The menu describes Cafe Sixty North as a European-style cafe and bakery, but to me it's the casual little sandwich shop on the corner of Raymond Avenue and Union Street in Pasadena. True, they serve more than sandwiches, but that's what the friends who recommended this restaurant always talked about most.
They raved about generous amounts of meat found between the slices of fresh whole-grain bread, baked on the premises. And they praised the desserts, which Cafe Sixty North not only makes and serves, but sells to other Pasadena-area restaurants.
The sandwiches are indeed ample. There's the standard ham, turkey, roast beef, pastrami and BLT, but they also offer spinach and cheese, spinach and mushroom and the European--a mixture of ground beef, mushrooms, onions, spices and Cheddar cheese served warm on your choice of the aforementioned whole-grain bread, old-fashioned white, croissant, sourdough or rye. Although a challenge to eat without making a mess, I found it worth the effort.
A similar meat filling, as well as cheese and spinach, fill filo triangles--one of the Greek offerings on the menu. They were still a hit after being carted back to the Times Test Kitchen, but would probably have been even better if eaten on the spot. Moussaka, pasta a la Grec and a Greek salad are also offered. Finally there's the country French portion of the menu, featuring beef bourgignon, salad Nicoise, quiche and omelets.
Recommended is their version of cobb salad, served with pureed avocado and an exceptionally good creamy tarragon dressing. The pasta salad with multicolored rotelle and vegetables was another favorite. Spicy gazpacho earned mixed reviews from our tasters.
A chocolate croissant, recommended by the person who took our telephone order, was flaky, buttery and filled with lots of deep dark chocolate. Most tasters praised the cherry and blueberry cheesecakes, which are on the dry side, but still rather light. The same lightness prevailed in the chocolate mousse cake. Hazelnut/praline torte wasn't bad either.
Cafe Sixty offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, but the casualness of the restaurant limits the occasions for which I would choose it in the evening. My preference is for a weekend breakfast or brunch, or lunch after a morning of shopping around Pasadena Old Town.
Smoking is permitted only on the outdoor patio. Inside, one wall displays paintings on consignment, so they change regularly. From the high ceiling hang different sizes and colors of sun umbrellas, kites, an inflated float and a clustered trio of a child's life preserver ring, sand pail and shovel. Wooden tables and chairs are augmented by built-in benches along the walls. Mineral water bottles serve as vases for fresh flowers.
It's quasi self-serve, since orders are placed at a counter near the rear of the restaurant. They're delivered to your table, however, and if you've initially abstained from dessert but changed your mind, they'll be glad to take your order and serve it along with some of their regular or decaf coffee, ground fresh daily.
The beverage selection also includes regular and herbal teas, espresso, cappuccino, cafe latte, soft drinks, freshly squeezed lemonade, iced tea and coffee, mineral water and fruit juices. The fresh fruit floozie is their version of a smoothie. No alcohol is served.
Cafe Sixty North & Pasadena Dessert Factory, 60 N. Raymond, Pasadena, (818) 793-9000. Open Monday through Thursday, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. No credit cards accepted. Street parking. Sandwiches, $3.50 to $4.75; salads, $1.95 to $6.25; entrees $5.75 to $6.95.