Cafes in San Marino

Select Local Merchants

The specialty pho at Pho Island Express spoons helpings of beef, filet, mignon, or chicken into steaming, aromatic noodle broths, which guests are encouraged to loudly slurp to best taste the flavors or irritate fellow diners. They also cover the colder end of the spectrum, pouring green tea with lychee jelly and frosty milk drink with honey boba, pudding, and caramel. But that's not to say they don't touch on more solid fare—their vermicelli salad bowl hosts a choice of grilled beef, chicken, pork, or shrimp seasoned with lemongrass.

741 E Valley Blvd
San Gabriel,
CA
US

Clearman's Galley, which started as a hamburger stand with patio seating in 1968, has become a whale of a restaurant: its patio alone can seat 90 people, and the restaurant itself, resembling a fishing shack built by mer-giants, holds 300. But locals are still likely to call it "The Boat." The origins of that name are visible in the chipper red-and-white boat that sits outside, but to fully uncover its backstory, diners would need to take a waterproofed time machine back to 1913. In those days, that boat was a real, seaworthy vessel on the Pacific Ocean that ran mail between San Francisco and Alaska. In 1968, it docked permanently on Huntington Drive and transformed into a hamburger stand, and when owner John Clearman decided to expand the restaurant, he simply dug a shipping canal and brought the boat along with him.

Today, waiters carry plates of the galley's signature cabbage salad and cheese bread to scores of hungry families. The rest of the menu is still stocked with casual grill food: fried chicken, chili cheeseburgers, and cod dinners grace tables alongside 25-ounce beer steins, which bartenders fill with more than 20 imported and domestic brews on tap. Sunday breakfast brings pancakes and breakfast burritos, and at most hours of the day, diners will notice that the Galley has a third love in addition to good food and the sea: sports. Staff root alongside customers for teams from the NFL and the local T-ball league alike, and games flash across no fewer than 16 HDTVs.

7215 Rosemead Blvd
San Gabriel,
CA
US

Assisting everything from relaxation to energy boosts, Muse Tea House's tea gurus blend black, green, and oolong leaves with flavors that range from blueberry and passionfruit to lavender and rose. Chewy boba and aloe pearls nestle at the bottom of almond and taro milk teas, and royal sparkling sodas—started with San Pellegrino mineral water—tickle tongues with bubbly flavors of peach and pomegranate. For something more filling, patrons can opt for a fruity, syrup-free yogurt drink made with organic ingredients from France and Japan or toss back items from the kitchen, such as macarons, squid balls, and sliced barbecue pork on dry noodles.

Muse Tea House cultivates an intimate, hushed atmosphere with a row of low-set tables and cozy booths shaded by patterned gossamer curtains. Thick, burgundy drapes frame each sun-drenched front window, which cast natural light on a smooth, stone floor so that customers can draw perfect hopscotch courses in chalk.

227 West Valley Boulevard
San Gabriel,
CA
US

Devan and Reena Shah, and Tek Mehreteab are passionate about tea. By sourcing leaves from eight regions in India, China, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Japan, they are able to proffer more than 300 standard and specialty varieties online and inside Chado Tea Room. The name Chado, taken from the Chinese cha, meaning "tea," and the Japanese do, meaning "path," speaks to the owners’ strict standards for their product. Many of their green, black, white, and oolong teas are USDA-certified organic; the Shahs also stock unique varieties such as Chinese pu-er teas and hand-tied blooming tea balls. In addition, they brew special house blends for morning, afternoon, and evening, helping customers find the right blend to start the day or serve to bats that have invaded their home.

Staffers pair teas with an array of cream-topped scones, cookies, cakes, and roasted savory sandwiches during teatime at Chado's three tearooms. Though each location is decorated differently, the same three-tiered sandwich platters and steaming pots of tea travel between panda paintings hanging in the Los Angeles location, underneath strings of holiday lights at the Pasadena location, and between ceiling-high wooden shelves stocked with mugs, filters, teapots, and bags of loose-leaf tea at the Hollywood location.

79 N Raymond Ave
Pasadena,
CA
US

The flavors of Asia are subtly incorporated into the drinks at Whatever Tea Lounge. The staff whirs together slushes and milk teas flavored with exotic options such as kumquats, wintermelon, and lychee. From there, can be added a bit of Asia's unique food textures with the addition of chewy boba pearls or bits of grass jelly. But when creating the food menu and wallpapering the walls of the kitchen, chefs use explicitly Asian recipes. They season short ribs with a generous amount of black pepper, fry up pork chops with rice, and even create a crispy fried shell around green-tea ice cream.

800 W Las Tunas Dr.
San Gabriel,
CA
US

Within CrêpeStudio's elegantly aged brick building in Old Town Pasadena, bakers follow an old family recipe when whipping up batter daily and shaping it into crêpes. Plates land on tables loaded with 24 varieties of sweet, savory, or breakfast crepes, which wrap around an array of grilled meats, cheeses, and vegetables or fresh berries and ice cream. Salads and paninis made to order house greater portions of ingredients without forcing vegetables to protect themselves against the elements by piling inside a sliced-open tomato. The studio surrounds its guests with modern décor, such as sleek wood paneling, exposed-brick walls, and colorful illuminated signs.

99 E Union St
Pasadena,
CA
US