Dining Dynasties: The Art of Dining Delights All the Senses At Bayside and Bistango

Across multiple generations or among siblings, these O.C. restaurant owners make food their family’s business.
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John Ghoukassian with daughter Karyn and son Marc. Photo credit: Mariah Tauger

When John Ghoukassian launched Bistango in 1987, he injected the county’s dining culture with a timely and potent dose of urbane sophistication. The singular atrium wowed diners with a setting that was intimate yet soaring, awash in gallery art and nightly live music.

Elegant continental fare and classy service only widened its appeal, making Bistango a magnet for power lunchers, executives hosting clients, and couples in the mood for romance.

The formula wasn’t happenstance, as art-savvy John came to the U.S. having owned three popular restaurants in Tehran. When the dapper Bayside in Newport Beach debuted in 1999, John’s son and daughter Marc and Karyn were working along-side a longtime staff that still includes executive chef Paul Gstrein and other multi-decade veterans.

Gstrein dazzles the coastal crowd with swanky seasonal fare and a perpetually popular Sunday brunch with a smoked salmon Benedict so good it measures up to live music and ocean breezes. Friday nights at Bayside are legendary for the lounge’s jam session hosted by keyboard favorite Ron Kobayashi, who welcomes guests and big names passing through town to sit in and groove.

ONE MORE BITE: Bistango presents all-new art installations every quarter, launching each with a public reception. Bayside sponsors the popular Hyatt Jazz Series in Newport Beach, which benefits the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

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