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The Paw Print

The Paw Print

Pasadena restaurant reviews

Esme Younger


Located on Lake and Cordova, Marina radiates a warm energy consistent with the cozy food they serve. The restaurant contains outdoor, indoor and bar seating. To start, the blistered bread & ricotta is an absolute must. The uniquely shaped appetizer contains a ballooned focaccia bread and ricotta cheese dip. Second in line, Marina’s Caesar salad is like no other. Its long lettuce leaves, salty dressing and perfect croutons make the salad delicious. After a perfect start, Marina continues to bring on the flavor. I recommend the carbonara or butternut squash agnolotti, both serving a creamy sauce and yummy tang. I did not dare try the branzino because I do not like seafood, but my dad, who is a seafood-lover, ordered it. The dish presented the fish’s entire body garnished with eggplant, peppers and greens. My dad noted, “The unexpected eggplant on top made the dish rich and flavorful. It will likely be purchased again.”

Koko’s Mediterranean Cafe

Founded in 1996 and located on Lake and Del Mar, Koko’s Mediterranean Cafe is a Pasadena staple. The family-owned restaurant’s staff creates a cheery ambiance; upon entering the cafe, chef Koko greeted me with a warm smile and asked what I wanted to order. Within two minutes he handed me the mouthwatering lamb kebab bowl. The lamb was perfectly tender, the rice was surprisingly flavorful and the salad was the perfect balance between crispy and juicy. Sadly, I could only get halfway through the bowl because of how decadent and filling it was. I also ordered a regular-sized coke, which was not watered down. Overall, Koko’s Med Cafe is a 10/10; the staff’s hospitality and the quality of the food is unmatched. 


As I entered Hippo on Figueroa St in Highland Park for the first time, my life was changed for the better. The staff emits a positive energy that contributes to the vibrant aura of the entire restaurant. Decorated in string lights, both the indoor and outdoor seating are lit warmly. The appetizers rocked my world. First up were Hippo’s reputable rolls, a plate of buttery bread rolls smothered with a cinnamon-sugar dip. If you love bread, these rolls cannot be missed. Second in line were the shaved brussel sprouts. I found them unexpectedly divine; their vinegary dressing provides a salty yet fresh flavor profile. The final appetizer in this tasty lineup was the Hippo’s burrata from Puglia, Italy. This cheese dish completely elevated my experience at Hippo. Even though I believe Hippo’s appetizers are its strong suit, you can never go wrong with ordering the fresh bucatini or the balsamic hanger steak. To seal the deal, Hippo offers a fantastic array of desserts — from the dark chocolate and orange ganache tart to the butterscotch budino. 

Dan Modern Chinese

Nestled next to Philz Coffee on Lake Ave, Dan Modern Chinese serves delicious Chinese cuisine. Dan provides a very similar menu to the world-renowned Din Tai Fung. To start, the garlic green beans (with extra garlic) are essential; their delicious taste allows for a bite to melt in your mouth. To continue a flow of greens, my favorite item on the menu, the cucumber salad, cannot be forgotten. The menu is best served buffet style, so here is a list of the essential entree dishes to share with your family or friends: the short-rib dan mein (there are no words to explain the deliciousness of these noodles), chicken fried rice (a classic), xiao long bao (chicken or pork; neither can go wrong) and the three cup chicken (a little spicy, but wonderfully flavorful). Dan Modern Chinese is seriously one of Pasadena’s finest. 

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About the Contributors
Piper Hart, Assistant Life Editor
Grade: 11 Years on Staff: 3 Fun Fact: I used to have bright red hair. Favorite Book: Normal People by Sally Rooney Favorite Movie: Notting Hill
Simon Zernicki-Glover, Assistant Life Editor
Grade: 11 Years on Staff: 3 Fun Fact: In 2023, I got a golden retriever puppy called Moonlight. Favorite Book and Movie: Call Me by Your Name
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