September 28, 2022

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8 Fantastic Pasadena Restaurants on Lake Ave

Are you looking for Pasadena Restaurants on Lake Ave? Look no further, we cover 8 delicious and fantastic restaurants on Lake in Pasadena, California.

Lake Ave in Pasadena, California runs north and south. Starting north in Normandie Heights and all the south you hit Oak Knoll. It is one of the main streets in Pasadena and home to many shopping centers, markets, and, of course, restaurants.

Most notably, south of Route 66, on South Lake Ave is where you’ll find The Shops on Lake, the Commons, and Burlington Arcade. Another great destination aside from Old Pasadena for great shopping and great eats. Amongst all the things to do and see in Pasadena.

And at night, the twinkling lights around the palm trees in the center divider of Lake Avenue are always there to welcome you.

blog featured image | pasadena restaurants on lake

So if you’re looking for somewhere to eat in Pasadena that’s not in Old Town, consider checking out these Pasadena Restaurants on Lake. Here are 8 restaurants on Lake Ave in Pasadena that you’ll love as much as we do.

Pasadena Restaurants on Lake

1. The Arbour

The Arbour is one of those restaurants on Lake Ave that can easily be missed and it should not be. This Pasadena restaurant is one of our favorites because of its delicious organic homemade foods to its intimate setting and its decor. We love this restaurant for date night.

Their menu isn’t overwhelming and it is filled with light to comforting dishes that will please most palates. Everything is homemade with local products.

One of the best touches is the warm fresh rolls of bread served at the start with homemade butter, sea salt, and sage.

The last time we were there, we ordered the bucatini alla vodka with great skepticism as it’s a dish that easily can be disappointing. The Arbour is not an Italian restaurant, but the chef hit a home run with this pasta dish. And, we highly recommend it.

The New York striploin was tender, perfectly cooked as ordered. The hollandaise sauce is rich and buttery. The mashed potatoes were so smooth and perfect mixed in with the hollandaise.

Leave room for dessert, their warm apple strudel with homemade ice cream is fantastic.

The full bar alone is worth a visit. Their featured cherry old-fashion was one of the best we’ve had. Their japalpeño margarita seemed to be a favorite as we saw them constantly being served around us. A wine list is available.

The service is wonderful and the staff is attentive.

The Arbour | 527 S Lake Ave #120, Pasadena | Google Map It

2. Smitty’s Grill

Smitty’s Grill is a classic American restaurant on Lake Ave that has been a Pasadena favorite since the 80s. The restaurant has a cozy atmosphere, great for a night out with friends to share a chicken pot pie.

What kind of meals is Smitty’s Grill known for? The old classic comforting dishes like meatloaf, chicken pot pie, mac n’ cheese, baby back ribs, and buttermilk fried children. They also serve other favorites like skillet cornbread, crab cakes, roasted rib eye, Cioppino, and more.

The meatloaf at Smitty’s surprised us, it was really good. Loved the bacon and gravy on it. Almost as if mama made it. We just wouldn’t go comparing it to others.

And, the buttermilk chicken was crispy and juicy. Someone claimed it was one of the best he’s had.

You can never go wrong with a chocolate cake for dessert.

Many tables were enjoying the chicken pot pie, which is large enough to share amongst 2 or more people. So keep that in mind if you do plan to order it.

Smitty’s Grill | 110 S Lake Ave, Pasadena | Google Map It

3. Magnolia House

view inside restaurant of diners eating looking out into the open front patio

Magnolia House on Lake Ave in Pasadena is a 100-year-old historic craftsman home serving fantastic craft cocktails and delicious shareable plates. Whether you sit inside or take advantage of their outdoor setting, you’ll have a beautiful time.

Plan date night or catch up with old friends at Magnolia House. Its cozy, quaint, and charming atmosphere makes it the perfect spot to grab drinks and something to eat.

a burger oozing with cheese and onions
The Duke Burger in all its glory.

Their burgers, truffle parmesan Belgium fries, Brussel sprouts Koren pork-belly fried rice, lamb riblets, and Greek donuts are some of our favorite items. We almost always strive to try something new, but always end up ordering the same.

Burger and Bourbon (old fashion) is Tuesday’s special and always a hit. Yup, fries are included, too. It’s a great deal for $20.

Magnolia House | 492 S Lake Ave, Pasadena (Google Map It) | Menu

Delicious Places to Eat in Pasadena, CA

One of the best parts of Pasadena is all the delicious spots to eat. From restaurants to take-out, check out some of our favorite places to eat in Pasadena.

4. Mercado

Margaritas and carnitas? Yes, please.

