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Royal Hen

311 Marine Ave. (Balboa Ave.) Send to Phone
Bistro-esque “gastropub” serving up contemporary fare on tiny Balboa Island.

Dinner Tues.-Sun.
  • Dress code: Casual

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Royal Hen, Newport Beach, CA

Royal Hen Restaurant Review

: On the outside, this compact restaurant fits right in with the quaint charm of Balboa Island’s two-block main drag. Yet once you pass its red wrought iron fence and enter the intimate black-and-white space, you’re transported to a modern dining experience that's unique to this man-made island. Although the concept is technically described as a gastropub, the combination of contemporary cuisine and approachable aesthetic carries a strong bistro vibe. Starters such as chicken cracklings with avocado and 'nduja, pork belly bao with hoisin and pickled carrots, and the artichoke and sunchoke crostino with ricotta display compositional intricacy in small presentations. Larger selections, bluefin tuna loin with wild Siberian caviar and the lamb rump with charred plums, feature thoughtful ingredients that touch the plate with purpose and balance. (Former chef Tim Goodell no longer helms the kitchen.) Desserts aren’t taken for granted; delights like the coffee-cardamom pot de crème await at meal’s end. The wine list is full of intriguing boutique labels worth exploring, and the bar slings craft beers, ciders and liqueur-driven cocktails.


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