“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
Fine dining in Pasadena is a veritable feast for the five senses. Sumptuous dishes created by world-renowned chefs delight patrons with cuisine for every appetite. Foodies the world over are drawn to Pasadena’s fabulous array of sophisticated and creative fare, from ethnic foods and classic steakhouses to vegan, vegetarian, specialty cuisines and beyond. The city is a celebration of all things gastronomical with a keen eye towards diversity.
The Raymond Restaurant is situated in a quaint former caretaker’s cottage on South Fair Oaks Avenue and offers intimate dinners, ambient lighting and tasteful décor. Recently voted Best Romantic Restaurant by Pasadena Weekly readers, this charming Craftsman-style dwelling has a warm atmosphere that includes a fireplace and private rooms and is the perfect choice for maintaining that personal connection while dining that’s often difficult to find in larger establishments. The cuisine features classic items, such as pork belly, lamb and braised short-ribs, and more adventurous fare, such as twice-cooked squid and locally grown heirloom beets.
The Raymond Restaurant, 1250 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena. (626) 441-3136 | theraymond.com
For authentic French cuisine and ambience, Bistro de la Gare doesn’t disappoint. Internationally acclaimed chef and owner Bruno Morin breathes new life into classic Parisian fare with his exciting takes on traditional French food. Mouth-watering appetizers such as their tartines de foie de volaille, salmon tartar and homemade pâtés, along with an impressive list of imported French cheeses and a popular organic brunch, promise to satisfy the cravings of even the most diehard Francophile.
Bistro de la Gare, 921 Meridian Ave., South Pasadena. (626) 799-8828 | bistrodelagare.com
Arroyo Chophouse and its classic décor is a natural dining choice, not just for meat lovers, but for anyone who appreciates a steak cooked to perfection, as well as hearty sides. Famous for their exclusive use of superior grade USDA Prime Beef — a rarity nowadays — Arroyo Chophouse’s dedication to good food done well is evident in many ways. Their traditional cuisine and appetizers, like the beef tenderloin tartare and seafood platter, are popular favorites. But savvy restaurateurs recognize that offering lighter fare is a must for maintaining a balanced life — and a balanced menu. Crisp asparagus, seafood and salad greens are prepared and served with equal attention, which should leave plenty of room for their tantalizing dessert menu. Add a cocktail from their intriguing mixologist’s menu and indulge your taste buds with style.
Arroyo Chop House, 536 S. Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena. (626) 577-7463 | arroyochophouse.com
Mijares Mexican Restaurant has been a Pasadena institution for decades. This family-owned and operated establishment boasts two locations and embodies the spirit and flair of Mexican cooking. Their homemade dishes and soups are prepared from quality ingredients using time-honored family recipes. Their traditional and regional cuisine includes well-known favorites, such as fajitas, arroz con pollo, burritos and enchiladas, but be sure to check out their seafood, which includes unique variations on crab enchiladas and tostadas and their Baja Special. Of course, a meal at Mijares wouldn’t be the same without their famous margarita, an enticing concoction bursting with flavor and Alice’s Champagne Sunday Brunch is the perfect complement to a weekend of food, friends and laughter.
Mijares Mexican Restaurant, 145 Palmetto Drive, Pasadena. (626) 792-2763 | mijaresrestaurant.com
Fusion is no falling star at Maison Akira, a French/Japanese inspired eatery. Deftly blending the best of French cuisine with Asian-themed dishes, Chef/Owner Akira Hirose’s trend-setting restaurant offers the best of international cuisine with a unique and creative flair. Though the Chilean sea bass is legendary, as is the baked Alaska, be sure to take time to sample some of their lesser-known dishes, such as the duck pâté and their tower of Portobello mushrooms. For dessert, there are tempting treats ranging from the rich and decadent to the satisfying but health conscious. Maison Akira is fusion-cuisine at its boldest and best.
Maison Akira, 713 E Green St., Pasadena. (626) 796-9501| maisonakira.net
As a premier example of regional American cuisine, Parkway Grill serves up a divine selection of innovative dishes with the focus on locally grown seasonal fare. Inspired appetizer creations, including grilled spring lamb lollipops, bacon-wrapped dates and blue crab cakes with mango-piquillo pepper relish with yuzu aioli, set the stage for their superb entrées, like their whole ginger fried catfish, pan roasted Scottish salmon, and spicy Thai tagliatelle. Their exhibition kitchen boasts an Oakwood burning oven and a mesquite burning grill. Their on-site organic herb and vegetable garden emphasizes their commitment to fresh food and the award-winning wine list will satisfy the most exacting connoisseur.
Parkway Grill, 510 S. Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena. (626) 795-1001 | theparkwaygrill.com
Sophisticated cuisine, top-notch chefs and atmospheric eateries are but a few reasons to globe-trot locally for the perfect dining experience.