Don’t want to cook Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Newport Beach Has you Covered
In a way, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are dual victory laps you can take at the end of another successful holiday season. You’ve bought and wrapped the gifts. You’ve hosted and attended every holiday party. You’ve dropped the Christmas cards off at the nearest mailbox or post office. All you really need to do on December 24th and 25th is to is clean up discarded wrapping paper, assemble a toy or set up an electronic gizmo, and savor the joys of the day with family and loved ones. You’re good, so breathe easy.
Notice that the paragraph mentioned nothing about cooking. That’s because after all the running around you’ve done (and yet to do) between Black Friday and Christmas Eve, you’ve earned the right to skip out on making a bunch of food for everyone. You’ve also earned the right to a good and proper dining experience at one of Newport Beach’s restaurants on either the 24th or the 25th. Several of the city’s venues, such as the ones listed below, make it possible for you to be done with Christmastime food prep the moment you call to make a reservation – a holiday hack, if you will. If you’re worried about feeling guilty for not putting together a Christmas meal for you family, don’t worry. You won’t – or at least, you shouldn’t. You’ve done so much for others in December, you deserve this break.
Back Bay Bistro – Magic happens in the Newport Back Bay every December. Each night, the homes and buildings around the bay’s breathtaking, rugged cliffs twinkle and glow with Christmas lights, and this colorful aura grows with each passing day as more folks get into the holiday spirit. Things reach peak radiance on December 24th, which is why indulging in a Christmas Eve meal at this venerable Newport Dunes establishment is such a good call. The bay’s shimmer and sheen provide the backdrop for indulgence in the form of a five-course prix-fixe menu marked by seasonal delights. Some of the goodies include butternut squash bisque, venison scallopini over parsnip and mashed sweet potato, herb crusted rack of lamb, and a chocolate “yule log.” You may emit your own glow of happy satisfaction by the time the meal’s complete.
Fashion Island Hotel – Popping open champagne on Christmas Day can be more fun than unwrapping certain presents (we’re looking at you, socks and underwear). Of course, it’s nowhere near as fun as enjoying bottomless champagnes or mimosas. Fortunately for you, this Fashion Island-adjacent venue’s Brunch of Christmas Cheers on Christmas Day provides this special kind of mirth for your pleasure. In addition to having unlimited brunch bubbly beverages in the hotel’s ballroom, you’ll also feast on a generous buffet of seasonal favorites, giving you the opportunity to be stuffed like a stocking. Don’t want to get your buffet on? The hotel’s also offering a four-course, prix fixe dinner on December 24th and 25th at Oak Grill.
Hornblower – Is there anything more quintessentially Newport Beach than celebrating Christmas from a boat? Probably not, which is why we’re glad that the fleet of this Mariner’s Mile fixture sets sail on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The bevy of Newport Harbor holiday cruises they offer can pretty much match whatever way you wish to be of good cheer. You want a Christmas Day champagne brunch? You got it. How about an elegant Christmas Day dinner buffet with live entertainment? They got you covered. Would you prefer a Christmas Eve buffet with a DJ and dancing? You can do that, too. Choosing which festive option to partake may be slightly difficult. Having fun once you arrive is super easy.
Roy’s – After nineteen years of culinary excellence, this renowned Fashion Island Hawaiian and pan-Asian fusion restaurant is closing its doors December 25th. However, it’s going out in grand style on Christmas Day, with two different ways for guests to say “Mele Kalikimaka.” Guests can dig into a special three-course holiday menu anchored by succulent slow roasted chateaubriand with red bliss potatoes and wild mushrooms in a port wine pan sauce. If they’d prefer, they can order up a classic three-course prix-fixe and indulge in one final taste of the venue’s signature dishes such as the misoyaki butterfish. Even if you have other dining plans on Christmas Day, you still have a couple of weeks to stop in and taste precisely why this venue will be missed. We strongly suggest you do.
21 Oceanfront – It’s sometimes tough to wedge in expressions of elegance during the holiday season. Stress and frantic rushing about dominate the days, which leave precious little time for sophisticated moments. This is why the Christmas Eve dinner at this longstanding Balboa Peninsula restaurant can be an important part of your celebration. Its combination of sleek design and classically upscale cuisine produces an ambiance of pure refinement that’s a much-needed antidote from typical shopping center culture. “Classically upscale” isn’t just fancy marketing-speak, either. Selections served on December 24th include lobster bisque, jumbo lump crab cake with roasted pepper sauce, diver scallops with butternut squash puree, and smoked prime rib au jus with garlic mashed potatoes and haricot verts. Grace and grandeur style will reign, at least for a few hours.
Waterline – Balboa Bay Resort is a lovely venue, and its flagship restaurant extends this loveliness by providing a pristine view of Newport Harbor. It’s the kind of setting that could allow the culinary team to get away with preparing an average Christmas Eve menu if they wished. However, their fantastic five-course prix-fixe menu they have created for December 24th proves they have no interest in by-the-numbers fare. Offerings like sunchoke soup with black truffles, braised oxtail and foie gras cannelloni, Colorado lamb loin with creamy polenta and Harissa spiced carrots, and a whimsical take on a peppermint patty are creative and delicious. They will also enhance the adjacent harbor’s yuletide glow.
For more Christmas Eve Day dining options in Newport Beach click here.
Written By: Rich Manning