There are so many great restaurants, bars, and hangouts in Old Town Pasadena, it can be difficult to choose. Here are my personal favorites based on food, service, and ambiance, in no particular order.
1. Mi Piace
Right in the heart of Old Town on the busiest part of Colorado Boulevard is Mi Piace. Come here if you want to be right in the heart of the action and don’t mind crowds and some noise. It has its detractors but the fact remains that there’s always people waiting to get in, which tells you something. Many people do still rate the Italian food here very highly, and I personally am a big fan. If crowds are a turnoff, go on less popular night during the week.
2. Il Fornaio
Il Fornaio is a bit more removed from the crowds, located inside the lovely One Colorado courtyard. In my experience, the food and service have been top notch!
3. Cafe Santorini
Even more secluded is my favorite restaurant in Old Town, Cafe Santorini, which offers great Mediterranean food. It’s kind of hard to find, but that’s part of the appeal. It’s quiet and super romantic, with an outdoor patio and hanging lights. Go to the back of the One Colorado courtyard and find the brick building next to the movie theater and Sushi Roku. Cafe Santorini is on the second floor. Let’s keep this place our secret!!
4. Pop Champagne & Dessert Bar
For dessert, check out the secluded and romantic Pop Champagne & Dessert Bar one street north of Colorado at 33 Union Street. It’s got a great ambiance, away from the traffic and noise of Colorado Boulevard. This place can still get crowded though, and there might be a wait for dessert, just be aware. They offer dinner as well!
For the foodies out there, I have to mention Union, which many folks consider one of the best new restaurants in the LA Area. Chef Bruce Kalman and Marie Petulla create their own Californian version of Northern Italian cuisine. Further from Colorado Boulevard than the other restaurants on this list, this place has a great ambiance, although the tables are somewhat close together and this place is often very crowded.
These are all very popular restaurants, so definitely make reservations!
What Are Your Favorites?
Well, that’s my list! I do not claim to have tried every single restaurant in Old Town Pasadena, so I’m sure I missed some great ones. Please leave your favorites in the comments below! – Brian