HHC 2003 home page

HHC Dining Guide

by Dave Shier

Southern California has about the most diversified selection of dining experiences available anywhere. Since there are numorous dining guides, both printed and online, I will not attempt to duplicate them here. Instead, I’ll list a few places I think are worth noting near the hotel. In a hurry? Click here to see six nearby fast food eateries.

NameCost Phone Location & DirectionsDescription
Burgers, Sandwiches & Pubs
In-N-Out$  4115 Campus Dr., Irvine.
Turn right Mac Arthur then left onto University Dr. Turn right on Campus and you will see it on your right.
This is a fast food place and nothing more. But it is uniquely Californian (although they have expanded to places like Las Vegas.) Everything is made fresh and the pride themselves on not having freezers or heat lamps. If you like burgers, then you simply have to try a Double Double. Show that you are “in the know” by ordering yours “animal style” that’s a code which you won’t find on the menu, that gets you extra veggies and grilled oinions. Perhaps you’re on the Atkins diet? Order “protein style” and you’ll get a burger wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun.
Newport Beach Brewing Company$ 949-675-84492920 Newport Bl, Newport Beach
Take the 55Fwy south until it becomes Newport Bl. continue past Coast Hwy and you will see it on your left.
This is a typical micro-brewery but great for people watching.
Bristol Farms $949-760-6514 810 Avocado Ave, Newport Beach
Turn right on Mac Arthur, pass San Miguel Rd, then turn right into Corona del Mar Center.
Bristol Farms is actually a gourment supermarket, but they have a counter that makes great sandwiches and salads. If you are not from California, and like to cook, then you owe it to yourself to check this place out. It’s not like any other supermarket I’ve seen!
Californian, American & English
Back Bay Cafe$$949-729-1144 1131 Back Bay Dr., Newport Beach
Turn right on Mac Arthur, then right again on Jamboree. Right onto Back Bay Dr and left into the Newport Dunes Resort. Tell the guard you’re going to the Back Bay Cafe, and parking is free. Turn right after the guard shack.
Great views and good food. Excellent place for breakfast.
Wilma’s Patio$$949-675-5542 203 Marine Ave., Balboa Island
Turn right on Mac Arthur, right again on Jamboree. Follow to the end - crossing bridge to Balboa Island. You will be on Marine Ave.
A family restaurant. Good spot for breakfast if you are visiting Balboa Island.
Gulliver’s Restaurant$$$949-833-8411 18482 MacArthur Bl., Irvine
It’s a long walk (about 1.5Km) but you can walk from the hotel by crossing MacArthur and heading to the left (toward the airport). It’s across from the airport.
Gulliver’s has been around for over 30 years. They specialize in prime rib. They are also famous for their creamed corn and spinach soufflé. If you plan to eat there, be sure to visit their web site to print a discount coupon that will save you 10%!
Sage$$$949-718-96502531 Eastbluff, Newport Beach
Turn right on MacArthur, right again on Jamboree, right once more on Eastbluff. Finally right into the Eastbuff shopping center.
Don’t be put off by the location in the corner of a Ralph’s market shopping center. Sage is one of my favorite local restaurants. The food is excellent. While it’s all good, I recommend the Gorgonzola Salad and the Rack of Lamb
Benihana$$$949-955-21614250 Birch St., Newport Beach
This one’s certainly within walking distance on Birch St (the opposite direction from MacArthur.
Okay, the food is not what you are paying for at Benihana - it’s all about the presentation. Although a bit pricy, this place can be fun for the family. But think of the money you saved by not needing a taxi!
Thaifoon - Taste of Asia$$$949-644-0133Fashion Island, Newport Beach
Turn right on MacArthur then right on San Miguel.
This is Asian/Thai with a modern interpretation. Not a bad place to end a day of shopping at Fashion Island.
El Torito$$949-833-823018512 Mac Arthur Bl., Irvine
A few steps closer than Gulliver’s (see above) across from the airport.
This is part of a chain of Mexican restaurants. Not the best, but if your only exposure to Mexican food has been Taco Bell, then you owe it to yourself to try something better. If you have a car, then I would suggest going to their better version: El Torito Grill (Left on MacArthur, then right on Main.)
Chimayo Grill$$$949-640-2700 Fashion Island, Newport Beach
Turn right on MacArthur then right on San Miguel.
This one is actually known as “Santa Fe” or Southwestern style rather than Mexican. Certainly a step up from El Torito in both quality and price.
Fine Dining
21 Oceanfront$$$$949-673-21002100 W. Oceanfront, Newport Beach
On the Balboa Peninisula across from the Newport Pier. If you intend to dine here, I suggest you vist their Web site, and in any case, you’ll need to make reservations.
This is an elegant beach-front resturant. I would recommend the sauteed sea scallops w/ curry glaze.
Villa Nova$$$$949-642-78803131 W. Coast Hwy, Newport Beach
Turn left on MacArthur to 405 Fwy North. Take 55 Fwy South to end (turns into Newport Bl.) Exit onto Coast Hwy South one block. Villa Nova is on the right.
I highly recommend making reservations and ask for a table facing the water. The view of the yacht harbor is great at this very romantic resturant that is now 80 years old.
Pascal$$$$949-752-01071000 N. Bristol, Newport Beach
Right on MacArthur, right again on Jamboree and another right on Bristol.
Yet another fine restaurant in an unlikely place. But don’t let the location fool you. Pascal has been voted the number one restaurant in all of Orange Co. by the Zagat Guide readers. The style is light Provençal cuisine.