Balboa Bay Resort: Lighthouse Room
1221 West Coast Hwy
Newport Beach, CA 92663
Average cost: $$$ (includes unlimited mimosas and starts at $75 per person, with a standard gratuity charge of 25% for all waitstaff)
Dress code: Resort casual
Parking: valet was complimentary after validation; self parking can also be validated but requires calling at the kiosk to be let out.
Hours: Sundays from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Notes: Quality and leisurely seafood brunch buffet with bottomless mimosas and decadent food options ranging from a raw bar to sushi and sashimi, cheese and charcuterie, delicious carving station with prime rib and lamb, al fresco omelette station, and a patisserie and dessert bar complete with chocolate fountain, all with excellent service and beautiful waterfront views. Book via OpenTable and specify outdoor seating.
Recommended: as a phenomenal choice for any celebration or just to enjoy quality time with loved ones with waterfront views.
So far in 2022, we've had two occasions to celebrate with a Sunday seafood brunch buffet, and both days we were blessed with glorious Newport Beach weather.
On our first visit, we started relatively late (1 pm), so we missed out on some of the more popular selections (for example, the sashimi selection became limited to tuna, and oysters were snapped up, but plentiful cocktail shrimp, crab claws, and mussels remained). On our second visit, we started at 11 am and enjoyed plentiful selections of everything! The staff was also very quick to replace any items that are running low.
As you can see, as soon as the "sashimi boat" started running low, a new beautiful deep dish of salmon and tuna sashimi took its place. On both visits, my first stop has been the gorgeous raw bar and sashimi and sushi station:
The seafood station includes: freshly shucked oysters, mussels, snow crab claws, poached prawns (the most deliciously chubby cocktail shrimp), and Mexican style ceviche.
There are also 3 different types of sushi rolls: crunchy (tempura shrimp), spicy tuna (a mild spice), and california rolls.
I like that these plates aren't too big - my eyes are often bigger than my stomach, so I'm glad these plates help with pacing and portion control.
As incredible as the seafood is, there are still so many other delicious offerings at the Balboa Bay Resort that you'll definitely want to save room to branch out! This carving station consisted of thyme and dijon mustard rubbed prime rib (perfectly cooked) and coffee cocoa crusted rack of lamb. Both must-try dishes! I always ask for smaller slices to save room...
The Belgian waffle in particular is a stand-out that I've enjoyed both visits. It's perfectly textured with delightful caramelized bits of sugar and so much flavor even without syrup, and served with a delicious whipped cream and berry compote. Normally I'm not into waffles at buffets, but this one is special and something I'd come back to enjoy again and again.
We thoroughly enjoyed the al fresco made-to-order omelette station on our first visit. We chose to conserve stomach space on our second visit, but I would say, go with your mood, and maybe split an omelette or ask for a smaller portion if you are keen to save room to try other buffet items. :)
If you feel like bagels and lox, there is also a good lookin' bagel station:
There are also two other stations:
(1) the antipasto, seasonal salad, crudite, and fruit station: a gorgeous and generous selection of artisanal cheese and charcuterie, with all the quality accompaniments (e.g., marcona almonds, honeycomb, savory jam, and pickles).
(2) the "hot delight" station, which included steamed sea bass, grilled free-range chicken, applewood smoked bacon, rosemary breakfast potatoes, roasted seasonal root vegetables, as well as some kid friendly options, like chicken tenders, mac and cheese, and tater tots. Yum!
Last but not least, you can end your brunch buffet on a sweet note. Based on our two visits, there's plenty of variety that varies week to week with respect to the patisserie and dessert bar.
The patisserie items in particular were crowd pleasers.
And there's even a Valrhona chocolate fountain. Epic!
With such a wide variety of delicious and quality brunch options, gorgeous al fresco dining and waterfront views, as well as excellent service, it's no wonder that this is becoming a popular Sunday brunch spot. We look forward to finding another special occasion to visit!