ave., Pasadena; map; (626) 568-9811

Falafel, pitas, and other wrap sandwiches. It is a reasonable option if you are trying to find a place to keep vegetarians and non-vegetarians happy. (1998)

Gerlach's Grill $15-20

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1075 Fair Oaks Ave., South Pasadena; map; (626) 799-7575

A little expensive, but it's amazingly good. It's fairly unusual, and I like it. The food looks and smells like it ought to be spicy, but the flavorings are actually very subtle. The ingredients are high quality, and the food is skilfully prepared. Also serves classic American food. They deliver free to Caltech for orders more than $20, and the delivery guy is pretty cool. (1998)

Heidar Baba Restaurant $5-10

1511 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 844-7970

The popular lunch Special offered at a bargain $7.95 offers a choice of appetizer (Hummus, Cucumber-yogurt) both excellent with warm pita bread and more than 10 entrees ranging from the uniquely Persian Char-broiled Ground Beef Kabob to Fresh Herbs with Meat Stew. The special also includes a yogurt dressed salad, Basmati rice and vegetables. The Persian tea is not to be missed either - fragrant of cardamon and rose water, it is delightful. (2004) They have burgers, fries, Kababs, authentic persian food AND delicious Yummy smoothies and ice creams! Fresh food, made on the spot, tasty, healthy, and overall excellent. Their prices are great, you get a lot for your money especially with the entrees or combo dishes. Their chicken combo plate, Shish Kabab combo and the BIIIG cheese burger are my favorites. One gets a sandwich, refilible soda, and fries for under 6$. After meal, trying the gelato is a must! (2005) 8:30 am - 9:30 pm

Lousin's Arakadz Cuisine 336 N. Allen Ave., Pasadena; map; (626) 793-9955

A plain-fronted Armenian restaurant with excellent kebabs and soup. It also has burgers and entrees. It's basically a deli with some tables and chairs, but the food is worth going for, and it is a good deal. The place is family run and very friendly. (2005)

Mediterranean Cafe $5-8

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273 Shoppers Lane, Pasadena; map; (626) 793-8844

Popular with vegetarians! It is not wholly vegetarian, as there is enough for meat lovers as well, but it has a yummy vegetarian plate with choices of hummus, tabouli, tzatziki, baba ganouj, falafel, greek salad, and grape leaves. Except for the tzatziki and the greek salad, all of the above are vegan. It's tasty, inexpensive, fast, and close to campus. One of those places that you can add to your list of staple places to eat every week. (2001)

Pita Pita $10-15

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927 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 356-0106

They offer great fresh food that's very healthy, and my Lebanese friend says it's pretty authentic. Dinner is a little pricy ($10+), but it's well worth it. They also have really good lemonade. Popular with vegetarians - their menu is very vegetarian/vegan friendly (at least half of it is veg.- mostly vegan actually). Their vegetarian feast is a great value if there are at least four of you - lots of food. (2001) Sun-Thurs 10am-9pm, Fri-Sat 10am-9pm.

Veronica's Kitchen $6-9 528 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood; map; (310) 673-4890

No-frills kitchen serving authentic foods from Nigeria (including pounded yam, various "soups" and meats, and bottled palm wine) It's really "no-frills" so wash your hands and dig in. Most of the foods normally contain lots of pepper and animals, but they will happily exclude these if you ask. Check out the store next door for Nigerian foods and supplies. My primary complaint about the kitchen is that they often don't have many of the menu items. (2004)

Wahib's Middle East Restaurant $5-15

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910 E. Main St., Alhambra; map; (626) 281-1006

Great Lebanese food with portions so generous that you will be eating stuffed grape leaves for days. Excellent daily specials and good cheap breakfast. Dinners are served with rice, salad, pickled turnips, olives, humus, pita bread, and beans. The vegetarian combo with stuffed zucchini is strongly recommended. Their shish-ka-bob is good, though not spectacular. Their humus is very good, though it's a little heavy with olive oil. Great atmosphere with colorful decorations. (2004) Su-Th 9am-10pm, Fri-Sat 9am-1am.

