Union Restaurant

Culinary Scene

Culinary Excellence – A Michelin Guide to Pasadena

August 01, 2023 | Posted in Food

Pasadena is the perfect place to sample global cuisine at a Michelin honored restaurant.

Every foodie has at least one Michelin Star-rated restaurant on their bucket list. While most of the acclaimed restaurants may be out of reach for many of us, Michelin has expanded their list to include more attainable options, with the Bib Gourmand and the Plate Michelin ratings.

The Bib Gourmand is an esteemed rating given to friendly restaurants that serve good food at moderate prices. In the 2016 edition of the Paris guide, a brand new L’assiette or The Plate symbol was launched to recognize restaurants that simply serve good food. These are places where almost anyone can enjoy a fine meal without breaking the bank, and Pasadena is home to three such gems.

Bib Gourmand

Good quality, good value cooking.


This simple but alluring seafood bar is in the Old Pasadena shopping area of downtown Pasadena. The city may be inland, but Fishwives brings the coastal catches to your plate with both raw, fresh seafood and cooked menu options. Enjoy the New England-inspired rolls and raw bar offerings including oysters, clams, mussels, scallops, shrimp, lobster, and sea urchin. For those looking for something more global, their menu also includes sushi and sashimi selections. Wash it all down with a glass of red, white, or rose wine from California and beyond.


Union is a lively yet intimate California-inspired Northern Italian restaurant and wine bar. Enjoy their sustainably raised and prepared meats and fish, or try their seasonal varieties of handmade pastas. A menu favorite is the squid ink lumache. Shaped like a shell, covered in a lemon and truffle butter sauce, and topped with fresh Maine lobster, this dish is sure to please even the most seasoned palate. The menu is nicely complimented by a curated wine list featuring selections from both Italy and California.

Plate Michelin

Fresh ingredients, carefully prepared: a good meal.



Agnes is a cheesery and restaurant that Michelin refers to as the coolest cat in Pasadena. Featuring a cheese shop, bar, full-service restaurant and outdoor patio, this newcomer is a welcome addition to Green Street. Some of the notable dishes mentioned by Michelin include a cornbread eclair with chicken liver mousse, cavatelli with braised lamb and lamb fat gremolata, and a half chicken with smoked jus. The latter is brined, steamed, and charred over open flames until the skin is crisp as a chip. If you were able to save room for dessert, try the tres leches with corn pudding.

Parkway Grill

One of Pasadena's longtime favorites is Parkway Grill. Opened in 1984, Parkway Grill has been at the forefront of combining American cuisine with classic French techniques and other global influences. They use a traditional wood-fired oven to prepare many of their entrees. A menu standout is their whole fried ginger catfish with yuzu-ponzu dipping sauce. Pair your dinner with a glass of wine from Parkway's award-winning wine cellar, comprised of upwards of three thousand bottles. And be sure to save some room for the crème brûlée Napoleon dessert; it will not disappoint.


Perle’s menu features sustainable-focused, classic French dishes as well as modern, seasonal creations influenced by California’s fresh cuisine. This cozy French bistro offers Parisian classics such as duck à l’orange, Burgundy snails, and Gran Marnier soufflé. The intimate décor and authentic food offerings from their Michelin-trained chef will transport you to France without having to leave Pasadena.