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Nov 6, 2008 10:46 PM

Newport Beach Restaurant Suggestions?

We're staying two nights at the Island Hotel, adjacent to the Fashion Island shopping center, in Newport Beach, Calif. What are some good restaurant choices, if any, within walking distance of the hotel? I will be on an expense account that will cover reasonable costs for dinner. No fast food, vegetarian, or seafood please. Ethnic and spicy cuisines enjoyed.

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  1. Tommy Bahamas is not far from Fashion Island (southeast corner). Your hotel may even have a shuttle that may take you there. I love their scallop slider, but they have food other than seafood as well.

    1. In Fashion Island, there is a Daily Grill that is pretty reliable (at least IMO), also a place called R & D Cafe that we've had good experience with. Just south of Fashion Island is Muldoon's, a good Irish Bar and restaurant:

      And just a few blocks away is the Crow Bar, which (again) I''ve had several good experiences with, though some of the more recent reports have been mixed. I'd go back and give it a go, though. The beer list is excellent and they have these duck-fat fries that are a-mazing !

      1. I'm assuming you're staying at either The Island hotel or the Marriott and here are some recs withing walking distance.

        Roy's is a high end chain with locations around the world. Hawiian origin, many seafood dishes, but not strictly seafood. Location is an out building in the mall. Check the website to see if their menu / prices work for you.

        Fleming's is a steak house chain, next to Roy's.

        R&D Cafe is a solid choice too. It's part of the Hillstone Restaurant Group, chances are you have one of their restaurant properties in a city near you.

        Yard House is a locally started brewpubesque chain. Lots of beers on tap, more geared to the beer poser than a beer snob. Nothing overly challenging on the menu, but the food is surprisingly well executed.

        If you want a tight, high end beer and wine selection and good food, I'd second the Crow Bar. The food is much more interesting than Yard House. Tight seating, though. Not a business meeting type of place. Small plates, gastropubby concept. A little spendy by the time you're done, but you'll drop just as much at Roy's or Fleming's. It's also more than "a few blocks away." From the Island Hotel, it's a mile walk. Uphill. Both ways.

        Inside the Food Court (basement level) is Gelato Paradiso, which is my favorite gelateria in the Orange County / L.A. area. Hit it if you're looking for a quick sweet treat.

        1. Thank you all for the suggestions. In reviewing the menus I think that R&D Cafe and Fleming's sound as though they'll be the best choices. One night will be just myself, the evening after having arrived in California earlier that day. The next night will be with my wife; she will have arrived earlier that second day. We're not looking to stay out too long since we're both leaving the next day on a morning train on our way back to the East Coast.

          1 Reply
          1. re: lhughes0

            If you do not have a car, I think that R & D will be good for you when you are by yourself, and Flemings, for a more upscale dinner with your wife. If, on the other hand, you will have a car, somewhat better and very nearby would be Sage in Eastbluff which would be great for yourself, and either Bayside or Bistango with your wife. Also, if you like sushi, Bluefin in Crystal Cove is outstanding (but expensive) and only 10 minutes away.

          2. You will be almost across the street from The Ritz, a restaurant that has been around for years and legendary.

            2 Replies
            1. re: jsl

              Indeed The Ritz in Newport Beach (not the Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel) was wonderful and indeed legendary when it was owned by Han Prager who unfortunately passed away quite a few years ago. Everything I hear about the restaurant recently is that it has slipped considerably and is merely a shadow of what it was once. Unless someone else has a positive recent experience there, I would not recommend it.

              My recommendations in my Nov 9 post, still stand.

              1. re: josephnl

                I was there about 6 months ago for lunch. I had the Mariners Salad which was pricey but still wonderful. I love the old school atmosphere and was a regular when Hans owned the place but have since moved 4 years ago to Dana Point. Go for a drink anyway to capture the ambiance, the bar is great.