Best Special Occasion Dining

Parkway Grill

510 S. Arroyo Parkway

Since its inception in1984, the Parkway Grill remains at the forefront in channeling trendsetting cuisine into Pasadena. The grill specializes in a market-driven approach tailored toward “diverse influences” and classic French technique. With its exhibition kitchen, wood-fired oven and award-winning wine cellar comprising roughly 3,000 bottles, it’s no surprise Parkway Grill is frequently dubbed “the Spago of Pasadena.”

Reader Recommended

Arroyo Chop House, 536 S. Arroyo Parkway

Houston’s Restaurant, 320 S. Arroyo Parkway

Best Family Restaurant

La Grande Orange Café

260 S. Raymond Avenue 

Keeping it simple, La Grande Orange makes it so anyone can find a bite to enjoy. It lets quality ingredients do the heavy lifting, from the local farmers to the LGO reserve beef, creating this regionally inspired take on American classics. The restaurant boasts food choices from salads and pizza to burgers and tacos. Don’t forget about the all-day rise and shine breakfast menu featuring staples like The Commuter breakfast sandwich made with scrambled eggs, tomato, mayo, house-made English muffin with a choice of bacon, turkey or avocado.

Reader Recommended

Mijares, 145 Palmetto Drive

Stonefire Grill, 473 N. Rosemead Boulevard

Best Sunday Brunch

Le Grande Orange Café

260 S. Raymond Avenue

With the café’s rise and shine all-day menu, brunch fans can enjoy everything from The Commuter breakfast sandwich to a croque madame all day long. Looking to try something new? Taste the lemon ricotta pancakes available until 3 p.m. on Sundays. It is made with Pasadena Farmers Market fresh fruit, crème fraiche and mint. For the 21-and-older crowd, don’t forget to add on a brunch staple of either a mimosa or bloody mary.

Reader Recommended

The Raymond, 1250 S. Fair Oaks Avenue

Marstons, 151 E. Walnut Street

Best Asian Fusion

Daisy Mint

1218 E. Colorado Boulevard

Distinctive and bold are two words you’re going to want to make note of when visiting Daisy Mint’s website. This Asian fusion spot with a Thai bent is open daily for lunch and dinner, as well as available for catering. From classics like the pad Thai (rice noodle with eggs, red and green onions, bean sprouts and crushed peanuts) to chef specials like the B & W ramen (BBQ pork and wonton, ramen noodles, spinach, garlic oil, scallion and cilantro), Daisy Mint has a menu to make your mouth water.

Reader Recommended

Bone Kettle, 67 N. Raymond Avenue

Ginger and Spice Noodle & Grill,

451 E. Colorado Boulevard

Best Armenian Food

Zankou Chicken

Multiple locations

Born from Mediterranean food sold by the Iskenderian family in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1962, Zankou has been serving up the classics in California for decades. With locations in Glendale and Pasadena, among others, Zankou has made a name for itself. Fresh pita wraps, kabobs, traditional Mediterranean plates, rotisserie chicken plates or even whole rotisserie chickens and family meals, Zankou has something for a variety of palates.

Reader Recommended

Raffi’s Catering & Banquet,

3887 E. Sierra Madre Boulevard

Mediterranean Cafe, 273 Shoppers Lane

Best Bakery

Little Flower Bakery

1424 W. Colorado Boulevard

Curb that insatiable sweet tooth at Little Flower Bakery, a harmonious hybrid of a quaint cafe and delicious candy kitchen located on the edge of town. Indulge in bakery classics, such as almond croissants, daily scones and blueberry bran muffins, or spice things up with a carrot ginger turmeric muffin, plum coffee cake, banh mi tofu wrap or one of the cafe’s many rice bowls or salads. Gather with friends for delicious food, strong coffee and great music for a perfect outing.

Reader Recommended

Seed Bakery, 942 E. Washington Boulevard

Dots Cafe, 3819 E. Colorado Boulevard

Best Barbecue

Gus’s BBQ

808 Fair Oaks Avenue

Housed on historic Route 66, this upbeat family-friendly mainstay slow-cooks barbecue favorites over pecan logs. Gus’s menu is flooded with traditional Southern cooking, including Memphis baby back ribs and pulled pork tostadas, and is complemented by an array of whiskies, wines, cocktails and local craft beers. The eatery prides itself in providing a space for family, tradition and celebration in preservation of Southern life and hospitality.

Reader Recommended

Rodney’s Ribs, 902 N. Lake Avenue

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, 2363 E. Colorado Boulevard

Best Breakfast

Millie’s Café

1399 E. Washington Boulevard

Enjoy breakfast on a sunny day at Millie’s Café, where its commitment is to good cooking and using the best ingredients prepared by people who actually care. Try out breakfast favorites served all day, including Elanore R. Special with two eggs over easy, cheddar cheese over a layer of rosemary potatoes, salsa, guacamole and sour cream. The vegan breakfast meal is plentiful as well, with staples like the Angel’s Mess, which is a tofu scramble with vegan sausage and Daiya cheese mixed with other delicious ingredients. The kitchen uses natural ingredients for its food and believes in doing things the “old-fashioned way, by hand, from scratch, because there is a difference.”

