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Balboa Island Report

LisaN | Feb 26, 200505:41 PM

Thanks to everyone for all the recommendations, I'm glad people gave recommendations for the Island as well as the penninsula, we were actually staying on the penninsula, not the island as I had thought!

Friday for lunch we ended up at Amelias on Balboa Island (http://www.ameliasbalboaisland.com/ho...). It is smaller restaurant, with several rooms off each other. The food was excellent, but the portions on the smaller size.

I had the stuffed eggplant which is a thin lengthwise slice of eggplant stuffed with a mixture of ricotta and mozarella cheeses (I've seen this referred to as eggplant rollatini - at least back east). It was good and came with linguini and a vegetable mixture of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots which were quite tasty. My only complaint was that it came with only one eggplant roll - but it was a good deal at only $10, but I would have liked more eggplant. Two people had the broiled halibut special which came with linguini and veggies as well, both pieces were quite small, maybe 2.5 - 3 ounces at the very most, and one piece was smaller than the other, but it was very tasty. The other person got the scampi which was pronounced quite tasty. Total bill with 2 sodas and 2 beers was approximately $70 (not including tip).

After that I went in search of a Balboa bar for dessert. I was grateful at this point that our portions weren't larger or I wouldn't have been able to eat one! Ended up at Sugar and Spice. I didn't see an option for butter brickle - maybe this was an option at another stand. Its a block of vanilla ice cream which they dip in chocolate in front of you, then douse with the topping of your choice. I got Pecan Heath Bar. It was good, as were the cones everyone else got, except the chocolate chip was a little icy.

Went to Balboa candy afterward and got a big bag of assorted taffy and old fashioned candy to share, they also have a cooler with some retro sodas in it as well.

For dinner we ended up at Harborside on the penninsula (http://www.harborside-pavilion.com/me...) Lucky for us, there weren't a lot of people on the island, so a reservation wasn't needed, and we weren't exactly dressed to match the atmosphere of the restaurant. We wanted to sit in the dining room and not the bar (Everyone in our party had jeans on). The dining room is very nice, dimly lit and has windows facing the harbor - we were seated toward the inside of the dining room - which was fine, we could still see out the windows. We ordered, Chicken with artichokes and mushrooms, Filet Tip Pasta, Filet Medallions Skewer, and Roasted Lamb Shank. Even the menu doesn't mention it, everything (except the pasta) came with a starch and vegetable. The veggies were a carrot, broccoli, summer squash mix and weren't as tasty as the ones at Amelias at lunch. It didn't matter, the portions were quite large and everyone got full before they got to the veggies.

The Filet Tip pasta came with regular fettucine, not black fettucine like the menu stated, had chopped mushrooms, & red and green pepper strips in it as well - unfortunately, the menu didn't state this and the person who ordered this doesn't like peppers, but pronounced the rest of the dish delicious and just picked around those.

The lamb was a huge bone with lots of meat (and quite a bit of fat) on it, and was delicious but was alot of work to cut off the meat. It came with mashed potatoes and the veggies.

Filet skewer had at 6 chunks of meat of approximately an ounce each and red and green peppers on the skewer, it also had the mashed potatoes and veggies. The sauce with it was a little sweet, but quite tasty. It also had fried onion shreds sprinkled all over the plate. If you want steak, I think this is a much better value than the Filet meal. You get almost as much meat (the filet meal had 8 ounces) and its $10 less.

The chicken consisted of one large boneless breasts cut in half, nicely grilled and was covered with artichoke hearts and sauteed mushrooms - mostly button, but a few shitakes. It came with the veggies, but also pilaf, which was okay but nothing special. If the choice had been up to me, I would have chosen mashed potatoes if asked, because I prefer those over pilaf.

For dessert we split carrot cake, which was nothing special, it was a little dry, with a funny plasticky taste, and apple and mango cobbler with vanilla ice cream. The cobbler was served warm and was excellent.

We had a fantastic waitress who was a lot of fun. Bill with iced tea, & two beers was around $100 (not including tip. We had alot more food here than at Amelias for not much more money. But it isn't really fair to compare lunch portions to dinner portions, but everyone felt dinner was a better value for the money. The only thing was we wished it let you have an option on the starch served with the meal.

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