Taste of The Town

Share this:

Taste of  the Town

The Fate of a Landmark

NBM_23_Dine_Villa Nove_Exterior_By Jody Tiongco-12

In February, the owners of Villa Nova announced that the Italian restaurant was going to be auctioned.  Panicked customers began making reservations to make sure they got a last meal in before the restaurant closed. “One fellow made a reservation for five different nights,” says Susan Emmett, general manager of Villa Nova since 1989. “There’s such a long-term relationship with these people; they’re like our extended family. The response from them has been terrific, if not somewhat concerned or sad.”

The Italian restaurant, which operated on the Newport Harbor since the late 1960s, originally opened on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. Villa Nova claims to have been a hot spot for stars such as Charlie Chaplin and John Wayne during its LA days. 

In early March 2013, Michael Moshayedi, who also owns the Joe’s Crab Shack property, placed a $6 million winning bid for the beloved establishment. The new owner recently announced that the Winery in Tustin will open its second location in the former Villa Nova spot, likely in the fall. —A.B.

Cool Beans

CB&TL_Have a nice day

California’s iconic coffee and tea retailer, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, celebrates 50 years of serving some of the area’s finest brews. Since its inception in 1963 in nearby Brentwood, the privately owned specialty chain has expanded to 900 stores across 25 countries—including two here in Newport Beach and 20 more throughout Orange County. Perhaps what’s kept The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf so hot on the coffee and tea aficionado’s list is its devotion to only the finest and rarest beans and leaves from around the globe, and the resulting 25 blends of coffee and 20 kinds of tea offered. What sets the company apart is its dedication to charity—from supplying troops overseas with a fresh cup every morning to supporting coffee farms in Asia. We’ll sip to that. (coffeebean.com) —A.B.

Grown-Up Lemonade Stand

Lemonade with lemonsEDIT

Lemonade, a Los Angeles-based fast-casual restaurant, is setting up shop at Fashion Island just in time for summer. The cafe, scheduled to open in mid-July, will serve seasonally-inspired Southern California comfort food and be set up cafeteria-style so customers can grab a tray and choose their own sides, main dishes, desserts and drinks.  The company’s other 10 locations throughout LA use unusual ingredients in creative ways, putting a spin on casual dining. In addition to the traditional quick healthy lunch staples of soup, salad and sandwiches, Lemonade serves an array of main dishes from kimchi-marinated vegetables to Jamaican jerk chicken. They also offer unique seasonal specials like red Indian corn, jicama and blueberry chipotle to add some variety to their menus.  And of course, with a name like Lemonade, the cafe takes great pride in its drink selection. Yelp users rave about the LA locations’ blueberry mint, passion fruit pepper, cucumber mint, and raspberry vanilla lemonades. (lemonadela.com) —J.A. 

 Custom Coffee  and Artisan Doughnuts

Off the Menu 4-1

Chef Brooke Des Prez and artist Sumter Pendergrast have joined forces to create Sidecar, an artisan doughnut and coffee shop. After a series of popular Saturday events where they offered free samples of coffee and doughnuts from their test kitchen, they have chosen a spot to settle down on 17th Street in Costa Mesa, slated to open April 12. Coffee at Sidecar is brewed in-house using Stumptown Coffee, and every month Sidecar will feature a different roast to complement the shop’s rotation of doughnuts.  Favorite doughnut flavors of the weekend testers included birthday cake, PPJ with peanut butter glaze and huckleberry jam, and the Samoa—a pineapple cake doughnut with chocolate glaze and coconut.“I think people are over the cupcake phase and they’re moving on to other snack foods,” Sumter says. “We’re the only people in Orange County to serve Stumptown Coffee and do artisan doughnuts. We created a cool little community that would come to these tastings and we’re hoping to be able to do the same thing with the shop.” (949-887-2910; sidecardoughnuts.com)—J.A.
Mama Chef CoatJames Beard Benefit

