If you live in or anywhere near Newport Beach, you will certainly know that there is no shortage of restaurants. With so many options readily available you can make it a life goal to try and work your way through each individual establishment. I wanted to save you some time on the research end and highlight just a few of my many favorites from around town and tell you my go to orders for each.
The first spot I want to touch on is Hook and Anchor. If you find yourself on the Balboa Peninsula, you will want to make your way here. They are a newer establishment but what brought me in to try their food was the extremely impressive 5-star review on Yelp. With over 180 reviews, this is quite the impressive feat. When you first enter the restaurant, you will see a mural on the wall of a giant octopus and casual seating throughout. This place is on the smaller side, but the food they are producing is exploding with flavor. You can see everything getting prepared once you order, as the kitchen is right behind the register. When I eat seafood, I want to make sure it’s fresh, and what sealed the deal for me was when I saw the chef handling a live lobster! If I had to recommend just a few dishes I would start with the lobster fries, these are loaded with fresh lobster and the fries are tossed in a delicious garlic sauce. Perfectly crisp fries with tons of toppings on each bite is a perfect recipe for me. The next dish I would have to recommend, would be the shrimp and soft-shelled crab Po’ boy. This sandwich is packed with so much food that you can’t even close the bread! It’s presented almost like an open-faced sandwich where you are forced to hand pick a few shrimp out before diving in. If you want extremely fresh and delicious seafood that comes with fast and exceptional service, this is your spot. I promise you will not be disappointed.
The next spot that I can’t go more than 2 weeks without stopping by is The Stand. This is not your typical fast casual spot. One of the key elements that really sets them apart is the awesome interior. The layout inside is inviting and comfortable. You are immediately drawn into their massive digital menu near the registers that showcase some delicious looking food. The next piece that sets them apart is the consistent customer service. Every single time I have eaten here, the staff leaves me with a favorable impression. The staff is extremely informative and somehow convince me to order something I wasn’t expecting. This is due to their excellent description and genuine love for the food they serve. Which brings me to the next point, the food. It is definitely easy for them to sell food when it truly is amazing which is why I am frequently stopping in to get my fix on their American classics. If you are on the hunt to find a truly impressive burger I would have to recommend “The Business”. As the name implies, you really get the biz with this one. This burger is loaded–and let me emphasize, LOADED, with a beef patty, porchetta, bacon, pickled peppers and onions (I absolutely love pickled anything), garlic, mushrooms and sweet chili aioli. Unless you are a competitive eater, this will always leave you stuffed and satisfied. The Stand also serves some outstanding hotdogs, and if I had to choose one to recommend it would be the “D.T.L.A”. This dog comes bacon wrapped, has crispy peppers, a lot of onion strings, mustard, ketchup and topped with some pickled jalapeños. It is truly a picture of perfection. If you are craving burgers, hotdogs and delicious sides, make your way here to find true happiness.
The last spot I’ll touch on for this post is CUCINA enoteca. My wife and I frequent this spot for happy hour. What we love most are all of the shareable items and drink specials. We truly are suckers for a good happy hour, and this is one of the best. They have an amazing outdoor interior which is laid back and comfortable with couch like seating. They really do an awesome job of creating an atmosphere that is light and comfortable while still offering an upscale feel. Our favorites are the burrata and their stone fired pizza—you can also see them baking the fresh pizza from the bar area, it’s a one-of-a-kind experience! You should probably order their truffle fries too, because who can say no to fries?
There you have it, 3 spots that you must check out, and I even gave you a little cheat sheet to the items I think go above and beyond. Hope you enjoy! If you happen to stop by after reading this, please snag a picture and tag @FoodieOC on social media.