I think “Restaurant Weeks” are one of the finest creations ever.
While restaurants can sometimes be abused during this week by crowds of grazers just looking for a deal, I think true foodies get out to try new restaurants and will, as a result, return repeatedly.
For Laguna, our restaurant week isn’t until March this year. Of course, I’ll be ballyhooing it as that moment approaches. But NEXT week is Newport Beach Restaurant Week (actually two weeks) from Jan 16th – 29th, and it’s showcasing 62 restaurants with every cuisine offering imaginable.
Now, I know that many Laguna Beach residents think that Scott McIntosh’s fantastic Reunion Kitchen in Boat Canyon is a serious northerly commute, so I’m not going to bother mentioning those terribly distant Newport Beach restaurants in dastardly remote areas, i.e., Balboa Village (13.6 wearying miles) or the Airport District (18.5 whopping miles), from our cozy town center. So, just stop yourself now … don’t even bother checking out phenomenal restaurants such as 21 Oceanfront, A Restaurant, Farmhouse, Gratitude, Red O or The Ritz Prime Seafood at http://DineNB/Restaurant-Week as I know they’re all just so very far away.
I will, however, point out a few of the more gratifying Newport Beach Restaurant Week options that are less than 6.5 miles from our own Main Beach.
My Favorites Within 5 Miles
Top on my list will be Andrea Ristorante at Pelican Hill for a $20 lunch menu that includes Chef Jonah Amodt’s imaginative Squash Agnolotti, Sepia Tagliolini (that’s shrimp and octopus scampi) and one of their best-sellers, Mary’s Chicken.
Then, I’m looking forward to trying Top Chef alumni Brian Huskey’s new restaurant in CDM, Tackle Box, which calls itself a “local grub shack” and perches on Big Corona del Mar beach. I’ll tell you one thing – the locals loves this “grub,” and I’ve already set my reservation for the easy-on-the-wallet $10 lunch menu.
Other options include a treasure trove of restaurants in Crystal Cove, starting with the laid-back Beachcomber at Crystal Cove, and finer dining that includes Phil and Linda Crowley’s Modo Mio Rustic Italian Kitchen and Chef Takashi Abe’s Bluefin sushi finesse.
You might just reserve a room at Pelican Hill for easier waddling as you round out your restaurant dining from Andrea’s to Chef Micah Severeid’s Coliseum Pool & Grill (fancy poolside dining) and the local favorite, Pelican Grill.
The Corona del Mar strip is offering a wealth of options, too, from the refashioned-but-still-regal Five Crowns to the always-regal Rothschild’s. Or, try the Port Restaurant & Bar, a swanky and fun vibe of a restaurant next to the Port Theater, the Summer House or the ever-popular Bungalow. If you start feeling lonesome for home, pop into Avila’s El Ranchito or Tommy Bahama’s Island Grille in their CDM location – same menus and same friendly warmth as what you experience here in Laguna Beach.
Most restaurants offer both lunch and dinner prix fixe menus for Restaurant Week, and prices vary wildly. The Restaurant Week website gives you all the menu details and pricing as well as overviews and maps.
This is a very popular week for restaurants, so start making your reservations now at DineNB.com/Restaurant-Week. I’ll see you out there in our commute!