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  • Writer's pictureJose Martinez


From our friends at PEZ Cantina in Downtown L.A., Executive Chef Bret Thompson and his wife Lucy Thompson-Ramirez, comes Pez Coastal Kitchen located in the heart of Old Town Pasadena. And just like the original PEZ, the new offshoot offers refined dining in a comfy and cozy setting.


While the new Pasadena concept focuses on seafood, the menu also extends beyond, encompassing meat, poultry, and a unique emphasis on the curing and smoking of meats and seafood, known as Sea-cuterie.

At PEZ Coastal Kitchen, Chef’s focus has shifted to innovative techniques such as curing, smoking, and specialized dry-aging of seafood. Guests may indulge and enjoy a tantalizing array of appetizers, chilled seafood, crudos, family-style entrees, exceptional sides, and innovative desserts.

Here, the interior design is warm and inviting and the bar area, with hanging Cuban fans, is welcoming. This is a place to make a night of it while you sit back and relax.

During our recent visit for dinner, we started with bread service with Bub & Grandma’s Focaccia, giardiniera, cultured butter and flaky salt. I’m usually not someone who orders bread and butter if you have to pay for it but the focaccia bread and homemade butter were so tasty. It’s your choice if you want to spend $10 on bread and butter but you won’t regret it if you decide to indulge.

Likewise, the bar offers a barrel-aged cocktail program, including a Barrel-Aged Old Fashioned; Negroni; Manhattan; and Gin. Again, it’s up to you if you want to indulge—maybe once in a while but not every visit. I would suggest starting your visit with The Great Healer made with olive oi washed Grey Goose Vodka and house made olive brine. It’s a potent and marvelous martini. This is how night outs should begin.


The menu does offer a wide variety of dishes for all tastes. We started with the Crispy sweetbreads fritto misto served with black lime aioli. In case you don’t know, sweetbreads are the thymus or pancreas, typically from a calf or lamb, and have a rich and slightly gamey flavor. They may not be everybody but for an adventurous foodie, it’s a great starter item.

We found the Seared bluefin tuna with green beans, oyster mushrooms, avocado labneh, and truffle-lime vinaigrette to be sensational. So very tasty.


For our main dishes, we went with the Pacifico sea bass with Meyer lemon risotto and seafood Bolognese. This is a great dish and the risotto really created a colossal comfort food option. This is also a really good one to share.

For anyone looking for non-seafood options, there’s smoked baby back ribs, spaghetti, crispy half chicken, and the Prime center cut filet of ribeye served with green peppercorn demi, and Pez fries. We opted for the ribeye, which was hearty and heavenly.


If you’re looking for side dishes, you can’t go wrong with the Potato gratin served with bacon, Gruyere cheese and cippolini onions. And do not sleep on the Yam skins, made prepared with green tahini, whipped feta, and marcona almonds.


In fact, consider the Yam skins a must-have dish. They are so rich and delicious. I think every visit to PEZ Coastal Kitchen should start with the martini and the yam skins. Talk about an unbeatable combination.


If you’re looking for other good cocktail options, I recommend the Happy Wife, Happy Life made with Redemption High-Rye Bourbon, Liquid Alchemist Apple Spice, and served with a sugared apple crisp.

The Matcha Sour with Botanist Gin, lemon-grass infused vodka, Matcha, cucumber and egg whites is OK for anyone looking for a drink on the sweeter side.

Dessert options here seem impressive but I went with the liquid dessert variety and enjoyed the Chartreuse Colada mixed with Green Chartreuse, Clément Agricole rum, pineapple, and lime. It’s sweet like dessert should be but not saccharine. It was the perfect nightcap.


I can’t wait to return, relax and revisit favorite dishes and drinks in this chic and comfortable setting. I think, for me, “the usual” will mean a martini and an order of yam skins.


Pez Coastal Kitchen is located at 61 N. Raymond Avenue in Old Town Pasadena. Open Tuesday through Friday from 5pm to close and weekends from 11am to close. Call 626-210-0775.


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