securedownload-4Some of the best restaurants in California can be found in Newport Beach. The affluent city known for its boats, beaches and beautiful Balboa Island has a variety of exceptional eateries that captures both the elegance and laid-back style of this coastal community. Oftentimes, dining out in Newport can be a little intimidating for those who aren’t familiar with what their local establishments have to offer, but with the Newport Beach Restaurant Week taking place January 17-26th 2014, food lovers of all budgets and preferences can enjoy all of what Newport has to offer.

Over 60 participating restaurants extending from Balboa to Corona Del Mar will offer three-course prix-fixe dinner menus ranging from $20, $30, or $40 per person and/or two-course prix-fixe lunch menus beginning at $10, $15 or $20 per person. The citywide affair allows foodies to explore local restaurants that they otherwise would have overlooked, or deemed unaffordable. Through Newport Beach hosting Restaurant Week it not only lets culinary lovers tour new locations but helps local restaurants gain more notice throughout town as well. 

In celebration of the upcoming Newport Restaurant Week 2014, I was generously invited to their Launch Party hosted at the Back Bay Restaurant to preview some of the participating restaurants’ specialty dishes and get to talk with the owners and chefs themselves. It was a wonderful laid back night that set the tone as to what to expect from these local restaurants, bakeries and catering companies during Restaurant Week, and introduce guests to their signature dishes.  

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For each of the participating restaurants that previewed dishes at the Launch Party, there would be a signature item, a list of their Restaurant Week Menu, and a chef or owner present to let guests know a bit about their establishment. The first table I checked out belonged to Rockin’ Baja Lobster Coastal Cantina that had delicious homemade guacamole and a pineapple salsa that I filled a complete plate up with. Their ingredients tasted incredibly fresh, and after looking over their lunch menu for Restaurant Week, i definitely want to stop by to try all of their options, especially their Lobster Corn Chowder dish! 

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Next table over, belonged to the incredible Cucina Alessa with their Smoked Salmon Farfalle dipped in blush sauce. I typically don’t like to mix seafood with my pasta, but this dish was so fantastic, that my friend and I visited this booth not only once or twice, but three times for helpings of this specialty. To make their dish extra unique, the fresh salmon is sauteed with white wine, garlic, shallots, and olive oil before getting blended with Vodka cream sauce. I’m a sucker for blush sauce, and most guests in attendance agreed. Located right along the Pacific Coast Highway, I highly recommend ordering this dish if you attend their restaurant week! 

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DSC_6801DSC_6805Muldoon’s Irish Pub introduced me to Irish Soda bread with currents for the first time, and it was love at first bite. A mix between fresh bread and biscotti, theirs was slightly sweet and I’m sure it paired well with their rich Irish stew packed full with vegetables and flavor. Upon checking out their restaurant on Yelp! I was impressed that they offer all you can eat Fish and Chips on Wednesdays and have a packed house every NFL Sunday and of course on St. Patrick’s Day. Muldoon’s is the place to eat and drink starting at brunch and that still goes strong well into the evenings. 

securedownload-8For a trip around the world for your taste buds, Mayur Cuisine of India created an authentic menu lineup for their Restaurant Week that includes Shrimp Tandoori, and Tikka Masala. To preview their menu, guests were able to tried their fresh and light quinoa salad that was refreshing with a light lemon zest. Delicious! 

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In addition to the wonderful main dishes, Sadie Rose Baking Co. provided local handmade artisan bread that’s baked daily, fresh lemon squares, brownies and cookies were on hand, and Svedka Vodka provided complimentary tastings for their Cosmopolitan and Fireball shots. In all, the night was a great way to mingle and get to know local business owners that mean so much to Newport Beach. 

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All of the samplings were exceptional, and made me personally ecstatic about trying more of local establishment’s Restaurant Week menu’s with friends and loved ones. During Restaurant Week no reservations are required, nor tickets purchased in advance, simply arrive and ask for the Restaurant Week menu. The special ‘foodie’ week is a great way for the community to come together and try these and other culinary delights for 25% to 60% off regular prices while learning about new and classic restaurants that the city has to offer. 

To learn more about Newport Beach Restaurant Week and for a complete list of participating restaurants, visit their official website at http://www.newportbeachdining.com/newport-beach-restaurant-week/

I attended Newport Beach’s Restaurant Week Launch Party as media, but as always, all opinions remain my own.

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