First Look: Marche Moderne in Newport Beach

We were part of the first wave of guests invited to visit Marche Moderne’s new space. Occupying one end of Crystal Cove Promenade Shopping Center, this highly anticipated opening has been under wraps since early this year. We got an inkling of what to expect from Chefs Amelia and Florent Marneau.

The restaurant itself is divided into multiple seating areas. Starting from the far right, you’ll have a corner of cozy booths and tables that seat up to four guests. The next set is a long banquette, forming a divider between their main entrance and the dining room, as those seated along the plush mohair have a perfect view of Marche’s kitchen (Find better views on our Instagram Story). The hot line is set further back, but through the glass were pristine countertops and the coolest of charcuterie slicers.

Beyond the banquette is an expanded bar (and no more competing with shopping bags!) with small tables, plus a couple of cushioned seats along the wall. We should note this specific area is perfectly tented, but with an indoor feel. Our guitarist for the evening had a dedicated space, so perhaps the occasional live entertainment will perform? We shall see. Finally, our eyes gazed into a familiar modest patio. The only outdoor seating area, it’ll be perfect once the heatwave breaks— then again, the temps along PCH are always better than anywhere inland.

Lunch service will not be offered. However, Monday and Tuesday night dinners will include a $38, 3-course spontane menu. Per Amelia, Sunday brunch(!!) is approximately six months down the line. In addition, we should note that only 30 tables a night will have reservations. Talk about being the hot ticket in town. Another thing to look forward to: An improved bar program with house-infused syrups (think the highest quality vanilla and yuzu, thanks to the kitchen).

The favorite spot at the previous Marche dining room was a single table with slightly elevated, direct view of the kitchen known as Table 21. The new 21 is a nook to the left of the bar. Perfect for some privacy to conduct business meetings, or to share with that special someone.

The question of the night was when they planned to open. And the simple answer is September. Amelia and Florent do not want to commit to an exact date. However, it’s safe to say it’ll be closer to two to four weeks away. We believe if anyone can make this vacancy thrive, it’ll be the Marneaus.

Marche Moderne’s new home is at 7862 E Pacific Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, (714) 434-7900; www.marchemoderne.net.

A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.

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