Fresh Fish at Bluewater Grill in Newport Beach, California

“Hold it down at your side, so it’s not noticeable,” I whispered to my husband as we entered the apparently upscale Bluewater Grill. Nonchalantly he held the clear-plastic bag of pristinely filleted sculpin low and somewhat behind his back, as a child bringing a bouquet of dandelions to his mother. It had been a twelve-hour day deep-sea fishing, and we were hoping to eat our fresh catch. From the initial appearance, maybe we had the wrong information. As the host approached, I casually mentioned, we brought our fish, just in case we hadn’t understood correctly. He didn’t appear shocked at all, as he said, “Great,” with a smile. We breathed a sigh of relief. The charter-fishing tour guide was correct; the Bluewater Grill will cook your catch for you. No problem!

Location: The Bluewater Grill is at 630 Lido Park Drive on the water in Cannery Village, Newport Beach, California.

Menu: Bluewater Grill’s boat the “Pilikia” brings in harpooned swordfish. They purchase their other fresh fish directly from fishers, during the season. Their sustainably caught fish provides a menu of over 40 annual varieties; however, there’s also a selection of non-seafood items for landlubbers. Those preferring a non-fish option can choose from a New York strip, cheeseburger, baby back ribs, or chicken “under a brick.” The local farm-fresh sides, listed with their originating farm are particularly appealing.

Thoughts: From the outside, the restaurant appeared formal and upscale. Not somewhere, you would dine after a day deep-sea fishing, but the casual family-friendly vibe and their traditional nautical décor make it a perfect venue for such diners. Many diners dressed in jeans.

 The restaurant situated over the water allows easy access for those who wish to arrive by a larger boat.

 My favorite dishes are:

  • The beer-battered fish are crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. Our self-caught portion was served family style on a platter in the center of the table with house-made tartar sauce and fresh cut lemon halves. We had a difficult time deciding between a beer-battered preparation and a grilled one, so after selecting beer-batter, the server also had a couple of pieces grilled so that we could compare. Both were delicious, although the grilled certainly healthier. Chips and coleslaw served on the side.
  • The crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside, oven roasted fingerling potatoes served with crumbles of Applewood smoked bacon and a sprinkle of Italian parsley. The menu denotes that the potatoes originate at the Weiser family farms in Tehachapi,[amazon_textlink asin=’1465441131′ text=’ California’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’07b34bfe-6e1c-11e7-b158-4d06f33a7f4e’].
  • The creamy scalloped potatoes sliced to about an eighth of an inch, so there was still some texture after cooking.
  • The traditional [amazon_textlink asin=’B01M2Z2EQ6′ text=’key lime pie’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’16507319-6e1c-11e7-8a66-132e7ca31c3f’] had graham cracker crust and a creamy filling with the zip of lime. It was sweet, yet tart.

If you’d like to bring your catch for dinner check out the local charter-fishing opportunities.

Check out the Newport Beach hotel options, along with reviews, on TripAdvisor. We like to comparison shop for the best hotel prices on Hotels Combined.

Price range: Dinner for two was about $60. Appetizers range from seafood ceviche cocktail for $12 to Maryland-style crab cakes for $14.50. Entrees range from a beer-battered fish and chips for $18.50 to steak and lobster for $60. Cocktails are typical $10.

Hours: Monday through Thursday from 11 am to 9:30 pm, Friday, and Saturday from 11 am to 10 pm, and Sunday 10 am to 9:30 pm. Happy Hour is 3:30 to 6:30, Monday through Friday.

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Amy Piper
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