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May 17, 2002 06:08 PM

Has anyone been to Roys in Newport Beach?

  • e

I keep hearing about this Pacific Rim Restaurant that originated in Hawaii called Roys. I understand they now have a restaurant in Newport Beach. Anyone been there? Is it worth the drive? Will it tantalize my tastebuds?

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  1. I've never been, but the owner was the "Iron Chef Asian" on Iron Chef USA. "The Shogun of Stir Fry" or something like that.

    1. I have heard that the original one is Hawaii is way better than the NB one. I have also heard from reliable sources that the NB one is more focused on being trendy, instead of good food. However, I haven't been there myself, so this is all hearsay.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Samantha

        I'm sure the local ingredients are better in Hawaii which ads to the eexperience, however I think that fact that you are actually IN HAWAII helps too!

        I've not been to the one in NB but I was disappointed with the one in Palm Springs. It was much darker inside than I prefer and the food was good, not great.

      2. t
        torta basilica

        You will probably receive mixed answers for this, but, I like it - with reservations. There are not that many good restaurants in Newport Beach, so Roy's looks very good in comparision with most of the tourist venues. It is very loud. It is not as good as some of the older Roy's in Hawaii. Having said that, I've always had great service, I do like the food - lobster potstickers, ahi done many ways, mac nut encrusted Hawaiian fish of the day in lemon grass/wasabi beurre blanc, etc etc - classic Pac Rim fusion. And I can get away with ordering a bottle of Beringer Alluvium Blanc, which goes great with the food, for much less than wine elsewhere in this town. Their chocolate souffle-pudding thing is to die for, but I usually don't have room and always shouldn't do it, so I look longingly at those without as many inhibitions. Only one dish that has not been good out of many I have sampled (we are family / friends who believe in sharing) was the scallops, which were rubbery, but replaced quickly and gracefully with another request. If someone suggested dinner at Roy's, I'd grab it in a heartbeat - I really like fish & that kind of cuisine - go for it - just bring earplugs! Walk it off in Fashion Island on down on Ocean Blvd, Corona del Mar for a great evening.

        3 Replies
        1. re: torta basilica

          Pretty good (and accurate) review... I will say that all of the Roy's we've been to have been on the loud side, so make sure you are in a "festive" mood. The Newport Roy's isn't NEARLY as loud as the Roy's on the big island of Hawaii... that one is truly deafening...

          1. re: woo!

            Group oriented, very expensive, very dressy-seemingly stuck up crowd, attentive service (too much so) and small portions for price. You better have reservations or wait like we did for almost 2 hours-we went last minute.
            I guess our fav's are more quaint, a little more food and friendly people places so it wasn't our thing-but you might love this kind of place.

          2. re: torta basilica
            torta basilica

            meant to say - 'OR down on Ocean Blvd...' - sorry

          3. We've been to Roy's many times in many locations. Both the one in Newport and on various islands in Hawaii. I would say that the ones in Hawaii are better, mainly due to the fact that they get better local ingredients that the menus were designed around. Roy Yamaguchi is the chef/owner of the chain, and is somewhat of a celebrity chef now... been on several FoodTV shows, published cookbook, etc...

            The Newport Roy's is a good restaurant, and I wouldn't hesitate going there at all. As far as trendy is concerned, all of the Roy's are high on the trendy factor, as the Pacific Fusion cuisine was (and in some areas still is) "all the rage", so you will see what some people consider "trendy" and "pretty food" on the menu, but they do back it up with solid cooking, so you probably won't be disappointed.

            My experiences with the Newport Roy's have all been good, the service has always been excellent, and their fish very fresh.

            They have interesting "house brand" sakes which are fun to try, nothing earth-shattering, but fun, with interesting names like "Earth" "Wind", etc... I would also recommend that you stick with the fish, as that is their strength, but that doesn't mean the meat courses are bad, just that their strength has traditionally been around seafood.

            Also, one of their signature desserts is the chocolate souffle... a pretty good one, not a classic, light, airy souffle, but rather a dense, sweeter, heavier one with a molten center... pretty good... at least one in your party will probably want to order it to share.

            Hope this helps, and if you do end up trying it (I think reservations might be tough on weekends), please let us know what you thought! Enjoy!

            1. t
              torta basilica

              Stopped in last night for some pupus after the show. Took about 5 minutes to get a seat at the bar, drank some Pinot Gris, ordered the lobster potstickers & an appetizer special - Tempura prawms with bluefish tuna in a shitake aoili, etc. I take back what I said about the potstickers being a sure bet - was thinking of Rancho Mirage, where they are steamed. These were fried & just so-so. the prawn-bluefish thing, once I figured out that the prawn was stuffed inside the bluefish before being pankoed & tempuraed, etc, was really really yummy - wish we'd ordered two. The aoili could have had a little more bite & the shitakes in it provided very interesting texture (don't ask), but overall it tasted good & was perfect for a quick meal after the movies! The amorous couple next to us ordered 2 chocolate souffles to go... wonder what they were going to do with them... Just a brief pupu update...

              1 Reply
              1. re: torta basilica

                Still a good test for juvenile sense of humor being intact if you can order a "pupu platter" for two without at least laughing under your breath.

                Now I wish that we had one up here in our area. Thanks for the current fly by recon run.