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Bites Nearby: Julienne--A Local Culinary Institution

The best kept secret in San Marino is also it's most popular restaurant.

When it comes to restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley, it is hard to find one as established as in San Marino. Tucked away quietly on Mission St. under large mature ficus trees, not far from the busy thoroughfare of Los Robles, Julienne has had little problem attracting a loyal following of customers who have been coming back again and again since 1985.

What started out as one small eatery in a building with three other retail spaces, Julienne has grown in popularity, and over the years, has annexed all three other spaces to form one combined restaurant connected by the front colonnade, which is now picturesque outdoor seating for diners (enjoying the warm winter SoCal sun on my recent visit).

What is the secret to Julienne's success and longevitity? Simple: consistent good food. And there's a reason for that as the original chef from the time Julienne first started 25 years ago, Marcelino, is still working his magic today. Customers are inclined to order such exquisite dishes like "Roasted Lamb Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions, Avocado, Tomato, Basil Aioli on Pain Rustique," or "Parmesan Crusted Swordfish with Crispy Capers, Lemon Cream Sauce, Asparagus Chinoise, & Garlic Mashed Potatoes." Pastries are also available and Anita Machlis (the revered bookkeeper of Julienne) tells me the scones are to die for. There are also packaged fresh soups and salads and plenty of baked goods for those on the go.

2649 Mission St., San Marino, CA 626-449-2299. Open daily for breakfast and lunch only. Prices: $9 to $18.50 for salads and entrees.

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