Newport Beach foodies will have the opportunity to experience a night in Paris when chef-proprietor Daniel Rose, of the acclaimed Spring restaurant in France, collaborates with House of An’s Master Chef Helene An to host an evening of fine dining. Held at AnQi by Crustacean, the Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner on May 1 will offer guests hors d’oeuvres and Champagne, followed by a multi-course tasting menu prepared by the talented chefs, paired with complementary wines. Ticket sales ($270 for James Beard members; $305 for non-members) from the event benefit the James Beard Foundation and Art Institute of California-Orange Culinary School. (714-557-5679; anqibistro.com) —A.B.

A Short Thing 

Shor American Seafood Grill is now open at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach. The California-contemporary restaurant invites hotel guests and local residents to enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner in a casual setting that overlooks the Newport Back Bay. In the midst of a $15-million-dollar complete hotel renovation, the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach decided to rebrand its restaurant and is the fifth Hyatt in the company to adopt the Shor concept. “Basically they looked for areas that had access to very fresh local seafood,” says Heather Humphries, director of sales and marketing for the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach. Leading the culinary team at Shor is chef Jonathan Solis, a Southern California native who has almost 10 years of experience in the restaurant industry. His training at the New England Culinary Institute has prepared him to create dishes that highlight regional seafood and fresh ingredients. “Not only do we support our local farms, but we also make sure that we are providing organic ingredients and the freshest food available—and that’s the main goal of the restaurant,” Heather says. Upon arrival, guests are greeted by a hostess and a chalkboard menu that lists items by region. Also on the menu are descriptions of the different farms from which Shor sources ingredients. (949-729-1234; newportbeach.hyatt.com) —M.E.

Supper Time

Five Crowns-4450

Five Crowns now offers an exclusive dining experience with Chef’s Supper events on Friday nights. Executive Chef Greg Harrison and his culinary team create a tasting menu completely unique to that particular evening and separate from the regular menu. The supper events are perfect for parties of eight to 10 and are served in a private dining setting.

Chef Greg joined Five Crowns in July 2012 and acknowledges the concept of Chef’s Supper as a collaborative effort. The intention is for guests to experience creative dishes in an intimate setting where they can dine for three to five hours in good company, he says. Diners are welcome to enjoy exciting and unexpected dishes paired with fine wines, beers and cocktails prepared and selected by the restaurant’s head barman, Koire Rogers. “It comes down to what’s available at that time and how we can introduce a tasting menu in a way so that they can explore the ingredients that we’ve chosen for that particular week,” Greg says of the rare ingredients he works with, such as sea urchin and octopus. “The dishes are not meant to be all comfort food; there will be surprises in every course.” (949-760-0331; lawrysonline.com/five-crowns) —M.E. 

New Wine Tasting Room

Orange Coast Winery 1

After two years of operating their Orange Coast Winery tasting room in an industrial area of Newport Beach, Doug and Deborah Weins were ready for a new, more visible location. The husband and wife team found just that in the old John L. Blom Photography studio on PCH in Corona del Mar. “We’re just really excited about the location,” Deborah says. “The businesses around us are all going to really gel together.”

The new store will have a different vibe than the first location, offering a more upscale experience, with seated tastings and a gift shop featuring hand-picked antiques and jewelry. There will also be bottles of wine for sale, which they have sourced, crushed, aged and bottled themselves. But don’t worry; their first location, which serves food, will stay open. Check orangecoastwinery.com for more information on opening dates. J.A. 

