By Andrea Swayne
Waterman’s Harbor Restaurant
34661 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, 949.764.FISH (3474), www.watermandp.com
Quality cuisine with harbor and ocean views is now being served at the newest restaurant in the Dana Point Harbor—Waterman’s Harbor Restaurant.
Damian Collins and his father John Collins officially opened the new eatery—with upper and lower patio dining and a clean-lined architecturally modern flair, punctuated with rich cedar woodwork—on Monday. The restaurant occupies the former site of the Jolly Roger restaurant, but was built from the ground up.
Waterman’s Harbor is a fourth in the Dana Point-San Clemente area for the Collins men, who aptly describe the concept as upscale, yet unpretentious. They also own Sunset’s Capo Beach and StillWater Spirits & Sounds in Dana Point, and last year sold Sunsets at the Pier in San Clemente.
“It’s super exciting to be here in the Harbor. We’re looking forward to working with all the new restaurants that hopefully will be coming in and to giving a little kick start to the Harbor revitalization process,” Damian Collins said at a private preview party on Saturday, Sept. 13. “We are also really pleased to have Chef John Cuevas on board, along with Nick Cozens (director of operations), and to bring a whole new dimension to Dana Point dining, with high quality food and great views.”
Cuevas, director of culinary for Waterman’s Harbor, brings a passion for preparing locally-sourced, high-quality ingredients in a manner that is approachable, flavorful and packs an element of surprise. He describes Waterman’s as a “sustainable, fresh, farm to table, water to table, 80 percent seafood house.”
“It’s all about bringing fresh seafood out of the water, through the back door, preparing it and sending it out to table,” Cuevas said. “It’s a very simple, less is more philosophy. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. We are all about quality and simplicity.”
Cuevas’ road to becoming an executive chef began in childhood. Raised in a restaurant and with an interest in cooking from an early age, he turned his passion into a career. Cuevas has spent more than a decade at premier hotels, including experience as an executive chef at Montage Beverly Hills and as chef de cuisine at Montage Laguna Beach and the St. Regis.
“One of the best things about this place is the view and the group I’m working with,” Cuevas said. “They’re real down to earth people. They get it.”
Waterman’s Harbor is open nightly for dinner at 4 p.m. and will be adding lunch service in October.