Achieving Aloha

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cocktails at Billys at the Beach_credit Ashley Ryan
Cocktails—a mai tai, at left, and Cucumber Crush—at sunset at Billy’s at the Beach | Photos by Ashley Ryan

Feel as though you’ve been transported to Hawaii without leaving Newport at local favorite Billy’s at the Beach.

By Ashley Ryan

 

Tropical cocktails, Hawaiian-inspired fare and waterfront dining go hand-in-hand, and that’s just what you’ll find at Billy’s at the Beach—along with some aloha spirit. And since jet-setting to Hawaii isn’t the easiest thing in the midst of the pandemic, this longtime eatery, located along the ever-popular Mariner’s Mile, offers the laid-back atmosphere of the islands without having to leave town.

Known for its “world-famous” mai tais and other Tiki drinks—like pineapple, strawberry or mango pina coladas with an optional dark rum float or the Navy Grog, which combines two kinds of rum with mint, lime and mai tai mix—Billy’s is the perfect place to sip at sunset. The restaurant also offers classic cocktails with tropical twists: an Old-Fashioned with coconut simple syrup or a mule crafted with pineapple and coconut. The light and refreshing Cucumber Crush is another way to unwind, while guests can also opt for a beer or wine by the glass or bottle.

The patio, which just reopened at the end of January, offers stunning views of Newport Harbor, with small boats floating by and the lights of Lido Marina Village twinkling across the way. Billy’s outdoor dining area was just renovated in December to include ample seating, refreshed tropical decor and pops of color designed to create a picture-perfect space. Around the same time, the iconic restaurant and bar named a new executive chef. Having already been in the hospitality industry for more than two decades, Robert Luna comes to Billy’s from celebrity chef Tim Love’s restaurant group Love Style.

Though the menu has been pared down, there are plenty of options to enjoy. Choose an individual starter or delve right into the PuPu Platter for 2, a shared plate that provides a sampling of each of the appetizers on the menu. This savory dish combines pan-seared ahi tuna crusted with black sesame seeds and drizzled in dijon soy sauce, miniature crabcakes topped with mango salsa, golden fried coconut shrimp served with a sweet and spicy Thai sauce, bite-size teriyaki beef skewers and succulent, slow-roasted baby back ribs.

Billy's pork chop_credit Ashley Ryan
Billy’s pineapple-and-soy-glazed pork chop

When it comes to entrees, there are two guest favorites: the fish tacos and the pork chop. The tacos—made with Hawaiian ono—are served Baja style, with cabbage, cheese, pico de gallo and a sweet chile aioli sauce. The fish is fried to perfection, offering a bit of crunch with every bite. Alternatively, the tender bone-in pork chop, featuring meat from Coleman Family Farms in Carpinteria, is packed with flavor, due in large part to the pineapple soy glaze it is coated with; the cut is also topped with crispy onions and accompanied by a bok choy flower.

Other dishes to try include the Hawaiian pulled pork sandwich, on which the barbecued meat is topped with grilled pineapple; the pan-seared salmon filet accompanied by a house-made beurre blanc; or the burger, which can also be served Big Kahuna, Cali or Texas style.

Make sure to incorporate some of the delicious sides as well, such as the Hawaiian cheese bread, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, white jasmine rice, house french fries or stir fry vegetables, which include flavorful bell peppers, onions, peas and broccoli.

And, for dessert, there is only one option: the lava cake. The miniature chocolate rum bundt comes with a heaping portion of macerated strawberries and thick sweet cream. Both the cake and the cream are topped with chopped candied walnuts, creating the perfect note on which to end your meal.

In addition to patio dining, Billy’s at the Beach is still offering Aloha Packs that can be ordered to go as well. These include the Mai Tai Survival Pack, which comes with four mai tais and two entrees of your choosing, and the Mahalo If Ya Hear Me, which features a pupu platter, two mai tais and Billy’s merchandise. However you choose to dine, the infectious aloha spirit for which Billy’s is known is sure to put a smile on your face.

Billy’s at the Beach

2751 W. Coast Highway

949-722-1100; billysatthebeach.net

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