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Seeking cheap eats in Newport Beach

Is there any such thing? I'm headed there on Monday for business, and I think I'll have the evening to myself so I am looking for a place where I can have a good, solo, leisurely meal. I'm staying right by the airport but I have a car. (I'm unfamiliar with the area, though, so nothing too hard to find!) If there are any good holes-in-the-wall or can't miss type places, let me know.

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  1. Taco Rosa, Newport Beach. They have fresh fruit margaritas. It is in a hard to find mini-mall, but don't let that deter you. It is a mellow, relaxing place to eat, and anytime I'm in OC, I meet with friends there. Yummy food. The owners own Taco Mesa.

    1. Taco Rosa - (949) 720-0980 - 2632 San Miguel Dr, Newport Beach, CA

      1. For hole-in-the-wall-ish (not really), Taco Mesa (as just mentioned) on 19th in Costa Mesa, city next to NB. It's a converted old Taco Bell...really odd place and mix of people but it's good. http://www.tacomesa.net/

        1. Can you be more specific on price range? Does that include booze? Any favorite cuisine?

          1. Well, my princely stipend is $25 total, but I'd be willing to go a bit over if it was worthwhile, or treat myself to a drink at the bar. I'm coming from the East Coast, so it would be nice to get something that would be significantly better/different in California, so I was thinking Mexican or Asian. But I've never been there, so I'm wide open to everyone's suggestions. I am an adventurous eater. I love seafood and spicy things. I don't have much of a sweet tooth, so dessert isn't really a draw for me.

            Also, if there's an early morning can't-miss breakfast place that I can go to Tuesday morning, that might be nice too!

            3 Replies
            1. re: pomme de terre

              Try Plums in Costa Mesa for breakfast...if you are in a hurry,Keanes is down from Plums just off 17th st for excellent espresso and pastries

              1. re: pomme de terre

                Good call on Plums for breakfast. I love that place. I start everymorning with the best cappucino in town at Keanes Coffee as well.

                Personally, when I dine alone, I like to be social and sit at a restaurant's bar. Because it will be Monday it should be mellow at the bar at Cafe R&D or Francoli in Fashion Island in Newport Beach.

                Bandera (on PCH) would also be a great night.

                I am not sure how good the sushi is in your area but not very far away from John Wayne is a quaint sushi bar called Ango Tei. Good value and quaility. It is one Paularino next to my favorite Japanese market call Mitsuwa.

                1. re: pomme de terre

                  Dick Church's Restaurant is very close to the airport. Diner type food, good breakfasts and has been around forever....although I haven't been in at least 10+ years. 2698 Newport Blvd, just south of the SNA (sorry, I'll never use John Wayne).

                2. THE CRAB COOKER!!!! Best Clam chowder...fresh seafood plates for $12-$16, and close to the beach. Definitely different than anything you would fine on the East coast.
                  2200 Newport Blvd.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: BrookieStyles

                    You know I was at the new(er) Crab Cooker in Tustin during the Xmas holidays. Not as charming as the original but much more conveient, easy parking, etc. esp coming from the airport.


                  2. For breakfast- Ruby's on Paciifc Coast Hwy in Corona del Mar- we love the omelettes, and the coffee's good too. 50s diner decor, but very nice and light. Original Ruby's is at the end of the Balboa Pier, on the peninsula, so you might want to walk out there, more for the atmosphere than the food- the other location is better I think. If you're down Laguna Beach way, there's one also- cool old cars parked out front.

                    1. Picante Martin (that's "Marteen", for all you non-Spanish speakers) for home cookin' style Mexican food. Very casual, order at the counter, and your meal is passed to you when ready. Small place with several eat-in tables. I thoroughly enjoyed the chicken mole, and at around $8, it's one of the best deals in OC. It's on Balboa, so parking may be hard to find, but persevere. It's worth it.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: CynD

                        Balboa Island and not Balboa Peninsula.

                        1. re: cdmedici

                          Thanks for the clarification - I'm geographically challenged. ;p

                      2. You can also sit at the bar and have a decent meal at Bistangos,Prego,Il Fornaio or Roys,all of which are very close to the airport...stick with Plums for breakfast

                        1. If you're in the mood for italian, try the Spaghetti Bender in Newport Beach. It's on PCH, about a mile north of Newport Blvd. It's not too pricy and you'll feel cozy. :)

                          1. Since you said whole in the wall you are about 5 minutes from Pho Bac on Barrance just north of Culver for unbelievable Pho. Also if you want something a little nicer just up the street on Bristol is Kitayama, very authentic japanese.

                            1. Not to far from the airport in Orange is Bangkok Taste. It is a whole in the wall in the same parking lot as Big Lots but has some of the best thai food around. You could get out of their with a meal, a beer, and desert (amazing homemade coconut ice cream) for less than 20 dollars.
                              Bangkok Taste
                              (714) 532-2216
                              2737 N Grand Ave
                              Santa Ana, CA 92705

                              Here is a link to local blogger elmomonster's review. http://elmomonster.blogspot.com/2005/...

                              1. It's been five years, but if it is still there: the most beautiful "Hole in the Wall" in Newport Beach is The Raft in Cannery Village. The "dining room" is a patio bordering one of the canals. Customers often sail to it. It doesn't look like much from the street - all you see is a kitchen - you walk through it in order to get at the tables outside. Metered street parking so make sure you have change. Either The Raft Omelette or the Walnut French Toast would be good choices.

                                Raft Cafe
                                2815 Lafayette Rd # A
                                Newport Beach, CA 92663
                                (949) 673-0793

                                My alternative would be Side Street Cafe. It's in a very old strip mall fronting Newport Boulevard, a couple of blocks south of Harbor Boulevard. Huge portions, downhome cooking and sorry but there's almost always a wait. I used to love their corncakes.

                                Side Street Cafe
                                1799 Newport Blvd , Costa Mesa 92627

                                When I hung there regularly -both places kept regular hours for breakfast and lunch. Raft was only open for dinner on weekends during the summer.

                                Side Street Cafe
                                1799 Newport Blvd , Costa Mesa 92627

                                1. The Raft closed ages ago. It has been Le Quai for quite some time. It is owned by the Overstreets of The Wine Merchant fame in Beverly Hills. It is more of a romantic vibe now and all seating is outside.

                                  Side Street Cafe is only open for breakfast and lunch. I used to go there until I discovered Plums.

                                  1. Side Street for more greasy spoon, and Plums for Pacific Northwest (lighter) fare. Both are excellent, depending on your needs. I end up at Plums for the Dutch Baby, but since that's not your sweet tooth......I guess Side Street might be more hearty.

                                    1. Blue Water Grill (Lido) is great - eat at the bar.

                                      1. @cdmedici - I'm sooo sorry to hear The Raft is no longer there. I whiled away a lot of Sunday mornings there. I'm even more bummed to hear of what replaced it. The last thing Newport Beach needed was another overpriced "gourmet" restaurant.