Fashion Island Dining – Where “To Go” Lunches Are Done Just Right!
The days of long, luxurious lunch-hours just seems to be a thing of the past. A half-hour, beat-the-clock, tends to be the norm. And yes, sometimes that even means eating at our desks while tapping away on emails with one hand, and a sandwich in the other.
So, with that in mind, I thought we could explore some of Fashion Island‘s best “to go” options that will provide a quick and easy fix to your next brush with lunch. First you have to get there. And in that instance, you are on your own. Parking at Fashion Island is a bustling adventure during the lunch-hour. I tend to park over by Bloomingdale’s and sachet in to explore on foot. I just love the outside mall setting and all the fountains. I feel like I am enjoying a resort, if only for short bit. (I have created a “Key for Parking” to assist. For each of the dining options mentioned below I have denoted where parking might be best—either: East (near Macy’s), South (below California Pizza Kitchen), West (parking structure north of Nordstrom), or North West (near Bloomingdale’s).)
My criteria for this article is quite simple. It is based on these four must have deliverables:
• Speedy Service (they get it)
• Packaging Is Acceptable
• Easy To Access Counter: Pay, Grab Food And Leave Pronto
• Has Delicious Options to Enjoy “On The Run”
Café Beau Soleil- This is a French sidewalk café offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, or an afternoon treat of coffee and a homemade pastry. They also have a great “to go” walk-up window, which makes it so easy to drop by, and take away! Chef and Owner Pascal Gimenez cooks up the best French Onion Soup, and they also have salads, burgers, pasta, seafood, quiches, croques, crepes and of course their wonderful patisseries steal the show.
Tip: Call ahead to place order.
Parking: West- 953 Newport Center Dr. ~ (949) 640-4402
Le Pain Quotidien– Tucked between Macy’s and the Apple store, this corner café has the perfect location with an outside patio and a peek-a-boo view of the sea in the distance. The cuisine is very healthy, and a few of the favorites include their: quinoa salad with avocado, the chicken pot pie is delicious (and only 800 calories), and the frittata, with roasted cauliflower, kale and cheddar cheese (only 510 calories). Don’t forget to grab some bread or dessert tarts to take home. They are right there to tempt you!
Tip: Call ahead to place order.
Parking: South – 401 Newport Center Dr., Suite 1103A ~ (949) 287-5592
Nordstrom eBar– You have to do a double-take, as this is so much like a Starbuck’s. Only the coffee drinks are so much better. They also have grab-and-go sandwiches, cheese & fruit plates, muffins and dessert items. They can make any type of blended drink and it is just the perfect morning spot, or even a late-afternoon pick-me-up. If you do stop by on the weekends from 1:00-4:00pm there is live music playing outside by the fountain and ample seating for a momentary resort getaway. The staff is super friendly and the lattes are always foamy and delicious. My favorite is the mocha latte for a splurge, served hot, but others swear by the white chocolate hazelnut latte. There is an elevator from the parking garage below (under the Cheesecake Factory) that pops you out right at the door to the eBar.
Tip: This is best for walk-up ordering. But they are very fast!
Parking: South inside structure- 401 Newport Center Dr., Suite 901A ~ (949) 610-1615
PF Chang’s- Believe it or not, this restaurant has an excellent “to go” program. They are well set up for it at the main bar. Just walk up right behind the Hostess Stand and request your pre-arranged order. They process your payment, and everything is out to you, steaming hot in mere minutes. They even have a little window opening to the outside walkway (right next to the Hostess Stand). This is where I go to place my order if I have my doggie with me and cannot step inside the restaurant. They have a fabulous selection of lunch options. My favorite is the Kung Pao Chicken, served with salad and rice. Tip: Call ahead to place order.
Parking: South (below PF Chang’s) – 1145 Newport Center Dr. ~ (949) 759-9007
The Atrium Food Court- This gem of a food court can be accessed quickly from the escalator leading downstairs to Dick’s Sporting Goods. A quick left turn and you are in “to go” heaven. The options are aplenty. This is the perfect spot if you are with others and this way everyone can spread out, and get their orders from a myriad of lunch spots. My suggestion is to arrive just before the lunch hour. Guests can grab and run, or head upstairs via the inside escalator and out to the Koi Pond which is just lovely for a quick bite out of doors. Here are the dining options: Chick-fil-A, Taco Bell, Panda Express, Thasos Greek Island Grille, Wahoo’s Fish Taco, Stone Oven, Subway, Hana Grill, Five Guys Burgers, Gelato Paradiso and Baking Betty’s.
Tip: This is best for walk up ordering.
Parking: East and closer to Barnes and Noble/Dick’s Sporting Goods. 401 Newport Center Dr.
Whole Foods Market- While guests can call ahead for some items, this is best to walk up and select what you would like. Many items are already prepared, such as the delicious pizza fresh out of the wood burning oven, sushi, sandwiches and wraps. There are also four aisle ways of cold and hot food items to select from. Everything is weighed, so that makes it easy to pick out just what you want and how much you want to consume. From fresh made salads with every dressing imaginable, to soups, mac n’cheese to lasagna, entrees and even desserts. Guests can be in and out of there in five minutes if they know what they want and make a bee-line.
Tip: Best for walk up ordering.
Parking: East and closer to Barnes and Noble ~ 415 Newport Center Dr. ~ (949) 999-8572
There are many other quick places too, such as: Blaze Pizza (where you build your own Pizza), Lemonade and Nordstrom Café (which are cafeteria style, but welcome to-go orders). There are many restaurants such as: Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen and Cucina Enoteca, and the list goes on. However, many of these dining spots require much more time to complete the transaction, or want patrons to run through the cuisine line to hand-select their order. So there you have it – a list of the snappy lunch spots for fast “to go” lunching at Fashion Island.