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 local 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.
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3010 Lafayette Ave, Newport Beach, CA 92663
Two words: Jellyfish. Lounge. The upstairs retreat at The Cannery (decorated with faux, electric jellyfish hanging from the ceiling) has not only garnered the unofficial title of Jellyfish Lounge, it’s also known as one of the best happy hours in Newport Beach. Half price sushi and discounted craft cocktails? Yes, please. The Cannery has storied beginnings that start in 1921 when it was a fish cannery and the hub of all commercial fishing in Newport Beach. These days, despite the name staying the same, no fish are canned at The Cannery but it is the place to be for seafood, spirits and spectacular views of Newport Bay.
Circle Hook Fish Co.
3432 Via Oporto Suite 104, Newport Beach, CA 20663
OK this place is GOOD. The brainchild of Bear Flag Fish Co.’s Thos Carson and fourth-generation Dory Fleet fisherman Scott Breneman (the two have been fishing buddies since childhood), Circle Hook delivers on the fresh fish and pure taste. Who needs gloppy sauces or overly spiced meat when you have catches that were literally, hours before, flung from the ocean blue? Plus, the communal table outside offers excellent views of Newport Bay.
2816 Lafayette Ave, Newport Beach, CA 92663
From the outside, The Dock looks somewhat unassuming; its storefront appears relatively small, squeezed between the larger shops along Lafayette Avenue. Outside, frosted glass windows obscure much of what lies beyond the front door and a small, circular sign—announcing “The Dock”—is the only indication that a restaurant can be found there. But once you do 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. Fair warning though, this place is pricey.
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Lido Bottle Works
3408 Via Oporto Suite 103, Newport Beach, CA 92663
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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3420 Via Oporto, Suite 101 & 3416 Via Oporto, Suite 104, Newport Beach, CA 92663
Simple. Local. Fresh. Malibu Farm is the quintessential casual chic, waterfront dining experience. (It’s an ideal spot for brunch or a late, weekday lunch.) Located next to nearby favorites Lido Bottle Works and Circle Hook Fish Co., Malibu Farm offers cocktails and inventive dishes with ingredients sourced locally, all prepared with thoughtfulness and healthy living in mind. Plus, after you’re done eating, you can shop its retail space for anything from home decor to stylish tees.
Newport Landing Restaurant and Oyster Bar
Balboa Pavilion, 503 Edgewater Pl., Newport Beach, CA 92661
This two-story restaurant borders the historic Balboa Ferry and on a clear day, offers vistas that stretch all the way to the far-off peak of Saddleback Mountain way beyond the waters of Newport Bay. Munch on clams, crab cakes, oysters calamari and more in an establishment that describes itself as dedicated to satisfying patrons who are “ocean-hearted.” Sigh. That’s so sweet, Newport Landing. Indulge your inner sea-loving self at this maritime-minded locale on the eastern end of the Balboa Peninsula.
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3450 Via Oporto Suite 101, Newport Beach, CA 92663
A gorgeously drawn 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.
SOL Mexican Cocina
251 Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, CA 92660
Baja-style cooking comes to spicy life at SOL Mexican Cocina. Everything at this waterfront establishment is made fresh every day, including 24 varieties of fresh salsas, handmade margaritas, guacamoles, seafood ceviches and more. And while the food isn’t blow-your-mind amazing, the spicy margaritas and waterfront views more than make up for any shortcomings on your plate.
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2318 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663
Woody’s Wharf isn’t just a fun, Newport Beach hangout, it’s an important part of the city’s history. Woody Payne, a longtime local fisherman, opened the establishment in 1965 as a “small, local watering hole where the other fishermen could gather to tell their fishing tales,” according to the restaurant’s official website. (Prior to the location becoming an eatery, Woody used it as a boat repair shop.) Mere months after it launched, Woody’s was the hottest spot in Newport Beach and residents couldn’t get enough; even A-list patrons like John Wayne, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart and Mickey Mantle could be found lounging and dining along Woody’s stretch of wharf. Today, neither the fisherman Woody nor Chuck Norris own the place; four business partners from Whittier, CA keep Woody’s ticking, though it’s still no less of a cherished Newport spot for waterside eats. The food is standard comfort food and bar fare, the atmosphere is warm and inviting, the prices are affordable and the Sunday brunch is an always-packed scene.
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