Upscale Happy Hour: Andrea Ristorante

I went on a little weekend getaway with my parents by having a staycation at the Marriott Newport Beach Villas. Newport Beach has some amazing Happy Hours, but some you may have to adventure into some of the amazing resorts in the area.

 

Pelican Hill Sign

 

Our hotel is right at the base of Pelican Hill, which is where the Resort at Pelican Hill is located. In this case, we ended up walking up the hill, which is quite the trek up. However, I’m sure most of you would just drive directly to the restaurant.
 
Andrea Ristorante sign as you pull in

 

We ended up going to give Andrea Ristorante a try, which is a very upscale Italian restaurant. I don’t know too many upscale restaurants that have a Happy Hour, so it’s great whenever you have the opportunity to go experience it.

 

Happy Hour Menu

 

This Happy Hour is only 2 hours long, but it is set up for people to head over there right after work, which is convenient. Another thing is that every single item on the Happy Hour menu is $7, so you know whatever you order on the menu will be the same price. However, the menu is very limited in options, so I hope you are a fan of pizza because it is the only food item here.

 

View from the seat

 

The bar is set up as a circle in the middle of the room, so this helps maximize the number of seats there are. The thing that impressed me was the giant vase at the center of all the different liquors. It is just so grand that it definitely makes it the main icon of this bar.

 

Bar snacks: Marcona Almonds, Candied Hazelnuts, Citrus Marinated Olives

 

Before ordering any food they provided a nice arrangement of bar snacks but on the high end. On the left are Marcona almonds covered in sumac, paprika, salt, and olive oil. In the middle are candied hazelnuts and to the right citrus-marinated olives. You know my love for spicy food, so you can probably guess which of these snacks were my favorite. I honestly could not stop eating those almonds because it was the perfect amount of spice! Just in case the almonds are too spicy for you the hazelnuts can help give your mouth a sweet taste. I did not get a chance to try the olives, but my parents thought they were some of the best olives ever.

 

Pelican Margarita

 

I know, I know, another margarita! Don’t worry this isn’t turning into a margarita blog. This is what my dad ordered as his second drink because he didn’t like the first one. He loves to do sugar rims on his drinks, so sipping from the rim of this margarita gave it sweeter notes.

 

Seasonal Cocktail

 

I ended up ordering the seasonal cocktail on the Happy Hour menu, which is the first drink that my dad ordered. I for one really enjoyed this drink. It’s a nice simple cocktail with just three ingredients. Greygoose pear vodka, lemon juice, and cinnamon-infused simple syrup. I’ve never had a pear infused vodka, so it was a wonderful new experience. I guess if you are going to do a new flavor of vodka, it might as well be Greygoose. You can almost say it was similar to a pear cobbler since in some cobblers they pour a little lemon juice over the fruit in the cobbler. Then, of course, the cinnamon-infused simple syrup gave it that wintery taste.

 

Margherita Pizza

 

Surprise, surprise, we ordered the Margherita pizza! Margherita pizza is so simple, but sometimes it is a lot tougher pull off some of the most simple food items if not done right. However, Andrea Ristorante really pulled it off with this delicious pizza. A great crust covered in tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, and for a unique perspective micro basil. From John’s note, one of the bartenders, he prefers real basil because it is more fragrant, which I do agree with. If I were to find one critique it would be I wish the crust had a little more color to it. And a critique from my dad is that he wished that it had more sauce. He is someone that always orders extra sauce on all of his pizzas though. Other than that, this was one fabulous Margherita pizza!
As you know we are on this adventure strictly for Happy Hours, but I would be doing you a disservice if I did not share the entire experience that we had at this amazing restaurant. So, the next pictures are all of the non-Happy Hour items that we had there.

 

Monte Carlo Baby

 

You know my love for rum, so I just had to order the Monte Carlo Baby. This drink was a mixture of Plantation 5yr., Courvoisier VSOP, Creme de Peche, Orange, Lemon, and Angostura Bitters. Courvoisier is a brand of cognac developed in the Charente region of France. Creme de Peche is a peach liqueur. All of these ingredients made it a unique tropical drink that is definitely going into my top 5 tropical drinks ever.
 

 

However, I would have to say the biggest highlight of the night was the above martini. This is essentially a martini version of the seasonal cocktail that I had earlier. Todd the bartender actually made 3 of these drinks on the house for my parents and I. This drink was on a whole new level and the other ingredient that pushed this drink to be one of the best I’ve ever had, Cointreau. This is similar to Triple Sec, but while your normal bottle of Triple Sec costs $4-$6 this bottle is $32. I wanted to give Todd a shout out, not just for the free drinks but making sure I experienced one of the best drinks I’ve ever had.

 

Eggplant Parmesan

 

We ordered a side order of Eggplant parmesan. I felt like there was little eggplant in the dish and most of it was tomato sauce. That being said This was some of the best tomato sauce I have ever had, so I did not mind it being mostly sauce. Also being the cheese lover I am, having that huge dollop of ricotta cheese on top was amazing.

 

Mezzelune di Zucca

 

Mezzelune di Zucca, which are half-moon ravioli filled with squash. The full description of this tasty dish is as follows: winter squash, sage, brown butter, pumpkin seeds, horseradish, and squash blossoms. The way they prepared the winter squash made this dish so delectable, which I think was enhanced even more with the sage and of course brown butter. The pumpkin seeds added that perfect texture to the soft ravioli. It did have horseradish, but the sweetness from the squash made the spiciness all but non-existent.

 

 

Overall I would say that this a fabulous Happy Hour and if you are trying to impress a special someone then I would say this is your place. The options may be limited for Happy Hour, but at least they do those few things right. Don’t worry when I do my rating I will only be focusing on the Happy Hour portion of this restaurant.
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It is always great whenever you are given free drinks at a bar. Have you ever gotten a free drink at a bar? If so what was your favorite one?
May the adventures continue! Cheers!

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