An Exclusive First Look at Bear Flag Owner’s New Restaurant in Lido Marina Village, Circle Hook

A Childhood Friendship Rooted in Newport Fishing Comes Full Circle

Written By: Si Si Penaloza New Restaurant Newport Beach
Photographed By: Rashaun Richardson

The seafood czar behind Orange County’s favorite taco spots— Bear Flag and Wild Taco—is opening a completely new concept at Lido Marina Village this sometime this year (date not confirmed). Circle Hook is a clever spin on healthier fried fish by Thos Carson, founder of Bear Flag Fish Co. and Wild Taco, and Scott Breneman, a proud fourth-generation Dory Fleet fisherman and the impresario behind West Caught Fish Company. The collaboration is a natural partnership; the two have been fishing buddies since childhood.

Breneman and Carson have read their posh demographic perfectly—handcrafted, fried fish treats that won’t undo your Cross Fit or Core Power Yoga. This is also the audience that desperately needs an intelligent, reality check kids menu that neither panders nor fleeces funds for fish fingers. Marina-facing restaurants that play the flexibility card are bound to score big. Breneman assures me they’ll deliver on this point in spades: “Our casual, paper trays will encourage people to share a lot of dishes in-house, or grab and go, or linger on our patio.”

Locals will be drawn to this chic, hidden spot as it offers a hidden-away intimacy rare in these parts. Beyond a healthy take on fish and chips, expect to see wonton poke tacos, oysters on the half shell and fragrant, Thai coconut clams alongside a robust kids menu. Circle Hook will focus on local, sustainably-caught fish such as black cod and red snapper. This is the latest eatery set to open at Lido Marina Village, joining the illustrious Nobu, Zinquè and Lido Bottle Works.

So what’s behind the quirky name?  A ‘circle hook’ is a more humane type of fishing gear that is safer for the fish than old-school snares; if an unwanted catch grabs the hook, the fisherman can release it effortlessly.

A majority of the fare at Circle Hook will trade on seafood made simple, or that features an Asian-inspired twist. The only downside? Your clan may get too jaded, scoffing at any fish dish unless it was just caught that morning. We can’t wait!

Circle Hook
3432 Via Oporto, Ste 104
Newport Beach, CA 92663

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