It didn’t take long for Brian Kozak to discover his passion for food: at the age of three, after he first tried shrimp cocktail and crème brulee, he would spend hours leafing through cookbooks and family recipes in his parents’ kitchen. His fascination with food led him to build an impressive culinary resume: after graduating from Le Cordon Bleu, Brian spent four years cooking for Bon Appetit, opened his own catering company, and learned how to fold a puff pastry according to army-bed making standards. Today, he demonstrates his culinary prowess as the resident Chef at Sage Restaurant and Lounge. Kozak’s influences span the globe: try the Spanish saffron paella with chorizo and shrimp, or any of six 10-inch pizzas. The dining room also has global flair, from its Tuscan yellow walls to its terra cotta tile floors.
With a name that translates to “a little of everything,” it's no surprise that the seasonally changing menu of Cafe Mundial includes dishes such as steamed mussels with shallot cream sauce, duck confit, fresh pastas, and filet mignon with bordelaise sauce. In the kitchen, chefs add zesty wasabi vinaigrette to seared ahi-tuna appetizers and top personal pizzas with goat cheese, fresh basil, and monogrammed sun-dried tomatoes. The extensive wine list includes crisp California chardonnays, bold cabernets, and sparkling pours to pair with dinner entrees or new ties. Diners may opt to slide into a booth or jump onto stools at the full bar to watch sports or cheer on bartenders during martini preparation.
Silk Lounge mixes nature and culture with its sleek yet cozy ambience, spacious patio, carefully crafted libations, and nightly entertainment. Guests seeking solace may retreat to a private booth to puff on a fine cigar ($8+), and revelers seeking a pleasant campfire vibe without rubbing two guitars together until they burst into flames can enjoy company at the patio's fire pit. Meanwhile, more than 20 varieties of single-malt scotch rest on hand to warm bellies, including an Auchentoshan old enough to drink itself (premium drinks are $12). A range of unique Chinese and Japanese wines can greet the tongue ($9 per glass), and a cool beer ($5) crisply complements an appetizer of chicken wings or calamari ($12+).
With a name that salutes the community centers that filled Rio de Janeiro in the 19th century, Boteco beckons all walks of life to eat and drink at its contemporary wooden bartop and sleek, square tables. Historically, these centers incorporated the region's diverse array of northern European, Mediterranean, and Arabian cuisines, and Boteco continues this tradition.
In addition to crisping pizzas made from locally sourced ingredients, the chefs simmer pots of Portuguese stew with cod and potatoes, and arrange sizzling sirloin next to rice, black beans, Brazilian pico de gallo, and caramelized plantains. The chefs also use tiny kitchen tools to construct small bites of tapas and appetizers, all while bartenders whet whistles and other woodwind instruments with 50 domestic and imported craft beers alongside wines and mixed drinks.
Named Best Bar by the Pasadena Weekly in 2009 and 2010 and a City's Best Lounge by Pasadena magazine in 2010, Magnolia Lounge keeps displaced Dixie drawls well-lubricated with its extensive list of specialty drinks. Give your gullet a gander with the I’m Effen Sexy martini, containing Effen Black Cherry vodka, X-Rated Fusion Liqueur, Peachtree Schnapps and cranberry juice, or toast to the titular tastes of the Magnolia cocktail, containing Citron vodka, infused raspberries, Newman's Own lemonade, and mint. Food-wise, Magnolia Lounge's eclectic menu matches the laid-back elegance of the candlelit atmosphere. Start a chic evening out with a french fry trio of classic-cut, yukon gold, and sweet-potato fries served with barbecue ranch, garlic aioli, and chili-honey sauce ($8) before pairing a grilled steak sandwich ($13) with a non-grilled glass of Stoneleigh pinot noir ($10). The fried green tomatoes, with basil cream-cheese filling, cucumber salsa, and roasted red pepper sauce ($8), will bring back forgotten flavors as it layers on some new ones, and the Magnolia cheeseburger decks out its sirloin slab in a seersucker suit of aged cheddar, caramelized onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and garlic aioli ($12).
Eden Garden Bar & Grill sprinkles blooming hunger pangs with a host of traditional Mediterranean dishes served in a warm, intimate setting. Guests lamentably unable to stick round pegs into square holes can comfortably stick a soft pita into the hummus ($7) or sink recently sharpened incisors into four pieces of falafel, which come flanked by sesame seed sauce ($8). The chicken shawarma, served with hummus and salad ($13), stokes the fires of the poultry partial, and the crispy prawns represent the underwater contingent by enlisting seaweed salad as its running mate ($18).