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Newport Beach Blog

NBRW’s New Restaurants

January 2, 2020
  • Buddha Favorite in Newport Beach
  • Xanadu Cafe
  • Fable & Spirit

It’s easy to become a creature of habit—to cook the same tried-and-true recipes, or to order takeout from the same poke joint more nights than we care to admit. But every time we kick off a new year, we promise ourselves to try new things. Enter Newport Beach Restaurant Week, a 14-day dining event that, year after year, reels in throngs of foodies hoping to expand their culinary horizons by sampling the very best noshes our city has to offer. (With 75 restaurants offering multi-coursemenus in distinct price tiers, it’s easy to see what the fuss is all about). Here are the newest members joining in on the fun—plus a few of our favorite things on their menus.

Buddha’s Favorite

With its cozy covered patio and stellar sushi offerings, this dockside sushi joint happens to be the locals’ favorite, too. During restaurant week, Buddha’s Favorite is offering up a five-compartment bento box as a dine-in-only option. The $20 meal features a choice of two-piece sashimi and an eight-piece cut roll, and variety of accompaniments including garlic or salted edamame, green or Sunomono salad and one-piece salmon or albacore candy. Can do without the fish? Don’t worry. There’s a vegetarian version, too.

Chihuahua Cerveza 

This casual spot is primarily known for its self-pour beer wall and small-but-mighty menu of delicious Mexican fare. During restaurant week, Chihuahua Cerveza is offering lunch, brunch and dinner menus ($10, $15 and $20 respectively) that showcase what this eatery and taproom does best. Don’t miss: the creamy, cheesy esquites (Mexican corn) and the to-die-for tacos, all better enjoyed when washed down with the establishment’s own brew.

Fable & Spirit

After making its way onto OC Register’s food critic Brad A. Johnson’s list of favorite eats, it’s safe to say Fable & Spirit represents the pinnacle of local dining. But just in case you need a little more convincing to make your lunch ($25) and dinner ($50) plans there, here’s what to expect. Dinner menu standouts include a mangalitsa pork belly appetizer, a second course of smoked short rib with heirloom marble potatoes and horseradish gremolata, and a meyer lemon brioche bread pudding for dessert.

CDM Restaurant

Named after its location, this beloved restaurant sure does Corona Del Mar proud—and it’s easy to see why. The ambiance is elevated, but comfortable. The seasonally inspired fare is refined, but still as warming as your fireplace. (Not to mention, if you’re a cocktail lover, you won’t be disappointed with their boozy options). During restaurant week, CDM will be offering a dinner menu ($50) chock-full of their best-in-class dishes. (Excited to add CDM to your eating itinerary? Check back for their restaurant week menu, which is currently in the works).

GuacAmigos

Craveable Mexican fare and stunning views of Newport Harbor? That’s already enough info to perk up one’s ears. On the brunch ($15) menu, the churro French toast—brioche French toast topped with homemade churro glaze, cinnamon sugar and whipped cream—is bound to catch anyone’s eye. The Carnitas-style pulled-pork taco trio is a lunch ($15) no-brainer, but if you’re there for dinner ($20), don’t miss the grilled shrimp enchiladas.

Mama’s Comfort Food

With a name like that, there’s little to no surprise about to expect when dining at this humble institution. The restaurant’s lunch, brunch and dinner menus—which all clock in at $20—deliver exceptionally soul-warming options. But there is, however, one brunch item that you can’t leave the place without tasting—and that’s Mama’s famous buttermilk-fried chicken and homemade waffles, all served with Mama’s country gravy. One word: yum.

Tavern House Kitchen + Bar

Fusing the coastal cuisines of Southern California, Hawaii and Mexico, Tavern House dreams up innovative, seafood-forward dishes for the week’s lunch ($25), brunch ($20) and dinner ($40) menus. Highlights include the coconut crusted shrimp, which makes an appearance on all three menus. There for lunch? Indulge in the prime rib dip, which features shaved prime rib, gruyere, crispy onions, au jus and creamed horseradish. If you’re stopping by for dinner, don’t miss the grilled lochlander salmon and warm seasonal berry crisp.

Royal Hen

You won’t miss this gastropub’s wrought-iron red gates when moseying down Balboa Island’s Marine Ave—and really, you shouldn’t. Aside from boasting a robust roster of California and French grower-producer wines and craft beer, the restaurant also dreams up some seriously delicious upscale pub eats. Sample those and more on Royal Hen’s brunch ($20) and dinner ($40) menus, both of which will have you (and the pickiest eater in your squad) covered with choices galore.

Xanadu

Have a hankering for American-slash-Mediterranean grub in a relaxed-but-chic setting? Look no further than this bistro made for sheer brunch enjoyment. During restaurant week, Xanadu will draw diners in with its delicious brunch ($20) and lunch ($25) situations. Winding down late into the evening? The eatery will also be offering a dinner menu (coming soon), which will only set you back $40. Don’t pass it up.

Written by Mariam Makatsaria

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