About Union

Chef Bruce Kalman and Marie Petulla partnered to open UNION, a 50-seat restaurant and bar featuring a deeply personal, seasonally Californian interpretation of Northern Italian cuisine. Bruce brings his slow and soulful approach to fresh, local ingredients to create a rustic yet elegant. They have created an intimate neighborhood restaurant that brings the farmer and guest together, to celebrate the beauty of simplicity food and the delight of a meal with friends.

37 E. Union Street
Pasadena, CA 91103
View Larger Map

Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
Contemporary Italian

Hours of Operation:
Dinner: Monday - Friday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm; Saturday & Sunday: 4:00pm - 11:00pm

Cross Street:
Raymond

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$31 to $50

Payment Options
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(626) 795-5841

Website:
http://www.unionpasadena.com/

Parking Details:
Public Lot across the street

Executive Chef:
Bruce Kalman

Additional:
Beer, Farm to Table, Wine

Union Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.5

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.5

service

4.5

ambience

4.0

value

3.9

Noise

Moderate

87% would recommend it to a friend

Fit for Foodies (50)
Local Ingredients (34)
Creative Cuisine (33)
See All
Good for a Date (30)
Special Occasion (30)
Neighborhood Gem (25)
Notable Wine List (20)
Seasonal (20)
Casual (19)
Authentic (18)
Cozy (17)
Worth the Drive (16)
Hot Spot (13)
Good for Anniversaries (11)
Romantic (11)
Good for Birthdays (9)
Fun (8)
Organic (8)
Bar Seating (7)
Healthy (7)
Pre/post Theatre (7)
Good Vegetarian Options (6)
Business Meals (5)
Tapas (5)
Tasting Menu (5)
Comfort Food (5)
Disabled Access (3)
Good for Groups (3)
Handcrafted Cocktails (3)
Late-night Find (3)
People Watching (3)
Happy Hour (2)
Great for Lunch (2)
Quiet Conversation (2)
Gluten Free Options (1)
Great Beer (1)
Paleo Friendly (1)
Quick Bite (1)
Scenic View (1)
Sunday Lunch (1)
Vegan (1)
Vibrant Bar Scene (1)
Sort by
S
802 reviews
Loading Reviews ...

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined 4 days ago

Terrific food!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service4
value3

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on November 12, 2017

Another great experience

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on November 11, 2017

The portions are getting smaller but the prices are getting higher. We were seated over 30min after our reservation. Consensus with other friends who also like this place feel the same way..

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service4
value2

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on November 9, 2017

I had the Brussels sprouts, which exceeded my expectations. The flavors were indescribable and yummy. I also ate the squid ink pasta with lobster. I was not only amazed by the delicious hand-made pasta but also the spiciness of the dish. I was told that chili flakes were used. The subtlety of spice and unctuousness was amazing. Would go again.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on November 8, 2017

Everything came together for this dinner. I don't think I have ever had sweeter tasting mussels. The mushrooms and polenta...licking the plate crossed my mind. The pork ragu was good if the least outstanding on the evening. The short rib was perfectly cooked, tender and flavorful. With a Pinot that wasn't overpriced, the evening was one of the best I've had there!

Tags: Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value3

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on November 8, 2017

Great experience as always with union
Love to return when we can especially for their events

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 7, 2017

We have dined at Union Pasadena several times and are always impressed. They get everything right ... service, food and atmosphere. Their wine list has more California wine on it than ever which is great (and is in sync with their local sourcing of food ingredients). I realize this place gets called an "Italian" restaurant but I consider that misleading ... sure they have some pasta on their menu but this restaurant is distinctly California and American rustic, if you get my drift.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on November 6, 2017

Lovely evening as usual! Perfect wines! Stellar food!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on November 4, 2017

Union is on Jonathan Gold's 101 List so we thought we would give it a try. It's dark and cramped and needed the waiter's cellphone"s flashlight to read the menu. No specials that night but everything is fresh and local. In Old Town so it's in a cute area but needs a sign out front which is rather pretentious that there is no signage. Meal was good- Porchetta and Tagliatelli were our 2 entrees. However everything is served "family style" which means you are supposed to share but where I come from the portions were hardly big enough for sharing but adequate for a single person. Meals were prepared and tasted great but the space is too cramped to really enjoy yourself.

