Union

4.8
1312 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Contemporary Italian
UNION is a 50-seat restaurant and bar in Old Pasadena featuring a deeply personal, seasonally Californian interpretation of Northern Italian cuisine. Owner Marie Petulla and Executive Chef Chris Keyser have curated a rustic yet elegant menu that brings the farmer and guest together, to celebrate the beauty of simplicity, seasonal ingredients, and the delight of a meal with friends.
What 1312 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.8based on recent ratings
4.8
food
4.8
service
4.4
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
95% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best restaurant in Pasadena and potentially the best pasta in LA!

RC
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

You need to crank up the AC when it's crowded. Otherwise, the place is lovely.

CA
Los Angeles
10 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

I had been wanting to go to Union for a couple of years now. So I was rather excited when we were actually able to get a reservation at short notice.

The food here is fabulous. Our table had the bread 👍👍, octopus 👍👍👍, cucumber salad 👍👍, 3 different pastas 👍👍👍 & olive oil cake for dessert 👍👍.

Service is solid. Staff are friendly & explain the dishes well. Water glasses are filled continuously.

The one issue with Union is the size. The restaurant is small. Tables are quite close together & the noise level is above average.

OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 2

Minuscule portions, in a tiny, crowded dining room, followed by a huge tab. The wait staff was pleasant and attentive. Our salad, polenta, and pasta were good (although not generously portioned); our shared entree was not. The menu promised milk braised lamb shoulder; we were served shredded lamb, floating in an oily sauce, that our waiter told us had been crisped (read: fried) in lamb fat. Gross! And not up to my expectations for a $37 lamb entree. Total tab, including tip, for one shared salad, one shared pasta, one shared polenta, and one shared entree: over $130 (and we drank water and no bread was served). Will not be returning.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely out of this world. From service to ambiance to the spectacular food. An absolute must!

AD
Los Angeles
24 reviews
Dined on August 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Chris offers outstanding service! The food, as always was fabulous.

PP
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 2

The food was quite good, especially the special that night. Service was excellent. Noise level is high and hard to hear your tablemate.

ND
1 review
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic food I would recommend to anyone into Italian.

PC
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food remains the best in Pasadena imho. Highly recommended.

OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on August 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was great enjoyed our pastas a lot

JG
1 review
Dined on August 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was our first time dining at Union, and the experience was tremendous. Our server asked if it was our first time, and when we confirmed it was, she was extremely thorough in explaining the various dishes the portion sizes and ingredients including the spices and herbs. The food itself was outstanding, and the chef and staff are to be complimented on both the quality and preparation, as well as the presentation. We will definitely return.

V
Dallas
1 review
Dined on August 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

AMAZING food. So seasonal and fresh. I don’t think we could have ordered “wrong.”

OT
1 review
Dined on August 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Celebrating my friends upcoming wedding

DH
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

The food and wait staff during our most recent visit were terrific. We went with friends and expanded our order with dishes we previously hadn't tried and they didn't disappoint. As long as the Mushrooms with Polenta is always available we're happy. Our waitress and the staff were also extremely attentive and friendly and always asked before whisking away the almost finished dish with the delicious sauce we were still going to soak up with a small slice of bread. We'd highly recommend this restaurant to all, as it's one of our top 2 favorite in the LA area. It's small, make reservations early.

BB
Los Angeles
5 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Server was knowledgeable, efficient & appropriately attentive. Food outstanding.

c
Los Angeles
31 reviews
Dined on August 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food and service was fantastic. Every bite of food was an adventure. I will definitely be back. The attention to detail with the way items were prepared and presented was lovely. Every bite was an adventure. The service was wonderful too. Very attentive.

NF
San Diego
29 reviews
Dined on August 1, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Cute little place I’m a gentrified area. Food is phenomenal! Had chicken liver pâté with strawberries and it really worked. Grist and Toll is the miller they use to grind the corn meal to the fineness of confectioners sugar for the polenta, served with wild mushrooms in a reduction sauce of sherry vinegar and truffle oil. To die for. I had the Porchetta special with roast potatoes and skin so crispy it crunched like a separate appetizer. I was an amazing meal.

M
Los Angeles
5 reviews
Dined on August 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food I consistently outstanding, the most delicious food in Los Angeles.
It is better than any Michelin restaurant and I have been to many of them.

l
Los Angeles
28 reviews
Dined on July 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Welcomed upon sitting down by our server who remembered us. Makes the evening special. The food was perfect as always.

OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious fresh food, attentive service, but pricey for portion size. Wine corkage was steep - $35!

YA
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

One of best Italian meals that we have ever had, including in Italy

V
Los Angeles
33 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

First time dining at Union and our group really enjoyed everything. The food was excellent, service good, and while it was very busy and lively, we could still hear ourselves talk which seems to be less common in many of the new restaurants these days. Was a bit surprised that an Italian restaurant didn't serve espresso but if that's the worst thing I can say about the experience, it's not so bad.

