Northeast of downtown Los Angeles is the amazing city of Pasadena California that is absolutely full of beautiful sights to see and things to do. You can head down to the popular Old Pasadena part of town where you’ll be greeted with high-end shopping centers, or you can head north and do some hiking in the mountains of the Angeles National Forest, but what about when you get hungry?
Luckily, there is no shortage of restaurants near Pasadena, but sometimes narrowing down the greatest ones can be a bit difficult, especially when you’re trying to decide with an empty stomach. If that’s a problem that you’ve had to face before, then I’ve got something for you.
Right down below you’ll find my guide to the Pasadena restaurant scene in the form of a list ranking each one of the top-rated places to eat in the city.
16 N Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103
My number-one recommendation when it comes to restaurants in Pasadena is Ramen Tatsunoya. This little ramen shop is incredibly popular and has such a cozy environment that it’s one of my favorite dinner destinations in the city.
You can find Ramen Tatsunoya off of North Fair Oaks Avenue, just north of Central Park and right around the corner from the Pasadena Convention Center. Like I said, I love coming here for dinner, but their delicious ramen also makes for a perfect lunch, not to mention they also serve gyoza and special sushi rolls as well. Don’t forget the sake either!
260 S Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105
Up next, we have The Luggage Room. This pizzeria is a must-visit for anyone either visiting Pasadena or even if you live here full-time. They’re located right off of South Raymond Avenue across from Central Park, right next to the Del Mar light rail station and the Public Storage facility.
When you come to The Luggage Room, you can try one of their specialty pizzas that they offer on the menu or you can build your own so that you get exactly what you want on it. I usually go with their Margherita pizza because it’s a tried-and-true classic.
37 Union St, Pasadena, CA 91103
Union Restaurant is the next place I want to mention on my list of places to eat in Pasadena and I think everyone is really going to enjoy this one. After all, who doesn’t love tasty Italian food? This restaurant is a charming gastropub that takes influence from Northern Italian fare with a farm-to-table business model.
All of their ingredients are locally-sourced and as fresh as they can possibly be, so you know you’re in for a treat. Check out Union Restaurant off of Union Street, right around the corner from Memorial Park and right across the street from the Old Pasadena shopping mall.
296 Allen Ave #3, Pasadena, CA 91106
Now, for something a bi different. This next place is called Chaaste Family Market and this is an absolutely unbeatable spot to visit for some authentic Filipino cuisine. Plus, Chaaste Family Market is also a grocery store where you can get all sorts of unique food items that you’re not likely to find elsewhere.
One of my favorite things to come here for is their traditional halo-halo dessert. This sweet treat is a surefire way to help you beat the heat during the summer. Some of the other dishes I recommend are the tuna tataki and the chicken skewers.
77 N Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101
Just south of Memorial Park on North Raymond Avenue, right around the corner from the Courtyard by Marriott Los Angeles Pasadena/Old Town, is a place called Osawa. There are very few places around Pasadena that I would recommend over Osawa when it comes to delectable sushi, so this one is definitely worth checking out.
What I like to do when I have the pleasure of dining at Osawa is choose the omakase option. By selecting omakase, you are entrusting the sushi chef to pick out an assortment of sushi that they think you will like, and they are almost always right.
536 S Arroyo Pkwy, Pasadena, CA 91105
If you’re looking for a big, juicy steak in Pasadena, then you don’t have to look any further than Arroyo Chop House. This steakhouse is refined and provides a dining experience like no other, if you ask me. I come here whenever I can, but that’s only when my budget allows it.
Arroyo Chop House is really something special and it’s a fantastic location for any special event or dinner party where you want to really leave a lasting impression on your guests and commemorate the evening. The steaks are unbelievable here at Arroyo; each one is certified USDA Prime beef which is the highest possible grade of meat.
110 Union St, Pasadena, CA 91103
No trip to Los Angeles is complete without stopping in at Pasadena’s own Maestro Restaurant. This Mexican restaurant is perfect for anyone who wants some authentic Mexican cuisine, including all the mezcal and tequila you could ever drink.
I always start with a mezcal cocktail when I come to Maestro Restaurant, but that’s just something to sip on while I peruse their incredible menu. For food, I’m always drawn to the mole confit, but they serve fried quesadillas here at Maestro that will absolutely blow your mind. This is a great place to branch out and try something new.
30 N Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103
Right inside of the One Colorado shopping mall off of North Fair Oaks Avenue near Old Pasadena is the next restaurant on my list that I’d like to introduce you to: Russell’s. This place has that classic American diner feel to it and the fare to match. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better breakfast joint in Pasadena.
Since they open at 7 AM, Russell’s is ideal for any early birds out there who want to get their day started off right with a hearty breakfast. I always recommend the croque monsieur from Russell’s, but the menu is full of other great options too.
