Newport Beach’s Hidden Gem Launches Winter Menu

Lighthouse Bayview Café Kicks Off Second Year With New, Delicious Winter Menu

Written by: Elaine Morgan Cutting  Lighthouse Bayview Café
Photographed By: Adam Gil

Tucked in the back of the beautiful new Marina Park, community and sailing center, facing out over the scenic Balboa Bay, sits a tall, conical lighthouse structure. Inside this structure is the cozy and friendly Lighthouse Bayview Café. The circular dining area is about 80 percent windows, facing over the waters of the bay. It’s positioned directly at the docking center, so you can arrive by sea if you prefer, docking your boat before grabbing a bite to eat. Decked out in light shades of blue, the main inner dining area consists mostly of softly colored wooden tables positioned around a long window bench curving around the walls, complete with homey, ocean-inspired throw pillows. However, the most eye-catching aspect of the restaurant is the rotating light fixture hanging in the middle. Designed to harken back to an original lighthouse, the fixture is lined with Edison light bulbs behind their own individual lenses. The entire structure constantly spins to imitate the rotation of a lighthouse beacon. One night in late November, we got the immense pleasure of testing out the Lighthouse Bayview Café’s new winter menu, specially designed to celebrate their one year anniversary.

Crafted by Executive Chef, Ryan Sumner, the menu features warm, hearty meals intended to keep you warm all day on the chilly bay dock. The evening started with cocktail and wine samplings, featuring the La Crema Chardonnay, and Pessimist red, along with the featured cocktail, the BikiniTini, a refreshing mimosa-like mix of soju, peach, orange juice, and champagne topped with a fresh strawberry. A hefty commitment comes with the newest addition to the drink menu, the Buddy’s Bloody, a hearty bloody Mary served in a mason jar so large, it’s advisable to hold with both hands. Topped with a small forest of celery, salami, olives and various other fixings, this twist on a classic is strong but well worth the attention it demands.

The entrées of the evening involved pulled pork cuban paninis along with tender, melt-in your mouth short ribs. The most exciting menu item, however, was the pan seared scallop, served in a clamshell with sweet corn relish, baby zucchini, and cauliflower puree. Dessert included a delicious offering off the decadent brunch menu of banana pecan bread pudding French toast topped with a salted caramel drizzle and whipped cream. The night was made complete with perfectly light and fluffy beignets cooked to airy perfection with cinnamon sugar and drizzled cream cheese icing.      

The genius behind this fantastic new menu is the young and charmingly charismatic Executive Chef, Ryan Sumner. At 27 years old, he has been with Lighthouse Bayview since its beginning almost one year ago. Sumner spent most of his childhood around food in California as his parents own a market in Irvine. He took that love of food and carried it forward, graduating from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. He likes to make sure his Southern California inspired dishes are accessible to all patrons of various tastes and all his plates are as friendly and bright as the atmosphere in which they are served.

Lighthouse Bayview Café serves all day; breakfast, lunch, and dinner and weekend brunch for a full weeks’ worth of delightful offerings. They even offer a happy hour from 3-6 p.m. on weekdays and a nightly special every evening. In addition to the adorable interior, the café also includes outdoor seating around and on the second floor of the structure. Their to-go area offers quick meals while exploring the stunningly beautiful Marina Park area or while taking a break from sailing. Although the winter menu is focused on fuller, warmer, foods, other options are still available for those who wish for something lighter. This is Southern California after all, we have warm Decembers.

With something to offer everyone, the Lighthouse Bayview Café is the cozy, nautical spot perfect for any relaxing meal and watching the boats pass on the bay outside. This holiday season especially promises spectacular views of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade and a special fixed price menu curated by Chef Ryan Sumner.

Lighthouse Bayview Café
1600 W Balboa Blvd
Newport Beach, CA 92663
A Fresh Seasonal Change to Commemorate a Year of Operation

About the author

Elaine moved across the country to Orange County with her family when she was twelve. She is passionate about frequenting and featuring local businesses and stories. She graduated from University of California Irvine with double majors in English and Literary Journalism. In her free time, you’ll probably find Elaine at a local coffee shop reading or working avidly on her next writing project.


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