Reader Recommended

Lucky Boy, 640 S. Arroyo Parkway

Marston’s, 151 E. Walnut Street

Best Local Burger

In-N-Out Burger

2114 E. Foothill Boulevard

No top list of burgers is complete without a nod to the California classic beloved by famous chefs and hungry locals alike, the famous In-N-Out Burger. Regarded by both Gordon Ramsay and Anthony Bourdain as one of their favorite meals in all of greater Los Angeles, In-N-Out’s Double-Double continues to draw endless crowds through its doors and drive-thrus. While the “Not So Secret Menu’s” Animal-Style Double-Double may be a customer favorite, In-N-Out’s entire selection of simple, tasty food is as delicious as it is affordable.

Reader Recommended

Pie ’N Burger, 913 E. California Boulevard

Dog Haus, 93 E. Green Street

Best California Cuisine

Le Grande Orange 

260 S. Raymond Avenue

Le Grande Orange is in Pasadena’s historic 1934 Del Mar Station, which played host to Clark Gable, Mae West and Will Rogers of Hollywood’s Golden Age. It is now a testament to American cooking, with delicious dishes like deviled eggs, dixie picnic chicken snack, cheeseburgers and open-face chicken salad sandwiches. The drink options are abundant.

Reader Recommended

Houston’s, 320 S. Arroyo Parkway

True Food Kitchen, 168 W. Colorado Boulevard

Best Chinese Food

Panda Inn

Multiple locations

Many people may know the popular fast food chain Panda Express, but Panda Inn is the original. Part of the Panda Restaurant Group that owns both, among other eateries, this restaurant has six locations, including a spot in Glendale. Nearly five decades since it was founded with the first location in Pasadena, this sit-down Mandarin and Szechwan chain maintains its popularity. In addition to dining in or picking up, Panda Inn also caters.

Reader Recommended

Lunasia Dimsum House, multiple locations

Yang Chow, 3777 E. Colorado Boulevard

Best Cupcakes

Dots Cupcakes

21 N. Fair Oaks Avenue

Enjoy the taste of gourmet cupcakes without the kitchen mess! Using fresh ingredients, Dots Cupcakes offers delectable, moist desserts that are almost too pretty to eat. Founder and owner Hailey Kwon takes it up a notch by incorporating whimsical design and playful sophistication — a testament to her larger-than-life attitude on seizing the day and celebratory living. Each bite of Dots’ cupcakes will have your tastebuds celebrating.

Reader Recommended

Polkatots, 720 N. Lake Avenue

Urth Café, 594 E. Colorado Boulevard

Best Deli/Sandwiches

Pasadena Sandwich Company

259 Sierra Madre Villa Avenue

New York style. California based. Family owned and operated since the 1950s, this deli, restaurant and caterer is all about keeping it fresh. Meats are cooked daily in-house, according to its website, while salads are homemade. If you’re particular, build your own sandwich; if not, choose a specialty. Regardless, Pasadena Sandwich Company can fit your needs.

Reader Recommended

Roma Market, 918 N. Lake Avenue

Perry’s Joint, 2051 N. Lincoln Avenue

Best Dessert

Nothing Bundt Cakes

548 S. Lake Avenue

What better way to sweeten the day with nothing other than Nothing Bundt Cakes. The popular bakery offers up to 10 delicious Bundt flavors made from quality ingredients and crowned with its signature cream cheese frosting. For special occasions, Nothing Bundt Cakes is the ultimate one-stop shop, boasting more than 60 handcrafted cake designs themed around holidays and celebrations. The cakes are customizable for any occasion, including birthdays, showers, weddings and graduations.

Reader Recommended

Amara Chocolate & Coffee, 55 S. Raymond Avenue

Dots Cupcakes, 21 N. Fair Oaks Avenue

Best Health/Organic/Vegetarian/Vegan Food

True Food Kitchen

168 W. Colorado Boulevard

True Food distinguishes itself from other restaurants by basing its food on science to ensure that all of its food and beverage items increase the longevity of its diners and of the planet. Founded by Dr. Andrew Weil, the restaurant selects all of its ingredients to be nourishing and delicious. In addition to rotating seasonal offerings, True Food’s artisan chefs put a healthy and delicious spin on menu items such as pizza, burgers, seafood and desserts. Catering, online orders and a Sunday brunch are available.