Tags: Local Ingredients
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience2
service4
value3

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on November 4, 2017

The table was in front of the door.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service5
value5

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on October 30, 2017

What a find, especially for this vegetarian. Lots of delicious options. Fantastic service, too.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5

 
·Dined on October 28, 2017

The spaghetti alla chitarra was very hard when we tasted it, we told our waiter and he immediately took it back and prepared another one for us. We've dined at union three times now and we feel the quality of the food could be much better (compared to our first visit which was the best experience we had)

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service5

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on October 28, 2017

Their famed squid ink pasta had a heavy seafood smell. Lobster tasted microwaved.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food2
ambience2
service3
value2

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on October 27, 2017

Absolutely amazing food. The staff is very well versed in what they serve as well. Very creative in the way they bring ingredients together and create dishes.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Bar Seating, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 25, 2017

One of the best in Pasadena. The food is always creative beautifully prepared and delicious. The staff is extremely knowledgeable, friendly and accommodating. The wine list is interesting and not outlandishly expensive. The restaurant is small so reservation a must. Go! you will enjoy

Tags: Organic, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Birthdays, Local Ingredients, Business Meals, Creative Cuisine, Fun, Disabled Access, Fit for Foodies, Seasonal, Tasting Menu, Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on October 24, 2017

My first Union visit was the stuff of dreams. So I was excited to take my cousin for her birthday and sadly, it was all amiss. Dishes that were savory were delivery oily, salads were so over dressed it difficult to see the greens. Every kitchen has off nights, and worth a trip back but so far a 50/50 experience. That said, you should go! Definitely GO because when it's good there's nothing like it.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Creative Cuisine, Comfort Food, Casual
1 person found this review helpful.
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food2
ambience3
service3
value3

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on October 23, 2017

Food and service was outstanding !!
Only problem was noise level making conversation with friends difficult!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on October 23, 2017

This is a terrific restaurant serving Italian dishes cooked to perfection. The meat balls are among the best I have ever tasted. The pastas, notably the ink and lobster are sublime.
Unfortunately the fairly priced white truffles were a disappointment Their scent and flavor was nonexistent.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Good for a Date, Pre/post Theatre, Hot Spot, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
·Dined on October 23, 2017

pricey, seating too tight - should spread out the customers if there are available empty seats around

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience3
service5
value3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 22, 2017

We had a reservation at 7:30. We were not seated until after 8pm. Portions were small, service was extremely slow and they forgot 1 entree item. It was overall a very disappointing experience.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food2
ambience1
service1
value1

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on October 22, 2017

The combinations of ingredients in all four things we ordered were perfect - great balance of simple as well as unusual flavors! We literally stopped mid-sentence a few times because the food was so delicious. Our server was informative, upbeat and courteous, and recommended excellent wines as well. it was crowded from 7-9:30 when we left, and some of the younger patrons were loud enough to be disturbing - still, would recommend for a fun and delicious dinner, anytime!

Tags: Cozy, Casual, Tasting Menu, Authentic, Fun, Creative Cuisine, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service5
value3

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on October 22, 2017

I love Union.
Food and service are always perfect!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Local Ingredients, Special Occasion, Good for a Date, Worth the Drive, Authentic, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Birthdays, Seasonal
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 21, 2017

Second time there, special occasion with our daughter from USC, Somehow made the reservation for 2 instead of 3. A truly class place would have accommodated us instead we were relegated to the bar. This wasn't horrible just less ambiance than desired. Julie at bar tried to make our evening memorable, food was good but by 6:30 they were already out of some of entrees. I won't be returning but having said that our first visit one month ago was outstanding

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on October 21, 2017

Really excellent food. Nice service. Casual, vibrant atmosphere.

Tags: People Watching, Fit for Foodies, Gluten Free Options, Good for a Date, Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (Orange County)·Dined on October 20, 2017

My wife and I have eaten here on a number of occasions and have had a great experience each and every time. The food is outstanding especially the stratiatelli, the little gem salad, the pasta with squid ink and lobster and the salmon. There is something on the menu for everyone especially if you like to try new dishes family style. A great place that should be ranked number 2 on Jonathan Gold's list.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Fit for Foodies, Creative Cuisine, Local Ingredients, Neighborhood Gem, Seasonal, Worth the Drive, Healthy, Good for a Date, Hot Spot, Late-night Find, Good for Birthdays, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on October 15, 2017

It was ok, food was ok; same menu as 1 year ago; very expensive for the quantity and quality; pasta and risotto was slightly undercooked and the flavor was not amazing, just ok; the salmon was served raw with no mention on the menu that it would be

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food2
ambience2
service4
value1

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on October 14, 2017

The food is good, service is great, and the price is right. i will definitely come back for other dishes.

