By Christopher Trela & Catherine Del Casale Newport Beach Restaurant Week starts Jan. 19 and runs through Feb. 1, and as in previous years, decisions must be made as to where to dine. We perused every Restaurant Week menu on the DineNB.com website to see which prix fixe menus ($10, $15, $20 and $25 lunch, and $20, $30, $40 and $50 dinner) offered the best value. With 60 restaurants offering dozens of dishes, and only two weeks in which to try them, we knew we could not include everyone, although most menus were indeed enticing. Two interesting things we noticed while reviewing menus: the lunch options seemed to offer the best deals (although we found dinner menus that looked appealing), and the most frequently
listed menu item is short ribs. Our picks:
3Thirty3: $15 lunch with choice of soup or salad, or dessert, plus entrée. “I’ve never dined there so I don’t know
how their food is, but the idea is to get you into the restaurant, and that’s a great deal for lunch,” said Catherine.
Pelican Grill, $25 lunch includes sweet potato soup or warm baby kale salad, choice of three entrees including chicken breast and short ribs, and dessert (including fried apple cranberry pie).
The Bungalow: $20 lunch and $30 dinner. We wrote about them last week, and thought both menus offered a great value.
Amelia’s: $20 lunch and $30 dinner. Considering all the options on both menus, and knowing how good the food is here, both menus are a great value.
A Restaurant: $50 dinner. Pricy, but worth it considering the options such as duck liver pate or braised meatballs for starter, several entrees including block cut New York or Scottish salmon (we’ve had both and love them), and dessert.
Back Bay Bistro: $20 lunch with starter, entrée (including short ribs) and dessert.
Canaletto: $20 lunch with choice of four starters, five entrees, and dessert. “This sounds amazing—a great value, one of the best menus as far as quality of items and pricing,” said Catherine.
Royal Thai: $10 lunch and $20 dinner. At first we thought it must be a mistake, because the variety of options and amount of food you get on both menus is astonishing for the price. We’ll be there!
Fig and Olive: $25 lunch. Choice of five starters, five entrees, and two desserts. Given the quality of the food at Fig & Olive, that’s a tremendous value.
Five Crowns: $50 dinner. It’s about what you’d normally pay for soup or salad, choice of entrees (including their
famous prime rib), and dessert, but Five Crowns is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and a visit here is always special.
Modo Mio: $15 lunch. Choice of starter, entrée and dessert. A great value, and the food here is terrific.
Muldoon’s Irish Pub: $20 lunch and $30 dinner. We previewed the dinner menu last week and loved it. Lunch also looks great.
Sliding Door: $20 lunch and $40 dinner. We’ve been fans of the restaurant since they opened in the fall of 2013, and have been back several times. Both menus look good with many options (including short ribs), but the lunch menu stands out as a terrific value (starter, entrée and dessert).
Newport Landing: $15 lunch. Choose from 16 entrees, and dessert. A great deal.
Oak Grill: $20 lunch. Choice of starters and entrees, dessert is $3 extra but that includes their amazing Rocky Road bar.
Pescadou: $40 dinner. This authentic French bistro offers an aperitif, appetizer, entrée and dessert, with several choices in each category.
Pizza Nova: $10 lunch and $20 dinner. Considering the options of starter, entrée and dessert, both menus are awesome.
Provenance: $15 lunch. Chef Cathy has created the ultimate value lunch meu, including starters, choice of five entrees, and choice of desserts. “That’s a ridiculously good deal,” said Catherine. “Even her $40 dinner menu has a lot of options.”
Red O: $25 lunch. Includes starters, choice of entrees, and dessert. “That’s a really good deal for Red O,” said Catherine.
SOL: $15 lunch. An incredible value—choice of two starters, three entrees and two desserts. Pair that with a harbor view and this deal is sealed.
Waffle Affair: $10 lunch. Choice of savory waffle and a beverage. Newest restaurant in town with a menu that practically screams “try me.”
Woody’s Wharf: $15 lunch. Choice of two starters, six entrees and desserts. Another amazing deal.
Café Jardin: $25 lunch and $40 dinner. Normally open daily only for lunch, Chef Pascal is opening up his restaurant for dinner on the weekend just for Restaurant Week.Both menus have Pascal’s French influences, and look great.
BONUS: Three of the restaurants (Provenance, Cucina Enoteca and Fig & Olive) have created signature Restaurant Week cocktails heavily influenced by the history and ambiance of Newport Beach. To see a complete list of Restaurant Week menus, visit DineNB.com.