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Newport Beach Restaurant Week: Where to Dine on Balboa Peninsula, Balboa Village and Balboa Island

Newport Beach Restaurant Week is hard. So many choices, only 14 days of culinary bliss. It’s also confusing because the week is actually not a week at all; it’s two weeks—this year happening Jan 15 to 28—when restaurants across Newport Beach and Balboa Peninsula forego their usual pricing to offer diners sweet, sweet specials on time-honored favorites and exclusive dishes prepared just for this event. (For official info, visit the Newport Beach Restaurant Week FAQ page.)

To help you navigate the epicurean travails of this glorious occasion, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to the Balboa Peninsula spots participating in Newport Beach Restaurant Week 2018. We’re detailing the menus, the prices, the dog-friendly options, plus our local take on whether it’s actually a good deal.

21 Oceanfront

// Image via Facebook.com

2100 W Oceanfront, Newport Beach, CA 92663 // (949) 673-2100

Restaurant Week Pricing: Three-course dinner for $50. (Add $20 for filet mignon and lobster main dish.)

Reservations? Yes. Call before you dine; this place will book up.

Dog Friendly? No.

Deal or No Deal? Deal. Dinner at 21 Oceanfront can get pricey and to get steak or grilled salmon PLUS an escargot appetizer and dessert for $50 total is worth it. Add a glass of wine and it’s probably standard price for dinner but relative to what you’d pay on a regular night out here, it’s still a steal.

Restaurant Week Menu … 

Avila’s El Ranchito – Newport Beach

2800 Newport Blvd., Newport Beach, CA 92663(949) 675-6855

Restaurant Week Pricing: Lunch $10 / Dinner $20

Reservation? Unnecessary.

Dog Friendly? No.

Deal or No Deal? Deal (ish). The prices here aren’t too expensive so any kind of deal is never going to be extraordinary. Still, soup and a main course for $10 is a pretty unbeatable lunch no matter how you swing it.

Restaurant Week Menus … 

 

Balboa Lily’s

711 E. Balboa Blvd., Newport Beach, CA 92661 / (949) 873-5455

Restaurant Week Pricing: Lunch $15 / Dinner $20

Reservation? Unnecessary.

Dog Friendly? Yes on the patio.

Deal or No Deal? Deal! This place is a fantastic spot for brunch, a quaint restaurant in Balboa Village with farm-fresh ingredients. The Restaurant Week lunch includes two courses and dessert, and for just $20, dinner is three courses plus dessert and to be honest, the banana cream pie is already calling our names …

Restaurant Week Menus … 

Dory Deli

2108 W Oceanfront, Newport Beach, CA 92663(949) 220-7886

Restaurant Week Pricing: Lunch $10 / Dinner $20

Reservation? Unnecessary.

Dog Friendly? Yes on the patio.

Deal or No Deal? Deal for dinner, which comes with select red or white wine, a Dory cocktail or a draft beer. Considering the cocktails alone at Dory can set you back $10, this is definitely a cost-effective way to dine.

Restaurant Week Menus … 

Fly ‘N’ Fish Oyster Bar & Grill

2304 W Oceanfront, Newport Beach, CA 92663 / (949) 673-8400

Restaurant Week Pricing: Lunch $20 / Dinner $40

Reservation? Definitely.

Dog Friendly? No.

Deal or No Deal? Deal for dinner, questionably good deal for lunch. ($20 for lunch is pricey no matter how you dice it.) Still, you’re paying for quality. Chef Julio knows his seafood and how to prepare it. The award-winning New England clam chowder is worth the hype and for dinner, the Wild Alaskan halibut is effortlessly delicious.

Restaurant Week Menus … 

Free Range Cafe

501 Park Ave, Newport Beach, CA 92662(949) 873-5884

Restaurant Week Pricing: Lunch $20 / Dinner $40

Reservation? Nah, you’re good.

Dog Friendly? Yes on the outdoor patio.

Deal or No Deal? TBD. It’s a super cute spot for lunch though, located right in the heart of Balboa Island. You could potentially make a day of it. Spend some time at the Fun Zone with your family, ferry it over to the Island and enjoy a $20 lunch. However, we risk our journalistic integrity to call this a deal before the menus are released. Stay tuned.

Restaurant Week Menus … Coming soon.

Harborside Restaurant & Grand Ballroom

// Image via Facebook.com/HarborsideRestaurant

400 Main St, Newport Beach, CA 92661(949) 673-4633

Restaurant Week Pricing: Lunch $20 / Dinner $40

Reservation? Definitely.

Dog Friendly? No.

Deal or No Deal? We’re a little hesitant to call a $40 dinner a “deal” but it does include a rack of lamb, halibut or swordfish steak for main-dish options and also wine. For lunch, there’s a pacific cod on the menu calling our name and really, you’re paying as much for the waterfront views at Harborside as you are for the prestige of dining here. We’re calling this one deal-esque.

