Celebrate Cinco De Mayo at These Newport Beach Venues
A Flavor Fiesta
Nobody ever gets the day off for Cinco de Mayo, and that’s fine. Those that celebrate it – really celebrate it – would probably prefer the day after to be declared an off-day anyway. This year, however, the day falls on a Saturday, so revelers will have a full day to recover before returning to the workaday world.
If this feels familiar, it should. St. Patrick’s Day, a minor holiday that marks all the same festive checkboxes as Cinco de Mayo, fell on a Saturday a few scant weeks ago. Although both days share copious amounts of party DNA, how the revelry goes down is substantially different. In the case of Cinco de Mayo, the day can double as an excuse to explore the wonders of Mexican food. At least, it should, because indulging in properly prepared Mexican food is one of life’s most sublime pleasures.
If you’re in Newport Beach, you won’t have to go too far to experience the culinary joys that should be had on May 5. Each neighborhood serves up several tantalizing takes on Mexican cuisine that are worthy of your time. But don’t worry if you can only hit one of the following restaurants on Cinco de Mayo. They’ll be around for satisfy your craving for Mexican food throughout the year.
Bear Flag Fish Co. – There’s arguably nothing more quintessentially Baja than a proper fish taco. Its fresh, bright flavor and unapologetic simplicity provide a sense of casual deliciousness, practically making it Rosarito Beach in food form. So it makes perfect sense that one of the best iterations of this easy delight is whipped up by this Lido Marina Village mainstay famous for using fresh, sustainable fish. The Bear Flag Fish Tacos keep it real by staying basic: the only items you’ll find inside the taco is panko-crusted white fish, cabbage, pico de gallo, and what they call Tommy sauce. What is Tommy sauce, you ask? Who cares? You won’t after you polish off a couple of these treats.
Chronic Tacos – If you’re throwing a catering-worthy party at your house and want to make the masses happy, you hire a taco truck. One of the reasons why these mobile slices of heaven are so smile-inducing is that they allow guests to build their own tacos – just pick your protein and select your salsa and accoutrements, and you’re good to go. This cheery Build Your Own Taco concept is precisely how they do tacos at this Corona Del Mar joint, and they may have perfected the process. For one thing, they offer proteins not normally served by catered trucks, such as beer-battered fish or shrimp. Secondly, you can enjoy them without spending an afternoon watching a bunch of eight-year-olds thrash around in a bounce house. Of course, if you want to build your taco the old-fashioned way, these guys have you covered – they do the catering thing, too.
Red O – Celebrating Cinco de Mayo usually means mowing down tacos and knocking back a beer or two at the local cantina. This is an excellent option, but it may not be something you want to do this year, since the day falls on a weekend. If so, consider this Fashion Island venue your ideal antidote. The mood is bound to be festive, but it’s also going to be a sophisticated form of festiveness. The sublime upscale takes on well-known cantina classics adds to this unique environment. Consider, for instance, their Mariscos Chile Relleno. Inside the familiar green chile is a decadent stuffing of Maine lobster and prawns, bound together by a house cheese blend. Even the entree’s accompaniment of rice, beans, and an ancho-citrus sauce straddles the line between comfort and progression. Try finding that in a cantina.
Rockin’ Baja – If you have a Baja bucket list – and you really should – dining at Puerto Nuevo’s “lobster village” deserves a slot. Doing so grants you access to one of life’s most sublime culinary dichotomies: Upscale seafood presented in a style befitting of the town’s ramshackle fishing village roots. If you’ve never been and don’t see a time in the foreseeable future where you can break away, this easygoing Balboa Peninsula venue can give you a foretaste of the feast to come with a bucket of their own – specifically, their Original Baja Bucket. There is a genuine bucket involved in this Puerto Nuevo-inspired feast for two, and it comes fully loaded with seasoned Atlantic lobster tails, Baja-style shrimp, grilled chicken, carne asada, and corn on the cob. This bounty also comes with warm flour tortillas along with endless ranchero beans and rice, so it’s your own fault if you leave hungry. Spoiler alert: You won’t leave hungry.
Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill – When it comes to casual Mexican food, tacos are king. However, you should never sleep on the magic of a perfectly composed burrito. Arguably, the only reason it sits in the taco’s shadow is there’s no days of the week that begin with “B.” The all-natural Chicken Burrito served up at this Newport Coast venue is an excellent reminder the item’s deliciousness. The restaurant’s commitment to fresh, natural ingredients is on full display here – the chicken that stuffs each burrito is free of preservatives, hormones, and artificial gunk. It’s pure poultry, and it translates into pure bliss. Feel free to shelve the tacos until Tuesday.
SOL Cocina – It wouldn’t be a Cinco de Mayo celebration without a margarita. This restaurant at the edge of Mariner’s Mile offers an ideal setting to enjoy the iconic libation, as its large harborside windows offer a stunning view of the city’s waters at their most tranquil. While you can take in the gorgeous setting with a classic version of the adult beverage tucked in your hand, an innovative iteration like their watermelon Margarita seems like the best way to capture the Cinco de Mayo spirit. Featuring crushed watermelon that’s shaken with blanco tequila, agave nectar, and a bit of fresh lime, the cocktail is not just a lovely way to celebrate the joys of May 5th, it also serves as a refreshing preamble for summertime happiness.
Taco Rosa – According to various weather forecasts, Cinco de Mayo is going to be a warm, sunny day that will make your friends in the Midwest jealous. It’s the type of day that seems custom made to enjoy something light and refreshing, and the Wild Shrimp Ceviche whipped up by this Back Bay restaurant fits this milieu rather well. It’s a properly balanced ceviche, as the acidic zip of accoutrements like tomato, cucumber, and serrano add depth to the generous portion of plump, slightly sweet shrimp. It’s a lovely treat for the day, but if you have other plans, don’t worry. Newport Beach is somewhat known for their good weather.
View more Cinco de Mayo offers HERE
Written By Rich Manning