Mongolian BBQ

Wed, 01/20/2010 - 9:27am — tek_editor Golden Lion Mongolian BBQ $10

3681 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 796-1832

Choose your own ingredients, cooked in front of you on a large round grill. Highly recommended. Great food, friendly service and a superb dining experience. (1994)


Wed, 01/20/2010 - 4:49pm — tek_editor Avanti Pizza $8-15

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111 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena, map; (626) 577-4688

Avanti has been ranked the best pizza in Pasadena for several years in a row. You can have their pizza baked in a wood fired oven, with thin crust. You also have the choice of the "traditional" American pizza. They also have salads and pasta. The restaurant is kind of small, so you might have to wait, but it has a cozy atmosphere. (2001)

California Pizza Kitchen $8-12

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99 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena; map; (626) 585-9020

Enter the strange world of nouvelle cuisine meets fast food, and you'll find this surprisingly pleasant SoCal chain restaurant. The pizza menu is carefully crafted to be ethnically diverse, although the flavors may not be authentic. Try the Peking duck pizza; don't bother with the pasta. The Singapore Spring Rolls are tasty. It's pleasant to bring a date and explore the fountains around the Doubletree Hotel and the Pasadena Courthouse, or stop in for happy hour at McCormick & Schmick's next door. (2004) Mon-Thurs 11:30am-10:00pm, Fri & Sat 11:30am-11:00pm, Sun 11:30am-10:00pm.

Fraedo's Pizza $18/2 large pizzas

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950 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 568-0505

The pizza quality is only mediocre, but they're close, they deliver, and their two-for-one deal means that the price is right. If you're trying to feed a number of people reasonably well on a limited budget, Fraedo's is a good option. They also have salads and sandwiches for about $5. (1998)

The Kitchen: see listing in Italian section

Little Caesar's Pizza $7-12

2237 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 795-3007

Cheap, bad pizza. Only redeeming quality is the amounts that you can buy on specials. Other than that, avoid this place! (1998)

Manny's Pizza $8-15

16 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, map; (626) 795-7330

The food there is not very Italian: they definitely put too much tomato sauce in most items. Pizza is quite good. Their minestrone soup is a good choice. They have free soup or salad too. (2001)

Pizza Man $5-10

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1308 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 577-1135

Better than Pizza Hut. Has good, cheap takeout specials. It looks really scary from the outside. (1998) 11:30am- 10:30pm.

Romeo's Pizza $5-10

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2700 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 795-4591

Really cheap, quite good pizza relatively close by. Their hours are a little wacky, be sure to call before going. As of 5/99, they had a $4 medium cheese pizza after 2 pm that would serve three people dinner. We used to make it a regular lab run. Good place. (1999)

Shakey's Pizza $5-10

2180 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 793-1169

The pizza is nothing special; the only reason to go there is their weekday lunchtime all-you-can-eat pizza bar, which is reasonably cheap. Even Pinocchio's beats them, not to mention Tarantino's and Greco's. (1998) 11am-10pm

Tarantino's $8-13

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784 E. Green St., Pasadena, map; (626) 796-7836

The pizza is great but they don't deliver. The dinner specials are all very good, and they sometimes have all-you-can-eats. Try the Grandma Tony's special pizza, made with many different cheeses and more spices, or their take on the sauceless white pizza, which are excellent. Actually, pretty much all their pizzas are great, although I thought one of their specialty pizzas had way too much spinach. Very Caltech-friendly, discount with ID. They only accept cash, so make sure to hit the ATM before you go. (2002)

Tony's Pizza $5

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2555 Huntington Drive, San Marino; map; (626) 793-4114

