written by Bobby Navarro, published on newportbeachdining.com
Orange County is in a continuous search for its culinary identity. As we move into a more food savvy generation, dining destinations are beginning to surface all over the county that rival great eateries across the country. Newport Beach is taking steps to be the strongest competitor in the restaurant game, and not only the center of the Orange Coast. Here is a list of the restaurants new on the scene or coming soon to your Newport Beach neighborhood.
Summertime saw a fresh new face to the OC restaurant scene. Lemonade’s Chef and Founder Alan Jackson says, “I like to think of Lemonade as a chose-your-own-adventure for lunch or dinner, a delicious and healthy change of pace, Lemonade marries quality and convenience.” This may be a grab and go option, but it is far from ordinary. The quality of ingredients and the relaxed feel are the closest you can get to luxury in a 30 minute lunch break.
The warm summer sun brought another delicious edition to the dining culture at Newport Beach. Lark Creek is a respected restaurant group from the San Francisco area, and they have decided to bring their concept to the Fashion Island Shopping Center. Lark Creek promotes the idea of seasonal, sustainable, and farm-fresh cuisine and blends it with a relaxed environment. Original artwork hangs on the vibrant walls, and the walnut tables warm the space.
Red O opened in mid November to much acclaim at Fashion Island. This Oaxacan inspired restaurant is the creation of Master Chef Rick Bayless. Rick Bayless is recognized for his regional Mexican cuisine, and this 8,500 square foot restaurant has the class and decorum of a coastal resort. Copper fixtures illuminate the decorative tile work, while the smell of Beer- Braised Short Ribs sweep the room.
Fig & Olive
This little piece of the French Riviera will be coming soon to Fashion Island. The menu focuses on highlighting the main component of their longevity: the olive oil. The cuisine is inspired heavily by true French culture, with rosemary, thyme, and basil lining the menu. Deep roasted flavors will be a fantastic pairing with their incredible Old World wine selections. Opening late 2013.
Chef Cathy Pavlos will be bringing a “Napa-esque” menu to the Newport Beach natives in her new concept. Diners will be able to enjoy fresh ingredients from her 1,300 square foot raised-bed garden. Fresh cocktails will also be created with the same ingredients. Pavlos has always prided herself in local and seasonal ingredients and is sure to incorporate that integrity with this California food concept. Opening early 2014.
The Winery Restaurant & Bar
The Winery Restaurant & Bar will be bringing their famous concept to the Newport Beach locals. The pride of JC Clow, William Lewis and Chef Yvon Goetz has always been “the guest experience”, and now they are able to pair their already incredible guest experience with the magical aesthetic of the Newport Harbor. The award-winning chef brings California cuisine with a contemporary flair, bringing Wine Country to the Orange Coast. Six sommeliers will be on staff to accommodate your every wine need, offering a resort quality experience in a highly personalized setting. Opening early 2014.
Blue C Sushi
Modeled after the famous sushi spots in the subways of Tokyo, Blue C Sushi will be bringing vibrant, interactive, and entertaining dining to the Newport Beach dining culture. Rice and sustainable seafood are the pride of this establishment, but the technology makes it incredible. Fresh sushi moves across a conveyor belt of splendid colored plates, take the plate as it moves along the track and your item is automatically recorded on your check, and the chef then makes a fresh portion of that dish.
Modern Italian, rustic farm house will be joining the culinary army redefining the dining scene in Newport Beach. Tracy Borkum is bringing her “restaurant to retail” concept into the Fashion Island dining stage. A perfect fit for the shopping scene. The entire restaurant is curated from items hand selected by Tracy, and everything will be available for sale, from vintage light fixtures, to specialty furniture, and retail wine sales.
Some of Newport Beach’s best restaurants will be offering multi-course meals at tiered pricing during this city-wide celebration. January 17 – 26 2014, will be the dates to take advantage of the new hot spots and the Newport staples!