First came word on Sept. 8 that restaurants in Orange County could reopen for indoor dining again, albeit at 25 percent capacity (don’t worry—restaurants are keeping their patio dining areas too).
Then, the Newport Beach Restaurant Association and Dine NB launched Restaurant Month, which continues through September 30 at restaurants throughout Newport Beach.
Now comes Orange County Restaurant Week Sept. 13-26, a new promotion from the Orange County Restaurant Association. Dozens of restaurants in Orange County are offering special prix fixe menus for lunch and/or dinner, including 16 in Newport Beach.
“Our local restaurants are facing some of the toughest times right now,” said Pamela Waitt, president of the OC Restaurant Association. “We’ve added a Fall Restaurant Week to encourage our communities to support their restaurants at this crucial time. The OC Restaurant Association sees this event as an opportunity to unite the culinary industry to emerge stronger as restaurants navigate through the current challenges together. This event has also been refocused to promote Family Meals, which we’ve seen as a popular to-go option for many households at this time.”
As Waitt noted, participating restaurants will be featuring both dine-in deals and Family Meal options to go, to “feed the needs” of the community.
“As always, Restaurant Week will include great dine-in menus, but added focus on takeout speaks to the current consumer trends and looks at how we, as a society, will adjust to the coming months with a new normal,” said Waitt.
During Restaurant Week Uncorked, Family Meals and Meal Kits will range from $30 – $70 for families of 4 (guest size may vary).
The prix fixe menus feature lunches priced at $10 to $25, and dinners at $30 to $50, plus some luxe dinners at $80.
Participating restaurants, offerings, cocktails and more will be updated at https://restaurantweekuncorked.com.
After perusing the menus of the participating Newport Beach restaurants (which all look tasty), I have a few suggestions and recommendations:
Farmhouse has a limited $50 dinner menu, but it’s a good one. Start with Chilled Sweet Corn Soup with Caribbean Laughing Bird shrimp and roast poblano chile pesto, then continue with Watermelon, Heirloom Tomato & Burrata Salad. You have two choices for entrée: Grilled Curry Spiced Swordfish with curried cauliflower couscous and garbanzo beans, sugar snap peas, carrots, cipollini onions, tomato coconut curry broth, and pickled green mangoes; or Roast Autonomy Farms Porchetta with rosemary roast new potatoes, braised fennel, sautéed spinach, garlic and cipollini onions, lemon white wine jus, and orange moutarde. Dessert is Chocolate Semifreddo with fig compote, roast grapes and pistachios. Add a glass of red, white or sparkling wine for $10 with purchase of OCRW menu—no limit.
The Bungalow Restaurant has a $50 dinner menu that includes a variety of options: choice of three starters, seven entrees ranging from Prime Filet Mignon or Bone-In Short Ribs to Miso Marinated Chilean Sea Bass and Australian Lobster Tail ($10 supplement), and choice of three desserts.
Fig & Olive has a $40 dinner menu and a $70 family-style dinner to go for $70. The dine-in dinner menu offers a choice of three appetizers, four entrees (Truffle Risotto, Harissa Marinated Salmon, Roasted Chicken or Espelette Crusted Pork Loin ($5 Supplement), and two desserts. The family dinner serves four and includes a choice of two entrees plus salads and desserts.
Gracias Madre restaurant is covering all its bases with a $25 brunch menu, $30 dinner menu, and $40-$50 family dinners. Brunch is on Saturdays and Sundays and features three courses with several choices for entrees, while the dinner menu also includes three courses with several option. The family meals serve four people with a choice of enchiladas or burrito bowls (40) or fajitas ($50).
Lighthouse Café has some impressive dining deals for Restaurant Week. Their $20 brunch menu available daily includes choice of appetizers (an extra $5 gets you their lobster mac n cheese—but their beignets are the prize dish here) and choice of five entrees including the lemon blueberry pancakes or the Lighthouse burger). The $30 dinner menu includes choice of sides and upgraded entrees plus dessert. The $60 family meals offer a choice of five entrees.
Louie’s by the Bay has a $40 Dinner Menu available for dine-in or take out. Start with antipasti, then a choice of meatballs or frito misto with calamari and shrimp, and then a third course of putanesca of cacio pepe (angel hair pasta).
The Stag Bar also has some terrific deals for Restaurant Week. They have a $20 lunch or dinner menu with three courses, and a $50 Family Take-Out Special that serves four to six people and includes a choice of two large pizzas plus buffalo wings and dessert.
The Winery Newport normally offers a dinner menu for Restaurant Week, but this time they are including a lunch menu served Friday-Sunday. The $25 lunch menu includes a choice of three starters, three entrees and dessert, while the $50 dinner menu has a choice of three starters, three main courses (including chef Yvon Goetz’s famous Zinfandel Braised Brandt Beef Shortribs with prosciutto wrapped asparagus and zinfandel reduction).
Here’s the full list of Newport Beach restaurants that are participating in Restaurant Week (links to menus included):