Splendors From The Sea
Restaurants along the coast showcase fish from around the world in a bevy of unique preparations. Yes, we like it filleted, sautéed, simmered, shucked, fried, grilled and just plain raw. With spring just around the corner, we thought we would highlight some of the wonderful dishes on the menus about town. From casual dining to a fine affair, enjoy this sampler of standout seafood.
With one of the most commanding views on the Bay, this two-story “standout” of a restaurant is famous for their floor-to-ceiling wine cellar with personalized lockers. The large format windows are perfect at sunset, and there are docks just steps away for those who wish to park their yacht or Duffy electric boat. But turning to the cuisine, Executive Chef Yvon Goetz is always on point. The menu is expansive, offering a host of starters, salads, seafood, chicken, lamb and beef from the grill as well. A starter that is not to be missed is his Yellowfin Tuna Tartare served with homemade chips, shaved watermelon radish, avocado cream and a spicy red pepper coulis (market price).
The Ritz Prime Seafood
This swanky restaurant is quite modern in style with porcelain tiles, mesquite woods, etched glass and white leather chairs and couches built just for two. The floor-to-ceiling windows offer commanding views of the Newport Harbor. What’s old is new again, and the Social Hour is definitely worth a trip. The bartenders are very personable and will make just about anything you can dream up. Live music (that is not too loud) is offered after 6:00 during the week, a tad later on Saturdays, and dark on Sunday evenings. Executive Chef Michael offers a raw bar with seafood flown in daily, dry aged Prime steaks and a lovely menu with lots to try. Some items worth a mention include: tuna sashimi, lobster bisque and a whole roasted Branzino, just to name a few. The Ritz Seafood Tower is a creative option whereby guests create their own tower from a selection of fresh chilled seafood (market price).
Named after the most sought after card in the Italian card game, Scopa, Settebello was established to cultivate the culinary art of making pizza in the “Neapolitan style”. Pizza Napoletana is handmade with soft, naturally risen dough cooked in a 900-degree wood-burning oven in about a minute. For this reason, Pizza Napoletana has several distinct characteristics. Pizza in Napoli is not crispy. It is elastic, soft and foldable. Here along Newport Coast, the dining room is expansive with an open ceiling and a wrap-around bar. In the late afternoon they play old silent movies on the wall. A wonderful sharing menu item is their Smoked Salmon Salumi with olio, black pepper, toasted mustard seeds, parsley, lemon zest and dill mascarpone. This can be found on their Charcuterie Menu ($16).
Fly-N-Fish Oyster Bar
Tucked along the famed Boardwalk near the Newport Pier is a gem of a restaurant with a sun-filled dining room and large picture windows. Some grab their meals “to go” but I prefer to dine right there. In addition to an endless menu of all our favorites, from Caribbean lobster tacos to soups and steamers, there is a hefty selection of beers, vino and signature cocktails too. Here are three standouts that are worth exploring: Fresh Pacific Oysters: A half dozen is served on ice, hand-shucked & served with raspberry mignonette & lemon wedges (market price). Cioppino: A San Francisco favorite, this one is presented with shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels, calamari, crab and seasonal fresh fish all simmered in a zesty red wine sauce ($35). Bacon-Wrapped Scallops: Great for sharing, these Pan Seared Diver Scallops are wrapped in triple smoked apple wood bacon and served with an achiote aioli ($25).
Located on the Lido Peninsula, at the former site of the historic Sea Shanty & Delaney’s, is Bluewater Grill. Pull up to their dock by boat, or arrive by bike, car or on foot for an outstanding meal or Happy Hour. This iconic spot is outfitted in classic nautical style and a lovely wood-planked patio sits right on the Rhine Channel. One look at the menu and guests feel they have been transported to a charming New England café. The pristine quality seafood is sustainably caught, prepared classically, and often with a modern twist. The Bluewater kitchen staff fish from their very own harpoon boat called Pilikia. There is a lot “not to be missed” here in my book. Three standouts include: New England & Manhattan Chowder (or order a 50/50 and try both in one bowl) for $5.50 by the cup or $7.50 for the bowl. Also the Pan Seared Scallops are delicious as a shared appetizer and are cooked to perfection ($14). The Maine Lobster Roll is served on a brioche bun and served with house made potato chips ($24-only available at lunch time).
Back Bay Bistro
With spectacular water views and a retractable roof for stargazing, this is a hidden treat with a boat launching marina just steps away. Did I mention the Happy Hour? Great offerings with an outside wraparound patio are found here. I love to sit out there and watch all the antics of the boats coming and going. Executive Chef Bruno hails from France and this is instantly evident when you take your first bite. New on the menu is a Seared Blackened Rare Ahi with lime cilantro glaze, and is served with sautéed vegetables and steamed rice ($25).