A Taste of History: 7 Iconic Restaurants in Newport Beach
While Newport Beach has welcomed several new restaurants over the last few years, there are a handful that have stood the test of time. Sure, we love new and trendy hotspots, but there’s a certain nostalgia that comes with snagging a table at an oldie. From classic seafood houses to beachfront bars and everything in between, we’ve rounded up seven of the most iconic restaurants in Newport Beach that remain true to their roots. History buffs and foodies—you’re going to want to read on.
A Restaurant is a timeless gem with a history as rich as its flavors. Originally built as a restaurant and service station in 1925, this local haunt was named by 10-year-old Victor Chatten in a contest advertised in the Balboa Times. The Arches (its former name) began as a basic roadside diner featuring steak, seafood and celebrities in the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. The restaurant today maintains a classic, cozy feel and is a stellar spot for a date night or special celebratory meal.Nestled on the north end of Newport Beach on Pacific Coast Highway,
For a taste of Newport Beach’s maritime history, head to The Cannery. This restaurant’s story spans almost a century, commencing in 1921 with the establishment of the first commercial fish cannery along the Rhine Channel—a hub for commercial fishing in Newport Beach. The multi-level restaurant now serves up delectable seafood dishes in a picturesque waterfront location. The bayfront views and a menu of fresh catches of the day make it a seafood lover’s paradise. Don’t miss the oysters or the decadent corn and crab bisque!
Founded in 1965 by Richard N. Frank, Five Crowns aimed to bring the cozy charm of old England to the neighborhood of Corona del Mar. Today, it stands as a noted landmark and the most authentic North American replica of an English country inn, warmly welcoming generations of loyal customers celebrating life’s special moments. The interior is cozy and rustic, and the string-lit courtyard is perfect for enjoying an alfresco meal of Crown-cut Prime Rib, Roasted Alaskan Halibut or Colorado Rack of Lamb.
Diane Davidson (Mama D) opened the original Mama D’s restaurant in Manhattan Beach in 1992, preceding the second location in Newport Beach, which opened in 2005. Using her Italian grandmother’s old-fashioned and time-honored recipes and the very finest ingredients, Mama D’s strives to provide customers with a home-style dining experience. Age-old favorites such as the garlic bread, fried calamari, and stuffed mushrooms remain unrivaled, as are any of the pastas with the restaurant’s signature marinara or vodka sauces.
Since 1976, Mutt Lynch’s has remained one of Newport Beach’s best beachfront bars, welcoming tourists, locals and sports fans. This long-time favorite sits steps from the Newport Pier, boasting views of the waves and Catalina Island. While the interior has been recently refreshed, the same rowdy atmosphere is well intact. The menu today includes a wide range of pub grub, along with their famous schooners of beer. On game day, come out to support your team and enjoy the camaraderie of this iconic hotspot.
Nestled on Balboa Island’s charming Marine Avenue, The Village Inn is a quaint and historic watering hole with a cozy, local feel. Since 1933, this corner-spot restaurant has been serving American comfort food, along with a wide selection of craft cocktails, draft beer and domestic wines. Stop by for a midday bite and enjoy the ambiance of the island, or belly up to the bar for drinks and live entertainment in the evening!
Nobody does seafood quite like The Crab Cooker. With humble beginnings dating back to 1951, this iconic restaurant has proven to be a cherished Newport Beach institution, drawing seafood enthusiasts from near and far. Step into the nautically-themed interior for a casual yet delightful seafood feast. The red clam chowder (a secret family recipe) is a famous must-try, but you also can’t go wrong with an order of crab cakes or calamari. Oh, and don’t be surprised if there’s a line out the door.
Written By: Kaylin Waizinger