Newport Beach is a coastal city that rests on beautiful Balboa Bay and combines 10 interconnected neighborhoods, including Balboa Peninsula, which juts into the Pacific and delivers a surfer-friendly vibe, ritzy Corona del Mar, and Fashion Island, a long-time shopping Mecca that’s added high-profile restaurants from nearby L.A. and San Diego. Learn about 12 places you must eat or drink when visiting Newport Beach.
Numbered establishments on the map correspond to information below for easy reference. Establishments also appear in alphabetical order instead of in order of preference.
This retooled Balboa Bay Resort gastropub has a name that expands to Anchors & Oceans, which is fitting considering their patio overlooks a bucolic bay and passing yachts. The space features nautical knot and diver helmet chandeliers, wood tables, and rattan chairs. Executive chef Vincent Lesage and chef de cuisine Rachel Haggstrom preside over an ambitious comfort food menu, which could either deliver a fun snack or full meal, depending on whether you’d like to limit to consumption to happy hour or not. Their share-friendly menu delivers playful twists on popular dishes, along with “hangover” beer floats and “tempting” desserts. You can also keep matters simple, grabbing a bucket of wings and tantalizing craft beer on tap.
MUST ORDER: Chicken Wings, Shishito Peppers, Craft Beer
Brodard is a Little Saigon juggernaut thanks to the Dang family, who immigrated from Nha Trang in 1987. Matriarch Diane Dang founded Brodard in 1996, and led the growth from humble bakery into thriving restaurant. She still presides over the popular Mall of Fortune destination, Daughter Lisa Dang-Vo helms Brodard Chateau in Garden Grove, and daughter Chau Dang-Haller runs Bamboo Bistro in Corona del Mar, which has yellow walls, bamboo accents and Buddha imagery. Yes, there’s a varied menu of Vietnamese comfort food, but Brodard is the house that spring rolls built. They total nine types of rolls, including Soft Shell Crab Spring Rolls, Fresh Seared Fresh Ahi Spring Rolls, Roasted Duck Spring Rolls and an enduring classic, Grilled Pork Spring Rolls, which tout crunchy wonton piping and come with a magical orange dipping sauce crafted with chiles, peanuts, garlic, fish sauce, ground meat and more.
MUST ORDER: Spring Rolls
Chef Takashi Abe and business partner Ted Lee have turned this Crystal Cove Shopping Center restaurant into a destination for sushi lovers due to their often creative preparations of pristine seafood. The sleek space is also a draw, with banquette seating and a sushi bar for people who choose to be closer to the action. Chefs work out in the open, backed by a cascading water wall. Bluefin serves a la carte sushi and progressive prepared dishes like Halibut Cheek with almond, panko, and honey mustard beet sauce. Begin your path to Bluefin understanding with Sushi Omakase, which starts at $65 during dinner service (less at lunch) and delivers 13 pieces of sushi along with a roll. The selection is dealer’s choice, but if you’re lucky, Chef Abe and his team will present golden eye snapper with sea salt, grated yuzu, and a squeeze of lemon; silky sea scallop, served the same way; uni with sea salt and lemon; and sweet Russian King crab with a nori belt.
MUST ORDER: Sushi Omakase, Melon Float
4. Crow Bar and Kitchen [CLOSED]
Longtime real estate developer Steve Geary opened Crow Bar in 2008 in Corona del Mar, which is ostensibly a ritzy bridge community that connects Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. This ambitious gastropub rotates the menu seasonally, with an eye towards sustainability. The sleek space features brick walls, brown leather banquettes, pressed tin ceilings and a pair of communal tables. Crow Bar pours 24 beers on tap, which rotate frequently, and bottles help fill in any crafty gaps. Yes, they have a strong signature burger, but you can feel confident in straying from patties and buns.
MUST ORDER: The Crow Burger, Cubano, Deviled Eggs, Sweet Potato Fries, Vidalia Onion Rings, Craft Beer