Reader Recommended

Urth Café, 594 E. Colorado Boulevard

Sage Vegan Plant Based Bistro, 41 Hugus Alley

Best Hot Dogs

Dog Haus

105 N. Hill Avenue

Dog Haus’ handcrafted hot dogs, sausages, burgers and chicken are top dog, according to Pasadena readers. All meats, including the cowboy hot dog, T-mex sausage and holy aioli burger are served on King’s Hawaiian rolls. Dog Haus’ meats are certified humanely raised, 100% all-natural; vegetarian fed; and free of hormones, antibiotics, and added nitrates and nitrites. Thirsty customers can choose from a rotating selection of local craft beers.

Reader Recommended

Perry’s Joint, 2051 N. Lincoln Avenue

Dirt Dog, 20 E. Union Street

Best Independent

Jones Coffee Roasters

Multiple locations

Sure, there are plenty of chains, but you can’t go wrong with keeping it local. And this coffeehouse, which has four locations in the Pasadena area, has topped the list for our readers. From hot brewed and mixed coffees to cold beverages, Jones has the caffeine boost — even offering its own blends, seasonals, decafs and teas for home consumption. And of course there are noncaffeinated beverages for the kids or those who could do without.

Reader Recommended

Lavender & Honey, 1383 E. Washington Boulevard

Café de Leche, 2477 N. Lake Avenue, Altadena

Best PokE

Poke Salad Bar

12 W. Colorado Boulevard

As the go-to destination for Hawaiian poke bowls in Pasadena, Poke Salad Bar offers a wide range of flavorful seafood selections, including ahi tuna, spicy tuna, salmon, scallops, albacore, octopus and shrimp, or tofu and avocado as alternative protein options. Though the food is tasty, it’s the generous portions and friendly staff who go above and beyond that make this poke spot one to remember.

Reader Recommended

Bay Poke, 2345 E. Colorado Boulevard

Veggie Grill, 200 S. Lake Avenue

Best Italian Food


2411 E. Washington Boulevard

A third-generation family restaurant, Domenico’s puts a new meaning behind family-friendly Italian cuisine. Serving red-sauce classics, as well as savory pizzas, each dish is made with Mama Rosa’s original recipes and passion. The eatery’s claim to fame is its mouthwatering antipasto salad, complete with homemade Italian dressing, and is one of Pasadena’s oldest, and most cherished, restaurants.

Reader Recommended

Il Fornaio, 24 W. Union Street

Celestino’s, 141 S. Lake Avenue

Best Japanese Food


146 S. Lake Avenue

Sugarfish serves sushi Nozawa style, or strictly traditional, with the belief that the experience of sushi should be simple and pure. The restaurant was co-founded by legendary sushi chef Kazunori Nozawa to continue his mission of bringing traditional Japanese sushi to the United States. The sushi at Sugarfish is of the highest quality and expertly prepared so that its flavor and texture can be fully enjoyed.

Reader Recommended

Kabuki, multiple locations

Osawa, 77 N. Raymond Avenue

Best Korean Food

Chris’ Korean BBQ

2063 E. Colorado Boulevard

Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, independently owned Chris’ Korean BBQ is our readers’ favorite Korean restaurant. It serves authentic Korean food and marinates its meats in its own signature house sauces. Popular menu items include vegetable pancakes, galbi (beef short ribs) and bulgogi (marinated grilled beef).

Reader Recommended

Seoul Cham Soot BBQ,

2139 Foothill Boulevard, La Canada Flintridge

Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong,

5700 Rosemead Boulevard, Temple City

Best Local Brewery

Congregation Ale House

300 S. Raymond Avenue

Congregation Ale House brews its own craft beers locally in a traditional style with integrity, focus and a lot of planning. Its interior echoes a European monastery to honor the centurieslong tradition of Trappist monks brewing beer. Popular items from its fresh, made-from-scratch food menu include ribeye burgers, pretzels and hand-cut fries. Breads are made from spent grains used in the brewing process.

Reader Recommended

Stone Brewing Tap Room, 220 S. Raymond Avenue

Craftsman, 1260 Lincoln Avenue

Best Local Pizza

The Luggage Room

260 S. Raymond Avenue

From actual Golden Age Hollywood-era luggage room to Pasadena’s best local pizza purveyor, this eatery is the place to be — both respecting its roots and adapting to its pizza focus. From starters and salads to beer, wine and cocktails, and then over to the main course — pizza pies — The Luggage Room has the goods and the authenticity. It showcases local ingredients and hand-stretched fermented sourdough crust, “burned over olive wood for extra flavor and spirit.” Try out the Today’s Farmers Market Pizza that includes ingredients direct from farmers, always vegetarian and in season.

