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Oct 12, 2013 08:23 AM

No More Free Corkage at Banderas Newport Beach

I was dismayed to learn that Banderas (a Hillstone Restaurant) no longer offers free corkage on personal wines. The fee is now $15 and has been so for the past year according to server last night. This really lowers the draw for me to return.

I did enjoy the banana cream pie though!

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  1. You have to wonder how they went this long with no corkage. I wonder if they will end up trying out a "corkage free Monday" or some such plan if they have a slower night of the week?

    Love the banana cream pie. Just had a slice last week after my prime rib dip...

    1. all of the Hillstone restaurants switched about a year ago and it's a big drag - but it's amazing it went as long as it did! I don't like the new policy simply because I don't like most of the wines on the menu (especially by the glass), especially at R+D on Montana Ave (Bandera at least has a great scotch selection).

      I hope that they bring back at least one night a week, but in the meantime, still go to all of their westside restaurants with frequency, love the French Dip!

      1. Which wine did you bring for the banana cream pie?

        1 Reply
        1. re: OscarFox

          Great point above and I too am a fan of the Prime Rib Dip.

          We brought a Montoya Pinot Noir 2010. Nothing very fancy or expensive but still enjoyable with our meal.

        2. There is always Playground.

          The difference is that the food is so good, if they started to charge corkage I would probably still go as long as it was $10 or so.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Porthos

            Was actually going to go to Playgroud instead of Banderas but have been there many times and had never actually been to Banderas despite living near it. I always see the rotisserie chickens spinning in the window and had some false belief that the chickens would be something similar to roast chickens I have had in Paris. With the baby dropped off with the sitter down the street it seemed like a no brainer. The food was decent to good. Service was not great. No Playground by any means and a confirmation of why I keep going back to the regular places I dine at (i.e. Playground, Mozza, Ortica).

            1. re: Searching4Dunny

              I have the same feelings towards Banderas. I thought that I would like it more since I'm a fan of R&D.

              1. re: Searching4Dunny

                In my experience the rotisserie chickens in Paris were also mostly for show. They look great but were for the most part dried out. By dumb luck I stumbled on Maitre Volailler which was amazing but unfortunately, they closed shop years ago.


                To bring it back on topic Chicken Maison in Costa Mess does great roast chicken with crispy skin. The turnover is high enough so they are always fresh during lunch. The breast also tends to be dry so I get the 1/4 dark meat combo and add a chicken kebob skewer which is white meat.

                1. re: Porthos

                  Thanks for the recommendation Porthos. Will have to check out Chicken Maison very soon.

                  I agree with the dried out Parisian chickens. At least, the vendors along the Seine and in the streets. I found Rotisserie de Beaujolais (same owners as the now past its prime La Tour D'argent?) to have good chicken at a decent price point (i.e. less than L'Ami Louis).

              2. re: Porthos

                Looking forward to trying Taco Maria in Costa Mesa though that is the subject of a different thread.

                1. re: Searching4Dunny

                  Also on my radar because of that report by revets2 :)