Family-Owned Restaurants in Pasadena

May 04, 2023 | Posted in Food

The streets of Pasadena are lined with world-class dining establishments, many of which you won’t find elsewhere. Included on that list are our family-owned gems, where the recipes handed down through the generations shine just as brightly as the sunshine we enjoy year-round.


European Fare

For a trip to Europe without the need for a passport, try Perle Restaurant, where you can enjoy California-inspired, classic French cuisine, featuring one of Los Angeles' first French mirrored-menus, which features seafood and meat on one side, and plant-based and vegetarian on the other. Tardino Bros. Italian Kitchen has been serving authentic Italian food and desserts for more than 50 years. Whether you choose a classic meatball sandwich, or prefer to indulge in some pasta carbonara, you will surely taste the love that has gone into the family’s recipes for decades. If you prefer something a little daintier, make your way to Tea Rose Garden where you will find a full-service flower shop, combined with a beautiful tearoom that doubles as an event venue. Stop in for a classic afternoon tea service or plan your next event with family and friends at this charming neighborhood gem. If pizza is more up your alley, U Street Pizza is sure to satisfy. The sibling restaurant to renowned Italian restaurant Union, U Street uses high-quality, market-driven, seasonal ingredients as they put a California twist on their classic New-York-style pizzas. For more than a decade, Gale's Restaurant has been the home for those in-the-know locals who crave fresh, family-style Northern Italian cuisine, done with California style. Bookend your favorite authentic pasta dish with some fresh bruschetta and a slice of Gale’s heavenly coconut crème cake.

Mediterranean Cafe

Mediterranean Fare

Mediterranean food is plentiful in Pasadena. Mediterranean Café serves all the classics for vegetarians and carnivores alike. Try their hummus or tabouli, followed by chicken or beef kebabs, and be sure to eat it all with some fresh pita bread. Old Sassoon Bakery, an Armenian bakery beloved by yelp reviewers, is a haven for all who love baked goods. Their lahmajoun (Armenian pizza) and khachapuri (boat-shaped bread filled with cheese and egg) are sure to satisfy the strongest carb cravings; while their baklava is sure to please any sweet tooth.

Perry's Joint

Classic American Fare

For some tasty grab-and-go options, try the Pasadena Sandwich Company. Run by the Fink family for three generations, it has been at its current location in Pasadena since 1995. They still cook their meats in-house and make their salads fresh daily, just as their grandparents did in the 50’s. Or head over to Perry’s Joint for customer favorites pastrami or the Big Band. Perry has been serving up his sandwiches to the community since 2004. No meal is complete without a sweet ending, and what’s a more classic dessert than freshly baked pie. The Gourmet Cobbler Factory works with local suppliers to source the +most authentic ingredients and uses old-fashioned techniques to ensure the highest quality cobblers in town, baked fresh daily.

El Cholo


Mexican culture is part of the fabric of our region. With that comes a plethora of authentic Mexican restaurants, serving delicious regional cuisine. El Cholo has been a landmark in Los Angeles since 1923, and has been serving their time-honored Mexican family recipes in Pasadena since 2000. Be sure to get your fill of tableside guacamole, and wash it down with one of their signature Margaritas. Enjoy a unique mixture of coastal and inland Mexican cuisine at El Metate Café. From fish tacos to beef quesadillas, you’re sure to taste the flavors of Mexico in every bite. Restaurante Los Anaya’s offers authentic options available for dine-in, take-out, or catering. The three Anaya brothers have over 60 years of restaurant experience combined. At Urbano Mexican Kitchen you can enjoy a cold Mexican beer and watch as your food is prepared in their open concept kitchen. Fusing traditional and contemporary Mexican cuisine, their flavors originate from the ranches of Zacatecas and the beaches of Baja to be served at the tables of their restaurant in Pasadena. Most famous for their decadent varieties of hot chocolate, Amara Café is a quaint spot to try some Venezuelan staples such as arepas, cachapas and churros. Drop in for a satisfying meal or grab a coffee and dessert after a day of wandering through Old Town.

Bone Kettle

Asian Fare

Pasadena’s strong Asian roots can be felt all over town and in its culinary landscape. Unique restaurants like Bone Kettle spotlight Southeast Asian and Indonesian dishes in the heart of Old Pasadena. Taking heirloom recipes from his mother and inspirations from his travels, Chef Erwin infuses the old with the new, adding bright ingredients available locally with his techniques, telling a story of a modern Southeast Asian fare. Their signature bone broth is cooked for 36 hours to reach peak flavor. For a more classic Chinese dining experience, go to Grandview Palace, which has been serving Chinese cuisine in Old Pasadena for more than 15 years. Their individually crafted and made-to-order dishes create an enjoyable dining experience for all. For a taste of something new, Colette offers a unique dining experience where traditional Chinese flavors and modern culinary techniques come together harmoniously. From delectable dim sum and mouthwatering stir-fries to authentic regional specialties, Colette tantalizes taste buds with a diverse menu that showcases the richness and depth of Chinese cuisine.