K
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on July 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Okay, the only reason I don't give Union 6+ stars is because I believe my party of five was seated in the worst seat in the restaurant, which means if you walked into the restaurant and proceeded ten paces you would have been standing on my shoulders, as I was in the Hickock chair. I requested a table that was empty and could easily have sat the five of us, but they told us it was not available, even though it was empty. It would have been two small tables joined together right next to the window on Union Street, but alas, it wasn't "available." After I got over my disappointment and confusion, the rest of the evening was sublime. The food and the service were out of this world. It was my brother's birthday and I was treating him to something special and none of us were disappointed. By the time we left, I didn't even mind so much the worst seats in the house, the food was that good. So definitely go, and maybe make a special request not to be seated at the Hickock table and you will have a very special experience, as we did.

D
Louisville
15 reviews
Dined on July 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great little restaurant! Quality ingredients prepared well (as referenced by the Alice Walker quote on the board). There on a business trip, sat at the bar. Had the burrata (shipped directly from italy) and a great pork gravy on fresh pasta. Everything was good. It was on a Tuesday night and the place was packed -- as it should be. Must try if you are in town

OT
1 review
Dined on July 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food, excellent service. An absolutely wonderful dinner.

BD
New York Area
1 review
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great spot with INCREDIBLE pasta! Also has a great selection of wine!

DB
Phoenix
34 reviews
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of the best restaurants in Pasadena. Creative, delicious, fresh, and changing menu keeps it always interesting. Service staff friendly, helpful and professional. Always visit when we come to Pasadena.

AL
Central Coast
13 reviews
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing meal. I have never had anything at Union that wasn’t an explosive of flavor in every bite. Everything I try here is amazing. My hands down favorite dish that I always order is the squid ink pasta and lobster. This is one of the best dishes on the planet!!
Service is always impeccable and the pace is relaxing. Do make reservations as it’s a small place and a popular one.

b
Los Angeles
7 reviews
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Solid experience good food - a little congested and not a great value - food good enough and would go back - octopus was very good

YU
1 review
Dined on July 17, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

Yes if they don't mind overpaying for small portions

OT
1 review
Dined on July 15, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Always enjoyable, great food and not the normal run of the mill selections. Definitely recommend making reservations. This place is always busy and thus somewhat noisy. Food and service are always top notch and my team and I frequently dine here if there are 4 of us or less. We love the bread and the pastas!!!

OT
1 review
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We loved the food, and will be back again very soon.

OT
1 review
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Given the small space, the employees kindly held my backpack in a back room while we dined. My friend and I loved the wild mushroom dish. It was super delicious, full of flavor, and the polenta melted in our mouths. I also really liked the squid ink pasta with lobster. The special of the day wasn’t that good. The plates are rather small but those 3 dishes were enough to fill us up.

CA
Los Angeles
7 reviews
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I've been here many times and luckily have always enjoyed the food. It's small and intimate and a great place for a date or to be with a small group of friends. Highly recommend.

R
1 review
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing experience at Union. One of the best restaurants in Pasadena. They did a phenomenal job accommodating my wife and I for her 30th birthday. We'll be back soon.

OT
Los Angeles
6 reviews
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really cool place that doesn’t look flashy - but delivers with amazing food and service. Loved it.

e
Los Angeles
9 reviews
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Second time at Union. The food is delicious and the staff is very helpful giving advice. Enjoyed the squid ink Lumache with lobster, and the pork Ragu was particular delicious.

AS
New York Area
1 review
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 2

What this place lacks in ambiance, it makes up for it in their food. Delicious made from scratch pasta was super delicious and the service was quite good.

u
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I have been to Union twice now and one of the things that I love is the constantly changing menu. Yes, I also sometimes hate that, because you can't always tell from the web what will be available on a given night, but there is so much creativity and inventiveness in their food that I wouldn't want to cramp their ability to be flexible, agile, and novel just so I can see the menu online. Everything is brilliantly fresh, everything that can possibly be made in house (including bread, butter, cheese, yoghurt, pasta, pickles) is made in house, and the difference that makes is sublime. For me, you can't beat the bucatini pasta -- doesn't matter which sauce/preparation -- the pasta itself is sublime. The mushroom polenta is insanely decadent. You may think $11 is steep for the bread and butter gardiniere, but the bread is fresh baked, the butter is house made and super creamy, and the "gardiniere" is a delicious little jar of spiced pickles that are to die for. I don't think their desserts are quite at the level of their entrees and appetizers, but it is still worth saving space for a sweet finish.

NS
Dallas
8 reviews
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious. The flavors of the food here are outstanding. We visited a few weeks back and had to try it again! Their wine choices are also great.

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