Mercado is a trendy restaurant serving modern Mexican cuisine, in the Commons on Lake ave. Expect excellent drinks, attentive service, and Mexican food with added flair.

Start a margarita and guacamole, then order anything with carnitas as your entree. The tender flavorful meat is some of the best we’ve had.

The margaritas are crafted with top-notch ingredients and are absolutely delicious. You can also ask about the Aguas Frescas of the day. These are refreshing drinks that are perfect for quenching your thirst on a hot day.

The restaurant exceeded our expectations. We were hesitant because we normally stick to our tried-and-true hole-in-the-wall Mexican spots and food trucks in Pasadena. However, we finally decided to treat ourselves and give the place a try. We are glad we did! The atmosphere was wonderful, the service was excellent, and the food was absolutely delicious.

Mercado | 140 S Lake Ave, Pasadena | Google Map It

5. Dan Modern Chinese

Dan Modern Chinese in The Commons serves the most delicious handmade dumplings and noodles in Pasadena. The soup dumplings are probably as good or even better than Ding Tai Fung.

The menu at this Chinese restaurant focuses primarily on different dumplings, rice, noodles, soup, and vegetable dishes. The dishes are smaller in size, but the perfect size that allows you to order multiple items to share at a table. This way you can try a bit of everything.

We tend to always order scallion pancakes, pork soup dumplings, beef noodles, and the bok choy.

The restaurant inside is sterile and sleek. It’s not the coziest of places. However, the food served is fantastic. If you’re just looking to have a great meal, Dan Modern Chinese delivers.

It is also one of the few places worth ordering take-out delivery from.

Dan Modern Chinese | 146 S Lake Ave #105, Pasadena | Google Map It

6. Celestino’s Ristorante

gnocchi in a cream sauce with shaved black truffles

Celestino’s is a Pasadena restaurant on Lake that serves traditional Italian dishes in a lovely intimate setting. We suggest requesting sitting on their patio, especially if you’re looking to make it a romantic dinner out.

They have a full menu of antipasto, plates of pasta, and entrees. They have a wine list if you like to enjoy a bottle of wine with your meal.

We are suckers for anything with truffles, so the gnocchi with shaved truffles is a go-to of ours.

Great Italian restaurants in Pasadena are few. Thankfully, Celestino’s is one of those that we can count on.

Celestino | 141 S Lake Ave, Pasadena Google Map It | Reservations

7. Pie ‘n Burger

cheeseburger at pie n burger

Pie ‘n Burger is not exactly a restaurant on Lake in Pasadena, but it’s right off Lake Ave on California and a beloved local spot. Most would agree that it should be on this on this list.

This classic burger joint is for burger lovers and pie fans.

It’s a casual spot, no-frills that will serve you a scrumptious cheeseburger with fries. If you like, get a side of ranch to dip your fries in – it’s homemade and so good.

Order a shake on the side, root beer float, or hold off on the sweets, so you can order a slice of pie with their homemade whip cream.

Ask the server about their cakes. Their coconut cake is one of the best, just like grandma used to make.

We love coming here because it’s laid back, it’s delicious American comfort food, and the staff is awesome.

Just remember, it’s old school, it’s cash only. They do have an ATM inside.

Pie ‘n Burger | 913 E California Blvd, Pasadena | Google Map It

8. La Caravana

salvadorian cuisine of rice beans, sweet plantain, pupusas
Plato Tipico Loco – it includes rice and beans casamiento, sweet plantain, chicharron, queso, sweet tamale and one pupusa

La Caravana is a Salvadorean restaurant on N Lake Ave, farther north than the others mentioned on this list. If you’re looking to try something different, this is the spot.

This family-run restaurant prepares and serves the most delicious pupusas as well as other Salvadorean dishes. From their menu, the Plato Tipico Loco is a great way to try a little of everything from pupusas, rice and beans, cheese, fried yucca, etc.

We always order extra pupusas as well to go with it. The revueltas (pork and cheese) are our favorite. Make sure to top the pupusas with curtido (slaw) and salsa before you dig in.

The family here is always so kind and warm. Service can sometimes be a little slow, but that’s because they are making these pupusas in the back by hand and with love.

La Caravana | 1306 N Lake Ave, Pasadena | Google Map It

You’ll find something delicious to eat at all these 8 Pasadena Restaurants on Lake. There are still a few restaurants we have our eye on that we haven’t gotten a chance to try. Once we do, and if we enjoyed it, we will add them to the list.

Which restaurants on Lake in Pasadena do you enjoy? Let us know in the comments.

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