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May 15, 2010 06:27 PM

Anything new and interesting in Newport Beach/Costa Mesa?

Will be up in OC for my birthday with my family next weekend, haven't been out and about in about the last 6 months (living in SD now). Anything new, interesting, different going on in the Newport Beach/Costa Mesa area?

Marche Modern, Crow Bar, Mesa are favorites if that helps..


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  1. Pizzeria Ortica off Anton by SCP or Brasserie Pascal is celebrating its 1yr anniversary at FI.

    Pizzeria Ortica
    650 Anton Boulevard, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

    Brasserie Pascal
    327 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660

    1 Reply
    1. re: dlew308

      Been to both, was underwhelmed by both.

    2. Il Barone is an excellent new Italian place (Chef used to work at Antonello). It is in the former Pleasant Peasant space.

      Pleasant Peasant
      4251 Martingale Way, Newport Beach, CA 92660

      10 Replies
      1. re: New Trial

        If I can pile on....
        My daughter is graduating from UCI mid-June and I'm looking for a place for a graduation dinner, on a Sunday night. I'm from out of town, as is the rest of the family, so have no clue. She's a starving student so has even less of a clue than us.
        There'd be 8 of us, would prefer non-asian, no "difficult" diners, not super expensive (around $40pp). I've done some surfing and the weird difficulty is that not a lot of places seem to be open for dinner on Sunday.
        Any good/bad comments on Pescadou Bistro, Nesai Restaurant, or Cucina Alessa?
        Btw, UCI recommends Bucca de Beppo.....

        Pescadou Bistro
        3325 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663

        Nesai Restaurant
        217 Riverside Ave, Newport Beach, CA 92663

        1. re: 512window

          In the Costa Mesa/Irvine area, I really like Old Vine Cafe:

          Most folks generally like Cucina Alessa for Italian (as do I). I also like Pizzeria Ortica mentioned above for pizza and pasta. I just returned from Italy and their house made pasta was really, really good (portion size is similar to Italy, not here).

          Pizzeria Ortica
          650 Anton Boulevard, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

          Old Vine Cafe
          2937 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

          1. re: 512window

            Irvine is tough...and at the risk of losing my chowhound status, I will tell you that I hosted a successsful party for 8 at The Melting Pot on Jamboree. Do you HAVE to stay in Irvine for the party?

            1. re: 512window

              Even though this is my thread orginally...

              Alessa is excellent italian food.

              1. re: swicks

                Thanks to all of you! I think I'll try Cucina Alessa if it's really good. It's also open later which is good since the graduation ends at 7pm.

                The Old Vine Cafe looks great, but it's not open on Sunday night. This no-Sunday night thing really really surprises me.

                Thanks for letting me hijack your thread.

                Old Vine Cafe
                2937 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

                1. re: 512window

                  I think you should consider the Alessa in HB. It's just a little farther up the road and considerably larger and not as jammed.

                  1. re: Honeyman

                    I agree, though it's not a convenient drive from Irvine.

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                      Thank all of you for your help. I just made reservations at Cucina Alessa in Newport Beach. The problem with Huntington Beach is that we are from out of town, will be in multiple cars, and since the graduation doesn't end until 7pm, it will be late and we will be hungry. I want to minimize my wrangling requirements.

                      1. re: 512window

                        Wanted to say thank you again to you helpful So-Cal folks! We had the dinner at Cucina Alessa on Sunday and really enjoyed the food. Because we started late, it wasn't too crowded. The staff were great.

                        Bonus was that my brother just got So-Cal added to his territory for his job marketing wine, and they already had a bottle on their wine list.

            2. re: New Trial

              You are right. Of everything mentioned on this page, the only new place really worth mentioning is Il Barone. The chef was the Exec Chef at Antonello for many years, and his cooking is excellent at his own new place, Il Barone. I think that Ortica (which has been mentioned by someone else) is pretty awful. The only other new place even with mentioning is Side Door Cafe at the Five Crowns. They serve pretty decent upscale pub food (which I guess is now called "gastropub" food). I personally like it better than Crow Bar or Mesa (which I think is now not as good as it was when it opened).

              If you like sushi, one place not mentIoned is Bluefin in Crystal Cove. Although quite pricey, I think it is the best Japanese restaurant in the area.

              Marche Moderne remains IMHO.without a doubt, the best restaurant overall in OC, and one of the best in all of southern CA. If you return to the area, do not miss a meal here!

            3. As mentioned above, I like Pizzeria Ortica too. Not so new, but Charlie Palmer @ Bloomingdales has a great Bloody Mary Bar for Sunday brunch and a beautiful interior. And if you haven't been, Break of Dawn Cafe is great for b'fast/lunch in Laguna Hills....

              Break of Dawn
              24351 Avenida De La Carlota Ste N6, Laguna Hills, CA 92653

              Pizzeria Ortica
              650 Anton Boulevard, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

              1. The chocolate espresso cookies at Haute Cakes are worth the stop.


                Haute Cakes Cafe
                1807 Westcliff Dr, Newport Beach, CA 92660

                1. One additional thought...The First Cabin Restaurant at the Balboa Bay Club might be considered for a special occasion. The setting on Newport harbor is wonderful; the room is quite formal, but the deck is beautiful on a warm evening; the food quite good, although not especially creative; and the service is excellent.

                  Balboa Bay Club
                  1221 W Coast Hwy Ste 145, Newport Beach, CA 92663