Il Barone Ristorante
900 Bristol North, Newport Beach, CA 92660
elebrating great food or a restaurant is not something new to Orange County. However, celebrating tradition, and a family steeped in a history of success and passion is a rare commodity these days. That is what made the grand opening of the new location for Il Barone Ristorante such an amazing event. Good Italian food only needs a few great ingredients, but great Italian food needs all those ingredients, plus heart. With Chef Franco Barone in the kitchen and his wife Donatella in the front of house, Il Barone has that ingredient and more.
Since the beginning of their marriage, it was always the goal that Franco and Donatella would have a restaurant to call their own. In 2010, Il Barone became the embodiment of that dream as well as an instant Italian local institution, and now, after a year and a half, has a brand new place to call home. More importantly, customers can call it home too. If you ask any Italian where the best Italian food can be found, the answer you will normally receive is, “in their mother’s kitchen.” The cuisine itself is steeped in a tradition of bringing a deep sense of comfort to those who eat it, simultaneously providing great flavor and a sensation of home.
At Il Barone, Chef Franco and Donatella are welcoming you into their home. Their food is cooked with love, and with soul. They understand that they are not just feeding people food in a restaurant, but welcoming them into their house for an experience. There is a connection that comes with the space that is not listed anywhere to see or read about. You have to feel it for yourself just as guests experienced it during the grand opening. From the Mayor of Newport Beach, to media figures, friends and family alike, there was no soul untouched by the heart and emotion Franco and Donatella have injected into the immaculately designed space. From loyal customers to first-time diners, the venue is warm and inviting, with a beautifully laid out dining room that feels intimate yet energetic all at once.
A massive pizza oven and open kitchen area catch your eye no matter where you sit, inviting peeks into the process behind each dish. You are not a customer when you eat at Il Barone, but a friend. Looking at the menu is like looking at a greatest hits of Italian cuisine, with dishes elevated to the peak of their potential. Diners can enjoy items such as handmade pasta like the Panzarotti Della Domenica with Sunday style sauce and filled with ricotta and spinach. For the seafood lovers there is the enchantingly delicious Taglioline Al Nero Di Seppie, with squid ink pasta loaded with cuttlefish, Argentinian prawns, garlic, wine and tomato. Of course, these are polite suggestions, as anything you decide upon will be sublime, so go ahead and start with the Affettato Misto, built up of salami, Parma prosciutto, imported cheeses and olives, and from there dig in.
There is an innate ability for humans to take ingredients and turn them into emotions, taking you back to moments or places in your life. During the grand opening, there was a tease in the air that this kitchen is designed to do just that. Beyond the love, support from friends and ribbon cutting ceremony, there was a realization that settled upon the attendees; when people eat at the new Il Barone Ristorante, they won’t just be eating at a seat in the dining room, but in the new home of Chef Franco and Donatella Barone.