Have a conference in Newport Beach in January. TWO questions: 1) We have a list of usual suspects restaurants from our hotel, but want an insider's opinion for Newport, Corona Del Mar or Laguna for dinner. Upscale casual, new American or farm to table. We could always do Ocean Club. 2) Our group of about 60 needs a place for dinner on Sunday night, so anyplace that can do a private room for us is best. Any place with a local flavor? Good food? Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
Del Mar Cafe
712 S Del Mar Ave, San Gabriel, CA 91776
60, as mentioned, is pretty big. But Charlie Palmer at South Coast Plaza would be (IMO) a step up from hotel fare and they do have a large room.
My favorite in the area for New American is Tabu Grill in South Laguna. I know they have a side room, but 60 may be too many for them.
For Sushi, I love San Shi Go in Newport by the pier, and Bluefin is also excellent, with more rolls if you prefer non-traditional.
230 Forest is good, but it is small. Watermarc, another restaurant in the same family, is bigger, but I do not care for it nearly as much.
K'ya in Laguna is good, and there is a rooftop bar there that is my favorite spot for a drink if you can get there for sunset.
You don't talk about breakfast, so maybe you can't get away for it, but my recs if you want to try something different are Break of Dawn, a drive but worth it, and Coyote Grill.
230 Forest Avenue Restaurant
230 Forest Ave, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Break of Dawn
24351 Avenida De La Carlota Ste N6, Laguna Hills, CA 92653
31621 Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
448 S Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
2892 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
San Shi Go Sushi and Asian Cuisine
205 Main St, Newport Beach, CA 92661
Charlie Palmer At Bloomingdale
3333 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
7952 E. Pacific Coastal Highway, Newport Beach, CA 92657
K'ya Bistro - Laguna Beach
1287 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Maybe its just me but I took the 1) an insider's opinion for Newport, Corona Del Mar or Laguna for dinner. Upscale casual, new American or farm to table and 2) Our group of about 60 needs a place for dinner on Sunday night as two completely separate topics.
I got that they wanted good local for themselves and then a place for the group.
60 people is a large group. A nice place in Laguna is "The Deck" . It is right on the beach and do large parties. Taboo is my favorite restaurant but cannot accomodate 60. Watermark does have an upstairs room and is OK. The other local restaurant with private rooms are Landmark, and Canalettos in Fashion Island.. At South Coast plaza AnQi has great food and private rooms, that is right next to Charlie Palmers. For Upscale farm to table, definitely Taboo Grill.
3333 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Any of my recommendations would work for an upscale dinner for a smaller group. If you want to go full bore, then go to Stonehill Tavern or The Studio at the Montage. I have not been to The Studio to eat, but it has a fantastic view and rates as one of the top spots in OC. Stonehill is part of the Michael Mina family, so I am guessing you are familiar with his styles.
Both do tasting menus if you want that. I would guess that these would be the dressiest of the places I listed, but everywhere here is pretty casual. Basillic, is another option for an upscale dinner for a small group, but it is French.
I will still stand by Tabu for New American farm to table. I love the vibe of the place, more bustling in a smaller, crowded place with a semi-open kitchen. It is one of the few places in the area that makes me feel like I am at one of the great small neighborhood restaurants in SF.
As for the group, 60 is tough unless you go the hotel or golf course route. You might try The Cannery, which is on the water in Newport Harbor. There are a number of Yacht clubs that might or might not be able to accommodate. The Balboa Bay Club is one option.
St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, CA 92629
Cannery Seafood of the Pacific
3010 LaFayette Road, Newport Beach, CA 92663
30801 Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA
Balboa Bay Club
1221 W Coast Hwy Ste 145, Newport Beach, CA 92663
I'd look at the crow bar and kitchen in Corona del Mar (sorry about the lower case, that is how crow does it), Basilic Restaurant on Balboa Island, The Side Door at the Five Crowns, Rothschild Restaurant for Italian, Bamboo Bistro for good, local Thai and The Quiet Woman for a fun local spot.
Javier's is fun, if loud place for Mexican food and Mastro's Ocean Club in the same center does a nice job.
The Studio at the Montage Resort might be the best restaurant in the county, but it does come at a price.
230 Forest Ave in Laguna Beach is nice local place, with pretty good food and so is Claes Ovation at the Hotel Laguna, it does good food in a spectacular setting, get that Foie Gras before the state bans it.....
Mastro's Ocean Club
8112 E Coast Hwy, Newport Coast, CA 92657
3801 East Coast Highway, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625
217 Marine Ave, Newport Beach, CA 92662
2600 E Coast Hwy Ste 160, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625
3224 E Coast Hwy, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625