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Heading to Newport Beach the first week of Feb!

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West Chester, PA
posts: 27
reviews: 9
Heading to Newport Beach the first week of Feb!

My husband and I are staying at the Marriott NBV. I saw a couple of posts with some info about specific meals-Christmas brunch and meals with kids. But we are looking for romantic spots, good seafood, sushi, pubs, any thing with great views? It looks like it would be a great time to do some hiking, bird watching. If so where do you suggest? Also is Balboa Island a one day excursion? We are 50 so not looking for crazy nite life!

Corona del Mar, CA
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
posts: 33,751
reviews: 339
1. Re: Heading to Newport Beach the first week of Feb!

Most romantic is probably Basilic Restaurant on Balboa Island, it is Swiss-French.


For a pub, you have Muldoon's is Fashion Island/Newport Center or Hennessey's, south in Laguna Beach.



For view, it depends on how far you want to go. In the Resort at Pelican Hill you have Andrea, which is one of Orange County's best restaurants.


For seafood you have Roy's at Fashion Island, the Blue Water Grill on the Balboa Peninsula and Newport Landing, also on the Peninsula, but easier to get to using the Balboa Island Ferry. Mastro's Ocean Club is okay as well.





Sushi is a bit tougher. There is decent sushi close, Bluefin at the Crystal Cove Shopping Center and Costa Mesa, Newport and Irvine have a smattering of very good places with Nana San being the best probably. However, there is a place in the city of Orange, Ohshima, that rivals the best of LA. It is worth considering if you are a sushi aficionado.

Balboa Island isn't a one day excursion, but it could be a daily one. Days I don't swim first thing in the morning I walk the Island, there is a cement boardwalk and it is a bit more than 1 1/2 miles or 2 1/2 miles if you add in the "little Island". See the map below.


I walk and then meet some cronies at Starbucks. It is also fun to walk at night and see the house with their lights on and walk off a meal.

There are maybe 20 shops and a dozen eating spots 90% on Marine Ave, the main drag on the Island.

Here are competing websites. The unofficial one is more fun, the official has more information maybe.



Newport Beach, CA
posts: 1,931
reviews: 23
2. Re: Heading to Newport Beach the first week of Feb!

IMO, and I've lived in Newport for 20+ years, the best seafood is BluewaterGrill, on Lido Peninnsula. Eat at the exhabition kitchen---(like being at Food Network live:) or outside on the dock, over the water. Join their e-crew and they will send you notices for their special monthly dinners. Also, should anyone have a birthday while you are there they will send you an e-mail gift certificate to use that's good for about a week before/after your birthday. (Be sure to read the dates.) You can look up my reviews of Bluewater Grill here on TA.

If you are staying at Newport Coast Villas, ask the front desk to acept the faxf rom Bluewater Grill for you (you'll have to put the resort number in the bluewatter form). They will print it out for you.

NCV doesn't have room service but, if you want a nice evening in the Villas, there is a service called Retaurants on the Run that will deliver directly to your Villa. You can order through computer or phone. Last time I was on their site they listed about 75 restaurants between Newport and Laguna, many of them very good restaurants. You may want to check it and print it out while still at home and bring the menu with you. Just thinking out loud there.

If you are not taking a laptop with you may want to print out the menus from the Restaurats On The Run and register with Bluewater Grill before you leave West Chester. The zip code (which you'll need for ROTR) is 92657 (if you want food delivered to the Villas ( NCV).



Probably the best IRISH PUB in the area is Muldoons@ Fashion Island. Four mile drive from NCV or the NCV shuttle will take you and pick you up if you don't want to drive.

Best breakfast Places: The Beachcomber Cafe: Good menu. On the sand at Crystal Cove. On the site, watch the video on the front page. Shuttle will take you. Or, if you drive, parking is $15.00 BUT, if you spend $15.00 at the restaurant, they validate the parking and you're home free. Check to see if you can use the validation to stay and spend the day on the beach. A lot of tidepools in the area. Fun to explore but they are protected and you're not allowed to take anything from them. Nice beach there. Largest undeveloped beach between Santa Barbara and Mexico, also a Dolphin Birthing Ground, which you'll be close to the season. Also the Crystal Cove Cottages are right there for tours. The Cottages go back to an early silent filming, around 1918, of Treasure Island (that beach portreyed 'Treasure Island, and , after the movie wrapped and they left the 'Huts' there , people moved into them and/or errected their own.) Other movies shot there over the years, including 'Beaches' with Bette Middler. Could be a fun morning.