French Flair


Rendez Vous, an authentic French bakery and cafe, opened in Corona del Mar in late 2012. After selling his family business, Olivier Bocchino and his wife Nathalie moved from the south of France to the United States and opened their first bakery and cafe in Breckenridge, Colo. Without any prior culinary training, the couple learned how to make bread, pastries and desserts from three traditional French pastry chefs they hired to help operate their business. After seven years, they sought to return to a location with warm weather and plenty of sunshine year-round, so they packed up their pastry bags and relocated to Southern California. The extensive menu is a combination of family recipes in addition to the recipes they learned from the pastry chefs back in Breckenridge. The charming couple emphasizes that they make everything from scratch, starting fresh every day. “We don’t buy anything pre-made,” Olivier says. “So we make the almond paste for the almond croissant, for example. We make the crust for the eclair, the crust for the tart, we make everything here—and this makes a difference.” With the help of their two teenage sons on the weekends, this family business is eager to become a part of the community and is already building a special relationship with customers. (949-791-8730)—M.E.

Hotels and Resorts


The Resort at Pelican Hill, 22701 Pelican Hill Rd. South; 800-820-6800; pelicanhill.com

First Cabin Restaurant

The Balboa Bay Club, 1221 W. Coast Hwy.;  949-630-4145; balboabayclub.com

The californian
The Hyatt Regency, 21500 Pacific Coast

Hwy., Huntington Beach; 714-845-4776; huntingtonbeach.hyatt.com

Palm Terrace
The Island Hotel, 690 Newport Center Dr.;
949-760-4920; theislandhotel.com


The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, 1 Ritz Carlton Dr., Dana Point; 949-240-2000; ritzcarlton.com

Sam & Harry’s

Marriott Newport Beach, 900 Newport Center Dr.; 949-640-4000; samandharrysnb.com



The St. Regis Monarch Beach, 1 Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point; 949-234-3200;


Montage Laguna Beach, 30801 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach; 949-715-6420; studiolagunabeach.com


Newport Center/Fashion Island

Brasserie pascal

327 Newport Center Dr.;
949-640-2700; French75.net

Canaletto Ristorante Veneto

545 Newport Center Dr.; 949-640-0900; ilfornaio.com

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

455 Newport Center Dr.; 949-720-9633;

Mariposa Restaurant

Neiman Marcus, 601 Newport Center Dr.;

Muldoon’s Irish Pub

Newport Center Dr.; 949-640-4110; muldoonspub.com

R+D Kitchen

555 Newport Center Dr.; 949-219-0555; hillstone.com

Taco Rosa

2632 San Miguel Rd.; 949-720-0980; tacorosa.com

The Ritz Restaurant & Garden

880 Newport Center Dr.; 949-720-1800; ritzrestaurant.com

True Food Kitchen

451 Newport Center Dr.; 949-644-2400; truefoodkitchen.com

Wahoo’s Fish Tacos

1091 Newport Center Dr.; 949-760-0290; wahoos.com

Yard House

849 Newport Center Dr.; 949-640-9273; yardhouse.com


Newport Coast/Crystal Cove

Beachcomber Cafe
15 Crystal Cove; 949-376-6900; thebeachcombercafe.com

Bluefin Fine Japanese Cuisine

7952 E. Coast Hwy.; 949-715-7373; bluefinbyabe.com


7832 E. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-1239;

Mastro’s Ocean Club Fish House

8112 E. Coast Hwy.; 949-376-6990; mastrosrestaurants.com

Tamarind of london

7862 E. Coast Hwy.; 949-715-8338; tamarindrestaurant.com

Zov’s Café Bakery & Bar

21123 Newport Coast Dr.; 949-760-9687;



Balboa Peninsula

21 Oceanfront

2100 W. Oceanfront; 949-673-2100; 21oceanfront.com

Aurora Mediterranean Restaurant

2307 Balboa Blvd.; 949-642-1073

Avila’s El Ranchito

2800 Newport Blvd.; 949-675-6855; avilaselranchito.net

Bluewater Grill

630 Lido Park Dr.; 949-675-3474; bluewatergrill.com


Buddha’s Favorite

634 Lido Park Dr.; 949-723-4203; buddhasfavorite.com

Charlie’s Chili

102 McFadden Place; 949-675-7991;


Commonwealth lounge & Grill
2406 Newport Blvd.; 949-675-4444; commonwealthlounge.com

