Couples seeking a romantic setting for drinks flock to Cano's Cafe every day at sunset. Seated along bay windows that overlook Newport Harbor, they sip margaritas and watch the sailboats return from an afternoon at sea.
The cafe's high ceilings and ceiling fans, brass fixtures and mirrors complement the Mediterranean decor and the bartenders and waitresses wear nautical attire befitting the locale.
A separate part of Cano's restaurant, the Cafe offers its own menus and specials, including the Cano's margarita, made with gold tequila and orange juice. A spoonful of sugar sweetens the concoction and softens its bite. The drink, a bargain at $5.50, is served in a large plastic shaker that fills more than two normal-size margarita glasses. Most other drinks are around $4, and domestic beers and imports run $3 and $3.50.
Menu bargains include the cafe's pesto, chicken and fresh tomato and basil pizzas at $3.95. Also, try the Cano's Platter, consisting of shrimp taquitos, calamari rings, quesadilla, baked oysters and bean dip, served with cocktail sauce and chipotle cream sauce. It serves two and costs $5.95. After 5 p.m., the menu includes Cajun swordfish ($7.95) and seafood fettuccini Alfredo ($5.50).
The 30-years-and-over crowd usually packs the Cafe on weekends and Thursday nights and famous regulars there include Farrah Fawcett, Reggie Jackson and Julian Lennon. Tuesdays and Thursdays, there's a free happy hour pasta bar from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays also feature wines by the glass for $2.
Cano's Cafe, 2241 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach. Open Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to midnight; Saturday and Sunday, 3 p.m. till midnight. (213) 631-1381.