Pasadena, California, is a beautiful city in Los Angeles County that is home to many attractions and places to enjoy the outdoors. However, there is a lot more to this famous city in California than its stunning landscape and cultural heritage.
Although the Rose Bowl Parade, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and California Institute of Technology (CalTech), and football games draw the most attention to Pasadena, the city is also home to over 650 restaurants, from fine dining establishments to casual cafes and trendy diners.
Now let’s have a look at the best local dining establishments and cafes in Pasadena, CA.
Local Favorites: Pasadena's Best-Kept Secrets for Delicious Food
Pasadena is a bustling city with countless opportunities for food and entertainment. Its vibrant cultural heritage, wonderful communities, and thriving local businesses make it a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the best of Southern California.
Rodney’s Ribs is a one-of-a-kind rib truck that serves Pasadena the tastiest and most flavorful meats. It opened in 2014 and has become a local Pasadena favorite known for its delicious barbecue. Meaty racks, rib tips, and spare ribs are being smoked to perfection, and served with homemade fixings are some of the offerings of Rodney’s Ribs.
The Old Sasoon Bakery is a popular restaurant known for its menu of Middle Eastern delicacies. The friendly service, mouthwatering dishes, fresh-from-the-oven pastries, and delicious desserts make for a pleasant experience at Old Sasoon Bakery.
The Parkway Grill is a classy restaurant established in 1984 and offers delectable Californian meals.
It has an exquisite setting with elegant accents, a warm and inviting atmosphere, walls covered in jaw-dropping works of art, and a well-stocked bar. The Parkway Grill in Pasadena is perfect for a fancy meal with your family or friends.
If you’re looking for a location to take the whole family, Nick’s has a wide selection of meals to choose from.
You can begin with the asparagus fries that have become one of their specialty appetizers, then proceed to a salad or signature sandwich. They also provide a variety of flatbreads baked in a wood-burning oven. When you and your loved ones are out and about, make a pit stop at Nick’s and enjoy a great Pasadena meal.
The Arbour is a farm-to-table local favorite in Pasadena, CA that emphasizes using local ingredients to bring the authentic flavors of California to the diners’ plates. At The Arbour, guests can partake in traditional California cuisine while enjoying the one-of-a-kind ambiance for an authentic California dining experience.
Sweet Treats: Indulge in These Dessert Spots in Pasadena, CA
You can satisfy your sweet tooth or give yourself a sugar rush at one of Pasadena’s many dessert shops. From classic ice cream parlors to trendy boba tea spots, there is something for everyone’s taste buds in Pasadena’s dessert scene.
The sandwiches, coffee, and candy at Little Flower Candy Co. are to die for. Cafe patrons can purchase some of the fresh ingredients offered by the cafe, which are stacked on a wall filled with baking mixes, syrup, jellies, seasonings, flour, and more. Their hearty menu is also bursting with healthy options, including many delicious fruits and vegetables.
The Motto Tea Cafe is a hip and laid-back spot for steaming hot tea, refreshing boba drinks, and Japanese soufflé pancakes. Here you can find a wide variety of high-quality tea beverages. Matcha, a nutritious green tea powder imported from Japan that is rich in antioxidants, is just one example of their globally sourced ingredients.
Not only can you get your hands on everyone’s favorite Taiwanese beverage, but you can also choose from a wide variety of delicious Japanese desserts like teriyaki and souffles. You can even find dairy-free alternatives at Miss Cheese Tea!
Korean bingsoo, a shaved ice dessert with milk as the base and sweet toppings, is also available at Miss Cheese Tea. Their version of the bingsoo is made up of shaved milk ice with a sweetened condensed milk drizzle, red beans, and fruit, chocolate, or nut toppings. When it gets hot in the summer, a refreshing glass of bingsoo is just what you need to feel better.
At 21 Choices, you can choose from a wide array of refreshing frozen yogurt flavors. You can personalize your froyo however you like by adding in fruits, nuts, pastries, and other treats.
Garden-fresh ingredients like herbs, spices, flowers, and seasonal fruit are the inspiration for their ever-evolving flavor options. Their commitment to using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients not only supports the community but also ensures that their dishes are of the highest quality and taste.
International Flavors You Can Encounter at Pasadena, CA
Foodies will find various options in Pasadena, from traditional American fare to international specialties and everything in between. Let’s have a walkthrough of the best restaurants offering authentic international cuisines, enjoy a fusion of flavors worldwide, and unravel the city’s diverse culinary scene.
Osawa is a highly-regarded traditional Japanese restaurant in Pasadena known for its high-quality ingredients and skilled chefs who use traditional techniques to curate delicious sushi dishes and other authentic Japanese meals.
The Namaste Spiceland is a popular diner in Pasadena that serves authentic Indian meals and has been around since 2017. The restaurant is popular among local foodies due to its delicious cuisine, welcoming atmosphere, and friendly service. Namaste Spiceland is an excellent option if you are looking for a place to indulge in mouthwatering Indian specialties.
Old Town Pasadena is home to the famous Maestro Restaurant, where you can have excellent, traditional Mexican food. This award-winning restaurant is a paradise for foodies with its refined yet rustic atmosphere, signature cocktails, and indulgent desserts.
Maestro is also known as one of the local favorites among vegan cafes in Pasadena, CA, because of its superb vegan offerings that feature a variety of plant-based dishes that are healthy and flavorful, making it a go-to spot for vegans and non-vegans alike.
Sharing a meal is a great way to bond with family and friends. It also helps break down cultural barriers and allows you to learn about a particular place’s customs, beliefs, and traditions through its cuisine.
Trying new dishes can also broaden your cultural horizons and provide a unique sensory experience that can be shared with others. It can also be a source of inspiration for your own cooking by introducing you to new flavors and techniques.
We hope this guide to the best Pasadena restaurants and cafes helped you map out your next trip to the city in search of fantastic food and cuisine.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are craving some sugar rush, you can never go wrong with Carmela Ice Cream Co. and Miss Cheese Tea, two famous dessert shops in Pasadena, offering a wide selection of sweet delicacies and beverages. Both shops are definitely worth a visit for any dessert lover in the city.