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Short Visit - Time for One Great Dinner - Newport Beach/Laguna Area

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I'll be Newport Beach visiting from Michigan for a very short visit in August and have time for one great dinner. Last time I was in town I had dinner at Studio Restaurant at Montage Resort and really enjoyed that. I'm planning brunch at Ramos House (please verify still good:) and I'm looking for suggestions for dinner. Price isn't an issue, I want to take advantage of the seafood while I'm in California and prefer a multple course dinner with a wine flight. Alternatively, I'm open to anything and if there is something that is a must try - please recommend - up-scale is not required.

Many thanks from a person jealous of your ability to go to In-n-Out whenever you want!

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  1. If you like sushi, definitely hit up Bluefin in Newport Coast and get the Omakase

    1. I love Mozambique, which is close to your hotel, but Bluefin is the best rec by far for omakase!! A bit of a drive is The Old Vine Cafe is Costa Mesa, but also worth it.

      Stonehill Taven at the St. Regis gets good marks for their tasting dinners. Only time I ate there was a la carte, and I wasn't totally bowled over, but maybe someone who has done a recent wine paired dinner can advise. I really like the Ritz Carlton's Eno wine bar - they do flights of wine, cheese & chocolate, along with different charcuteries, but it's better with a group of people who like to share!

      1. I would recommend Stonehill Tavern or Hush. Hush is bit louder and trendier than ST, but the food is solid and the wine list is excellent. At ST I would recommend the tasting menu with wine, although the whole table must order it too.

        1. If price is not an issue I would choose between Studio at the Montage resort in South Laguna or Stonehill Tavern at the St. Regis in Dana Point. Leaning a little toward Studio.

          1. Consider also La Fondue in San Juan Capistrano
            It's not seafood, but definitely good food and a fun experience!
            http://gourmetpigs.blogspot.com/2007/...

            1. Another possibility would be Marche Moderne (covered in other posts on this site).
              Florent and his wife turn out some really great food with the added bonus that you can spend 10K for a Patek watch in SC Plaza before (although that would personally cause me to lose my appetite!).
              I second Studio or The Loft at Montage.
              Never been impressed by Hush (food wise).
              Stonehill was also really nice when we ate there but I have heard some less than positive feedback recently.
              Vine in San Clemente is anothe possibility. Justin and Doreen have created a really nice spot in an otherwise somewhat culinarily sparse town.

              1 Reply
              1. re: thompkin

                I had lunch @ Marche Moderne yesterday; their prix fixe lunch was really nice, but their service was meh. And if it's a warm day, I recommend sitting inside (and not the patio). Although reservations are not necessary, it's highly recommended; otherwise, you'd be relegated to sitting @ the bar.

                I also had dinner @ Stonehill Tavern last night; we had their tasting menu w/flights. Delicious! The first course was the Osetra caviar...the highlight of the dinner. Next time, I plan to have the Osetra caviar tasting trio...and the Kobe beef burger which looked very good. It can get loud inside, so if you prefer quiet, you may wish to sit in their small patio.

              2. I totally agree with going to Bluefin. I've not had the Omakase but I usually order their daily specials on the white board.

                1. Just for fun, and a departure from typical California coastal cuisine, try Eva's in Laguna: http://www.evascaribbeankitchen.com/i.... Spicy, freshly made, and some great cocktails to start the evening with. Not pretentious and not particularly costly, either.