By Allison Mitchell By Allison Mitchell | June 27, 2023 | Culture Food & Drink Lifestyle Lifestyle Feature Culture Feature Travel Style Food & Drink Feature Food & Drink Shop Apple News Adventures Eat Stay Hotels For A Staycation Hotels For A Weekend Detox Retreat Cocktails
One of Orange County's most beloved coastal destinations, Newport Beach draws locals and visitors alike to its oceanfront shores to enjoy luxury hotels, dining and shopping. Here's our ultimate guide to discovering Newport Beach.
An aerial view of the Newport Harbor, PHOTO COURTESY OF VISIT NEWPORT BEACH
The Resort at Pelican Hill is home to one of the world's largest circular pools. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE RESORT AT PELICAN HILL
Sprawled across 504 acres in Newport Coast, this Forbes five-star, AAA Five Diamond property includes 204 bungalow guest rooms and suites, and 128 villas. Take a dip in the Coliseum Pool—one of the world’s largest circular pools—before retreating to the 23,000-square-foot spa or teeing off at the 36-hole, Tom Fazio-designed Pelican Hill Golf Club. When hunger strikes, dine poolside at the Coliseum Pool & Grill or overlooking the fairway at Pelican Grill at Pelican Hill Golf Club.
Spend a day in the sun at the beautiful VEA Newport Beach. PHOTO COURTESY OF VISIT NEWPORT BEACH
The former Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa has found new life as VEA Newport Beach, a sprawling luxury resort located just a stone’s throw from Fashion Island. Accommodations range from coastal-chic guest rooms and suites to spacious two- to four-bedroom retreats, ideal for housing the whole family. Break a sweat in the 5,000-square-foot fitness center, where you’ll find Pelotons and weightlifting equipment, or relax in the 14,000-square-foot Spa VEA. On-site dining includes the ocean-facing Edge Bar or VIEW Restaurant & Bar, which features a second-story floating lanai with fire pits.
Take a dip at Lido House. PHOTO COURTESY OF VISIT NEWPORT BEACH
Located adjacent to Lido Marina Village, Lido House is a nautical-themed Autograph Collection property with 130 guest rooms, including five three-story cottages. Enjoy seafood-focused cuisine at Mayor’s Table Pacific Pub & Kitchen, the hotel’s signature restaurant, or zip up the elevator to indulge in Lido House’s exclusive Piper-Heidsieck Champagne at Newport Beach’s only rooftop bar, Topside. You’ll also find the 1,500-square-foot Boost Spa, a fitness center, an outdoor pool and a beach shuttle service to adventure off-property.
Enjoy harbor views as the yachts cruise by at Balboa Bay Resort. PHOTO COURTESY OF VISIT NEWPORT BEACH
The only waterfront resort in Newport Beach, this Forbes four-star, AAA Four Diamond property occupies 15 harborside acres with 159 guest rooms and 10 suites. Visit the guest-exclusive spa to enjoy massages and facials, or get a blowout at the on-site Drybar. Take to the water with a kayak, stand-up paddleboard or 12-seat Duffy, or rent a cabana by the pool. Enjoy a casual dinner by the water at A + O Restaurant | Bar (snag a seat by a fire pit for the most coveted spot on the patio), and don’t miss the resort’s weekly Sunday Seafood Brunch (10AM to 2PM) in the Lighthouse Room.
A look at The Elwood Club at the forthcoming Pendry Newport Beach, PHOTO COURTESY OF PENDRY NEWPORT BEACH
A partnership between Montage International and Eagle Four Partners, Pendry Newport Beach is slated to open by the end of 2023 on the former Fashion Island Hotel site. Located steps from Fashion Island, the hotel will include 295 guest rooms, 82 of which will be luxury suites, with balconies or private patios offering ocean, harbor and bay views. The hotel will house three exciting new lounge, restaurant and bar experiences, as well as a pool, sun deck and cabanas. There will also be a private membership club, 14,000 square feet of event space, and Spa Pendry.
O.C. diners already know and love River Jetty Restaurant Group, the hospitality aces behind Newport Beach’s nearly 100-year-old icon A Restaurant; its sister concept, A Market; and CdM Restaurant. In May 2022, partners Joseph “McG” Nichol and Jordan Otterbein added A Crystal Cove to their burgeoning culinary empire. Stop by for weekend brunch—complete with a live DJ—or dinner, highlighted by chicken piccata, the award-winning A Burger and cacio e pepe.
