Hotel & Resort Restaurant Roundup
From impressive makeovers to striking waterfront locales, hotel restaurants all across Newport Beach are dishing up a menu of culinary offerings and ambience you won’t want to miss. Here is a tempting trip through some of these local dining destinations.
You’ll be wowed by the revamp of this resort’s signature restaurant. Reopened this past spring, the new Waterline Newport Beach is now serving up a “water-to-table” experience in a beautiful, nautically inspired waterfront spot offering full views of the harbor and yachts, as well as an outdoor patio perfect for enjoying our stunning sunsets.
Here you’ll find Executive Chef Vincent Lesage delivering his delectable takes on fresh, local seafood with a SoCal twist, like the fitness frittata with vegetables and a side of lychee yogurt with citrus, OC wet burrito and crab eggs benedict for breakfast; Baja lobster salad and local halibut BLT for lunch; and carefully crafted dishes “From the Sea, Land, Rivers & Lakes” for dinner, including organic bone-in chicken and coho salmon.
“Waterline brings to Newport Beach a new approach of cuisine, very light,” says Lesage, former executive sous chef at St. Regis Monarch Beach in Dana Point. “We focus on local and sustainable fish; we’re not using any sauces, only condiments; and we’re getting all of our vegetables from organic farms.”
Among the favorites: scallops “peas and carrots”— a variation on a traditional dish featuring pan-seared jumbo scallops, pureed and sautéed English peas, carrot vinaigrette with carrot juice and organic baby carrots — and the house lobster roll made with lobster, avocado, cucumber soy paper, chipotle sauce and yuzu soy vinaigrette.
Head to bambú Restaurant & Lounge — set amid a spectacular four-story atrium with lush gardens — to gobble up Executive Chef Brian Doherty’s “lifestyle” dishes catering to guests’ specific dietary needs. Included are flavorful gluten-free, macrobiotic, raw and vegan selections like the tofu and market vegetable scramble for breakfast and saffron sofrito paella and cast-iron seared Pacific salmon for lunch and dinner — washed down with elixirs and wellness teas and shakes.
Chef Doherty relies on sustainable food sourcing for the majority of his ingredients. His practices include harvesting rooftop bee apiaries (three hives with more than 125,000 bees provide the hotel with home-harvested, treatment free honey for desserts, pastries, soups and salad dressings); adopting local goats (seven at Drake Farms Goat Dairy are used to produce organic and sustainable goat cheese for the restaurant, lounge and in-room amenities); and tending a 700-square-foot on-site garden (growing 100 vegetables and herbs ranging from pumpkins and heirloom tomatoes to lavender and basil for the restaurant and lounge).
“I believe that menus should reflect not only their locale, but the spirit of the area,” Doherty says. “I strive to purchase the very best seasonal products, design dishes that reflect the essence of the hotel and present plates in a handsome manner.”
Of special note: The restaurant even has its own food and waste treatment system, converting food refuse into a high-quality organic fertilizer for the garden, on-property landscaping and local farms.
Named for Italian architect Andrea Palladio, who inspired the resort’s design, signature restaurant Andrea Ristorante offers Northern Italian cuisine with rustic Tuscan influences prepared by Chef Marco Criscuolo. Among the seasonally inspired creations are about 17 varieties of house-made pastas (including gluten-free selections) and the restaurant’s popular seven-year barrel-aged Acquerello risotto (prepared tableside from inside a large wheel of imported Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese using ingredients from mushrooms to truffles).
“At Andrea Ristorante, we create traditional, seasonally inspired dishes bursting with the true flavors of Italy,” Chef Criscuolo says. “We make our pasta fresh every day in our one-of-a-kind, temperature-controlled Cucina della Pasta (pasta room), using the finest and simplest ingredients: imported stone-ground flour, organic eggs, filtered water and natural salt from Cervia, Italy.”
Other standouts: artisan-style gelato and 70 percent hand-picked, imported Italian wines (many of which are displayed behind glass at the Andrea entrance). But, wait, that’s not all. Perhaps the most exceptional quality is the sunset dining, complete with an ocean-view terrace featuring heated travertine flooring.
Head to this property’s stylish Sam & Harry’s Restaurant for classic steakhouse flavors with a coastal twist. In addition to USDA prime steaks and fresh seafood flown in every day, favorites include the classic crab cakes and daily specials (depending on what’s in season). Sourcing growers who create sustainable and organic products is a high priority, with the hotel seeking out the most local and seasonal produce possible and planning to establish a sustainable garden on-site. And don’t forget the extensive wine list and hand-crafted cocktails. All of this can be enjoyed indoors or on a romantic outdoor dining terrace adorned with fire pits and overlooking a rose garden, golf course and resort-like pool area and providing sensational coastal views.
At the exciting new Oak Grill, Chef Marc Johnson creates “timeless comfort food dishes” with an artistic flourish. A SoCal native, Chef Johnson developed his love for cooking from his father and went on to sell his trademark breakfast burritos out of his apartment during his college days before heading to the Le Cordon Blue in Pasadena, Mastro’s Ocean Club and now to establishing Oak Grill, where he’s made fresh, local, seasonal ingredients sourced from local farmers and purveyors a key part of the menu. Think everything from Jadori chicken with California succotash and thyme chimichuri to braised short ribs with Anson Mills blue corn grits, portobello mushrooms and bordelaise sauce. The eatery also features many local craft beers and one of the area’s largest and most creative wine lists, with the ideal pairing for each dish curated by General Manager Miguel Rodriguez Vidal.
Feel like dining al fresco? Check out the expansive deck featuring lush landscaping, lanterns and inviting fire pit.
The focus of the popular Tiffany’s Cuisine Restaurant is award-winning fare prepared with the freshest and finest ingredients California has to offer, plus an outstanding wine list highlighted by Californian varietals. For one of the best social hours around, visit the property’s casual Sapphire Lounge daily from 4-7 p.m. for classic cocktails, a great selection of California vintages, brews on tap and an assortment of appetizers.
While glancing out over the breathtaking view of the Newport Beach Upper Back Bay, enjoy classic American comfort food from burgers to pasta and a variety of signature cocktails privately or al fresco at the casual Herons Restaurant. For breakfast, try the delicious buffet (complete with made-to-order omelets) and Starbucks coffee. The hotel’s “Fit For You” culinary program even offers nutritious dishes for those who are passionate about their health.
Photo Credit: Waterline Newport Beach located at Balboa Bay Resort