67 N Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103
Another Old Pasadena favorite of mine is Bone Kettle and you’re not going to want to miss this one, trust me. Bone Kettle is a Southeast Asian restaurant that specializes in shareable Indonesian dishes, so it’s the perfect place to eat with the family when you’re in the city.
Everything here revolves around their delectable bone broth which is slow-cooked for a flavor that’s simply unbeatable. They also serve a wonderful brunch menu here at Bone Kettle, so if you’re looking for some Sunday afternoon plans, I suggest stopping by Bone Kettle for a nice, boozy brunch.
36 E Holly St #3905, Pasadena, CA 91124
Next up is a place called Tibet Nepal House that never disappoints whenever I stop by for lunch or dinner. This restaurant serves up authentic Nepalese cuisine like no other place in town. You can find Tibet Nepal House off of East Holly Street next to uBreakiFix, right near Bone Kettle.
My favorite part about Tibet Nepal House is that they use an actual clay oven to do some of their cooking. The Himalayan tandoori chicken is to-die-for and so is the tandoor-fish tikka, but there are so many other delicious choices to pick from that it may take a while to decide.
146 S Lake Ave #105, Pasadena, CA 91101
This next place is called Dan Modern Chinese and you can find them located off of South Lake Avenue near the Playhouse Village neighborhood in The Commons, right next to some other great restaurants. Dan Modern Chinese is the place to go if you’re in the mood for traditional Chinese cuisine like dumplings and noodles, but that’s not all they offer.
My absolute favorite things to order from Dan Modern Chinese are the steamed dumplings and the dungeness crab fried rice, but pretty much everything on their menu is delicious, so don’t be afraid to try something new.
336 S Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101
Up next is another amazing place to eat in Pasadena that you really shouldn’t pass up on. Nick’s Pasadena is a popular American restaurant that has one of the best selections of wine that I’ve ever seen. It may not be the biggest selection, but the quality of their bottles is unmatched.
I usually find myself ordering whatever their soup-of-the-day is to get me started and prime my appetite, but after that, I highly recommend you try the San Francisco Cioppino or the Prime Rib Dip sandwich with their savory red wine au jus that’s so good I could almost drink by itself.
45 S Mentor Ave, Pasadena, CA 91106
Bistro 45 is the next restaurant I’d like to bring your attention to and for very good reason. This restaurant is amazing, yet it’s not as well-known as some of the other places I’ve listed thus far, so it’s a bit of a low-key gem here in Pasadena.
They serve a fusion of Californian and French cuisine here at Bistro 45 in an art-deco setting that I really enjoy. One of my favorite menu items from Bistro 45 is their seared maple leaf duck breast. It’s a fantastic flavor combination that you’ll only find at Bistro 45.
527 S Lake Ave #120, Pasadena, CA 91101
Right inside of the The Shops On Lake Avenue shopping mall, just west of the California Institute of Technology, is The Arbour, another one of the greatest places to eat near Pasadena in my opinion. What I love about this place is that they serve up Californian fare in a classy environment that will make you feel warm and welcome.
The menu here at The Arbour is small, but that’s usually a good thing because it means more care and attention is put into every dish. I highly recommend the wild mushroom risotto or the ribeye for two if you’re on a date.
93 E Green St, Pasadena, CA 91105
Hot dogs are a classic food that just can’t be beaten sometimes, and Dog Haus Biergarten is a restaurant built on that same sentiment. Dog Haus is great because they actually have several locations around Pasadena, but my favorite one is off of East Green Street near the Castle Green event venue.
The hot dogs here at Dog Haus are no ordinary hot dogs. Sure, you can get a traditional dog with ketchup and mustard, but that’s a bit boring compared to what else Dog Haus has to offer. I love their Old Town hot dog that comes wrapped in bacon.
380 S Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101
Back inside The Shops On Lake Avenue shopping center is another place you really need to visit during your time in Pasadena called Float Pasadena. Float Pasadena is a coffee shop mainly, but they serve some light bites to eat like sandwiches as well as sweet treats like ice cream and floats.
I usually come here for their delicious and powerful cold brew coffee in the morning. Sometimes, I’ll even get one of their sandwiches to go along with it like the chipotle bacon club or the rosemary pastrami. Be sure to try some of their ice cream as well!
320 S Arroyo Pkwy, Pasadena, CA 91105
Just north of the GreenTree Pasadena Inn hotel off of South Arroyo Parkway is the last place on my list, Houston’s. Houston’s is immensely popular around Pasadena and it’s very easy to see why once you’ve had a chance to eat here.
I love the upscale atmosphere and the eclectic menu here at Houston’s. You can order everything from a juicy steak to fresh sushi and even barbecue pork ribs, so no matter what you’re in the mood for, you can find something to satisfy you here. I’m partial to the double-cut pork chop, but there’s much more to choose from.