Crab Cooker

2200 Newport Blvd.; 949-673-0100; crabcooker.com

Malarky’s Irish Pub

3011 Newport Blvd.; 949-675-2340; malarkysirishpub.com

Mama D’s Italian Kitchen

3012 Newport Blvd.; 949-675-6262; mamadsnewport.com

Mutt Lynch’s

2300 W. Oceanfront; 949-675-1556;

Newport Beach Brewing Company

2920 Newport Blvd.; 949-675-8449;

Newport Landing Restaurant

503 E. Edgewater Ave.; 949-675-2373;


Pescadou Bistro

3325 Newport Blvd.; 949-675-6990; pescadoubistro.com



Regatta Cafe

3421 Via Lido; 949-675-1878;

Ruby’s Diner

1 Balboa Pier; 949-675-7829; rubys.com

Rudy’s Pub & Grill

3110 Newport Blvd.; 949-723-0293; rudyspubandgrill.com

Rusty Pelican

2735 W. Coast Hwy.; 949-642-3431; rustypelican.com

Sabatino’s sausage company

251 Shipyard Way, Cabin D; 949-723-0621;

San Shi Go

205 Main St.; 949-673-3724

Sol Grill

110 McFadden Place; 949-723-4105; solgrill.com

The Alley

4501 W. Coast Hwy.; 949-646-9126; thealleynewportbeach.com

The Blue Beet

107 21st Place; 949-675-2338; thebluebeet.com

The Cannery

3010 Lafayette Ave.; 949-566-0060;

The Dock

2816 LaFayette Ave.; 949-673-3625; eatatthedock.com
Balboa Island

Amelia’s Restaurant

311 Marine Ave.; 949-673-6580; ameliasbalboaisland.com

Barolo By the Sea

305 Marine Ave.; 949-675-6193

Basilic Restaurant

217 Marine Ave.; 949-673-0570; basilicrestaurant.com

Shanghai Pine Gardens

300 Marine Ave.; 949-673-3802


216 Marine Ave.; 949-566-9525

The Village Inn

127 Marine Ave.; 949-675-8300; villageinn.com

Wilma’s Patio

203 Marine Ave.; 949-675-5542; wilmaspatio.com


PCH/Mariner’s Mile

3 thirty 3

333 Bayside Dr.; 949-673-8464; 3thirty3nb.com


A restaurant

3334 W. Coast Hwy.; 949-650-6505; arestaurantnb.com

Back Bay Bistro Newport Dunes

1131 Back Bay Dr.; 949-729-1144; backbaybistronewportbeach.com

Bayside Restaurant

900 Bayside Dr.; 949-721-1222; baysiderestaurant.com

Billy’s at the Beach

2751 W. Coast Hwy.; 949-722-1100

Cappy’s Cafe

5930 W. Coast Hwy.; 949-646-4202; cappyscafe.com


2601 W. Coast Hwy.; 949-675-7427; divbar.com

Nesai Restaurant

217 Riverside Ave.; 949-646-2333 nesairestaurant.com

Pizzeria Mozza

800 W. Coast Hwy..; 949-945-1126; pizzeriamozza.com

SOL Cocina

251 E. Coast Hwy.; 949-675-9800; solcocina.com

Villa Nova

3131 W. Coast Hwy.; 949-642-7880; villanovarestaurant.com

Zubies Chicken Coop

414 Old Newport Blvd.; 949-645-6086


Corona del Mar

Bamboo Bistro

2600 E. Coast Hwy.; 949-720-1289;


3201 E. Coast Hwy.; 949-673-3524

Five Crowns

3801 E. Coast Hwy.; 949-760-0331; lawrysonline.com

Gen Kai of California

3344 E. Coast Hwy.; 949-675-0771


850 Avocado Ave.; 949-718-0188; hillstone.com


3520 E. Coast Hwy.; 949-675-5556;

Nagisa Sushi Restaurant

3840 E. Coast Hwy.; 949-673-3933

Panini Café

2333 E. Coast Hwy.; 949-675-8101;

Rothschild’s Restaurant

2407 E. Coast Hwy.; 949-673-3750; rothschildsrestaurant.com

