Sophistication on a Plate — Racion

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One of my favorite places to eat in Old Pasadena is Racion. The food, the ambiance, the everything makes it a sophisticated gem of a place to dine.

Let’s start with the atmosphere. Located on Green Street in a small building that looks like it was once a home, Racion charms with its urban concrete floors, warm wooden tables, grey upholstered chairs, and cozy dim lighting. The walls are white with minimalist artwork; and their wine wall is art in it of itself. Instantly, I feel I’ve walked into a restaurant that knows what it’s doing—both atmospherically and food-wise. Something about a well lit, well dressed space sets the tone for what you’re about to eat, no?

So let’s talk about that. The food. First, a little history. Racion was founded in 2012 by Teresa Montano and Loretta Peng. According to their website, “We are a modern small plates restaurant located in charming Old Town Pasadena, conceived in the spirit of the Avant Garde and great tapas traditions of the Basque region of Spain.” Their menu changes periodically, which adds another level of delight; you never know what you’re going to get. Some of my favorites, though? Salt cod fritters with lemon cream—succulent, moist, and perfectly crisp, these fritters melt in your mouth. Summer vegetables are always delicious, no matter the selection. Always the right amount of crunch to cooked ratio—and bursting with flavor. Their Spanish charcuterie is on point; as is the manchego and picot cheeses with macron almond mousse. And? The ultimate favorite. The 18oz bone-in all natural prime rib eye, txuleta. Oh. My. This is by far my favorite steak. The rub, the grilled crunch, the juicy, tender meat—perfection. It’s the priciest item they have, but easily sharable. And definitely worth it.

Then there’s wine. While I typically take my own bottle (corkage fee is reasonable at $25), their wine and beer selection is exclusively Spanish.

If you’re looking for a slightly decadently priced, deliciously tasty, and all-around sophisticated spot to dine in in Old Pasadena, look no further than Racion. Reserve a table tonight!

Location: 119 W. Green Street, Pasadena 91105

Hours: Monday 6pm to 10pm | Tuesday-Thursday 11:30am to 3pm; 6pm to 10pm | Friday 11:30am to 3pm; 6pm to 11pm | Saturday 11:30am to 3pm; 5:30pm to 11pm | Sunday 5:30pm to 10pm

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