* Click here for rating key
A&O Kitchen + Bar Restaurant Review: This gastropub concept fits in quite nicely with the rest of Balboa Bay Resort’s redesigned, refined-yet-approachable milieu. The open, uncluttered interior of Anchors & Oceans, the place’s full name, uses light woods and splashy artwork to lend vibrancy. Floor-to-ceiling glass draws the majesty of the Newport Harbor inside, so you won’t feel too disappointed if you can’t enjoy a glass of wine, craft beer or cocktail on the lounge-like outdoor patio. Executive chef Rachel Haggstrom injects a dose of whimsy into a menu that deftly straddles the line between bar food and upscale bites. Simple items like the beer-battered fries with bacon lardons, cheese sauce and sour cream are surprisingly tough to resist, while the braised beef shepherd's pie bites and the moonshine-marinated rib-eye provide more complex expressions of easygoing contemporary cuisine. Desserts are also a highlight, especially the "Twisted Sisters" concoction of salted caramel, sweet chocolate and pretzel crumble.