Summer House

2744 E. Coast Hwy.; 949-612-7700; summerhousecdm.com

The Bungalow

2441 E. Coast Hwy.; 949-673-6585; thebungalowrestaurant.com

The Crow Bar and Kitchen

2325 E. Coast Hwy.; 949-675-0070; crowbarcdm.com

The Quiet Woman

3224 E. Coast Hwy.; 949-640-7440; quietwoman.com

Tommy Bahama’s Island Grill

854 Avocado; 949-760-8686;


Airport Area

Il Barone

4251 Martingale Way; 949-955-2755; ilbaroneristorante.com




4253-A Martingale Way; 949-756-8194; tapasnewportbeach.net

Ten asian bistro

4647 MacArthur Blvd.; 949-660-1010;


Upper Bay

Bistro le Crillon

2523 Eastbluff Dr.; 949-640-8181;


101 Bayview Pl.; 949-725-0777; kitayamarestaurant.com

Mozambique Per-Peri

1332 Bison Ave; 949-718-0956; mozambiqueperiperi.com

Pita Jungle

1200 Bison Ave.; 949-706-7711; pitajungle.com

2531 Eastbluff Dr.; 949-718-9650

Wasa Sushi on the bluffs

1346 Bison Ave.; 949-760-1511; wasasushi.com


1370 Bison Ave.; 949-720-9925; eddiev.com


Costa Mesa


3333 Bristol St.; 714-557-5679; anqibistro.com

Charlie palmer

3333 Bristol St.; 714-352-2525;


Haute Cakes Caffe

1807 Westcliff Dr.; 949-642-4114; hautecakescaffe.net


1695 Irvine Ave.; 949-646-7944; lacaverestaurant.com


3333 Bristol St., Ste. 3001; 714-434-7900; marchemoderne.net

MI Casa

296 E. 17th St.; 949-645-7626; micasa1.com

The Pizza Bakery

1741 Westcliff Dr.; 949-631-1166; thepizzabakery.com

pizzeria ortica

650 Anton Blvd.; 714-445-4900;


seasons 52

3333 Bristol St., Ste. 2802; 714-437-5252;




19100 Von Karman Ave.; 949-752-5999; bistango.com

kimera restaurant lounge

19530 Jamboree Rd.; 949-261-1222; kimerarestaurant.com

Paul Martin’s american grill

31 Fortune Dr., Suite 302; 949-453-1144;


phans 55 vietnamese bistro & bar

6000 Scholarship Dr.; 949-724-1236;

ruth’s chris steak house

2961 Michelson Dr.; 949-252-8848;


Laguna Beach

370 Common

370 Glenneyre St.; 949-494-8686; 370common.com


480 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-815-5533; asadalaguna.com

Broadway by Amar Santana

328 Glenneyre St.; 949-715-8234; broadwaybyamarsantana.com

cucina Alessa

234 Forest Ave.; 949-497-8222

The Deck on Laguna Beach

627 Sleepy Hollow Ln.; 949-494-6700

K’ya Bistro

1287 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-376-9718;

Nirvana Grille

303-101 Broadway; 949-497-0027; nirvanagrille.com

The Rooftop Lounge

1289 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-497-2446;

Sapphire Laguna

1200 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-715-9888;

Sundried Tomato

361 Forest Ave.; 949-494-3312; thesundriedtomatocafe.com

Tabu Grill

2892 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-7743;


Tommy Bahama

400 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-376-6886; tommybahama.com NBM


Share this:


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here