Fig and Olive - Newport Beach, CA

I have mixed feelings about Fig & Olive because it can be such a hit or miss depending on the night and/or dish. However, I love the concept and philosophy! In place of using butter, they use olive oil instead to highlight its different flavor profiles. Also, their menu is based on cuisines from the Riviera & Coastal regions of South of France, Spain and Italy, so there's a fusion of flavors.

Located at Fashion Island in Newport Beach, CA, the location is beautiful and the design is classy with warm/earthy tones. I decided to randomly dine in on Tuesday with a friend after making a quick reservation through OpenTable earlier in the day. That app is such a life saver and it's very easy to use! As usual, drinks to start the evening and celebrate the end of the weekday. Popularly known for their crostinis, we selected our three to start with.

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Burrata, Tomato, Herbs, Balsamic. The pesto really makes it a winner for me. The burrata was fluffy and light, but personally, not a huge fan of burrata.

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Mushroom, Artichoke, Scallion, Parmesan. I had tried this the last time I was here and it's a personal fave.

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Shrimp, Avocado, Cilantro, Tomato. Butterfly shrimp gave it a a pretty presentation, but I thought this was mediocre.

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We also got a half dozen of oysters, 2 of each to split: Fanny Bay (large), Malpeque (medium) and Kumamoto (small) were the offerings. This must be a consistent trait, but it seems like they are unable to deliver a clean oyster free of shards. This visit had considerably less shards, but please eat with caution! Served with a trio of mignonettes, slices of lemon and cocktail sauce.

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And when their focus is olive oil, of course there's bread. We received a sampler of three olive oils. I can't remember exactly where each originated, but I remember the flavor: grassy/earthy, light/buttery and spicy/bitter aftertaste. I never really understood the importance of olive oil until I had a tasting while working at Williams-Sonoma ages ago, but it seems like olive oil anything has been the craze lately (gelato and cake).

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For our entrees, we got our own setup. I went with the Fettucine Shrimp Marscapone, even though I had asked our server what her suggestions were. I have been craving pasta like crazy recently so this one just popped out at me. The sauce is creamy, but not heavy and just enough to coat the pasta instead of drowning in it. The shrimp was perfect - that just cooked snap when you bite into it.

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My friend ordered the Veal Milanese and it comes with the same sauce that was in my pasta. Haha! That sauce tho - Harissa marscapone infused with rosemary - was a game changer along with the roasted tomatoes. The broccolini was flavorless without the sparse garlic chips, but the veal was nicely done. Served with a side of pesto pasta.

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To end the meal even though we were pretty full, we got the Chocolate pot de creme to split. Rich and creamy, but not over the top sweet. It was a nice finish. Came with these little wafer crisp thingies that were delicious!

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With the overall experiences from my first and most recent visit, they had their highs and lows that it balanced out to a place I'm kind of indifferent about. You can read about my first visit here.

Weekends are such a mess (loud people, loud music) and good luck getting a table without a one hour wait after 9pm. If you want to enjoy your meal, it's best to visit during the week. It actually feels like a restaurant instead of a club. Of course, I should have known. It's Newport haha. If you've been, what are your thoughts? How are the other locations?

Fig & Olive
151 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660
www.figandolive.com