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Test Your Newport Knowledge With These 12 Questions Only a True Local Would Know!

Written and Photographed By: Erik Hale Newport Beach Peninsula

If you are reading this right now, you most likely fall into one of two categories: you are either planning a visit to Newport Beach and want to know more about this gorgeous area, or you are a local wanting to know if we know what we’re talking about. I hope this helps you, whichever category you fall into.

The Newport Peninsula has long been associated with an unruly Fourth of July celebration, featuring bars like Mutt’s, Blackies, Beach Ball and yes, even Sharkeez. Newport is not only a place to get your drink on, but it’s home to some great local food. Locals love to grab a Big Bargain Combo at TK Burger, a Diamond Head Acai Bowl at Banzai Bowl or a burger at Cassidy’s. If you’re local, you can’t resist the Combo Salad at Ho Sum Bistro, an “Al Cap Special” bagel and taco Tuesday at Great Mex. You also eat Mamá Avila’s Soup at El Ranchito, order late-night cheese pizzas at Laventina’s and have probably had a sushi roll at Sakae Sushi. 

We can’t leave off local favorites like sipping on a French martini on the rooftop at Blue Beet, grabbing a coffee in your own cup at Alta or watching tourists pile into Mama D’s every weekend. The Peninsula also has places with deep-reaching roots in the community, including Class of ‘47, the Balboa Saloon and Sabatino’s. The most recent addition to this list of classics is probably at or near the top of most locals list: Bear Flag. This spot is the perfect stop for poke, a Bear Flag burrito, fish tacos and sushi.  

We would also recommend you grab a sandwich at Sessions, a quesadilla and beer on tap from Chihuahua, a breakfast burrito at Dory Deli, a haircut at Byrd or Andrea Orsi Beauty Lounge or a stiff drink at The Alley.

How well do you know Newport Peninsula? This quiz will sort out the local experts from the first-timers. You can keep track of your own score and let us know how well you did in the comments!

Newport Beach Peninsula
1. What restaurant at Lido Marina Village has an AYCE sushi and brunch buffet upstairs in their waterfront restaurant on Sundays from noon-3 p.m. for $75?

2. What restaurant did Chef Noah Von Blom recently open? They serve a family-size taco party (serves 10) that you can pick up for the big game or feed the whole team.

3. Did you know that Newport Brew Co. was purchased by local entrepreneur Mario Maravek? He completely overhauled it to make which great new brewery?

4. What does The Cannery now offer on the weekends? Also, if you haven’t been recently, the remodeled downstairs with the all-new Snug Bar has an amazing cocktail program.

5. Where can you have a very private Irish pub experience with a few close friends?

6. What is the slightly hidden, cute and cozy waterside restaurant on Lafayette called? It has our vote for the most romantic date night spot on the Peninsula.

7. Have you ever had the Omakase menu at San Shi Go in Balboa? This might be the best bar-side sushi experience in Orange County.

8. Did you know there was shopping and dining at Lido Marina Village?  Well good for you, but that’s not the question. Have you been to the super cute party shop Wild Child, the private dining room at Malibu Farm or attended the Wednesday farmers market? What day is the Lido Marina Farmers Market?

9. What hotel has a rooftop deck perfect for a sunset toast called Topside Bar?

10. What’s happening to the Lido Theatre?!

11. Did you know that there is a waterfront co-working space you can rent by the hour called Hana Haus near Lido Marina Village? Bonus points if you know what the coffee shop inside is called.

12. A new fried chicken restaurant recently opened. A chicken sandwich with a side of mac and cheese is a killer combo. What’s this new spot called?

13. Where can you stop for a cute latte and choose from a variety of different flavors, such as peanut butter cup and turmeric spice?


ANSWERS: 1. Nobu 2. Arc Butcher & Baker 3. Helmsman Ale House 4. Bottomless champagne brunch 5. Fable & Spirit 6. The Dock 7. 8. Wednesday 9. Lido House Hotel 10. They are currently renovating the theatre and the over 600-seat theatre is slated to open again this spring. 11. Blue Bottle Coffee 12. Summer’s Fried Chicken 13. Balboa Lily’s

Newport Beach Peninsula

How well did you do?
0-4 correct = You just checked in to your Airbnb.
5-8 correct = Congrats, you’re a local.
9-11 correct = You need to Netflix and Chill; you’re doing too much!