RVOC March 2015 : Page 150

[FOOD & DRINK] GUIDE drink, and it’s made with amaretto) and indulge in the roasted veal tenderloin. Lunch Wed.-Sun., dinner nightly. The Resort at Pelican Hill, 22701 Pelican Hill Road S., Newport Coast, 855.467.6800, pelicanhill. com $$$$ Babette’s We can’t decide what we like most—the signature barbecue tofu, the citrusy Cynar Julep or that gorgeous bar, which is highlighted by a vaulted atrium sky ceiling. These are just a few of the many elements that make the O.C. transplant—the eatery hails from East Hampton—a popular choice among Crystal Cove’s stylish set (and those with a New York state of mind, of course). We suggest you jet on over now. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 7962 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Newport Beach, 949.715.9915, babettesoc.com $$$ Back Bay Bistro Newport denizens love this bistro for its chic atmosphere and scenic environs (waterfront dining, anyone?), in addition to its lineup of delish dishes. Lunch Wed.-Fri., dinner Wed.-Sun., brunch Sat. and Sun. 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach, 949.729.1144, newportdunes.com $$ Bayside Restaurant We adore the harbor-front eatery for its view, its environment and its heavy-on-the-fish menu of new American cuisine created by pro Paul Gstrein. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner nightly, brunch Sun. 900 Bayside Drive, Newport Beach, 949.721.1222, baysiderestaurant. com $$$ The Beachcomber Crystal Cove’s delish sandside tenant serves up an iconic O.C. experience and fresh coastal fare. Watch for the martini flag heralding sunset and salute! Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 15 Crystal Cove, Newport Coast, 949.376.6900, thebeachcombercafe. com $ Bear Flag Fish Co. Although technically a seafood market, we don’t know where else you can find better fish tacos, real New England clam chowder and some of the freshest sushi in Orange County. Lunch and dinner daily. 7972 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Newport Coast, 949.715.8899, bearflagfishco.com $$ Bluefin Takashi Abe’s got some serious cred—his work experience includes a stint under L.A.’s Nobu Matsuhisa. We suggest ordering one of the omakase prix-fixe menus. For $100, the chef will select an inspiring menu with everything from an amuse to a sashimi salad to dessert. The sushi variant, meanwhile, costs $50 and satisfies with both nigiri and hand rolls. Lunch and dinner daily. 7952 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Newport Beach, 949.715.7373, bluefinbyabe.com $$ Bluewater Grill When you’re in the mood for fish, this is the place. Bluewater offers natural gas-broiled seafood, with up to 15 fresh fish items on the menu (printed every day). Lunch and dinner daily. 630 Lido Park Drive, Newport Beach, 949.675.3474, bluewatergrill. com $$ Canaletto This Il Fornaio restaurant brings the regional cuisine of Veneto to Newport, thanks to chef Moises Mendoza Islas. Stars on the menu include Venetian thin-crust pizzas, fresh pasta and risotto seppie nere , a black risotto brimming with seafood. Lunch and dinner daily. Fashion Island, 545 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, 949.640.0900, ilfornaio. com/ canalettonb $$$ The Cannery The former commercial fish cannery is known as a go-to spot in Newport for top-quality, locally sourced seafood (of course). Those in the mood for a fine-dining experience can enjoy Executive Chef Nick Weber’s menu downstairs, where white tablecloths and alfresco harbor-front seating abound. Those looking for a different scene can head upstairs to the sultry Jellyfish Lounge for sushi and sake, and its daily happy hour. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sat. and Sun. 3010 Lafayette Road, Newport Beach, 949.566.0060, cannerynewport. com $$ The Crow Bar and Kitchen This gastropub offers delicious soul food from Executive Chef Brandon Corby, including skillet mac and cheese with a seven-cheese blend covered in a tasso and herb crumble. And, of course, the eatery serves all the right brews and libations to pair with each menu item. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sat. and Sun. 2325 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Corona del Mar, 949.675.0070, crowbarcdm. com $ Cucina Enoteca Fans of Tracy Borkum’s eclectic and charming kitchen in Irvine now have a second O.C. location to frequent. The 8,300-square-foot restaurant and wine shop TOP FIVE FOR DESIGN skylight and photos that showcase the the iconic film studio. Classic! Disney California Adventure, 1313 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, 714.781.3463 4. Red O Restaurant Jonesing for a tropical vacay? Rick Bayless’ eatery will transport you to a Mexican resort. A tequila wall shimmers in the bar, and live trees reach to the ceilings in the dining room. There’s European tiling and archways to delight the eyes—and moles, guac and tamales to tantalize the taste buds. Fashion Island, 143 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, 949.718.0300, redorestaurant.com In the Details Whether it’s a magical spot that recalls an earlier age or an eatery where a boho garden grows, these restos set the scene for dining out. –KS 3. Cucina Enoteca Eclectic and charming—it’s how we describe Tracy Borkum’s second Italian kitchen in O.C. The interior is alive with bursts of florals and natural touches (think chandeliers made from branches). Outside? A rustic courtyard and fireplace. Fashion Island, 951 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, 949.706.1416, cucinaenoteca.com HOT STUFF Red O Restaurant’s scarlet-hued dining room 1. Bistango This vibrant place is known for its modern art exhibits, and its newly revamped atmosphere provides a prime backdrop, thanks to an expanded 360-degree bar with a lighted onyx top and a palette of earth tones and charcoals. Oh, and the food is pretty creative too. 19100 Von Karman Ave., Irvine, 949.752.5222, bistango.com 5. Watertable The modern concept has all the comforts of home. Lounge in the Living Room (it has a firewall feature and patio views) or visit the Library to see millwork similar to what you’d find in an apothecary. But the splashiest element is the water table (natch), where bottles are filled for your drinking pleasure. Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach, 21500 Pacific Coast Highway, 714.845.4776, watertablehb.com 2. Carthay Circle Restaurant Nostalgists head here to relive the past. The façade is modeled after the theater where Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered in 1937 and boasts Spanish-revival architecture, an atrium 150 RIVIER A M ARCH 2015

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