A never-ending search for Outdoor Eats and new-to-OB Roundup
Spent most of the weekend in OB. Spent a good chunk of both mornings trying to determine nice places to enjoy a meal and a beer out in the sun. Spent a good chunk of both mornings angry and complaining at the lack of them (as I have before on Chowhound as well).
So we drove to OB with a few ideas and so did 20,000 other people. Drove by Tower Two and Shades and the outdoor seating was full with waiting lines. Port OB was in the shade by 1pm.
Newport Pizza had the hippy- and Absurdly Loud Music- factors way way way too high for us (as it often does). Discussed grabbing sandwiches from Olive Tree and just sitting at a bench on Sunset Cliffs. Unfortunately, that can no longer include a tasty beer without threat of fine. Argh.
Finding parking, we stopped by the new place where the Vine used to be, it is now Raglan Public House which is a burger joint (surprise!!!) with a decent tap list and burgers containing all the buzz words (grass fed, local veggies, organic rolls). My burger was cooked medium rare as requested, which was nice. Lots of options available for the burgers as well as vegetarian options. Staff had some Down Under accents, and a girl at our community table said it was owned by another burger place (Bare Back perhaps). Not all tables are community, but there was outdoor seating (rare in San Diego for some reason) and the windows open up fully so that leaves plenty of options and stemmed my complaining (as did a fantastic pint of Port Brewing Mongo).
Also went by Olive Tree Market to pick up some fine craft beers and their new Mediterranean bistro next door was open, called Kecho. Didn't get to eat there but it was small and quite nice inside, focus is small plates. Prices were good, I think the most expensive was $14 or so, menu is not online yet. We look forward to trying it soon (big fan of the Olive Tree people).
Speaking of Greek, the old Little Chef on the corner of Newport and Cable (?) closed down and there is some sort of bar/bistro/insert-buzz-word replacement. Small plates, good beer, etc, called the Joint. Didn't see a menu.
Hopefully we can find more places to have lunch in the sun that aren't way out east (i.e. east of the 805 haha)
As a PointLoman/OBtian I share your frustration with a lack of good outdoor dining spots at the beach. You're right that Raglan is run by the folks from Bareback and the buzz word replacement for The Joint is sushi.
Thanks for the heads up on Kecho. I saw the sign today and will definitely try any place associated with The Olive Tree.
Next time you're in the 'hood you can grab coffee and pastries at Azucar (or even a Cubano at lunch). They have a few small tables outside or you can walk down to the pier. It won't satisfy your beer in the sun craving but it's a nice treat. Another good beer option - if not great patio - is Pizza Port. They have a narrow outdoor patio and plenty of good beer.
Ortega's on Newport has some outdoor tables. As of right now, you can't drink alcohol outside, but they are trying to get that permitted. They are expanding into another space. I think they have some of the best mexican food around!