Reader Recommended

Mamma’s Brick Oven Pizza & Pasta,

1007 Fair Oaks Avenue, South Pasadena

Domenico’s, 2411 E. Washington Boulevard

Best Mexican Food


145 Palmetto Drive

As the oldest Mexican restaurant in Pasadena, Mijares has long been a staple of the region’s authentic Mexican cuisine. The restaurant was born from the recipes of Jesucita Mijares, who fled from the revolution in Mexico nearly 100 years ago and finally settled in Pasadena, where she opened a tortilla factory. Today, Mijares has carried on the family tradition and continues to serve mouthwatering dishes such as tortilla soup and chicken mole poblano to eager guests, who always seem to leave with a smile on their face.

Reader Recommended

El Portal, 695 E. Green Street

El Cholo, 300 E. Colorado Boulevard


Best Seafood

Fish King

722 N. Glendale Avenue, Glendale

Since 1848, independently owned Fish King has taken pride in providing quality products and friendly service. It serves its seafood fried and charbroiled in the form of plates, sandwiches, bowls, soups, salads, tacos and burritos, complemented by its original marinades and sauces. It also serves sushi, including in the form of a sushi burrito. Fish King’s seafood market, located within the same premise, offers a wide selection of seafood for those who prefer to prepare it at home.

Reader Recommended

Fishwives, 88 N. Fair Oaks Avenue

San Marino Seafood, 2150 Huntington Drive

Best Steakhouse

Arroyo Chop House

536 S. Arroyo Parkway

Pasadena’s Arroyo Chop House is a staple for upscale steakhouse dining, serving classic American cuts, seafood, wine and cocktails in a luxe atmosphere perfect for an evening out with friends or a special someone. A hot spot for business dinners, special-occasion dining and after-work handcrafted cocktails, the steakhouse marries USDA prime beef — aged and hand-cut daily — with lobster, tuna and other fresh delicacies delivered from the finest purveyors.

Reader Recommended

Ruth’s Chris, 369 E. Colorado Boulevard

Houstons, 320 S. Arroyo Parkway

Best Vietnamese Food

Golden Deli

815 W. Las Tunas Drive, San Gabriel

Golden Deli introduces new customers to homestyle Vietnamese cuisine and keeps returning customers satisfied with its original recipes and over 100 items on its menu. For four decades it has served favorites such as noodle soup, fried egg rolls and the ubiquitous Vietnamese favorite pho. Golden Deli cooks its pho, a soup frequently made with beef and noodles, slowly over low temperatures to bring out a deep and robust flavor.

Reader Recommended

Pasadena Noodle, 2335 E. Colorado Boulevard

Ginger and Spice Noodle and Grill,

451 E. Colorado Boulevard

Best Wings

Hot Wing’s Café

89 E. Colorado Boulevard

Hot Wings Café opened its first restaurant in 1986 to introduce the concept of hot wings to the Los Angeles area. Customers can order soups, salads or sides, but crispy wings and boneless wings are the main attraction. Wings are served with a choice of one of six sauces: mild, hot, extra hot, barbecue, spicy barbecue and lemon pepper. For groups and events, platters are available in sizes between 50 and 1,000 wings.

Reader Recommended

Alondra’s Hot Wings, 515 W. Main Street, Alhambra

Roccos, 44 W. Green Street

Best Taco

King Taco

45 N. Arroyo Parkway

Since its origins as a taco truck in 1974, King Taco has grown to become a Mexican fast food favorite and the preferred destination for tacos among our readers. Menu items include rotisserie chicken, tamales, quesadillas, and, of course, tacos. Tacos are served on warm corn tortillas with fresh chopped cilantro, onions and salsa. Customers choose the meat for their tacos from selections such as carne asada, al pastor, chicken and suadero.

Reader Recommended

Guisado’s, 577 S. Arroyo Parkway

La Estrella Taco, multiple locations

Best Burrito

Lucky Boy

Multiple locations

It’s often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and this is especially true if it’s being eaten at Pasadena’s Lucky Boy, home of a burrito so beloved that it’s served all day long. With a drive-in restaurant on Arroyo Parkway and a second location on Walnut and Oakland, this local fast-food joint is the one and only place to meet the “King of Breakfast Burritos,” a behemoth filled with egg, cheese, potato and a choice of protein. There’s never a bad time for a life-changing meal, so it’s ideal that Lucky Boy’s doors open just before 7 a.m. and close just before midnight.

Reader Recommended

Mijares, 145 Palmetto Drive

Burrito Express, 1597 E. Washington Boulevard

Best Cheap Eats

Lucky Boy

Multiple locations

A longtime fast-food favorite, Lucky Boy has been serving Pasadena residents for over the past 30 years, with the Arroyo Parkway location remaining open for 18 hours a day, seven days a week. Its tasty, yet affordable menu boasts a world-famous breakfast burrito, chili cheese fries and char-broiled burgers, which go for less than $6 dollars and can be picked up at either one of Lucky Boy’s two locations in Pasadena.

Reader Recommended

Dog Haus, 93 E. Green Street

Tops, 1792 E. Walnut Street