Top Holiday Dishes in Newport Beach
We all become nostalgia-prone during the holidays. For some people, that warm fuzzy feeling bubbles up when decorating the tree with generations-old ornaments and listening to Christmas carols. For others, it happens when hunkering down with friends and family in front of a delicious, soul-satisfying meal. If you’re still recovering from Thanksgiving’s cooking marathon and don’t feel like spending too much time in the kitchen, we’ve got you covered. We scoured the menus of local restaurants for the best holiday dishes to cozy up to this holiday season. Here, you’ll find our top picks—from roasted goose to a scrumptious butternut squash bowl guaranteed to get oohs and ahhs at the table.
There’s so much to love on Five Crown’s winter menu—from the potato horseradish-encrusted salmon to the forest mushroom risotto. And let’s not forget the succulent lamb shank, which comes resting atop a scallion-potato pancake and served with horseradish purée and caramelized-onion jus. But if you reserve a table on the 24th, you’ll be treated even warmer (and fuzzier) options from the restaurant’s Christmas menu, like the roasted goose with passionfruit sauce, braised cabbage and fingerling potatoes. Don’t forget to save some room for the eggnog cheesecake.
As a long-standing tradition at this storied establishment, Muldoon’s is bringing back its annual Irish Dickens Christmas. Order the roast duck—and the pot roast, if you’re sharing among the table. Both plates will be served as holiday specials. Another order that’s really, truly special? Muldoon’s Wassail, a traditional Yuletide mulled wine that’s every bit as delicious as the rumors suggest. And if you’re not too full by then, finish off the evening with a Maker’s Mark eggnog called Bog Nog.
Grab a seat at Cucina anytime between Dec. 18 – 24, and you’ll be rewarded with the option of ordering the Italian-inspired “Feast of the Seven Fishes.” (For a lot of Italian-Americans, Christmas Eve is not complete without this time-honored tradition!) The antipasti platter features seven items, including baked mussels, white anchovy skewer, tuna conserva, salmon crudo, octopus and more. In other words, it’s a seafood lover’s answer to “what’s for dinner?” While you’re there, sip on the Bombardino, an Italian version of eggnog whipped up with Italian brandy and an Italian egg-based liqueur, and topped with a spoonful of whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon.
Don’t have dinner plans for Christmas Eve? Reserve a table at 21 Oceanfront—and do it fast, since the place is guaranteed to fill up. And it’s easy to see why we’d come to that assumption if you take a peek at the restaurant’s Christmas menu. Butternut squash is a star here, making delicious appearances in a few dishes. Start off with the butternut squash bisque and move onto the diver scallops, which are offered alongside a butternut squash purée, spinach and sage butter. Alternatively, opt for the vegan butternut squash bowl. Whatever you do, don’t skip the roasted fig red velvet cake.
For those interested in the 111th Annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, Waterline is serving up some major waterfront views—and a three-course prix-fixe menu to boot. We’re particularly eyeing the espresso-braised beef short rib with farmhouse cheddar grits, piquillo, cippolini onions and preserved lemon. Can’t make it to the parade? You can still indulge in Waterline’s holiday offerings on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Like, the yellowtail crudo with smoked pico gelée, avocado herb purée and candied kumquats. And the Santa Carota NY strip with celery root aligot, beef fat sunchokes, truffle celery relish and bordelaise. And the chocolate torte with peppermint mousse and blackberry coulis to sweeten the night.
Written By: Mariam Makatsaria