Back In Time At The Arches In Newport Beach

The Arches, 3334 West Coast Highway, Newport Beach, CA

Arches Newport Beach 80th Anniversary

Those in the know said that The Arches in Newport Beach was the place to be in the upscale boating community of Newport Beach, about an hours drive from downtown Los Angeles. A first visit to this affluent coastal city would not be appropriate without a visit to the Arches, and I was lucky o get a reservation on the busiest night of the week.The restaurant has been around for over 80 years and has had four owners, the latest being the hands on Dan Marcheano. It started out as a roadhouse, and as late as the forties it was still no more than a burger joint (a direct quote from an eighty-year old woman on the next table who has been coming to the Arches since she was a child). It has survived prohibition, the depression, earthquakes, floods and the recession. Today it is one of the breed of old style steak houses, no doubt fuelled by the recent surge of interest in steak houses especially in the Beverly Hills area.

John Wayne used to eat here, but before that the place was a favorite hangout for the bootleggers who used to celebrate after bringing in the hard liquor from Mexico before running it up the coast to Los Angeles. After that ended in 1933, legalized gambling in Newport Beach saw the Arches home to slot machines and more, but by the time Shirley Temple cut the ribbon to launch Newport Harbor things had slowed down. The Arches has changed little in fifty years with those familiar red leather horseshoe shaped booths and dozens of waiters scurrying around. These are not people doing it part time or before their big break. They are true pros, fast, knowledgeable and also responsible for preparing some of the dishes and even carving the meat. I have to say that I felt rather rushed, but I suppose it was a busy Saturday night, and people were still coming in as late as 11 p.m.. Rat Pack style art adorns the walls with portraits of such luminaries as Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Marilyn Monroe from local artist Michael Bryan.

Arches Newport Beach Dinner

All the old favorites are on the menu such as Shrimp Cocktail ($13.95), Caesar Salad (10.95), Lobster Thermador (25.00) and of course an extensive selection of steaks. Unlike Morton's Steak House, which offered six choices of how you wanted your steak, the Arches just offered the normal three without the fancy presentation. I tried the Blackened Swordfish at $36, which incidentally includes soup or salad, vegetable and mashed potato or rice pilaf. The same meal costs a bargain $18.95 on a Sunday/Monday night along with Sautéed Sand dabs, Lobster Thermador, Beef Stroganoff along with most of the Veal or chicken dishes. Crab lovers will no doubt enjoy the Stone Crab Claws from Florida, Maryland Soft Shell Crab Bouillabaisse or the Alaskan King Crab Legs. Ribeye, Delmonico and Porterhouse Steaks are all around 27 oz as well as the Veal Chop, and only prime beef is served which is hand cut on the premises.

Specialty items include the Filet of Beef Wellington Bouquetiere baked in a crust and served with Madeira sauce at $69 for two, Roast Rack of Lamb (65.00) and French cut lamb chops served with grilled pineapple ring and battered egg noodles for $28.50 each person. The Arches is not a cheap night out, but if you want that in Newport Beach then you can try and get a reservation at the bustling Joe's Crab Shack at about a quarter the price of the Arches-but there again you almost always end up getting what you paid for.

Tel: 949 645 7077

Dress: Business Casual
Parking: Valet

Cost for 2 people w/wine $150

The Arches on the web

Restaurant Hours:
LunchMonday - Friday 11:00 a.m. - 3.00 p.m.
Dinner7 days 4:30 p.m. - 01.00 a.m.
Mike Hepworth, May 2002

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