Quick Bites In and Around Pasadena

It’s a reopening renaissance. Old favorites have returned with new concepts, while others make big bold moves for expansion and people are in the mood to dine out and mingle.

Tartine in Pasadena is fully open, focusing on fan-favorite breads, pastries, tartines, sandwiches, and salads for takeout, delivery, and indoor dining.

Bourbon Steak by Michael Mina is now offering monthly, multicourse dinners with wine pairings in its private room. Recent dream collaborations have included Westholme Wagyu beef and Penfolds wine from Australia.

Down the street in Glendale, The Brandy brings an upscale lounge vibe to the area. It has recently opened for lunch with Mediterranean skewers, salads, and paninis. At night order pasta, charred branzino, and lamb chops. It still has a hookah lounge in the back but now with DJs on weekends and a bartender making custom cocktails.

In Lincoln Heights, Benny Boy Brewing is a sprawling, open patio space that connects two breweries: one for cider and one for Belgian-style beer and IPAs that also offers unique homegrown creations like the pink-hued Desert Champagne Gose, and a few natural wines in collaboration with Pali Wine Co. from Santa Barbara. Homage is another hipster microbrewery and restaurant recently opened nearby in Chinatown.

Ray Garcia’s highly anticipated new venture at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Asterid, is rolling with a California-inspired menu that includes risotto, sunchoke rosti, and lamb shanks.


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At the ROW DTLA, Michelin-starred Kato is open (relocated from a tiny strip mall in West L.A.) and serving a tasting menu in a sleekly designed spot that matches the cuisine. New to the Arts District, Camphor brings a French modern bistro to the old Nightshade space by co-Executive Chefs Max Boonthanakit and Lijo George, who met while working at Michelin-starred Blue by Alain Ducasse in Bangkok. Must orders include the baby shrimp with gunpowder, thyme and truffle–roasted chicken stuffed with thigh mousse, steak tartar with herb tempura, and an olive oil–washed vodka martini infused with herbs de Provence, which comes with a sidecar. Smoke City Char Bar opened nearby with a full bar, large patio, and naturally smoked local meats from brisket to pulled pork by Executive Chef Omari Williams. Seafood, vegan, and vegetarian options are also available.


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A trifecta of options has arrived on Sunset Boulevard. in Silver Lake with Rapido specialty food market and café, where you can grab imported Portuguese sardines, mackerel pâté, skin-contact wines from the Basque country, and an array of breads from Jyan Isaac Bread—and it’s all perfect for a picnic or Hollywood Bowl spread. Flanking Rapido are two other spots by David Rosoff (Hippo and Mozza) and Chris Feldmeier—more Portuguese fare at Bar Moruno (brought back from the Original Farmers Market) and Causita, a Japanese-Peruvian concept from chef Ricardo Zarate from past groundbreaking ventures Picca and Rosaline. Zarate is also behind the Short Stories Hotel restaurant in the old Tart space on Fairfax, where he is bringing more Peruvian flair to the area.

Encanto is a new Mexican restaurant on Hillhurst in Loz Feliz with an ample tequila bar next door to McCall’s Meat and Fish Co., which supplies meat products for Encanto’s overnight mole negro dishes.

Pie and cocktails is a genius pairinga—and that’s just what you will find at new Cuban cocktail bar Bolita in Virgil Village. Owned by the same crew from El Cochinito and Tropical Café, pies are sourced from the latter, and include piña colada–flavored cream creations that pair with everyone’s favorite tropical tipple.


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Columbia Square welcomes Magari next door to NeueHouse, where Michelin-quality Italian-Japanese cuisine and cocktails become subtle works of art—try the yuzu tagliatelle with crab and parmigiano. The Hollywood renaissance continues with a shiny new supper club from Miami, MainRo, in the old Beso space, while Bourbon Room also lights up Hollywood Blvd. with live music and fried-chicken sandwiches in the Vinyl District. Grandmaster Recorders is now offering a special curated aperitivo party every Sunday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. in Studio71, a great way to wind down the weekend.

In honor of Women’s History Month, DTLA’s Gusto Green (featured in our January/February 2022 issue) is partnering with People’s Pottery Project, a nonprofit ceramic collective that offers training and employment to formerly incarcerated women and trans and nonbinary individuals. For every hemp-based sourdough puffed pita sold, Gusto Green will donate $1 to the organization, through May 31.