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Jan 6, 2010 05:27 PM

Newport or Laguna beach for better chowhound foodies

WE have been to some foodie rec's from this board on our trip to California a year ago but in the LA Jolla/SAn Diego area. WAnted to travel to some different areas and wondering of the two areas where there is more good Chow hound recommendations/happy hour's . We would like to stay in a area we could walk to some of these if possible or drive to pick up takeout. ie fish tacos/mexican,


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  1. If you are looking for easy walking I would stay in Laguna because if you stay in Newport the actual food potential on the peninsula or other desirable area is rather limited.

    1. I agree with bohemian, Laguna is much better for walking around. On Forest Avenue and PCH in the center of town you've got plenty of good candidates - Brussels Bistro on Forest and Watermarc Grill on PCH come immediately to mind, but there are many other options in a few blocks. In Newport Beach area you're likely going to need to drive around to find the best choices.

      8 Replies
      1. re: mikester

        Funny that we plan our holidays around restaurants but its so true.. Will look at this area of forest avenue and PCH..

        Does Newport not have a big fashion district with lots of restaurants or are these not the chowhound rec and are more chain type ie cheese cake factory etc.

        1. re: palmtree38

          Newport does have a great mall, Fashion Island, but the restaurants there are more of a chain and other then that it is pretty spread out. I would suggest also looking at Corona del Mar for dinner if you do a day trip to Newport. Corona del Mar is a small coastal city surrounded by Newport and offers some great more independent style restaurants with great fare. One place in Corona del Mar, Crow Bar, made the top OC Chowhound 2009 Poll list and is for sure a recommended spot.

          1. re: palmtree38

            Newport does not really have any one area with lots of great spots crammed together. It is far more spread out than Laguna. There are a bunch of spots on PCH, some more near the Balbo Pier, some in the harbor on the peninsula... count in PCH in Corona Del Mar and there are a bunch more good options.

            But going to Laguna, the options are all clustered in Downtown, near the main beach, with more options heading south along PCH. Laguna also has a simple public bus system, since the main routes are so few. I don't know how much you want to spend on lodging, but the best of the mid-priced places is the Best Wester Laguna Brisis on PCH. It is across PCH from the ocean, but the rooms are large, many have jacuzzis for two, and the rates are reasonable.

            1. re: ocshooter

              Thanks! WE are going to spend 2 days in Laguna as we have 2 nights booked.. Any chowhound Rec's in this area??

              1. re: palmtree38

                There are so many wonderful places to dine in Laguna Beach. A few of our favorites: Las Brisas (awesome view), Claes @ the Hotel Laguna, The Terrace Cafe @ the Hotel Laguna, Sundried Tomato Cafe (don't miss the Red Velvet Cake here) Hush, Ristorante Rumari, all of the restaurants at The Montage are awesome with beautiful oceanviews. There is also The Cliff for good seafood with pretty oceanviews, I loved the Halibut with Mango Salsa at The Cliff. :)

                1. re: syrahgirl

                  Sounds yummy. Any good happy hour places too?

                2. re: palmtree38

                  On Forest Ave, there's two that I like. Brussels Bistro has excellent mussels & fries (moules frites); it's so good, that's it's the only thing we ever order when we go. And for great people watching over lunch or dinner is 230 Forest ( It's often packed here, so you'll need reservations.

                  One street over is a cute little cafe, Zinc Cafe ( on Ocean. Great for b'fast or lunch.

                  1. re: palmtree38

                    If you like sushi rolls, Mosun has some good deals most week nights. I usually prefer traditional sushi, but if I do go for rolls, I like them fun and spicy, and there are several here that fit the bill. The sushi chefs are also personable. Quality is acceptable, not the best fish I have had, but if youare going to put it in a roll, acceptable is just fine.

                    If you want to head to South Laguna, Coyote Grill is a reliable choice for breakfast. Try the enchiladas and eggs, along with a Bloody Mary.

            2. A really neat little walk up (also some tables) is Taco Loco in Laguna Beach 640 S.Coast Hwy. Their seafood tacos are Yummy!