Another good breakfast spot: Panni Cafe, a very flavorful and healthy Medertaranian style restaurant started by a Body Bulder. Italian feel. Really tasty breakfast plates. About 2 miles from NCV on PCH at about MacArthur Blvd. Drive or have the shuttle take you.

If you want to hike or birdwatch, try the Back Bay, The largest Estuary in Southern California, it's on the National flyway with thousands of birds that make their winter home there. Pleny of natural trails as well as bkepaths, jogging lanes, rollarblading and kayaking. About 5 miles from NCV.




Some other places that you migh find interesting.

For shopping: Fashion Island, a terrific outdoor mall with ocean views, anchored by Nieman-Marcus, Nordstroms, Macys and Bloomingdales. Approximately 200 speciality storys and 35 restaurants.


Balboa Island:

Great little island in the harbor. Take the Balboa Island Ferry (the 2nd oldest continually opporating ferry in the U.S over to the Balboa Penninesula. ($1/person each way if you walk on.



Take the Harbor Cruise for some celebrity sightseeing without having to walk. Fun and historic with modern sights.


or, for a daytrip to Catalina Island from Newport Harbor


You may have seen the video of the 'Dolphin Stampede on Yahoo! today. For a ride on that boat go to Dana Point Harbor (about 12 miles south of NCV, right down PCH to


Another restaurant that is considred a 'romantic' setting with steak and seafood is 21Oceanfront.www.21oceanfront.com (right on the beach)

Huntington Beach...
Destination Expert
for Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach
posts: 4,768
reviews: 143
3. Re: Heading to Newport Beach the first week of Feb!

I'll try not to be redundant.

For hiking and bird watching, I recommend the Bolsa Chica Wetlands in Huntington Beach, one of the largest remaining wetlands in Southern California. There is a two mile loop trail there. Upper Newport Bay in Newport Beach is a fantastic estuary with great trails and a wonderful interpretive center.

Then Laguna Beach offers some great hikes in Laguna Wilderness Park.

Here's a link to the County Parks web site: http://ocparks.com/

West Chester, PA
posts: 27
reviews: 9
4. Re: Heading to Newport Beach the first week of Feb!

Thanks for all your info. Excellent tips-I ckd into the Catalina Island day trip and the catamaran is closed(not running) until 2/8... Is the island worth seeing? Are there other ways to get there?

We are renting a car for the week and wondered if travelling north of LA for a day to a winery is a good idea? scenic drive etc ?

I think with all that is around Newport Beach/Balboa Island/Huntington Beach and a day at a spa,I (heard Island Hotel is good) we should have plenty to do!

Newport Beach, CA
posts: 1,931
reviews: 23
5. Re: Heading to Newport Beach the first week of Feb!

Peresonally, I don't enjoy Catalina enough to go out there anymore.

If you want to visit a winery, Temecula is nice and a lot closer.

Corona del Mar, CA
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
posts: 33,751
reviews: 339
6. Re: Heading to Newport Beach the first week of Feb!

Agree, you are better off heading south to Temecula for wineries rather than Santa Barbara County.



posts: 26,649
reviews: 714
7. Re: Heading to Newport Beach the first week of Feb!

In nearby Laguna Beach is Starfish Laguna across from The Montage. Very good food and a cool ambiance. The Loft @ The Montage has beautiful views and great food. We also love Las Brisas in Laguna. Very good Stuffed Sole there and awesome views! :).

posts: 4,127
reviews: 7
8. Re: Heading to Newport Beach the first week of Feb!

I like Catalina Island and it is very popular. If the weather is good I would go. To get there you can go South to Dana Point or North to Long Beach. There are more boats from Long Beach. http://www.catalinaexpress.com/

Anaheim, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
posts: 23,686
reviews: 13
9. Re: Heading to Newport Beach the first week of Feb!

But the Catalina Flyer from Newport Beach is the better and faster boat (Catamaran style)... IMHO.

posts: 4,127
reviews: 7
10. Re: Heading to Newport Beach the first week of Feb!

Darkbeer, the Catalina Flyer is not in operation right now (post 4 and their web site) so that is not an option for the OP. If anyone wants to go to Catalina right now and until Feb. 8, they will need to go to Dana Point or Long Beach.