Despite living half a world away from the restaurants that her family founded in India over the years, Anju Kapoor chose to continue the family legacy in 1984 by opening Mayur. Now celebrating the restaurant's 30th anniversary, the chefs remain committed to the bold flavors of Northern Indian cuisine. Chef Dharam Singh has been with Mayur since its inception?he previously worked with the Kapoor family in India. Orders of chicken, lamb, seafood, and vegetables arrive straight from the clay tandoor oven, which is also used to bake naan. Spicy lamb vindaloo, spinach cooked with homemade cheese, and eggplant help round out the menu's selection of regional Indian cuisine. Sea bass, quinoa salads, and rack of lamb are less-traditional additions to the menu. Sundays offer a survey of Mayur's signature dishes with a prix fixe champagne brunch.
Like the menu, the ambiance at Mayur is vibrant yet refined. An ornate wooden deity sculpture of Ganesh channels ancient traditions, the space also features a handful of more contemporary touches, including large framed images of peacock feathers.
When Amelia Seton opened her restaurant in 1961, she filled the menu with favorite dishes from her native Sorrento, Italy, as well as with catches off Balboa Island. Now helmed by multiple generations of Setons, Amelia's Seafood & Italian Restaurant serves dinners of clam bisque and Amelia's recipes for calamari and bouillabaisse. Pastas such as angel hair and linguine twirl beneath alfredo and lemon-butter sauces with meatballs and chicken breasts, and the kitchen prepares veal and chicken in traditional parmigiana, marsala, and piccata styles. Back in Sorrento, Amelia's extended family still runs her brother's restaurant, which stays connected to Amelia's Seafood & Italian Restaurant via tin-can telephone.
The owners of Ohana House have spent years living in Hawaii and coastal California, and they love the fresh flavors and healthy nature of ocean-side cuisine. Their menu reflects that. While unwinding in the relaxed eatery, diners can relish dishes such as wok-seared shrimp with citrus zest, smoked pulled pork with grilled pineapple, or sesame-crusted goat cheese salad with wasabi-buttermilk dressing. There's also a kids’ menu with pintsize portions.
JACKshrimp transports Louisiana's distinctive spices and love of seafood to an upscale restaurant perched along the West Coast Highway. For more than 20 years, chefs have been blending crawfish and andouille sausage with al dente pasta or fresh greens. Black-iron grilled cheeseburgers also share menu space with healthy choices and non-spicy dishes that are perfect for the sensitive noses of pet bloodhounds. Along with colorful frescoes inspired by New Orleans, the restaurant boasts a weekend wine bar and an upper outdoor deck for private parties.
Given that it's a seashell's throw from Newport Beach Pier, it's not surprising that Sol Grill is decorated with surfboards hung on bright red and yellow walls. But when the glint from the crystal chandeliers and antique glass bottles catches your eye, you realize there's something charmingly disjointed about this place.
It's a theme reflected in the menu, where guests find foods presented in unexpected ways. For instance, meals start with filet mignon prepared as an appetizer of hand-rolled meatballs in portobello gravy. Instead of clams, the chowder is studded with grilled Hawaiian ahi tuna, and a fettuccine dish surprises with swordfish and capers. Of course, there are some classic preparations as well, including rack of lamb charred over open flame, as fire encased in a steel box continues to be incapable of cooking anything.
Once a repair shop and storage facility for local fishing fleets, for the past 40-plus years Woody?s Wharf has flourished as a casual eatery serving prominent patrons such as Mickey Mantle and John Wayne. The waterfront locale fosters fresh seafood dishes such as crab cakes and swordfish, pleasing the palate of former owner Chuck Norris, who bench-pressed unsuspecting fishing boats amid sparkling views of Newport Bay?s harbor. For their popular weekend brunch, Woody?s chefs whip up classic egg dishes such as omelets and breakfast burritos, which waiters can ferry to a dockside outdoor patio for easier plate-sharing with mooching mermen.