Join the Caravan Serai: It's Worth the Trip
The restaurant adjacent to the Pasadena Playhouse has undergone several incarnations. The latest to come along more than six months ago is the Caravan Serai, featuring Persian, Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine.
The warm glow of the subdued lighting in the several well-appointed alcoves make for a most hospitable welcome. And the lovely Marina, wife of the owner, makes a most gracious hostess as she guides you to your table.
The menu lists seven appetizers; twelve entrees; and three desserts. No matter what you order, your bill will not go over forty dollars and you will be fed handsomely.
We began with the Caravan Serai Platter: a combination of dolmeh, hummus, shirazi salad (cucumbers and tomatoes), and fried eggplant. There is enough for two to share and, at ten dollars, a bargain. I also recommend the Greek salad: an enormous portion of everything good and, once again, to share, at a steal of seven dollars. We purposely ordered the Caravan Serai Mixed Grill, consisting of Shish Kabob: (tenderloin beef, the best), boneless Chicken Kabob (very good), and Koobedeh Kabob (ground beef – okay). The huge portion of Basmati rice, green peppers, and grilled tomatoes were excellent. This large dish could be shared and costs nineteen dollars – the highest priced item on the menu. I also requested an order of the marinated chunks of Cornish game hen which is skewered and broiled on direct flame. Both this and the Shish Kabob are among the very tastiest, succulent dishes I have eaten in a long time.
An even less expensive dinner could be ordered if you try their wraps which include chicken or ground beef at eight dollars, or shish kabob at ten.
For the Vegetarians in the midst, a full plate of Basmati rice with lentil, dates and raisins is offered at ten. And, the vegetable plate of bell peppers, onions, and tomato, all seasoned in garlic sauce, is also ten dollars.
They have a full bar and live music and belly dancers wend their way into your heart on weekends. Skip the desserts and select the Turkish coffee to warm the cockles of your heart.
Follow the Caravan Serai as they wend their way into your taste buds. And when you do, make sure to tell 'em Josef sent you.
Caravan Serai, 39 S. El Molino, Pasadena CA 91101, (Opposite The Pasadena Playhouse) Tel. 626-440-0444. Approx. $40 for two w/o alcohol