The following Pasadena restaurants not only have outdoor dining; they are old Pasadena institutions. Dining at them is not only a pleasant experience in itself; it ties into a rich store of memory that may even go back to dining with parents or grandparents as a child. None of these Pasadena restaurants is especially romantic but they are all a lot of fun.
395 Rosemead Blvd.
626 351 8885
Eating at Robin’s is not an experience in elegant dining. You eat your food out of a garbage can lid. The outdoor patio area is at the front of the restaurant under an old wisteria plant. It can get a little noisy as the loudspeaker calls names for people to get their tables.
But from the menu to the service to the food, Robin’s is fun. Service is excellent: the waiters are so hammy they are probably out of work actors.
But don’t let this casual atmosphere fool you. Robin’s is all about BBQ and the Zagat guide has rated it as one of the three best places in Los Angeles for BBQ. The food is cooked with heat and smoke from hickory logs and mesquite charcoal. Several sauces are offered but Robin’s original is best.
This isn’t the cheapest place around with dinners ranging from about $15-$17 but servings are huge and you may be forced to use a doggie bag.
39 South Lake Ave.
Pasadena, Ca 91107
626 440 0309
In spite of its name, this is not a hamburger joint. Its actually sort of a Middle Eastern restaurant that servers everything from hamburgers to humus. It has a large outdoor patio in back and this is where most people choose to dine. Quiet this place is not. On Wednesday there is a jazz band and Mediterranean bands play every other night except Monday. There is usually a belly dancer wiggling through the diners.
Burger Continental offers both lunch and dinner buffets as well as a Sunday brunch. These are very extensive and the food is good. Choose the buffet unless you absolutely have to have that burger. Prices are moderate.
MIJARES MEXICAN RESTAURANT
145 Palmetto Dr.
626 792 2763
Mijares opened 83 years ago, making it the granddaddy of Pasadena Restaurants. Unfortunately, the original Mijares burned down several years ago and the restaurant, including its quaint old patio, had to be rebuilt from scratch.
The food at Mijares is good but not outstanding. They do make a very good tortilla soup and a great Margarita. The main reason to dine at Mijaries is the outdoor patio, which is quiet and charming. Small birds seem to like the place and they wait patiently for you to throw them a morsel. Prices are moderate.