Pasadena, a city celebrated for its cultural richness and historical charm, also boasts a vibrant food scene that caters to the tastes of globetrotters and local foodies alike. My recent gastronomic adventure in this picturesque city unveiled an array of dining experiences, each unique and memorable in its own right. From the heartwarming broths of Bone Kettle to the innovative dishes that await discovery, here’s my take on the top 5 restaurants in Pasadena that are a must-visit for anyone looking to indulge their culinary senses:


Kicking off with a standout, Bone Kettle, a haven for Southeast Asian cuisine enthusiasts, truly sets the bar high. At the heart of their menu is a rich, 36-hour bone broth, promising not just a meal but a nourishing experience. Their Vietnamese Pho and Indonesian Soto Ayam are masterpieces, each a symphony of fresh herbs and explosive flavors. It’s not just about the broths; the small plates, such as the Oxtail Tips dressed in a spicy lime sauce and Crispy Brussels Sprouts coated in a sweet and savory glaze, are equally compelling. Chef Erwin Tjahyadi brings a piece of his Asian heritage and the eclectic LA food scene to Pasadena, offering a cozy yet vibrant dining atmosphere. Whether it’s a romantic dinner or a lively gathering with friends, Bone Kettle is your gateway to an unforgettable Southeast Asian culinary adventure.


Pasadena’s Osawa seamlessly blends Japanese comfort food with modern flair. Savor melt-in-your-mouth appetizers, witness teppanyaki artistry, or indulge in their impressive sushi selection. From the Lobster Mango Spring Rolls to the signature Osawa Roll, each bite boasts meticulous attention to detail and fresh ingredients. Whether a sushi aficionado or curious newcomer, Osawa offers an unforgettable dining experience where tradition meets modernity in a warm, elegant atmosphere.


Pasadena’s Marina transports you to the heart of Italy with its seasonal California twist. Imagine savoring house-made ricotta and blistered bread, followed by a perfectly charred Caesar salad or burrata bursting with creamy goodness. Their menu sings with the freshest ingredients, from hand-selected cured meats to succulent lamb chops. Don’t miss the Calabrian Salami pizza, where chili honey adds a delightful kick, or the delicate Persimmon Salad with candied walnuts and goat cheese. With its warm ambiance and inviting service, Marina isn’t just a meal, it’s a celebration of Italian culinary traditions reimagined for the California palate. Buon appetito!


Classic Steakhouse Elegance with Modern Appeal Indulge in Pasadena’s quintessential steakhouse experience at Chop House. Picture yourself surrounded by mahogany booths, bathed in seductive light, the air alive with the melody of a live piano. Their claim to fame is USDA Prime beef, aged and cut daily, broiled to perfection in a 500-degree oven. Sink your teeth into a juicy New York Strip, savor the richness of a Filet Mignon, or opt for the Tomahawk Ribeye for a true carnivore’s delight. Beyond the prime cuts, expect classic steakhouse sides like creamed spinach and loaded baked potatoes, each elevated with a touch of modern finesse. While seafood lovers won’t be disappointed either, with fresh daily catches like lobster and tuna gracing the menu. Whether celebrating a special occasion or simply seeking a timeless culinary escape, Chop House delivers an ambiance as timeless as their steaks, making it a must-visit for Pasadena gastronomes.


Family Legacy Meets Flavorful Feasts Step into Pasadena Sandwich Company and experience a taste of history. Since 1954, this family-owned deli has been serving up New York-style comfort food that warms the soul. Dive into hearty classics like corned beef piled high on rye or pastrami bursting with smoky goodness. Don’t miss their signature “Trust the Cook” sandwich, a meaty masterpiece left to the chef’s discretion. Whether you crave juicy burgers, fresh salads, or classic grilled cheese, their generous portions and homemade touches satisfy every craving. Beyond the food, the vibrant atmosphere, decorated with quirky memorabilia, transports you to a bygone era while the friendly staff provides a welcoming touch. So, grab a seat, order a classic sandwich, and savor a taste of Pasadena’s rich culinary heritage at the iconic Pasadena Sandwich Company.


While Pasadena’s culinary landscape is vast and varied, it’s the city’s embrace of cultural diversity and culinary innovation that truly makes dining here a unique experience. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore local markets and seasonal events that showcase the best of Pasadena’s local produce and artisanal crafts.

Embarking on this food journey through Pasadena has not only been a feast for the taste buds but also a deep dive into the stories and cultures that shape each restaurant’s menu. From the comforting, soulful broths of Bone Kettle to the yet-to-be-discovered flavors of the city’s hidden gems, Pasadena proves to be a culinary treasure trove waiting to be explored.

So, whether you’re a resident or a visitor, make sure to savor the diverse and delectable offerings of Pasadena’s top restaurants. And remember, the best way to experience a city’s culture is through its food, so dive in and enjoy the culinary voyage. Share your own Pasadena favorites in the comments below and let’s continue to celebrate the joy of discovering new tastes together!