By Christopher Trela & Catherine Del Casale
Tis the season for tradition, which usually includes a lavish Thanksgiving feast. For many families, that means going out to dine and letting someone else do the cooking—and the dishes!
A handful of Newport Beach restaurants are serving sensational Thanksgiving brunches and dinners to suit almost any budget. You can dine in a holiday-themed atmosphere, or even order your feast to go.
This seaside favorite has a three-course Thanksgiving menu for $55 per person that includes a choice of starters such as calamari fritti, winter salad with cranberries, goat cheese and candied pecans, and spiced pumpkin soup. Entrées include herb roasted turkey, prime rib, Skuna Bay salmon, and flat iron steak. Add lobster tail for $25. For dessert, you’ve got a choice of pumpkin pie, pecan pie, chocolate cake or warm apple tart. There’s also a children’s menu available for $20. Visit 21Oceanfront.com or call (949) 673-2100.
Back Bay Bistro
Anyone who’s been to the Back Bay Bistro weekend brunch knows why the restaurant is so popular: a fabulous Back Bay view, and a fabulous menu. Those two elements should prove enticing to Thanksgiving Day diners, because Back Bay Bistro is serving an impressive buffet-style feast from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. that includes sliced roasted turkey, ham, prime rib, salads and soups, grilled salmon with dill cream sauce, mini crab cakes; rosemary stuffing, lobster mac and cheese, assorted artisan breads, pumpkin, apple and pecan pie, and much more. The price is more than reasonable: $38 for adults and $19 for children under 12. For reservations, call (949) 729-1144 or visit BackBayBistroNewportBeach.com.
A drumstick’s throw from Newport Harbor, Bayside offers a relaxing three-course Thanksgiving dinner accompanied by live music from 1 to 8 p.m. The prix-fixe menu includes oven-roasted organic turkey with mushroom and herb stuffing and other trimmings, plus choice of puree of garnet yam and ginger soup, roasted red beet salad with California goat cheese, and other appetizers. Topping off the meal, guests can choose between pumpkin pie or warm chocolate soufflé cake served with hazelnut ice cream for dessert. Cost is $44.75 per adult & $19 for children 12 & under. For reservations call (949) 721-1222 or visit www.baysiderestaurant.com.
Leave it to Pascal to serve Thanksgiving dinner at his Brasserie with his usual French flair. This year, he has a three-course prix fixe menu for $35 per person served from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Choose from several appetizers such as butternut squash bisque and French onion soup, then move on to entrees including traditional roasted turkey with loads of sides. In addition to several other entrees, we hear he’s brought back his pumpkin crème brulée and chocolate soufflé. Call (949) 640-2700, or visit www.BrasseriePascal.net.
Canaletto Ristorante Veneto
Celebrate Thanksgiving with an Italian twist during a four-course dinner that includes soup, salad, traditional turkey dinner with all the accouterments, and pumpkin pie for dessert. $39 for adults and $18 for kids 12 and under. An a la carte menu is also available. Call (949) 640-0900 or visit www.elfornaio.com.
Pelican Hill Resort
The Resort at Pelican Hill always goes all-out for the holidays, and this year is no exception. They have special Thanksgiving menus in all of their restaurants, and they’ve created an exquisite Thanksgiving Ballroom Brunch courtesy of Executive Chef Jean-Pierre Dubray, accompanied by live entertainment and children’s activities. Available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., cost is $110 per adult and $50 per child. In Andrea Ristorante, Chef Luigi creates a special rustic Tuscan holiday menu available from noon to 10 p.m., accompanied by a classical guitar player. Price: $120 per adult and $60 per child. Over at Coliseum Pool & Grill, Chef Marc designs a classic California breakfast buffet available from 7 a.m.to 12 p.m. From 12 to 10 p.m., a Thanksgiving limited a la carte dinner menu, including turkey specials, will be available. Breakfast Buffet Price: $45 per adult and $25 per child. And finally, Pelican Grill’s Chef Derek presents a four-course California grill menu available from 11:30 am to 10 p.m., along with live entertainment. Price: $110 per adult and $50 per child. For Pelican Hill dining reservations, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.pelicanhill.com, or call (855) 315-8214.
SHOR American Seafood Grill at Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
Hyatt Regency’s new SHOR restaurant has a simply wonderful Thanksgiving menu that starts with your choice of salad or butternut bisque with Chantilly creme, followed by Maple roasted turkey breast with croissant sage bread pudding, yam medallion, heir covert, peppercorn gravy and cranberry chutney. For dessert, how about pumpkin cheesecake with whipped cream and spiced pecan caramel. Price is just $45 per person. Call (949) 729-6162 or visit NewportBeach.Hyatt.com.
Longtime Newport staple The Ritz Restaurant offers a prix fixe menu from 1 to 8:30 pm on Thanksgiving. Start with an appetizer choice of Maine lobster bisque laced with armagnac, wild mushroom “cappuccino” with morel foam, butternut squash soup, The Ritz salad or spring mix Salad. Then it’s on to the entrees. select from roasted turkey and gravy with savory brioche pecan dressing, mashed russet potatoes, candied yams, and toasted almond string beans; filet of Atlantic king salmon poached in chardonnay, broiled sirloin of lamb with rosemary au jus; and more. And if that’s not enough, finish the meal with a special Ritz Thanksgiving sampler dessert. Cost is $55 for adults and $27.50 for children. For reservations, call (949) 720-1800 or visit www.RitzRestauant.com.
Pascal To Go
Don’t want to dine out this year? You can still let Chef Pascal Olhats do the cooking. “Thanksgiving is one of my favorite American traditions,” says Chef Pascal, who owns Brasserie Pascal, Pascal Epicerie, and Cafe Jardin. “That’s why I wanted to offer my patrons a special Thanksgiving take-out menu, which includes my interpretation of several traditional holiday dishes.” Individual dinners are only $19.95 each and include free range turkey, mashed potatoes, home style stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, braised cabbage, and a mini pumpkin tart. You can also order al la carte and select everything from whole turkeys to delicious sides to decadent desserts. Another option is a Family Dinner for $199 that serves 8 to 12 people. And if you need the perfect wine to accompany the meal, you can’t do better than the new Beaujolais Nouveau from George Duboeuf, which is also on Pascal’s a la carte menu. Orders must be placed before 5 p.m. on Tuesday November 26, and will be ready for pick-up at Pascal’s Epicerie from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on November 28. Call (949) 263-9400, or visit www.PascalNPB.com.