Tags: Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries, Healthy, Seasonal
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on October 14, 2017

Really enjoyed our evening here. Great food and friendly engaged service. Very attractive setting. The only drawback is that it is very loud because of small space and many diners. But overall, a wonderful dinner.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Seasonal
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service5
value4

 
·Dined on October 11, 2017

An absolute neighborhood gem. Deeply gracious, they really care about both food and the customer experience. Just love this place. It's not cheap but the ingredients and cooking are first rate.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Creative Cuisine, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Good Vegetarian Options, Bar Seating, Worth the Drive, Business Meals, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Local Ingredients, Organic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 9, 2017

We were very impressed with the authenticity and creativeness of the food.
Very good food.
Excellent service.

Tags: Authentic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience2
service5
value3

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on October 8, 2017

Phenomenal food. Great service. Manager knocked off $60 just cuz. Best restaurant in Pasadena.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on October 7, 2017

It wasn't as good as the last few times I've been there. Flavors were off.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience3
service4
value2

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on October 6, 2017

Arrived five minutes prior to reservation time, was told to wait at bar for table. Wine list made it seem like they were trying a bit too hard to cram as many Italian regions and random varietals as possible on there.
Was eventually seated at a table after having a glass of wine. Cramped quarters, almost communal tables, very loud.
First dish out was the Stracciatella, which was simply toasted bread meant to be dipped in soft cheese with garlic and olive oil. Rather bland, but non offensive. Next out were the pork meatballs, which were fantastic. Then we received the bucatini cacio e pepe, which was brilliant as well. Before the mains were out, this was a good meal.
Then came the main courses, which were both awful. The cod was not only fishy, but gelatinous in texture. Bad product and cooked poorly. The chefs should learn that coming from a fancy organic sustainable fishery does not matter if the fish is old and tastes like garbage. It was served over a bed of haphazardly scattered garbanzo beans, which were bland.
My wife had the "Heirloom Grain Risotto." I'm not sure if this dish is intentionally undercooked... but the taste was more similar to undercooked beans and rice. Picture Cuban Moros/Congri done poorly. Chewy, bland, irritating. Without any debate, this is the worst "risotto" I have ever consumed.
I had heard great things about Union, so this saddened me considerably. Off night? not sure... but I won't be back.

Tags: Bar Seating, Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food2
ambience3
service4
value1

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on October 3, 2017

Wonderful dinner. Went back after a year and a half. The first time, it felt like we were asked to over order. Not great for large parties because portions are small and with "family-style" it is annoying to get two bites of something. Three of us dined here the other night and it was fabulous. Service was great (and accommodating as third guest showed up and we had a table for two). The restaurant was popping busy for a Monday night. Food was fabulous.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on September 26, 2017

We tried lots of different menu items and all were really good. The waiter was very helpful in making sure we ordered enough food and helping with the wine selections. I look forward to trying Union again.

Tags: Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 23, 2017

Everything was spot on.. the waiter was attentive and familiar with the foods and wines, the food presentation was beautiful and the handmade pastas couldn't have been more perfectly cooked. The wine list was thoughtful and well chosen for the foods. I wish this gem were in the SF Bay Area. Thanks for a great experience.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Notable Wine List, Authentic, Seasonal
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on September 21, 2017

This exciting restaurant is best shared with foodies who would like to share the tastes of 4 - 6 dishes with you. And don't forget to leave room the spectacular olive oil cake, but have a piece of your own - don't share!
The only problem with Union is the noise level. Be sure and reserve a table but note that requests to hold a special table may not be honored, even after calling the day before.

Tags: Organic, Handcrafted Cocktails, Fit for Foodies, Disabled Access, Creative Cuisine, Hot Spot, Healthy, Seasonal, Special Occasion, Local Ingredients
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (Orange County)·Dined on September 18, 2017

My wife and I have dined here at Union on several occasions and have thoroughly enjoyed it each and every time. The menu is always changing with new entries. It is great to sample different items on each visit. The mushrooms are a must as well as the pork meatballs. The pasta with duck sausage is very delicious as well the rockfish. Everything iis quite good.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Local Ingredients, Healthy, Authentic, Worth the Drive, Hot Spot
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on September 18, 2017

The food was outstanding. Intense flavors and fresh ingredients. The restaurant felt like an authentic neighborhood gem. We loved it.

Tags: Cozy, Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date, Authentic, Worth the Drive, Creative Cuisine, Tapas, Good for Anniversaries, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service4
value3

 
·Dined on September 16, 2017

Overall a great dining experience. Only glitch: not sure why the hostess logged us as a "no-show" on OpenTable. Perhaps they're trying to avoid paying OT the fee?

Tags: Cozy, Business Meals, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service4
value3

Report this review as inappropriate?

If you believe this review should be removed from OpenTable, please let us know and someone will investigate.