Restaurant Week Menus … 

La French Touch

// Image via DineNB.com

704 E Balboa Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92661 (949) 873-5870

Restaurant Week Pricing: Dinner $50

Reservation? Sure, why not? Best to plan ahead, just in case.

Dog Friendly? No.

Deal or No Deal? Here’s the thing: If you’re going to be at the highest end of Restaurant Week deals at $50, your menu better deliver. So does La French Touch bring the goods? Well, first-course dishes include escargot, french onion soup or a house salad. Second course is duck confit, scallops or filet mignon and finally, for dessert, profiteroles or crème brûlée.There are some stand-out choices on the menu and if you went here any ordinary Friday night, you’d pay upwards of $100 for the same meal. Tout est relatif! (It’s all relative.)

Restaurant Week Menu … 

Lighthouse Bayview Cafe

// Image via Facebook.com/LighthouseNB

1600 W Balboa Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663 / (949) 933-1001

Restaurant Week Pricing: Lunch $10 / Dinner $30

Reservation? Not necessary.

Dog Friendly? Yes on the outdoor patio overlooking Newport Bay.

Deal or No Deal? Deal, we guess. The Restaurant Week menu is limited but this place, for a casual dining establishment, can skew expensive. (We image rent for a restaurant in a lighthouse by the water isn’t cheap.) The views are aquatically bucolic and you really can’t beat a $10 waterfront lunch. Local warning: If you’re doing Lighthouse for Restaurant Week, opt for the off-hours. Don’t try this place for Sunday brunch or on the weekends. It’ll be busy and you’ll wind up dealing with a long wait.

Restaurant Week Menus … 

Newport Landing Restaurant & Oyster Bar

// Image via DineNB.com

503 W Edgewater Avenue,, Newport Beach, CA 92661(949) 675-2373

Restaurant Week Pricing: Lunch $20 / Dinner $40

Reservation? Yep.

Dog Friendly? Nope.

Deal or No Deal? Hesitant to call this one a deal. Any restaurant located in Southern California, where fresh cod and tuna swim aplenty that has “Atlantic” (a.k.a. farmed) salmon on the menu shouldn’t charge on the higher end for its Restaurant Week meal. Dinner seems to be the better option, only because highlights of the menu include a glass of house wine (Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon), filet mignon for the main and in total, two courses plus dessert.

Restaurant Week Menus … 

Rockin Baja Lobster Coastal Cantina

2104 W Oceanfront, Newport Beach, CA 92663 / (949) 723-0606

Restaurant Week Pricing: Lunch $15-$20 / Dinner $30

Reservation? Not necessary.

Dog Friendly? No.

Deal or No Deal? Eh. Charging $20 for a lunch meal that could potentially cost you less if you ordered with any kind of frugality in mind is sillier than a lobster doing the meringue in board shorts. Still, there is a $15 option, which is a deal. Also, the place is undeniably fun—hey, it’s got “Rockin” in its name, what do you expect?—so if you’re looking for good vibes and a lively atmosphere steps from some of Balboa Peninsula’s most popular bars, (and Newport Pier) ignore the lack-of-deal deal and enjoy yourself some lobster!

Restaurant Week Menus … 

Sessions West Coast Deli

// Image via Instagram.com/sessionswestcoastdeli

2823 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663(949) 220-9001

Restaurant Week Pricing: Lunch $10 / Dinner $20

Reservation? Not necessary.

Dog Friendly? No but you could pick up a few of their super-yummy custom sandwiches and picnic on the beach with your dog before 10 a.m. or after 4:30 p.m.

Deal or No Deal? Deal! Sessions makes fresh sandwiches and salads, (we love their gluten-free bread) so if you’re GF and/or a craft beer enthusiast, this is definitely a worthy Restaurant Week option.

Restaurant Week Menus …

Stag Bar + Kitchen

2823 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663(949) 220-9001

Restaurant Week Pricing: Lunch $10 or $15 / Dinner $20

Reservation? Not necessary.

Dog Friendly? No.

Deal or No Deal? It’s hard to beat a $10 lunch and also definitely worth it for dinner, which comes with a craft beer, glass of wine or signature cocktail. We are writers and not mathematicians but drinks at Stag can cost anywhere from $7 to $10, so if you subtract that from the $20, you are looking at a sweet deal for a three-course dinner. Plus, you can dine here then stay for the popular bar scene, which picks up around 9:30 p.m.

Restaurant Week Menus …

Woody’s Wharf

2318 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663 / (949) 675-0474

Restaurant Week Pricing: Lunch $15 / Dinner $30

Reservation? Not necessary but Sunday’s bottomless brunch is going to fill up fast, so arrive early!

Dog Friendly? No but there is an outdoor patio with waterfront views.

Deal or No Deal? Deal. Woody’s is a Balboa Peninsula institution and for a $15 lunch or $30 dinner, the menu offers all the beloved staples locals love for less.

Restaurant Week Menus …

LUNCH

DINNER

So, what do you think? Which of these options speaks to you? Let us know in the comments below!

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