AltaEats opened in the Pasadena foothills bordering Altadena back in 2011. Since then Chef Paul Ragan has become a vital part of the Pasadena community food scene, offering cooking classes at the Arboretum and creating farm to table dinners for John Muir Farm. When he’s not involved in community projects, he’s at AltaEats an unassuming spot that has created a big fanbase over the past few years.
Chef Ragan, part of the once much acclaimed Derek’s Bistro in Pasadena, transformed an old fish market in a quiet part of the city into AltaEats, a sort of upscale take on classic American dishes. You won’t find any signage, just know to head for the black awning.
Trained at a cooking school in Manhattan, Chef Ragan cooked at restaurants in Spain and Portugal before landing locally. The menu is focused on foods the chef enjoys, which also translates to foods that his guests enjoy: riffs on bar foods, steakhouse staples and a bit of an international flare. Starting with homemade bread, the eclectic menu is meant to be shared by the table. The menu is a list of dishes, with no delineations made between courses or starters and mains. In addition, AltaEats offers a Sunday Roast, a Wednesday night pop-up with guest chefs, and a newer Chef’s Office, similar to the chef’s table tasting menu experience that you find at fine dining restaurants.
The dining room is both casual and homey with a nod to the more modern touches that are found in restaurants these days, like industrial fixtures and a flatscreen TV. Utilizing his training, Chef Ragan has crafted homestyle dishes that take days to prepare alongside some modern visions, including a Caesar-style salad. Since first opening, AltaEats has added a beer and wine menu, although you can still bring in your own bottle for a corkage fee.
Diners around town have taken note of the special attention to detail given to each item on the menu as AltaEats has become a favorite on Open Table and is pretty perfect for all occasions, whether you’re celebrating with a group, want a romantic night out or are hosting out of towners. The restaurant is open for dinner from 5:30-10 all nights but Tuesday and Wednesday.
AltaEats 1860 N. Allen Ave. Pasadena, CA 91104 626.794.1162
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