Just in time for New Year's, the Main Street Bar and Grill is open in the Pierside Pavilion at Huntington Beach. Located on the second floor, the restaurant offers plenty of terrace seating and stunning sunset views. There's a contemporary grill ambience with marble floors, granite tables and an exhibition kitchen with counter seating. The eclectic menu ranges from appetizers, soups, salads and sandwiches to seafood and other main courses. And because the menu is served all day, you can have a dinner entree at noon or a salad in the evening. A la carte prices range from $6.95 for a salad to $29.95 for a certified Black Angus steak (the average price is about $15). Open daily for lunch, dinner and late supper at Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway. (714) 840-6518.
Meanwhile, Maxwell's, just across PCH, remains open during the removal of the Huntington Beach Pier; it, too, offers a grandstand view. (714) 536-2555.
Splashes has made a splash right on the beach at the Surf and Sand Hotel in Laguna Beach. Less expensive and more casual (but no beachwear, please) than the hotel's glamorous Towers restaurant, Splashes accents contemporary Mediterranean cuisine. The a la carte menu includes such starters as shrimp and mushrooms wrapped in phyllo crust with arugula salad. Entrees include roast lamb with vegetable tart and tomato-coriander sauce, roast striped bass with fennel, and grilled rib-eye steak with Banyuls (a sweet fortified wine) sauce. There are 40 wines from the smaller wineries of Italy, France and California. Currently open nightly for dinner, Splashes will soon add breakfast and lunch. 1555 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach. (714) 497-4477.