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Dining at The Deck; photography by Andrea Bricco

On the Waterfront

by Wendy Bowman-Littler | Riviera Orange County magazine | July 9, 2012

It’s summer—get out! Grab your shades and head to one of these great quick-bite eateries along the coast. From Newport Beach to San Clemente, you’ll find good eats and drinks along with fun in the sun.

On a hot summer day, sometimes nothing hits the spot like a margarita, and Cabo Cantina (100 S. Main St., Newport Beach, 949.675.7760, thecabocantina.com) near the Balboa Pier serves up a variety of flavored margs that you can savor as you gaze upon the sun-seekers hitting the sand. With a prime spot along the boardwalk, there are plenty of ocean breezes to cool you down. Go there on Taco Tuesday and for $5, you can indulge in an all-you-can eat selection of chicken, steak or veggie folds.

Head to the deck at The Beachcomber Café (15 Crystal Cove, Newport Beach, 949.376.6900, thebeachcombercafe.com) to enjoy locally sourced, coastal-inspired cuisine ranging from tiny ahi tacos to the signature namesake drink made with citrus vodka, lemon and lime juices, and Island Blue Pucker. Stroll the historic park’s sandy beach to see dolphins, tide pools and the bungalow where scenes from the movie Beaches were shot. Then stay for the raising of the martini flag at 5pm.

Snag a front-row seat on the surfside come-as-you-are patio of The Deck at the Pacific Edge Hotel (647 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, 949.494.6700, deckonlaguna.com). Try a Blue Crush made with fresh blueberry and Absolut, then order up a couple of chef Michael Ingrino’s crowd-pleasing dishes—we like the ahi chips and shrimp ceviche.

Delight in panoramic views of the Dana Point Harbor from every seat in the house at the Wind & Sea Restaurant (34699 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, 949.496.6500, windandsearestaurants.com). At lunchtime, the waterfront patio is jammed with diners eager to watch boats come and go while sipping a house-specialty mai tai and munching on favorites like the sashimi or seafood pasta.

Nosh on delectable Pacific Northwest seafood at Fisherman’s Restaurant & Bar (611 Avenida Victoria, San Clemente, 949.498.6390, thefishermansrestaurant.com). O.C.’s faithful have beaten a path to the pier-based restaurant and adjacent oyster bar to partake in the endless ocean vistas and devour clam chowder, steamed mussels and specialty drinks like the Trestle—a blend of Midori, pineapple juice and coconut cream. Get ready to beat the heat!