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Dining Guide for Families in Orange County

Holiday Mother Daughter Brunch at The Island Hotel


Every year, my daughter and I go together for a holiday Sunday brunch. This year, when I learned that Oak Grill at the Island Hotel was hosting breakfast with Santa, I was eager to make reservations to dine with my daughter. It was my first time dining at the newly re-designed restaurant since the pre-opening dinner, and I was immediately impressed with the relaxed ambiance and courteous service upon arrival.


The family-friendly restaurant has a chic yet relaxed dining room where families will feel at home and yet will satisfy even the most discerning travelers. Immediately it was the heated outdoor patio that caught our eye as the prime spot for us to enjoy our morning together. The wood deck patio surrounds a giant tree with beautiful lanterns and colorful fall leaves.


Just as we took our seat and began to enjoy the panoramic city views we heard the sound of Santa’s bells as he walked through the restaurant. I sipped on a warm cup of coffee while my daughter ran to give Santa a giant hug. She whispered all of her holiday wishes into his ear before returning to our table for brunch.


Our meal began with a basket of fresh pastries. It was hard to decide between the chocolate croissant and the fruit danishes so we decided to indulge in both. After we had finished our last bite of the pastries, the server delivered our first course.



With there finally a winter chill in the air around Orange County, we both ordered soup for the first course. My daughter selected the chicken noodle soup while I savored every spoonful of the butternut squash and candy apple soup with banana bread croutons. The soup was full of rich fall flavors, and the banana bread croutons gave it the perfect balance of texture.



My daughter could not resist the chocolate chip pancakes with a side of bacon and toast. While she satisfied her sweet tooth, I stepped out of my eggs Benedict phase and selected the New York Steak and Eggs. Those who have followed my culinary journey are probably shocked that I passed up Benedict on a breakfast menu, but I was ready to try something new for Sunday brunch. Being the first time that I had steak for breakfast, I quickly learned why it is a favorite to so many. The tender juicy steak was paired with truffle hollandaise and a side of roasted potatoes, peppers and onions. The steak was so filling that I never quite made it over to the eggs and potatoes.


After brunch, my daughter and I walked around the beautiful resort. There is a private walkway that we took to over Fashion Island where we finished our morning with some holiday shopping.


Oak Grill at the Island Hotel is a hidden gem where families can enjoy elevated cuisine in a family-friend environment. While Santa may not be there when your family returns for brunch, you’re family will still sense the magic in the air that he left behind.

Oak Grill at the Island Hotel is located at 690 Newport Center Drive in Newport Beach. Reservations are available by calling (949) 759-0808.

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