When you just want to wear something fancy and drink sparkling rosé …
Boy and girls: If the mood strikes tonight to put on that suit and tie or unfurl your new floral maxi dress, we’ve got a few suggestions where you can indulge those lavish sensibilities while delighting your senses.
2100 W. Oceanfront, Newport Beach, CA 92663
Fear not that this elegant eatery is located next to the Newport Pier parking lot. 21 Oceanfront sits on the second level of Doryman’s Oceanfront Inn in the historic McFadden Building. On most days, a doorman will greet you at the stately, wooded entrance and valet parking is available. Inside, 21 Oceanfront is an ode to dining-club days of yore. Plush counters, a stately bar and of course, sunset views from expansive back windows. Happy hour is always lively (with live music on most days) and a fine selection of wines from an extensive private wine cellar rounds out an unbeatably polished meal.
630 Lido Park Dr., Newport Beach, CA 92663
At Bluewater Grill, dine on the outdoor patio to the soothing sounds of water sloshing against the dock. Sip California wines and chow down on sautéed local sand dabs, tomatillo-salsa-topped mahi mahi or, if the ocean played nice that day, a just-harpooned swordfish from the restaurant’s very own boat, Pilikia. (For those feeling extra adventurous, there’s a stunning and delicious Bluewater Grill in Avalon on Catalina Island. Hop on the Catalina Flyer in the morning, dine oceanfront for lunch and return to Newport Beach in the late afternoon for dinner at this location.)
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3010 Lafayette Road, Newport Beach, CA 92663
The Cannery was once Newport Beach’s very first commercial fish cannery and a lively hub for fishing-boat activity. Today, it’s a time-tested landmark along the shore with an ever-evolving menu and locally lauded happy hour. (Get there early to secure a seat.) Chef Mark J. Cruz was tapped to join the team and adds his singular flare for edible artistry to the popular sushi menu.
2816 Lafayette Ave, Newport Beach, CA 92663
From the outside, The Dock looks somewhat unassuming; its front appears relatively small, squeezed between the larger shops along Lafayette Avenue. Outside, frosted glass windows obscure much of what lies beyond the street-side door and a small, circular sign—announcing “The Dock”—is the only indication that a restaurant can be found there. But once you step inside, you’re instantly transported into a high-ceiling, open-aired, maritime-inspired space that oozes with the undeniable magnetism of old-world, Newport Beach charm. Along the back wall … wait, there is no back wall, just a balcony that opens up onto Newport Bay. Check out the boats floating on by as you choose from any number of delectable items on The Dock’s Mediterranean-infused, continental menu; the caviar limes topping the Hamachi tartare are a must-try, as is the red-wine-drizzled Maple Leaf Farm duck breast.
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3408 Via Oporto Suite 103, Newport Beach, CA 9266
Lido Marina Village’s bay-side dining experience, Lido Bottle Works, is focused on sustainability and farm-to-table freshness. The small, 1,235-square-foot space is sleek, darkly wooded and serving fish like black cod just-caught from the ocean a few blocks away. The herbs that flavor dishes are plucked from a garden steps outside the front door.
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3450 Via Oporto Suite 101, Newport Beach, CA 92663
A gorgeously drawn out restaurant, designed with sleek wood, sumptuous seating areas, a winding staircase and from almost every angle, waterfront views. Dine indoors or out (there are heat lamps for cool weather), sit upstairs or down (the latter is more casual) and, if you’re looking to simply enjoy the social scene, order a drink and some sushi rolls from the bar. The food is fresh and elegant, an edible reminder why famed Chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa consistently delivers with his eponymous eateries found in exotic locales across the world and right here in Newport Beach.
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