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The Crab Cooker Restaurant Review: Opened in 1951 and located a couple of short blocks away from the bustling Newport Pier on Balboa Peninsula, The Crab Cooker is a classic American seafood restaurant --- a casual, kid-friendly spot with simple tables, paper plates and eclectic décor. This place is so down to Earth, in fact, that former president Richard Nixon stopped by once and was told to stand in line like everyone else. Don't discount this staple, though, as the fish here is reliably fresh and nicely cooked. On the menu is Pacific Dungeness crab, Alaskan king crab and king crab “killer” claws, Australian lobster and other fish and shellfish flown in from around the world. Regulars stop by often to pick up fresh seafood from the in-house market or for a comforting bowl of Manhattan clam chowder. The wine list includes some nice California selections by the glass and bottle.