The margaritas are flowing at this swanky Mexican restaurant in Crystal Cove, which houses one of the largest collections of high-end tequila on the West Coast. Cozy up in the main dining room, on the patio or at the bar to discover authentic Mexican flavors, ranging from queso fundido, ceviche and mole poblano to sizzling fajita plates, enchiladas and tacos. Fire pits, tiki torches and low lighting add to the sexy ambiance.
Marché Moderne chef-owners Florent and Amelia Marneau, PHOTO BY DYLAN + JENI
Nestled along the shores of Newport Coast, this upscale French restaurant, helmed by husband-and-wife chef-owners Florent and Amelia Marneau, offers a gourmet dining experience that will have sparks flying. Enjoy delicacies like Kaluga caviar and oysters du jour while toasting the evening with a bottle of Champagne from the restaurant’s impressive list of fine wines. Foodies will love the chef’s ever-changing five-course tasting menu, which currently includes roti of veal ribeye and baba au rhum.
This sophisticated dining destination combines high-quality steaks and seafood with stellar service. At the Newport Beach outpost in Crystal Cove, seafood fans can indulge in caviar, oysters, jumbo lobster tail or a sushi selection created by chef Angel Carbajal, an alum of Nicksan restaurant in Cabo San Lucas. Pair dishes with premium wines from the extensive list, or try a showstopping cocktail—all while live musicians set the mood for a night of romance.
Lido House’s signature restaurant is led by executive chef-partner Riley Huddleston, whose breakfast, brunch and dinner menus embrace seasonal ingredients. Relax in a booth while watching the maestro and his team at work, where dinner favorites include oysters topped with Champagne mignonette and raspberry pearls, charcoal gnocchi, and an 18-ounce prime bone-in New York steak.
It’s a family affair at this Michelin Guide-recognized restaurant on Via Lido, where husband-and-wife owners Darren and Jean Coyle are celebrating their Irish roots. Executive chef David Shofner is marrying sophisticated ingredients with whimsical styling in popular dishes like the cracked pepper bucatini and 12-hour Kurobuta porchetta. Don’t miss the Guinness brown bread with European butter, clover honey and Jacobsen sea salt to start, and request to sit in the restaurant’s snug, an enclosed booth that pays homage to pre-1960s Irish pubs.
Recognized by the Michelin Guide, this charming American eatery is led by executive chef Joel Gutierrez at Lido Marina Village. Dine indoors or on the outdoor patio—both of which face the water—to discover colorful salads; shareable bistro and charcuterie boards (perfect for taking on a boat ride); and delicious main courses, ranging from pork belly bao buns to the Lido catch of the day. Pair your tastes with the beach-inspired Reef Cuts cocktail spiked with beet-infused fermented gin.
Dine with waterfront views at Louie's by the Bay. PHOTO BY ANNE WATSON
Restaurateur Ron Salisbury has made this modern American steakhouse one of O.C.’s hottest waterfront restaurants. Try the housemade gnocchi with pomodoro sauce, a recipe from the family of restaurant namesake Louis Zamperini. On warm nights, sit at table 12 for a prime waterfront view. When temps dip, cozy up by the fireplace at table 43. Happy hour is offered daily, while Sunday brunch features Rat Pack-style music.
After hosting cooking classes and farm dinners out of her home, chef Helene Henderson founded Malibu Farm—preparing simple, health-forward fruit- and vegetable-focused dishes at locations including Lido Marina Village. Stop by for daily dinner—reservations are encouraged—or arrive early for brunch, which is always first come, first served. A heated outdoor patio ensures you’ll be comfortable watching the boats pass by from its waterfront position on the Newport Harbor.
Nobu at Lido Marina Village, PHOTO COURTESY OF VISIT NEWPORT BEACH
This two-story restaurant at Lido Marina Village pairs waterfront views with world-famous cuisine from chef Nobu Matsuhisa. The Newport Beach location is home to Nobu’s only Grand Cordon bar, where a cocktail-driven omakase awaits. Round out the experience with Nobu favorites, including the black cod with miso; rock shrimp tempura with creamy, spicy sauce; and monkfish pate with caviar.
