Orange Coast At 45 | Dining Then & Now

This magazine has gone by many names in its four and a half decades: Nieuport, Newport Life, and Orange County Newport Life, as well as Orange Coast. Since 1974, we’ve shared the stories of our county—from the Angels winning their first divisional championship to how to navigate dining at a “frightening” sushi bar. You won’t be surprised to see how far technology has come, but there are many other tidbits that might enlighten or even shock you. Reminisce with us as we review some of the highlights and lowlights from the past 45 years.

Before Orange County had Michelin-starred restaurants Taco Maria and Hana re, we were dining at these spots.

Best Burgers


Haven Gastropub
Selanne Steak Tavern
The Ranch



Restaurant Review

1980: Claim Jumper
“You can have a Porterhouse dinner for $12.95, and that is their top price. Potpies, broiled fish, shrimp, and rack of ribs are also listed on the menu. The basket of onion rings is generous in size, and a skillet of mushrooms for two is $2.25 (simmered in butter and wine and topped with cheese).”

2019: Oliver’s Osteria
“From the precisely cooked spiral of spaghetti animated by a cooked fresh tomato sauce perfumed with basil to the house-made cappelletti slick with butter and sage and scrupulously filled with minced pork, chicken, and cheeses, it’s easy to find ecstasy in the pasta category.”

Best Pizza

1987: BJ’s
“One of the things that makes this pizza different is that the topping covers the entire crust; no disgusting little rims left on plates afterward. The crust, too, is a wonderfully full yet light dough baked with a crispy bottom and a chewy center.”

2016: Pizzeria Mozza
“This firm, chewy foundation elevates each carefully composed pizza to a haunting flavor memory. Don’t miss the Napolitana, an umami opus with famed Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala, olives, anchovies, chiles, and fried capers.”


Best Restaurant

China Palace

Best Chinese
El Torito
Best Mexican/Southwestern
Wolfgang Puck Cafe
Most Promising Newcomer




Mix Mix Kitchen Bar

Marché Moderne
Journeyman’s Food & Drink





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