A few short years ago, Newport Beach’s Lido Marina Village was an aging and mostly abandoned — if not still-quaint — seaside retail destination.
Built in the early 1970s in the cozy style of the East Coast’s many pedestrian-centered marinas, it spent most of its life populated by boat rental businesses, small-town bookstores, beachfront snack stands and (in true West Coast style) one massive Polynesian restaurant.
But the development languished and fell empty during the recession, receiving a new life only now, thanks to a just-completed multi-million dollar revitalization effort that’s kept the beachy bones while turning Lido Marina Village into a spendy-chic dining and shopping destination that fits in perfectly with the laid-back ritz of peninsula life.
Here are five new places to eat and drink at Newport Beach’s latest summer destination.
Honor Coffee Roasters
Start your day at Honor Coffee Roasters, a naturally-lit third-wave shop with lots of weathered-looking wood that at first glance looks like one of the aesthetically pleasing shops that surround it. But instead of expensive shirts or pricey artisanal lotions, Honor serves up a Portland-style coffee experience, including roasted-on-site beans from around the world, fresh vegan pastries and cold brew made in the laboratory’s worth of contraptions that sit on the counter.
3400 Via Lido, Newport Beach; (503) 862-8243; honor.coffee.
Juice Served Here Marina Café
Proving that a healthy lifestyle requires more than just cold-pressed fruits and vegetables, Los Angeles-based company Juice Served Here is using the new Lido Marina Village as an experiment for its new café concept. What looks like just a small coffee shop off a hidden alley behind the parking structure is actually a full-service eatery with vegan and gluten-free egg dishes, grains, smoothie bowls and more. Order an espresso and stay a while or grab any of Juice Served Here’s signature numbered juice blends from the fridge and head out.
3418 Via Lido, Newport Beach; (949) 612-8228; jshmarinacafe.com.
On the spectrum of dining experiences worth their high price tag, Nobu has always been up there. High-end clients and high-grade sushi combined with chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s own creative spin to make the game-changing international restaurant empire that earlier this summer finally landed at Lido Marina Village. The Newport Nobu features many of the signature dishes available at his Beverly Hills and Malibu hotspots (and the prices to match), but the real draw to Matsuhisa’s latest location is the more than 16,000 square feet of two-story waterfront space, which has a view of the boats from every seat in the house.
3450 Via Oporto, Suite 101, Newport Beach; 949-429-4440; noburestaurants.com.
Lido Bottle Works
Every morning chef Joel Harrington rides his bike from his house at the end of the Newport Peninsula and stops at the historic Dory Fleet Fish Market and picks up a fresh catch for the evening. Then, he goes into his dockside kitchen at Lido Bottle Works inside Lido Marina Village and uses the seafood in a rotation of ceviches, mains and the “daily inspiration,” a.k.a. however Harrington thinks that day’s catch would be best used. But Lido Bottle Works is more than just sustainable food from a seasoned chef on the water (Harrington was the former sous chef to Marcus Samuelsson and culinary director of New York’s famed Red Rooster). The restaurant also offers craft beer and kombucha on tap, plus a bottle shop with 40 beers and 25 wines, where you can find a beer to pair with your meal or take a bottle home for later.
3408 Via Oporto, Suite 103, Newport Beach; 949.529.2784; lidobottleworks.com.
Named for the casual all-day French cafes called “zincs,” Lido’s Zinqué is a Euro-phile’s delight. Like any good zinc, the centerpiece is the bar, which here serves a large selection of wines from across France and Italy. Like any good waterfront dining destination, Zinqué has a full food menu featuring lots of tartines, salads, large seafood dishes and plates of house-made charcuterie. The other two locations — one in Venice and one on Melrose in Los Angeles — are just as sleekly designed as Newport’s, but the views from here tops them all.
3446 Via Oporto, Newport Beach; (949) 612-7259; lezinque.com.
SARAH BENNETT is a freelance journalist covering food, drink, music, culture and more. She is the former food editor at L.A. Weekly and a founding editor of Beer Paper L.A. Follow her on Twitter @thesarahbennett.