SOL strives to share the coastal cooking of Baja and the wonderfully relaxed feeling the area inspires. Its waterfront Newport Beach restaurant serves Mexican cuisine—including vegan and gluten-friendly options—with more than 100 types of tequilas and mezcals. Tickle your taste buds with the award-winning Taco Vampiro, a double tortilla stacked with cotija cheese, serrano chiles, carne asada, guacamole, pico de gallo and chipotle sauce.
It’s hard to get closer to the water than at The Beachcomber at Crystal Cove, where dining occurs just steps from the sand. Open for daily breakfast, lunch and dinner, the kitchen is rocking and rolling from 7AM to 9:30PM, offering plenty of chances to enjoy tacos, burgers, lobster rolls and sweet Beachcomber Beignets. Pair your dinner offerings with wine varietals sourced from the Santa Ynez Valley.
Diners can dock their boats and dine at The Cannery or take their food to-go. PHOTO COURTESY OF VISIT NEWPORT BEACH
Housed in a historic building with roots that date back to 1921, The Cannery in Newport Beach is a favorite for seafood, steaks and chops. From a cozy indoor dining area and stunning outdoor space, The Cannery offers classic American seafood entrees with a diverse wine selection. Enjoy buttery lobster rolls, seared diver scallops, Chilean sea bass, fresh sushi, and colorful cocktails and spirits.
Mixing SoCal sophistication with Napa style, The Winery’s Newport Beach outpost is a local landmark with floor-to-ceiling windows that reveal the harbor outside. Led by executive chef and partner Yvon Goetz, sommelier and partner William Lewis and founding partner JC Clow, the local haunt offers dock-and-dine packages to enjoy your meal on a Duffy. Expect classic steakhouse favorites, including seafood towers and steaks paired with pours from a global wine list.
A + O offers a relaxed and casual culinary experience with boats meandering up and down the Newport Harbor as your backdrop. An expansive wraparound patio features striped umbrellas and multiple fire pits, creating the perfect setting to yacht-watch while sipping a Life is Peachy cocktail.
Newport Beach’s only rooftop bar, Topside at Lido House, pairs sky-high views with fire pits, an exclusive blend of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne and plenty of bar snacks. Open Thursday through Sunday, Topside offers a generous menu of craft cocktails, zero-proof mocktails, wines, and on-draft beers. Light bites—including swordfish tacos—are perfect for sharing with your pals.
Water and golf course views are found at Edge Bar at VEA Newport Beach. PHOTO COURTESY OF VEA NEWPORT BEACH
Indulge in a sit-down meal at VIEW Restaurant & Bar, and elevate the experience with pre- or post-dinner drinks at the poolside Edge Bar. A digital ceiling above the bar depicts moving sea life, while the Pacific Ocean serves as the perfect backdrop for sharing a Sunset Rider cocktail with friends.
Dozens of stores and restaurants call Fashion Island home. PHOTO COURTESY OF VISIT NEWPORT BEACH
Anchored by Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s and Nordstrom, Fashion Island (fashionisland.com) is Newport Beach’s largest indoor-outdoor shopping center, home to more than 70 O.C.-exclusive stores of its nearly 200 total. Beachgoers get outfitted for swim season at Beach Bunny, San Lorenzo Bikinis and ViX Paula Hermanny while protecting their eyes with shades from EuroCollective and Warby Parker. And since it’s sunny season year-round in Newport Beach, activewear is also a popular category, with Alo Yoga, Athleta, Lovyt, Lululemon, Rhone and Vuori all calling Fashion Island home. Neighborhood Goods, Arhaus, Tommy Bahama Home and an 80,000-square-foot, four-story RH store—complete with a rooftop restaurant, park and wine bar—will arrive by spring 2024.
Shop till you drop at Lido Marina Village. PHOTO COURTESY OF VISIT NEWPORT BEACH
Newport Beach’s other outdoor shopping center is Lido Marina Village (lidomarinavillage.com), a waterfront collection of upscale boutiques for shoppers of all ages. Popular shops—that can only be found in O.C. at Lido—include Clare V., Cynthia Rowley, Eberjey, Elyse Walker, The Great., Jenni Kayne, LoveShackFancy, Marrow Fine, Minnow, The RealReal, Roller Rabbit and Stoney Clover Lane. Step up your beauty game at Aesop, Cos Bar, Le Labo and TReSs Apothecary + Salon before perusing home and paper goods at Serena & Lily and Sugar Paper. Golf apparel brand Bad Birdie will be the next retailer to join the village.