Spend a blissful weekend dining and drinking your way through The Shops on El Paseo.
Story by Amelia Rodriguez
Photography by Elizabeth O’Baker, courtesy The Shops on El Paseo
From brunch with your buds to an anniversary-worthy dinner, there’s a restaurant at The Shops on El Paseo for every kind of outing. Ready your dessert stomach — we’re eating good all weekend long.
Show a lunch date your adventurous spirit by skipping California Pizza Kitchen’s titular pie in favor of a more unexpected menu item. The restaurant’s West Coast Burger blends wagyu, chuck, and brisket for an ultra-flavorful patty piled with American cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, and caramelized onions, plus all the classic fixings. The burger pairs beautifully with autumnal options like the lightly hoppy Samuel Adams Octoberfest Lager and the decadent pumpkin cheesecake (two words: gingersnap crust).
Dinner: Porta Via
Round out your day with a little surf and turf, surrounded by the elegant green-and-gold decor at midcentury-inspired eatery Porta Via. The restaurant’s chef garnishes the French-cut pork chop with fennel pollen and a Grand Marnier sauce and pairs it with spicy Thai chili–glazed Brussels sprouts and sweet potato fries. Pescatarians should try the Parmesan-crusted halibut, accompanied by beurre blanc and grilled asparagus.
Brunch: Kitchen 86
Every good Sunday begins with bottomless mimosas, and Kitchen 86 offers an endless supply for 15 bucks a head. Pair the sparkly sips with your choice of three hollandaise-topped Benedicts: carnitas and avocado, fried boom boom shrimp, or the tried-and-true classic with Canadian bacon. Veer off the typical brunch path and grab the breakfast pizza, loaded with eggs, mushrooms, mozzarella, and three kinds of meat (including bacon, of course).
The minds behind Sedona, Arizona’s innovative Mexican food outfit Molé open their El Paseo location next month. When you plan your visit, you’ll want to start with a tangy sea bass ceviche, served with avocado and a lightly fruity sauce made from Peruvian yellow chili peppers. Then try the enchiladas: Molé offers an indulgent bison short rib option and a chicken version drenched in their signature Oaxaca-style mole sauce. Even with a prominent chocolate flavor, mole leans more spicy than sweet — unlike the eatery’s churros, which come stuffed with goat’s milk caramel and plated alongside vanilla ice cream. Yes, please.
New kid on the block Shorebird arrives this spring. A creative seafood eatery with locations in Newport Beach and Sedona, Arizona, the restaurant will serve fresh sushi, sashimi, and oysters in addition to salmon, steak, and more — so you’ll have Friday night’s dinner covered, too.