10 LUXE LUNCHES in NB
With the abundance of great restaurants in Newport Beach, it isn’t only ladies who lunch. Moms with kids in tow, a business meeting, even a birthday celebration can take on a new meaning when you find that perfect spot to lunch at. From casual environments to more upscale surroundings, here are some of the luxurious offerings you’ll find whether it is for a simple soup, salad or sandwich, or a grand three-course meal.
At The Resort at Pelican Hill, you may enjoy a traditional Italian lunch at Andrea Restaurant, from Wednesdays to Sundays. Chef Marco Criscuolo’s menu allows for an authentic meal beginning with a beautiful Baby Blue Heron lettuce salad dressed with a Lambrusco dressing, then moving on to Spaghetti “Alla Pescatora,” a house-made pasta dotted with clams, shrimp, bay scallops, all tossed in an arugula pesto. If you are pressed for time, Il Menu Espresso is a three-course lunch menu reasonably priced at $35 for those looking for a quick, but gourmet way to satiate their tastebuds.
Bluefin Restaurant exudes a sophisticated yet intimate ambience where diners may indulge in a luxurious prix fixe lunch for only $35. You’ll find exquisite sushi, sashimi, as well as cooked dishes such as miso butterfish on the menu. Master Chef Abe serves up an innovative menu with a subtle mix of classical and cutting edge cuisine, from top quality sushi to perfectly executed main courses. The restaurant also has one of the finest premium sake menus in Orange County. Chef Abe has consistently been ranked by Zagat as one of Orange County’s top chefs, and has won many accolades through the years. Most recently, In 2014 Zagat named Bluefin one of the top 35 restaurants in the entire country.
Take a break from shopping by visiting Café Bistro at Nordstrom, Fashion Island. This fast casual restaurant is anything but fast, featuring an array of hearty soups and fresh salads such as Crab Bisque, or Blue Cheese and Pear Salad. Looking for something quick? Choose from pizzas cooked in the brick oven or any of the sandwiches on the menu. Those seeking a more substantial meal can select Roasted Chicken Pomme Frites, Crab Mac n Cheese, or the popular Grilled Shrimp & Asparagus Risotto. No matter what you are craving, there is something on the menu to suit your fancy.
With locations in New York, Chicago, Washington DC, and several in California, the Newport Beach restaurant is a sprawling space with four different rooms, ranging from a garden setting, to a dining area with a view of the kitchen. A signature of Fig & Olive is its use of premium olive oils or butter or cream. Stand out dishes include its array of Crostini, as well as Crab Salad with jumbo lump crab, celery, celeriac, snow peas, green apples, lime, cilantro, scallion, horseradish, and pink pepper. The Burrata & Asparagus with luscious burrata cheese, asparagus, snow peas, hazelnuts, arugula, and micro-basil with a blood orange dressing is especially delightful.
The upscale eatery from the people at the highly popular Café Gratitude collection of restaurants recently opened in Newport Beach on Westcliff. The 100% plant-based restaurant features gourmet cuisine which supports health and sustainability for both the environment and the community. At Gratitude, you can enjoy a delicious cocktail with your vegan meal which may begin with some delicious Collard Green Rolls, followed by any one of the six sandwich/wrap offerings. The large plate selections are an array of global flavors from pad Thai kelp noodles, Indian red dal to Mexican-inspired tacos.
Mariposa is a fine dining lunch restaurant located inside Fashion Island’s Neiman Marcus store. Open seven days a week and featuring fresh contemporary American cuisine, Mariposa has a beautiful dining room as well as an outdoor patio. A bar counter is also available for dining, allowing customers to watch passers by as they shop. The restaurant’s specialty includes the famous popovers with strawberry butter, as well as pan-seared Duroc pork chops. Mariposa is also a perfect choice when looking to celebrate events such as birthdays, graduations, baby showers and bridal showers.
This little French café/bistro has taken Orange County by storm ever since its opening less than two years ago in the former Pascal Epicerie space on Bristol North. Step inside to find yourself transported to Montmartre Paris, the home town of owner Laurent Vrignaud with a deli on one side, and a patisserie (bakery) on the other. Executive Chef Jeoffrey Offer presents a menu of traditional favorites such as Croque Madame, crepes, and baguette sandwiches, while Executive Pastry Chef Benjamin Sevin creates a myriad of positively delightful pastries such as tartes, croissants and various cakes.
Located inside the Island Hotel, Oak Grill’s Executive Chef Marc Johnson has proven a force to be reckoned with. His delicious menu is a medley of California-inspired dishes, as well as fresh, seasonal ingredients on a plate. Lunch items include White Wine Steamed Clams dotted with smoked bacon and leeks, Maine Lobster Chopped Salad with corn, red onions, celery hearts, arugula dressed in a tarragon vinaigrette. Alternatively, you may choose a simple but tasty Prime Rib French Dip, or indulge in a Whole Roasted Branzino which is accompanied by sautéed turnip greens.
The Orange County Business Journal’s Restaurateur of the Year chef/owner Cathy Pavlos has transformed this strip mall location into a Napa-esque oasis. Step inside the unassuming doors to reveal an open dining room with an exquisite edible garden alongside the outdoor patio. The lunch menu is fresh and creative. You will find freshly clipped greens on your salad, or aromatic herbs only minutes before are on the wall planter, now adorning your entrée. Choose the succulent Two Fisted Fried Chicken Breast – there is a grilled chicken option — which is served on a brioche bun with fresh burrata, tomatoes, house sweet pickles, butter lettuces and a schmear of chipotle aioli. The California Street “Taco” Platter is always fun for the table. You are provided with ingredients from charred Brussels sprouts to cauliflower with Latin spices to compose little parcels with your friends.
Nothing rivals Roy’s at Fashion Island when it comes to Asian fusion cuisine. The restaurant recently debuted its lunch menu recently, adding some ‘aloha’ to any weekday lunch break or business meeting. It features classic Roy’s Restaurant signature plates, such as the Wagyu Beef Burger and Maui Wowie Shrimp Salad, as well as introducing diners to fresh, new creations like Seared Ahi Salad, Hibachi Grilled Salmon and Kalua Pork Sandwich, a tender pulled pork sandwich with authentic smoky flavors.