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Nobu Heads to Orange County as Part of Massive Newport Beach Waterfront Makeover

The restaurant giant is still a ways out, though.

A rendering of the upcoming Nobu, Newport Beach
A rendering of the upcoming Nobu, Newport Beach
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Nobu, the international Japanese restaurant empire known as much for its high-end clientele as its fresh fish, is finally coming to Orange County. But instead of building out a standalone space with ocean views somewhere high up on a cliff, they’re actually helping to revitalize one of Newport Beach’s biggest secret blights.

Since the 1970’s, the city has had its own waterside boardwalk full of retail spaces and aimed at consumer walkability. The problem is, nobody’s been using the damn thing, and so it’s been largely vacant for a long, long time. But now developers DJM Capital Partners are reformatting the 17-acre space, known as Lido Marina Village, hoping to transform it into something akin to Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica — full of sweeping views, seagulls, and spendy shoppers, with real estate prices to match.

Those developers are earmarking tens of thousands of square feet for restaurants, with one of the first big known names being Nobu. The whole place is under construction right now though, with a targeted early rollout due at the end of the year. Insiders, though, say Nobu won’t show up until next summer.

When it does come, expect a massive 12,500 square foot space, with some 1,500 square feet right along the water and another matching footprint up on a second level, overlooking the marina. The architect, Severine Tatangelo at Studio PCH, will also install a sushi bar and lounge area, to make sure there’s a little something for everyone.

There will likely be lots more big names landing along this beachy stretch of Newport Beach as well, so stay tuned.