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Anything "chow worthy" in or near Newport Beach

Leaving tomorrow for 1st visit to Newport Beach. Staying at the Marriott Resort and Spa (wife has a conference) but our adult daughter is also coming and we will have a car. Coming from Boston and would like to experience foods that we might not get in Boston such as fish tacos, Mexican, etc. That said, we are always up for a great burger and fries, Italian, seafood, and we especially like small plates and tapas. As suggested earlier in another post, we may meet friends from Santa Monica one night at Enrique's in Long Beach. Any other suggestions?

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    1. Thanks but there are 1176 restaurant reviews on ocweekly.com, it might be a little overwhelming.

      2 Replies
      1. re: bakerboyz

        OK, specific reccomendations

        The Cannery on via Lido and any restaurants on the bay near by..

        Sabatino's in the old fishing district near via Lido (homemade sausage and been there for years)

        Ho Sum Bistro Chinese has been open on Newport Blvd. for maybe twenty years.

        Go down to the Balboa ferry landing; there are good restaurants in walking distance.

        And/or go to Balboa Island and explore the main drag. There is a Swiss/European restaurant that is well regarded and there are many other places.

        Or go up the the hill to the Fashion Island shopping center. Free parking and lots of choices for dining.

        Mozza (Mario Batali backed);has a place on PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) which has received very good reviews.

        Then there is the Balboa Bay Yacht Club, not exclusive to members anymore; which,from what I hear, is still on its game and serves very decent food.

        1. re: Gypsy Jan

          Oh and there is a Chinese restaurant on Balboa Island, on the main drag that has been there for at least thirty years or more

          We ate there many, many times and always had a good meal..

          But I do remember reading in the Daily Pilot about one of the chefs caught chasing a duck down on the beach.

          The sons are the famous creators of the Wahoo Tacos chain.

        1. re: TonyC

          Thank you. The menu at Juliette's Kitchen and Bar looks quite interesting. I made reservations for Friday evening.

          1. re: TonyC

            Still serving the Filling Station pumpkin pies ?

          2. Charlie Palmers in nearby Costa Mesa (South Coast Plaza), Mozza, R+D Kitchen (in Fashion Island), Umami Burger, just to name a few :)

            1. Go to Little Saigon. Search these pages for a wide array of Vietnamese options.

              Even though I am from the East coast I never miss going to Sabatino's for heavenly homemade Italian saugsages when I get near that part of town.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Ciao Bob

                Bamboo Bistro is good enough to spare Newportians that drive. They serve Brodard's spring rolls.

              2. Are you an Arrested Development fan? Because there really is a frozen banana stand on Balboa Island... :)

                11 Replies
                  1. re: cheesecake17

                    Were??!? Is it not there anymore? I haven't gone for years, but it's such a happy memory of hanging out with my Dad, I was hoping that my kids will have the same experience with their Grandpa!!

                    1. re: schrutefarms

                      Oops, I meant "were" bc we were there once a few years ago on vacation. I blv it's still there, since we planned to go this past summer. (Didn't end up b/c it was cold and rainy)

                      1. re: cheesecake17

                        Whew!! :) To me, it ain't Balboa without the banana stand!

                        1. re: schrutefarms

                          Those Balboa bars are way better though.

                          1. re: kevin

                            With rainbow sprinkles! The best!!! Don't you hate it when it falls off the stick? Especially if it lands on the ground!

                            1. re: Thor123

                              Well, if it falls on the ground, then one is screwed.

                              I doubt they will replace it.

                              And the three second definitely does not apply to that foodstuff.

                              I get it without the sprinkles. Hmm, maybe that helps because last time it didn't fall of the stick. Though I did have back up at the joint I got it from via a cardboard, checkered boat.

                              1. re: kevin

                                So you go just basic chocolate dip on your balboa bar? No nuts or toffee?

                                1. re: Thor123

                                  No. Just free balling it. Only chocolate and the vanilla ice cream.

                                  I don't go hog wild with additions.

                                  But that's just me.

                            2. re: kevin

                              2nd the "bars". I'd prefer a cold beer these days to a cold banana :)

                              1. re: schrutefarms

                                I like that Balboa Bar bar there. The one with the pickled eggs.

                  2. If you are willing to drive to Santa Ana, there is The Playground. It is an EXCELLENT restaurant for small plates. One of the better restaurants in OC today.

                    You will thank me later if you go. I eat there about once a week.


                    3 Replies
                    1. re: chabrab

                      I don't know.

                      My opinion was that The Playground was merely trying to ride the coatails of Animal and that type of restaurant without being at least pretty good.

                      1. re: kevin

                        Well we can agree to disagree haha

                        I am not sure what you've eaten or how many times you've been there?

                        1. re: kevin

                          I'll have to side with chabrab and confess my jealousy at their frequency.

                      2. When we were kids used to love the Five Crowns, which I think is now owned by Lawrys. If you head south there are several very good places in Laguna.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Thor123

                          Good food,fun and nice piano bar with great music.

                          Gave our keys to to valet and lost our Mercedes.

                          1. re: Gypsy Jan

                            That part would not be so good.

                            I think it's about time one of you guys started a valet thread.

                        2. Lots of good suggestions so far. I'll add Marche Moderne. Also, Beachcomber Cafe, which is in fact right on the beach, should not be missed for that California feeling for a Bostonian.

                          1. If you want a real Newport Beach experience, go to The Galley on the bay.

                            It is an institution.

                            1. The Crow Bar and Kitchen in Corona Del Mar (Newport Beach) is great for burgers and drinks (try the Black Label Burger). I also second the rec for Juliette and Playground (Santa Ana). Nana San is a decent sushi place in Newport near Juliette. Pizzeria Mozza in Newport Beach is as good as its LA original. Taco Rosa is good for Mexican as is Sol for a Mexican themes brunch. For Vietnamese you will want to go to Little Saigon as mentioned already. Decent Korean food can be found in Irvine at Shik Do Rak as well as other places.

                              1. Surf and Sand in Laguna Beach..
                                Las Brisas in Newport for Margs and apps.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Beach Chick

                                  Las Brisas is in Laguna Beach. Margs, sure (though they're made with sour mix), but don't eat any of the food.

                                  Broadway and 370 Common in Laguna Beach. For Mexican you need to head inland toward Santa Ana: El Chivo de Oro, Potzol den Cano, Taqueria 2 Guys, Alebrije's taco truck, etc.