Poke, the Hawaiian dish of spiced raw fish, is quickly becoming as ubiquitous as the croissant-donut hybrid, so it's no wonder that Old Town Pasadena is home to not just one, but two poke restaurants -- on the same block, no less. Both offer build-your-own bowls, fresh fish and friendly service.
The dilemma is no longer, "What's actually good to eat in Old Town?" Instead, it's now, "Which poke spot should I go to for my raw fish and rice craving?" So we thought we'd put the two to the test to answer the question.
Contender No. 1: Spinfish Poke House
The restaurant, tucked in an alley off of the main strip, is tiny. There's a bar along the window, a handful of tables inside, and some more tables outside. The signature bowls are a great option for the poke novice, or someone suffering from decision fatigue, but don't be afraid to try the build-your-own option. Just make sure to ask for some ogo (seaweed) and hawaiian sea salt for true island flavor. 36 W. Colorado Blvd. No. 7, Pasadena, (626) 585-0988, spinfishla.com
Contender No. 2: Poke Salad Bar
While it may be heretical to order something other than the ahi for poke, ordering a bowl with half salmon and half scallop is pretty great. The slightly creamy sauce of the scallop goes well with the oily richness of the salmon. The bowl can be balanced out by the citrus tang of ponzu, cucumber and seaweed. 12 West Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 304-3100.