This is as authentic as true New York Pizza. It's not the best NY Pizza (I've had better in NY), but it's pretty good and the real thing. The place even looks like a New York Pizzeria. If you haven't had NY Pizza, it's supposed to be pretty thin crust, and tends to be a bit oily. Despite the oil (or maybe thanks to it), it tastes great and is a welcome familiarity to me! I highly recommend it. (2001)

Sandwich Shops

Wed, 01/20/2010 - 4:54pm — tek_editor Connal's Sandwiches $5

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1505 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 794-5018

If you've thought of putting it on a sandwich, Connal did it first. This shop has been making sandwiches for thirty years. Lots and lots to chose from- you can even get peanut butter and jelly. Good chili cheese fries. Also serves burritos. (1998)

Father Nature's Cafe: see listing in Middle East

The Hat $3-6

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491 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena; map; (626) 449-1844

While this sandwich shop offers a wide variety of sandwiches (including avocado sandwiches), the world famous pastrami dip is the only real reason for any carnivore to go there. For about five bucks you get two pieces of bread and a mountain of hot steaming homemade pastrami. If you're really hungry, its a meal, otherwise its probably two (though the other half won't keep that long). Totally recommended as often as you can make it up the hill. (1998)

Lee's Hoagies $2

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2269 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 577-2250

Good hoagies, but not quite as good as the ones in Philadelphia. Nevertheless, the French bread is always fresh, the hoagies are large, and drink refills are free. Breakfast is also served. (1998) M-Sa 7am-9pm, Su 11am-4pm. Subway $4-7

950 E. Colorado Blvd. Suite 103, Pasadena; map; (626) 449-8887

Some people prefer Eddie's subs to Subway's, but Subway makes a much bigger sub for the price. They use freshly baked bread, but the toppings are 90% shredded lettuce and the "sauce" is oil and vinegar. The meatball sub is a bit dry, but you can get extra sauce. They'll make it fresh in front of your eyes and almost exactly how you want it. A favorite for a quick lunch. Nothing is terrific there, but it's not too terrible. (1998) 9am-11pm


Wed, 01/20/2010 - 3:30pm — tek_editor Cameron's Seafood $10-18

1978 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 793-3474

I saw a good review for this restaurant, and thought I better throw a warning out there. I hate to write a bad review, but this place honestly isn't very good. Consider it the Denny's of seafood. For those of you familiar with the "Fish Market" chain, this is actually a converted Fish Market -- except that the food's not nearly as fresh or good. The tables are sticky, the side dishes uninspired, and everything tastes, well, slightly old -- the fish has the "fishy" taste, and not in a good way. (2004)

Nice atmosphere, great oyster bar. The dishes are expensive, but the seafood is great and plentiful, and comes with mounds of sourdough bread and veggies. Reservations recommended on weekends. (1998)


Wed, 01/20/2010 - 3:34pm — tek_editor The Fishery $4-8

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924 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena; map; (626) 791-3474

The Fishery features fresh fish and seafood, cooked and served Southern style with sides like red beans and candied yams. A nice change from humdrum, family-style places. (1998) M-Th 11am-8:30pm; F-Sat 11am-9:30pm; closed Sun.

Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles $5-10

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830 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena; map; (626) 791-4890

Gritolicious- the word says it all. Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles specializes in greasy grimy giblets and grits. The atmosphere is terrible (be sure to sit away from the televisions in the north room) and the service quality varies, but the food- oh, the food. They have chicken breasts so big and juicy that just thinking about them brings water to my mouth. The greens are fantastic, and the chunk potatoes are to die for. The specials very from day to day, but when in doubt, they're a great choice. (1999) 8:00am- 10:30pm


  • Houston's $$$ 320 S. Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena; map; (626) 577-6001
    • Houston's is one of my favorite places to go for heavy meals. They serve good steaks, great ribs, as well as chicken and fish dishes. It's very grill oriented food. I highly recommend their Baby Back Ribs; these are some of the best ribs I've ever had (and I've been to lots of rib restaurants). Also make sure to ask for the Kahlua Brownie; I don't think they still list it on the menu (last I checked), but they still serve it, and it's fantastic. Warning: there is always a wait on Friday and Saturday nights. (2001)


