Our off-the-beaten-path food series continues with lunch. We’re sharing our favorite places for quick & satisfying grub without the touristy hubbub.
For Those Raging Burger Cravings, T.K. Burger is Top of the List
An almost literal hole-in-the-wall, it’s easy to miss this local burger joint amidst the other touristy eateries at the Newport Pier. But boy, follow your nose and you’ll find T.K. Burger flipping juicy patties served on potato rolls with all the fixin’s (including their secret sauce). But if we’re being honest, we sometimes come just for the steak fries & surf videos blasting from old-school TV sets. It’s summer on a plate.
For a Salad Non-Salad-Eaters Can’t Get Enough Of, Sprint to Ho Sum Bistro
Ask any local about Ho Sum Bistro & they may invite themselves to your lunch appointment. This funky spot, located at the heart of the peninsula, serves what they call “Califoriental cuisine.” Our hands-down favorite order is the Combo Salad, a sweet and tangy concoction with plenty of wontons, chicken, sesame seeds for that perfect crunch. Digging into one of these after a day at the beach is sheer bliss.
For a Baguette Sandwich You’ll Never Forget, C’est Si Bon is Pure Heaven
C’est Si Bon’s housemade baguette is pretty much the Newport Beach mascot. Bushels and bushels of them are ordered daily by local restaurants to be served at their establishments. It’s sorta like: why reinvent perfection when you can just buy it from this French bakery? But gosh, if we’re talking local favorites, C’est Si Bon is the epicenter. Don’t even try coming here in the mornings, because the lines are horrendous. What we do recommend is ordering their sandwiches online and then devouring it alongside any of their pastries in their beautiful side patio. Bread will never be the same after ripping into one of these baguettes.
For Epic Food with a Side of Newport Surf Culture, Dive into Anything from Tidepoole’s
Located right on PCH, Tidepoole’s is a casual walk-up counter establishment that can do no wrong. From sandwiches to burritos to pizza, everything they make is outrageously delish. The reuben sandwich and breakfast burritos (which, in these parts, can be eaten all day) are our favorites of the bunch. If you’re on the westside of the peninsula (or anywhere for that matter), Tidepoole’s is the perfect place to fuel up before and after a beach day.
For Mexican Food That’ll Blow Your Sandals Off, Great Mex is the Winner
Did you know that $10 can buy happiness? Great Mex is where we take any out-of-town friends who are craving out-of-this-world Mexican food. There’s nothing health-conscious about this place! But dig into their crispy tacos, gigantic burritos, and pools of beans and rice, and life will look a whole lot brighter. Located near the Balboa Pier, Great Mex is open for all three meals, but we seem to keep coming back for lunch because the prices and food cannot be beat.
For Lunch You Can Order Barefoot in your Beach Towel, Lombardy’s Saves the Day
Our favorite no-brainer beach day pit stop is Lombardy’s Market & Deli. You can’t stay in Newport without digging into a proper meal on the sand – and this casual-meets-high-end-bodega’s got you covered! Load up on snacks & drinks, like bougie chips, kombuchas, and fresh fruit before ordering a big ol’ sandwich (served on none other than C’est Si Bon baguettes). Centrally located on the main strip of the peninsula, Lombardy’s couldn’t be more convenient, with plenty of parking for both beach cruisers and cars!
Honorable Mentions That Get Way Too Crowded to Make Our List Of Elite Local Favorites:
It was near impossible to limit our list of favorites! While the above list takes the gold, here are our honorable mentions that are equally delicious, but are guaranteed to come with crowds.
Bear Flag – The biggest crowd culprit, but for good reason: their food is GOOD. The folks at Bear Flag catch their own fish and you’ll taste the difference immediately. It’s a toss up between their ahi poke and fish tacos for which is the true star of the menu. And don’t get us started on their chips & guac. Holy Moly.
Crystal Cove Shake Shack – Easily the best view in town for lunch. You’ll find this tiny walk-up counter along PCH, overlooking the Pacific on a bluff. They strictly serve shakes, burgers, and fries which are pretty decent. But the view is stupendous. Worth the drive (and the lines of people) for the ambiance.
Avila’s El Ranchito – Here’s another beloved establishment that does Mexican food right. Their ceviche and crispy chicken tacos are unreal. But don’t try coming on taco Tuesday – you’ll never get a seat!