Dory Deli opened right across the Newport Beach pier earlier this year. The restaurant is decorated with all things nautical, but my favorites are the vintage photos, bringing a sense of family, history, and belonging — so fitting for the Newport Beach community — providing a casual environment for a quick bite at any time of the day. We tried quite a huge selection of items, ranging from salads in the deli case which you can purchase to take home with you, both cold and hot sandwiches, to specially prepared salads as well. I apologize for the photos, it was dark inside the night of my visit!
I especially liked the Grilled Tofu Kale Salad ($8) with very distinct combination of sweet and savory on the grilled tofu. The kale is tossed in a kalamata caper dressing, while house-made sour dough croutons and oven roasted tomatoes complete this simple, yet very satiating salad. It makes for a wonderful vegetarian option, but this carnivore found it absolutely satisfying as well.
On the topic of vegetarian options, Dory Deli offers many. In fact, I found those to be my favorites. Take the Quinoa Kale Burger ($8) for instance. smoked mushrooms add another dimension to the already delicious quinoa patty. Top that with pickled kale chips, tomato jam, Swiss cheese and fresh greens, making this is a superb burger for everyone — well, except vegans because of the cheese.
But don’t fret, because there is something for you vegans as well. Buffalo Mary ($8) is a po boy-style sandwich filled with crispy fried cauliflower tossed in buffalo sauce. Shredded ranch carrots, shaved celery, and fresh greens — all traditional buffalo condiments — encased within a sub roll offers freshness in every bite. An absolute surprise for me because I didn’t expect it to blow me away.
For those of you who can’t stay away from meat, try the Rocky Balboa ($8) which is Dory Deli’s version of a Philly cheese steak. Sliced steak, caramelized onions and peppers are stuffed into a sub roll and topped with house-made “cheese whiz”.
Tarragon Chicken Salad (8 oz $3.50, 16 oz $6.00, 32 oz $11.00) has got to be one of my favorites, from the cold case. The chicken is tossed with vegenaise, making it less cloying than mayo. I’m not a fan of mayo but the vegenaise is not copious and not overly goopey. I loved the tarragon which pairs perfectly with poultry. Eat this on its own or, I’ve made my own sandwiches at home with this. This item rotates along with a range of other salads, so don’t be surprised if it’s not available when you visit.
Another salad I loved was Javanese Tofu Salad (8 oz $3.00, 16 oz $5.00, 32 oz $8.50) because of its obvious Indonesian flavors — though not aesthetically very pleasant. The sauce is a little too thick for me, but I’ve brought it home and added some vinegar to it, giving it not only a refreshing zing, but also, thins out the dressing just a little. I love acid, so naturally it works on so many levels.
Knishes ($3.50 each) are something I’ve missed since my last visit to New York City several years ago, but believe it or not, I think I like the ones here even better. Maybe because they’re smaller and I don’t feel like I have to commit to finishing a huge knish on my own, but I think these actually taste a hell of a lot better too. There is a meat version, as well as a vegetarian option which is filled with root vegetables. Try them both and tell me what you think! I personally love the vegetarian one better — surprise surprise.
This is a place where I am able to dine with vegetarian and vegan friends without feeling frustrated at how we will all manage. In fact, Executive Chef Chris Rubinstein was once a vegetarian himself, hence, the abundance of solid plant-based options on the menu. When you visit Dory Deli, make sure you try some of the vegetarian options available! Trust me when I say, I think they are even better than the ones with meat.
2108 3/4 Oceanfront
Newport Beach, CA 92663