Patakan $8-12

43 E. Union St., Pasadena; map; (626) 449-4418

They serve traditional Thai, well presented, priced to fit Old Town (that means it's not cheap, but it won't kill you). Spicing is very mild, so you'll have to ask for your food spiced hotter if you like it that way. (1998) Lunch 11am- 3pm; M-F dinner 5pm- 10pm; Sa-Su dinner 5pm- 10:30pm.

President Thai $5-10

498 S. Rosemead Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 405-0662

President Thai allows you to choose how hot you want your food on a scale from 1 to 10. Do not order an 8 or above; 6 is serious heat. This is one of the only places in Pasadena to satisfy your craving for truly hot food. Try the shrimp coconut soup, it's delicious. The lunch special is cheap, but not as much food as you might like. Excellent pad thai. They deliver to Caltech. (2002) 7 days, 11:30am-10:00pm.

Saladang $7-12

363 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena; map; (626) 793-8123

This is the new Saladang, the more authentic Thai restaurant. Saladang Song at 383 S. Fair Oaks is the nicer ambience with a slightly less traditional menu. The food is very nice and there is a large variety of dishes. For appetizers try Tod-mon-kao-pohd: deep fried sweet corn cakes served with cucumber salad. (2004) Sun-Th 6:30am - 9:45pm; F, Sat 6:30am - 10:00pm

Tiparos $5-10

2486 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; map; (626) 405-9719

Good food and good service for a low price. The soups are very good, and I love the Pad Thai here. They have lunch specials for $4.50. Their fried bananas were more like fried plaintains. (1998)


Wed, 01/20/2010 - 9:28am — tek_editor Tibet-Nepal House $8-10 36 E. Holly St., Pasadena; map; (626) 585-9955

Tibet-Nepal House is located just north of old town and serves food from both Tibet and Nepal. The food here is simple but flavorful, the service is very friendly and the decor is colorful and eclectic. While waiting for your food, you can also pick up some picture-books of Tibet/Nepal. I highly recommend this restaurant, especially for vegetarians. (2004)


Wed, 01/20/2010 - 4:56pm — tek_editor Please help us populate this list!! Email your favorite vegetarian restaurant reviews to me at the email address at the bottom of the page.

Chameli: see listing in Indian section

Happy Family III: see listing in Chinese section

Native Foods $6-10

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1110 1/2 Gayley Avenue (Westwood Village), Westwood; map; (310) 209-1055

They have tasty vegan and organic fare. Their sandwiches, salads, and hot bowls (rice, noodles, or pasta) are inspired by many cuisines, protein is provided by seasoned seitan, tempeh, soy protein, and beans. If you sit in the small upstairs dining area, you can watch the food being prepared with a bird's eye view. (2001) Mon - Sun, 11 AM - 10 PM

Orean: The Health Express $5

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817 N. Lake Ave, Pasadena; map; (626) 794-0861

This vegan fast food joint has all the traditional stuff like falafel and tahini, and manages to make excellent approximations of chicken and cheese and okay imitations of hot dogs and burgers. The Chicken-o-Burger, the BBQ tofu burger, the African Tostada, the basil pizza, and the chili dog, Chicken Teriyaki Burrito, and the shakes and floats are recommended, but the fries are rather soggy. It's often pretty messy, even for fast food. There is no dining room, just a few outdoor tables and a drive through. (2001)

Souplantation $6-9

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201 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena; map; (626) 577-4797

Terrific all you can eat salad bar. Awesome homemade breads muffins. Best part of dessert is that it is all you can eat. The soup, the pasta, and the tuna tarragon cannot be missed. 10% student discount, and frequent coupons in junk mail. Without discounts, the place is a bit pricey. (2002)