Looking for the best Seafood Restaurant in Pasadena CA 2018? Want to know where to go? Before we tell you, I will have you know that we visited many great seafood restaurants there before choosing (thanks SmartGuy® for picking up the tab!!).
You see, Pasadena is a very populated area with affluent residents, picky eaters and a ton of foodies! There are also many very good seafood restaurants there, including: Bayou Shrimp, The Pier Grill, Fishwives, Prawn Coastal, Fish On Tap, Beer & Claw, San Marino Seafood, Roy’s Restaurant and that is just the beginning! But, we wanted to find the best. After all, SmartGuy® allows only one restaurant per category per city every year this award.
Well to answer this question, SmartGuy® asked us to rate it based on ten key variables in mind. So I can say officially say (after an enormous amount of delicious meals) that our winner for the
SmartGuy® Best Seafood Restaurant in Pasadena, CA 2018 is:
1978 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107
(I must admit it was close, in fact there are a large number of great seafood restaurants in Pasadena; however, we had to choose one. Here are the factors we used in determine which is the best seafood restaurant:
Design and Style
The first thing you will notice when arriving to Camerons is the large parking lot, wonderful since no one likes to spend 30 minutes finding a parking spot! The outside of the building looked great, like an up-to-date seafood house you might find in a coastal city. Upon entering, the tastefully decorated interior had a great appeal - something modern and upscale but with that quality seafood restaurant feel. The ample spacing inside and design of the seafood restaurant was well thought through - plenty of room for staff and customers to move around without bumping into each other.
While great service can help average tasting food appear better, great food can never make up for a lack of good service. After having heard about this restaurant, three SmartGuy® team members went there on 3 different days (two during the week, and one on the weekend). In reviewing all three reports, each had the same response: the hostess, waiters and staff all exhibited a passion for working there. They exhibited friendly smiles and attitudes, were attentive, listened to things we asked, and it was clear that they wanted our experience there to be a good one. But our job was to test them, and that we did. For example, I dropped a napkin to see if they would notice it and do something about it. The first person that walked by picked it up without saying a word and brought a fresh one right away. One of the Other SmartGuy® reps intentionally started talking to another table when the waiter came to take his order. Rather than interrupting, he waited patiently, and when the rep was finished, he began to see if he wanted something to drink and hear about the specials. The SmartGuy® rep even asked him details about the specials to see if he knew the answers, and he did.
It is clear that they had recently remodeled because the seating was very comfortable and most importantly, they were the appropriate height - not so deep diners need to lean forward to reach the table. As for the table sizes, they were also designed with plenty of room so waiters don’t have to rearrange the water glasses with the arrival of each course. The materials used, colors and spacing of the booths (there were alot of booths!) was excellent!
Quality Bread and Butter
I have always felt that a great seafood restaurant should have the best bread - and we were not disappointed. Without even asking, the waiter brought warm sourdough bread and butter. While I forgot to ask, When the brought it, I noticed it was not hot. Initially, I thought it should have been until I tried it and found it to be soft and tasty. Sure, I know the free items like bread are worked into the price, but those small touches like quality bread provides a sense of care for the customer that is uncommon in many places and makes the customer feel special.
Appropriate Lighting and Sound
After sitting and tasting the bread, most of us did the same thing - we looked at the menu. But before getting to that, a very important aspect to a great seafood restaurant is the lighting - nothing is more upsetting than when you cant see the menu. It was nice to see that like everything else, thought went into this. The light fixtures were not only very appealing, but provided excellent light to not only see the menu, but everyone else at the table, as well as the wonderful decor on the walls - without blinding anyone. As for sound, none of us remember hearing it which was fine. You see, if there is music, you should barely notice it. We also didn’t hear the conversations of others thanks to the spacing between the booths.
A Visually Stimulating Menu
One thing most top seafood restaurants have in common, is a menu that varies according to what fish are current and in season. While many restaurants use frozen fish, great seafood restaurants serve fresh fish. It goes without saying that if the menu doesn’t change constantly, you’re not getting fresh fish. But the other thing to look at is whether the menu is constantly and thoroughly spell-checked. While that wasn’t critical, it does show the attention to detail we were looking for. Finally, a constantly changing menu make return visits more enticing. According to the other two SmartGuy® reps that ate there, one special was a Blackened halibut over fettuccine special, another time it was a macadamia nut-crusted or grilled Mahi Mahi with asparagus (both were outstanding). When I ate there, it was a delicious pan-seared Branzino European Bass, with rice, vegetables, and house salad!
Clean Updated Bathrooms
After ordering, I decided to check out the bathrooms. I know, you're probably saying what does that matter, right? Well, I feel that an excellent seafood restaurant should offer their clients a neat, tidy bathroom. For me, that is not an option - it is required, Afterall, If they can’t keep their bathrooms, clean, can they keep their kitchen clean? Great restaurants go beyond just simply being clean, and offer ample lighting, scented towels or even fresh flowers and quality hand soap. We were all happily surprised to find gorgeous modern bathrooms, clean, elegant and sweet smelling.
Good Wine and Drinks
After 30 years, Camerons already knew that to be the best seafood restaurant in Pasadena if not in Southern California, it was not just the food but quality drinks to accompany their meals. While they offer a full bar, I ordered a glass of wine based on the recommendation of the waiter. Perfect choice, fair price and went great with my meal. One of the other SmartGuy® reps ordered a beer on tab which they said was very good, the other a mixed drink. I decided to walk over to their bar, on the other side of the restaurant, and looking around I sparked up a conversation with a local patron named Dell. He had been going there about 30 years and eats/drinks there virtually every day! I was impressed by that, but I found that most people in the bar were also regulars who loved the quality of food, service and staff there. By the way, the wine I was served at the table was the correct temperature and in the right glassware. The person who served it wasn’t the waiter. My guess is that it was either another well trained waiter on wine or a trained sommelier. He understood the basics on wine and offered me choices based on what I ordered - he didn’t try to up-sell me an expensive wine (I know my wines)
When the food came, It was hot! To me, timing and coordination between the kitchen and floor is critical at a great restaurant. I don’t want just warm food or to see my meal slowly congealing under a heat lamp. I took my time eating and was not rushed, although the restaurant was very busy ( I was there on a Saturday at about 7:00 pm) I did notice that while I was eating alone, the table next to me was a group of about 5. They ordered appetizers, a full meal and dessert. During their appetizers, they were deep in conversation and so were slow in eating some of their appetizers. Yet, their waitress waited till they were completely done. Many restaurants whisk away your half eaten plate if you take too long and replace it with the next course while you're in mid-chew.)
After finishing my meal and speaking with the other two SmartGuy® reps, we all felt Cameron's Seafood was deserving of the Best Seafood in Pasadena CA 2018 by SmartGuy®. Consistency is critical, and after not only eating ourselves, but speaking with others who had eaten there hundreds of times (that’s not an exaggeration), we were assured of the restaurant’s consistency.
Pasadena is a very large city with hundreds of very good restaurants - many of them are excellent. While there were several other seafood restaurants in the city that were excellent, none met all the criteria we were looking for at the same prices. So, if you're looking for the best seafood restaurant in Pasadena, we gave our SmartGuy® 2018 Best Seafood Restaurant award to Camerons!
By the way, although the restaurant menu changes frequently, here are some suggestions:
Pan Crusted & Baked: