Hands are nature's silverware—evidenced by early man's serrated pointer finger and forked thumb. Get back to your ancestral roots in sophisticated, handfed fashion with today's Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of Mediterranean fare at Noor, located in Paseo Colorado in Pasadena.
Noor satiates inquisitive taste buds with a mélange of Mediterranean small plate fare, creating a sample-and-share dynamic for assemblages of diners. The menu teems with interpretations of traditional dishes from Greece, Armenia, Persia, and Lebanon, all created from fresh, locally grown ingredients. Shareable snacks reward mouths for good behavior with tantalizing plates of mushroom ravioli in a sun-dried tomato sauce ($12) or crispy coconut shrimp lightly fried and slam-dunked in blood-orange-and-ginger marmalade ($9). The jalapeño hummus ($8) sets grilled pitas and palates ablaze, and a trio of mini cheesecakes ($6) vies for gastronomic gold and the cover of a very misleading Wheaties box.
The low-lit restaurant exudes warmth and camaraderie under the twinkle of chandeliers and lush modern décor. Dining denizens can bask in the tunings of live jazz sets Wednesday–Friday. Noor’s resident mixologists fashion wily potables, or purvey one of the many sommelier-selected wines, sending sippers to the balcony outpost for uninhibited views of Colorado Boulevard's roaming bands of runaway street signs.
One couple commands the hardwood dance floor, strutting under colored lights and glass chandeliers as well-wishers cheer them on from iron-wrought balcony railings, or wander across the foyer’s marble floors on their way to the intricately carved dark-wood bar. The Sofia ballroom, one of the many venues at Noor, host the reception hall’s memory-making parties, which range from weddings to performances by Pasadena Symphony pianists. The hall’s attentive staffers also oversee gatherings beneath the Ella ballroom’s crystal chandeliers or on the terrace patio, where a circle of white curtains and climbing ivy surrounds a starburst-shaped mosaic-tile fountain that gurgles compliments to passing glasses of champagne.
A resident culinary crew feeds the hall’s hungry revelers with Mediterranean-Californian fusion dishes. Noor's chefs devise many of their tapas-style dishes in the reservation-only Ella restaurant, and frequently feature seasonal, locally grown ingredients. Eclectic seating varies throughout Noor's rooms, from lounge sofas and armchairs to high-backed formal dinner chairs, blending modern and vintage aesthetics more smoothly than photos of Benjamin Franklin wearing a Members Only jacket.