Eater has become the ultimate resource for all things food. The online publication frequently publishes suggestions on where to eat in cities, but in a place as broad as Los Angeles, the small city of Pasadena frequently gets overlooked in favor of the larger San Gabriel Valley. Recently Eater put together a list of essential Pasadena restaurants, many of which are favorites for Around Town Pasadena, and many of which we still need to try. The Eater view of Pasadena focuses on our luxurious fine dining and our plentiful casual diners, without a whole lot of focus on our many smaller, less-known ethnic joints. Check out our top picks from the list, a smattering of luxe and affordable, and then head over to Eater for a look at their complete list.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost three years since Union opened. Given all the press the place continues to receive, you’d think that Bruce Kalman just started serving up some of the best pasta in the city and other Italian delights. In fact, the place is so good that legendary chef Jacques Pepin revealed in an interview with L.A. Weekly that it’s his favorite place to dine when he’s in town. Pepin, a close friend of Pasadena’s dearly departed Julia Child, explains, “I ate at Union. You know that restaurant in Pasadena? The chef, Bruce [Kalman] — I mean, it was really good. Great kitchen. The pasta was incredible, and he gave us a lot of it. With truffles on top. The food was incredible. The little socca, that chickpea bread that he makes. We had a great meal.”
Racion was another big hit with Eater and a big hit at Around Town Pasadena. The Spanish Basque spot manages to merge authentic Spanish style small plates with the more creative small plates with local influence that have taken over the food world. Racion has also garnered the attention of food critics like Jonathan Gold, who has put the spot on his 101 Best Restaurants list in the past.
No trip to Pasadena is complete without a trip to the legendary Pie N Burger, one of the many classic diners in town. Not much has changed since the joint first opened, other than a few additions here and there, and that’s just the way Pasadena likes it.
UPDATE: The national news media has converged on Pasadena’s Cheesecake Factory restaurant after an unknown assailant launched a homemade improvised explosive device inside the restaurant yesterday evening.