Seafood in Newport Beach...
I have a directive from my dad to make reservations for The Cannery, Arches on the Water, or Chart House for Mother's Day. I don't know Newport and they've never been out here. My tastes run far more eclectic than theirs, which is why I'd love thoughts, but it MUST be limited to one of these three (unless they all stink) because my dad likes to make decisions and I've already steered him away from some of his other choices for his visit.
They tend towards classic meat-and-potatoes fare--simple, but classy. That is, bearnaise sauce, or feta on a salad=good. Mango salsa, or chili-encrusted anything=bad. Atmosphere--view of the water preferably, but definitely don't want stuffy or a place that feels like it's nothing but retirees.
The Arches on the Water is closed and taken back by the Overstreets and re-opened as The Dock. I haven't been. http://www.eatatthedock.com/
Unless something drastically has changed at Chart House in the past few month I would avoid it at all costs. I actually got up and left in disgust over how bad everything that was served to us and the total apathy the staff has about creating a good experience for their customers. There is zero passion in the kitchen.
Of the three choices The Cannery would be my top choice. I went there a few weeks ago with visiting family. That being said, I would not willingly return to The Cannery either as it was still pretty marginal.
My choice in the area for good, simple honest seafood that fits your criteria would be Blue Water Grill. They have a nice patio on the water and very fresh fish with a menu that is printed daily depending on what is fresh.
My last comment would be that I am quite sure that wherever you end up going on Mother's Day will not reflect the restaurants best efforts.
I personally would avoid any restaurant on Mothers Day.
I've been to just about every place in town and from your choices I would say The Cannery #1 and Chart House #2, but agree that given the options I might push for the Blue Water Grill as well. Love those controlling families and know what it's like, but God help you on Mother's Day!