Off the Menu: Christmas Dining in Newport Beach

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By Christopher Trela & Catherine Del Casale | NB Indy

Deciding where to dine out for Christmas is like selecting the perfect present: it’s all a matter of taste. It’s also a matter of letting someone else do the cooking, which allows more time to spend with loved ones.

Here’s a list of what some notable Newport Beach restaurants are offering this Christmas. We’ve been to all of these restaurants and love their cuisines, so we have no doubt these holiday menus will make for a memorable Christmas dining experience.


The Balboa Bay Resort’s First Cabin restaurant is serving Christmas Eve dinner from 5 to 9 p.m., and Christmas Day dinner from 1 to 8 p.m. The Christmas Eve dinner features a traditional five course prix-fixe meal ($89 adults and $45 children 4-12) that includes such choices as tuna tartar, apple and beet salad, roasted duck breast, prime rib, and ginger and pear upside-down cake. Christmas day mixes it up with rack of lamb, wild caught salmon, and flourless chocolate cake. Strolling Dickens Christmas Carolers provide entertainment both days from 6 to 9 p.m. For reservations, call (949) 645-5000 or visit


This ocean-view restaurant near the Newport pier has another of their unforgettable three-course holiday menus available Christmas Eve from 5 to 9 p.m. For $65 per person, you can chose starters such as calamari fritti, lobster bisque or escargot, and entrées that include filet mignon, osso buco, rack of lamb, and swordfish. For dessert, you’ve got a choice of crème brulee, warm apple tart, chocolate fantasy cake or gelato. There’s also a children’s menu available for $25. Visit or call (949) 673-2100.


With a relaxing view of Newport’s back bay, Back Bay Bistro offers a four-course Christmas Eve dinner from 4 to 9 p.m. that includes everything from crab cakes, wild mushroom saute, lobster bisque and house wedge salad to jumbo diver scallops, Atlantic salmon, rack of lamb, and filet mignon. Dessert choices include crème brulee, warm bread pudding, and yule log. Cost is 465 per person. A child’s menu is available for $25. For reservations, call (949) 729-1144 or visit


Bungalow Restaurant has a four course prix fixe Christmas Eve dinner menu for $60 per person that includes chef’s selection of appetizers; chowder, bisque or salad; entrées including Prime Rib, Filet Mignon, and sea bass; and desserts such as chocolate soufflé cake and berries and ice cream (one of our favorite desserts!). Call (949) 673-6585 or visit


This Christmas Eve from 3:30 to 9 p.m., the Cannery Restaurant offers a festive Christmas Eve dinner featuring a special a la carte holiday menu of standout seasonal dishes, including lentil soup with duck confit, Hamachi tartar, slow roasted prime rib, cedar plank salmon, butter poached lobster, and egg nog crème brulee with candy cane biscotti, and chocolate molten cake with pistachio crème anglaise. Appetizers are $12 to $18; entrees are $27 to $38. Santa makes a visit from 5 to 8 p.m. Call (949) 566-0060 or visit


Newport’s newest restaurant, Fig & Olive, is open Christmas Eve and features its regular menu along with several special items including lobster a la armoricaine with baby heirloom vegetables, roasted rack of lamb, and grilled red snapper. Call (949) 877-3005, or visit


Celebrate Christmas Eve at Palm Terrace Restaurant with a festive four-course meal from 5 to 8 p.m. with live entertainment ($79 adults, $19 children). On Christmas day, two options await: Christmas Day Ballroom Buffet has seasonal and classic menu offerings with champagne, served 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., accompanied by live music ($95 adults, $19 children), while Palm Terrace Christmas Night Feast features a four-course prix fixe holiday menu (&79 adults, $19 children) served 5 – 8 p.m. Call (949) 760-4920, or visit


Corona del Mar’s Landmark restaurant has a terrific three-course Christmas Day menu for $75 per person served from 3 to 8 p.m. that includes appetizers such as spiny tail lobster crudo and roasted chestnut cappuccino, entrees that include pappardelle, albacore, free range turkey and lamb, a choice of desserts such as eggnog sundae and chocolate cake “smores.” A children’s menu is available for $28.


Lark Creek Chef/Partner John Ledbetter has created a Christmas Eve three course prix-fixe dinner featuring roasted chestnut soup with brandy cream and cocoa, slow roasted pork loin with smoked bacon, potato gratin and apple relish, along with croissant bread pudding. Cost is $37 per person, and is served from 5 to 9 p.m. An a la carte menu is also available. Call (949) 640-6700 or visit


We love dining at Pelican Hill, especially with the array of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dining options starting with Andrea Restaurant’s Italian holiday festa from noon to 10 p.m., and a special holiday menu on Christmas Day from noon until 10 p.m. At Coliseum Pool & Grill, enjoy a three-course, California-inspired Christmas Eve dinner or a Christmas Day breakfast buffet Pelican Grill also has a Christmas Eve menu, plus live entertainment, from 5 to 10 p.m. The Christmas Day menu is available 11:30 am to 10 pm. And finally, a Christmas Day Ballroom Brunch buffet with traditional offerings, served 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Prices vary. Call (888) 507-6427 or visit


Christmas Eve dining is a longstanding tradition at The Ritz Restaurant in Fashion Island, but this year The Ritz is serving its last holiday dinner—the restaurant closes its doors in February. This is the final chance to experience the four course prix-fixe Christmas Eve dinner from 4 to 10 p.m. that includes a classic seafood martini with lobster and crab, choice of soup or salad (including lobster bisque laced with Armagnac), entrees such as the signature roast Christmas goose with lingonberry sauce, main lobster tails, carved chateaubriand, and other classics. Finish your memorable meal with a Christmas Eve Dessert Sampler. Cost is $90 per person, but well worth the experience. Call (949) 720-1800 or visit

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