Curated Classics

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New Zealand lamb_A Crystal Cove
New Zealand lamb with white wine | Photo by A Crystal Cove

A Restaurant expands to Crystal Cove with delectable dining and a nod to old Hollywood.

By Sharon Stello


From oysters on the half shell to filet mignon and a full rack of lamb, A Crystal Cove serves up classic dishes alongside creative fare and favorites from sister establishments A Restaurant and CdM Restaurant.

There are plans to expand to Long Beach and Hollywood in the coming months, too, but A Crystal Cove is River Jetty Restaurant Group’s first location to offer lunch, dinner and weekend brunch; it opened in May with plush booths, vibrant artwork on the walls, gallery-style lighting and a bar built around a towering metal sculpture. Situated in Crystal Cove Shopping Center, with a hint of old Hollywood glamour, the cozy yet elegant space is the perfect spot to enjoy elevated cuisine.

IMG_0134-A Crystal Cove cocktails_Ashley Ryan
The Vibe Check (left) and Apricot Sour cocktails | Photo by Ashley Ryan

The dining area accommodates up to 200 guests, and sliding doors open to give an outdoor feel to some of the tables in front. A glass-enclosed wine room showcases a collection of fine and rare vintages, while an antique photo booth offers snapshots to remember your visit.

Soak in the atmosphere while sipping on a cocktail. Try the bourbon-based Apricot Sour, topped with egg white foam and the eatery’s signature “A.” Or opt for the Vibe Check, a refreshing mix of vodka, cucumber, mint, lime juice and simple syrup for a touch of sweetness. Notably, on Tuesdays, wine is offered at half price for a bottle or glass.

interior_A Crystal Cove
The interior of A Crystal Cove | Photo by A Crystal Cove

For appetizers, the Spicy Yellowfin Tuna has been the bestseller at A Restaurant for 10 years, featuring tempura eggplant, Sriracha aioli, wasabi “tobiko” (fish roe), sweet soy sauce and chives. But for something different, order the scallop crudo with refreshing grapes, radishes, cilantro dashi and Thai basil.

Or, go for the fried, robiola cheese-filled squash blossoms, which are delicious with roasted yellow bell pepper sauce. And the seared diver scallops offer a tasty light bite in yellow curry sauce with kaffir lime rice.

When you’re ready to dig into an entree, consider some popular plates from CdM Restaurant: the hearty “Dirty Pasta,” featuring rigatoni and a rich sauce with ground duck, sage and ricotta salata cheese, or the CdM Standard Pizza with fennel sausage, mozzarella, roasted cloves of garlic and slightly sweet tomato. The A Burger can also be found on the menu: The patty is made with Niman Ranch ground chuck, then topped with blue cheese, caramelized onions, maple bacon, arugula and secret sauce, served with hand-cut fries.

A meat and cheese board_A Crystal Cove
A meat and cheese board | Photo by A Crystal Cove

A Crystal Cove’s signature dish is the full rack of New Zealand lamb. The flavorful meat is topped with mint emulsion chimichurri and served on a bed of Italian pearl couscous with dried apricots and pine nuts. The savory meal pairs well with a Burgundy wine.

Make sure to save room for dessert as the restaurant makes all of its own sweet treats in-house every morning, like the heavenly lemon cheesecake with torched meringue topping and fresh berries. A combination of sweet and tart, it’s the ideal finale to any meal.

A Crystal Cove
7864 E. Coast Highway, Newport Coast

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