On Friday, December 20, 2013, the restaurant FIG & OLIVE opened its’ doors in Newport Beach, CA with a new home in the prestigious outdoor mall, known as Fashion Island. I was excited to attend the preview party on December 18th sponsored by Riviera Magazine with an opportunity to check out a smattering of what Fig & Olive had to offer to the OC scene and I was quite impressed! The company’s second West Coast location joins existing Fig & Olive restaurants in
Melrose Place/West Hollywood, New York City, and an upcoming Chicago restaurant will be opening summer 2014. Food from the restaurant is inspired by the coastal regions in the South of France along the French Riviera, with a menu designed by Executive Chef Pascal Lorange.
Fig & Olive owner/founder Laurent Halasz grew up in the town of Mougins which is located south of France and he envisioned the Newport Beach location to be somewhat of a California Riviera coastline comparable to the atmosphere found along the French Riviera. Fig & Olive Newport Beach is very reminiscent of the South of France where I grew up: located on a beautiful coast with olive trees all around and refined cuisine and décor,” says Halasz. “Our new restaurant aims to transport guests to the French Riviera and it is with great thanks to the shared vision
of the Irvine Company that we are able to create this true French Riviera ‘oasis’ in the heart of Orange County.” I must say I agree…having visited the French Riviera myself, see picture 🙂 Newport Beach definitely has a gorgeous similarity to the coastline of France and I enjoyed my time there thoroughly in June 2010! 🙂
The new Fig & Olive restaurant in Newport Beach encompasses many awesome areas such as a lounge, 3 different rooms, and a nearly 2,700 square foot terrace garden lounge! A diverse wine list includes varietals that represent the distinctive regional flavors of the South of France, Italy, and Spain. There are over 20 types of wine offered by the glass, along with full bottles and champagne. This makes me very happy being a wine lover myself. I love the variety of choices. There is also a crostini station at the end of the bar with a variety of cured meats, marinated vegetables, cheeses, and small plates.
For food items, Executive Chef Pascal Lorange has created a menu centered on farmers market and hand-selected ingredients for their genuine taste and seasonality. “At Fig & Olive, we highlight our menu’s core ingredient of olive oil, which we use in place of butter in our dishes—ranging from a sweet and delicate olive oil that pairs well with a Steamed Lemon Sole Papillote, to a green-fruit olive oil that we serve with a Green Apple Sorbet,” says Lorange.
Executive Chef Pascal Lorange trained at the three-star Michelin-rated Restaurant Georges Blanc in Vonnas, France at the age of 19 and he continued to become established and well known while working as a private chef to Spanish singer Julio Iglesias and cooking for celebrities such as Oscar de la Renta, Princess Stephanie of Monaco, and the Clintons. Lorange finds inspiration along with Halasz during their yearly endeavors through Italy, Spain, and the South of France, where they have an opportunity to continue to discover new olive oils and local recipes to create a seasonal and ingredient-driven menu.
The menu at Fig & Olive Newport Beach caters to a range of different dining experiences. Guests can gather at the Crostini Station to enjoy tasting dishes and shareable small plates such as the Zucchini Carpaccio with fresh lemon juice, pine nuts, parmesan, and Picholine Olive Oil or a Octopus a la Gallega which has thinly sliced braised octopus with marinated bell pepper, fingerling potato, black olive, basil, arugula, pimenton lemon dressing, and Cobrancosa Olive Oil. There are many other small bites as well!
For lunch, guests can select from a variety of flavorful options including a Shrimp & Salmon Riviera Salad, comprised of Tiger shrimp marinated with fresh cilantro, fennel, avocado, tomato, scallion toast with ricotta-marinated raw salmon, citrus, and cilantro olive oil dressing, or a Lobster Bisque with pimenton chive mascarpone, as well as a variety of many other options.
Some popular choices at dinner include Chilean Sea Bass marinated in lemon thyme with carrot, asparagus, celery root purée, fingerling potato confit, charmoula, and mascarpone Harissa Olive Oil Emulsion or a grilled branzino glazed with a fig and 18-year balsamic vinegar, figs, snow peas, and a sweet Picholine Olive Oil. There are also a variety of other decadent entrees to select from.
Desserts include a paper-thin Warm Caramelized Apple Tart—a family recipe handed down by Halasz’s mother; Chocolate Pot de Crème with crunchy praline financiers; and fig cake with olive oil ice cream.
Fig & Olive Newport Beach is also currently offering over 30 different varietals of olive oil that are all available for purchase that range from different regions in France and Spain as well as an assortment of aged vinegars, and specialty olives & spreads. Prices range from $12-$32.
Fig & Olive Newport Beach is located on 401 Newport Center Dr., Suite 151 at Fashion Island, Newport Beach, CA and they are open for lunch, brunch, & dinner daily. On weekends, special holidays, and private events, FIG & OLIVE’s has soulful house and new Downtempo music by St. Tropez‘s celebrity DJ Julien Nolan.
Head into Fig & Olive today and share your experience with me below! This is definitely an awesome place to check out if you are looking for a new and exciting meal experience, a special occasion, a date night or a night out with the family! I hope to return to visit Fig & Olive soon!
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