Jason and I LOVE to go out and have a good time. We love to catch the best happy hours in Newport Beach, dine at our favorite restaurants, and meet up with friends for a quick bite during the work week.

Now, my job does require me to work with Newport Beach restaurants, but the best part of my job is that I have discovered some hidden gems you may have never heard of.

I encourage you to pick at least one restaurant from my list below and visit this restaurant in the next week or so. Take your spouse or a friend out in Newport Beach to experience something new. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Also, if you are interested in discovering new hidden gems, be sure to follow along @DineNewportBeach to catch our Weekly Bites series. This series will give you a behind the scenes look at some of the best restaurants in Orange County.

  • Free Range Cafe: Free Range Cafe is an independently owned and operated neighborhood cafe on Balboa Island. They pride themselves in offering a selection of delicious fried chicken sandwiches, fresh baked good, house-made beverages, and a rotating menu of weekly specials. I have sent tons of friends and family members to this special place. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed

  • Pizza Nova: This is parent’s new favorite restaurant! My mom has been telling all of Huntington Beach about Pizza Nova and Carlos (GM). Carlos has become a dear friend of mine as we work a lot together. Pizza Nova specializes in gourmet pizzas that are hand stretched, then baked on a wood-burning oven. The pasta is made fresh daily and all sauces and recipes are made on site. Pizza Nova is perfect for a night out with your family, date night, or a quick drink after work with a friend. This delicious restaurant offers the perfect view overlooking the harbor and some darn good PIZZA!

  • Lido Bottle Works: Have you been down to Lido Marina Village? If your answer is no, you must visit Lido Bottle Works ASAP. Lido Bottle Works is located in Lido Marina Village, which is the cutest little village in Newport Beach. The boardwalk, pavement, trees, unique stores and restaurants will make you feel like you’re on vacation. Chef Amy from Lido Bottle Works focuses on using local, sustainable ingredients to create unique starters, entrees, and desserts. They offer delicious craft beer and kombucha on tap. Lido Bottle Works is perfect for friends or family who enjoy family style dishes. Brett, the GM, is not only a hard worker (he trains with us at our UFC gym in Costa Mesa), but has a long time experience in hospitality and will make you feel right at home.

  • Buddha’s Favorite: This is one of our FAVORITE date night spots! It is a hidden gem right by The Cannery and Bluewater Grill in Lido Marina. Buddha’s is known among the locals as Newport Beach’s hidden treasure. Their menu offers a wide range of appetizers and entrees, ranging from delicious tempuras, unique salads, authentic noodles and rice bowls. The sushi here is high-quality and will probably be your new favorite sushi spot in Orange County. You typically will find us on the patio indulging in fresh sushi and enjoying a cold Sapporo.

  • The Village Inn: Do you love live entertainment? Well, you might have to put The Village Inn on your list. The VI, located on Balboa Island, has a lot of rich Newport Beach history. They offer a range of seasonal menus including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Jason and I went on a date night here one Friday night and well in love with the atmosphere, live entertainment (it was insanely good!), and delicious food!
  • Balboa Lily’s: This unique cafe has some of the best lattes around!Β Located in the heart of the historic Balboa Village is just steps from the Balboa Pier. The menu offers quality coffee beverages (including their signature Honey Lavender Latte) and fresh innovative food. Be sure to stop by and ask for Eunjoo (owner). She is one of my favorite people in Newport Beach!
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Like I mentioned before, be sure to pick one restaurant from this list to visit soon. Let me know how you like it :).


Melissa Jacobi

Dine Newport Beach

Visit Newport Beach