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South Pasadena, 2015 Summer: Any updates/experiences/reviews?

Lightstorm | May 14, 201502:51 PM

I'll be spending a good deal of time this summer and fall in South Pas for a family and a work project as I did a few years ago. I've been away from CA for the most part of the past few years and have been researching the city online to see what's what's new and what's still there in there of terms of food choices.

I'd love to hear of any recent experiences with SP dining. There's never been much on CH search about the city in general (most recently, people seem pleased with Crossings).

I've been looking at Yelp and while I know I can't really trust it,something disturbing is coming up: when you sort reviews by newest date and not Yelp Sort, you see a 2015 trend of really bad reviews for both some of the South Pas stalwarts and newbies. Mike and Anne's is down to 3 1/2 stars now (mostly for service, not its pleasant but unrevolutionary food). Bistro de la Gare got torn apart over Mother's Day for service, and if one of the anecdotes on there is true (being looked up and down before told they weren't taking walk-in parties this past Sunday), I wouldn't want to visit there anyway. A new place called Aro's Latin sounds like the wait service is consistently horrible, with Radhika (same owners, I believe) moving in that direction. The only restaurants that seem to be doing OK, both service and food wise are Crossings, Shiro, and to a lesser degree, Briganti.

Anyone here have any feedback? Some of the reviews of bad service were pretty outrageous and I'm not sure why they would all be happening so frequently over the past few months. It's one thing for your POS machine to be down (seems to be happening at Mike and Anne's more than once), but for a server to take away an already bitten-into salad and say "this belonged at another table" or a chef sending a steak back and saying it WAS cooked correctly after a customer sent it in saying it wasn't? Wow. (I will try to find that review, I can't remember which restaurant that was after reading so many.)

To me (and family), South Pas is certainly not a gourmet destination, but there are some better-than- average food/unusual dishes there, usually leaning toward the more casual (Mexian/Asian seafood dishes from Fanta/Senor Fish), gourmet sandwiches from many places, and desserts). We've found a great way to entertain is to:

-order takeout from certain places (one problem with many South Pas restaurants is a drab atmosphere and long lines if you didn't call in an order)
-have nice serving dishes ready back home
-pick up the food order and place it in insulated coolers
-slide everything onto the nice dishes once home and serve immediately on someone's patio or deck.

This works especially well with places with good, fresh food like Fanta-Sea Grill, which is served on paper plates and bowls in-house (to the dismay of many customers).

I'm also looking for updates on casual and snack dining, not just seated dining. I've seen good reviews of the Tomato Pie Pizza Joint that opened earlier this year, Modan Artisanal Ramen near Bristol Farms, and of Cookie's & Cream, a small cookie bakery with flavors like Jakarta, Earl Grey and Nutella, served with Fosselman's/Thrifty's ice cream stuffed between. (My family LOVES this place. All ages.)

I look forward to trying things out for myself. Thanks for opinions you might have.

Auntie Anne's,
Auntie Anne’s,
Bistro De La Gare,
Radhika Modern Indian,
Modan Artisanal Ramen,
Bristol Farms Hollywood,
Bristol Farms,
Fosselman's Ice Cream Co.,
Señor Fish,
Tomato Pie Pizza Joint
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