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14 Best Restaurants in San Diego with a View

San Diego’s stunning seaside location and the surrounding farmland make it an especially ideal place to visit for any foodie. With Mexico less than 20 miles south, the cuisine here is sometimes referred to as “Cali-Baja” a culinary mix of fresh seafood, Mexican cooking traditions, and organic ingredients. If you want to sample some of the best while enjoying an unforgettable ocean view, you’ll want to head to one or more of these outstanding eateries.

The Marine Room The Marine Room
Credit: The Marine Room by The Marine Room

The Marine Room

Often ranked among the country’s best view restaurants, The Marine Room is so close to the ocean that when dining at high tide, the waves crash against the windows. It was built in 1941 to withstand the force of the Pacific, with custom-built glass all that separates diners from the surf. It sits on the sand in La Jolla, one of San Diego’s most spectacular suburbs, and has a strict formal dress code, so you’ll want to come dressed to the nines. The dishes are just as impressive, which is not an easy feat. The menu is focused on seafood – you might start with the lobster bisque before enjoying a main featuring king salmon, scallops, or swordfish – all are exquisite.

Poseidon Restaurant Del Mar Poseidon Restaurant Del Mar
Credit: Poseidon Restaurant Del Mar by Poseidon Restaurant Del Mar

Poseidon Restaurant Del Mar

Poseidon is one of the few upscale restaurants where you can dine alfresco on the beach, but you’ll want to book a table on the terrace well in advance so that you can be right next to the water where you can listen to the sounds of the waves and gaze out at the endless blue, sparkling under San Diego’s frequent sunny skies. Look forward to colorful sunsets and continuing those dazzling views after dark as there are spotlights on the beach. The menu is seafood focused, but you can mix it up with items like the “Land and Sea,” which includes a flat iron steak with prawns.

Tom Ham's Lighthouse Tom Ham's Lighthouse, San Diego
Credit: Tom Ham's Lighthouse, San Diego by Tom Ham's Lighthouse

Tom Ham's Lighthouse

Located on Harbor Island, Tom Ham’s Lighthouse restaurant was established over 50 years ago by Tom Ham and has long been a favorite for waterfront dining in the city. Perched right atop the water, Ham’s family still runs things with consistently high-quality food served throughout the decades, although the Sunday brunch is a favorite with everything from an oyster bar with oysters, crab legs, lobster claws, and scallops to prime rib, chicken and Eggs Benedict.

C Level Lounge C Level Lounge, San Diego
Credit: C Level Lounge, San Diego by C Level Lounge

C Level Lounge

Also on Harbor Island, set on stilts above San Diego Bay overlooking the city’s skyline and Coronado, Island Prime’s C Level Lounge is truly next level. An upscale eatery offering everything from surf and turf and oysters on the half-shell to vegan burgers, it’s the perfect place for a celebration with food that can even rival the views. As it’s so highly rated, you’ll want to make a reservation for a good table. Outdoor seating is available.

Tidal Waterfront Restaurant Tidal
Credit: Tidal by Tidal

Tidal Waterfront Restaurant

Tidal offers outdoor dining along the shores of Mission Bay with fire pits and glorious bay and sunset views. Meals are enjoyed family style – you’ll pick a starter like Creamy Beer Broth Mussels & Clams or Scott’s Clam Chowder and a main with meat, seafood, and vegan options such as Roasted Cauliflower Steak, a side dish, and dessert. Try to save room for the German Chocolate Cheesecake.

Dockside 1953 Dockside 1953, San Diego
Credit: Dockside 1953, San Diego by Bahia Resort Hotel/Dockside 1953

Dockside 1953

Located at Bahia Resort Hotel which sits on a peninsula in Mission Bay, Dockside 1953 is a nautical-influenced restaurant with tabletops and menu boards that resemble vintage wooden boat decking. It has a large outdoor patio with spectacular views of the marina, a covered trellis for shade, and fire pits to keep you warm on chillier evenings. Highlights on the menu include chilaquiles and a crab cake benedict at breakfast, while fish tacos are perfect for lunch. The seared scallops are one of the most popular dishes for dinner, although non-seafood lovers might want to go for Paul’s Meatloaf. There’s an excellent wine and cocktail menu, and on Thursdays, live music is hosted.

Coasterra Coasterra
Credit: Coasterra by Coasterra

Coasterra

Located on Harbor Island, this modern Mexican restaurant offers a dramatic panorama of San Diego Bay and the city skyline across the water. The best tables at Coasterra are found on the huge patio which includes a large fire pit. The glassed-in dining room is an option too if you’d rather eat indoors. Innovative dishes are old- meets new-world on upscale Mexican cuisine like the smoked beet tartare tostada with peanut salsa. Guacamole is made right at the tableside and you can enjoy the often raved-about hot churros for dessert.

Brigantine Seafood & Oyster Bar Brigantine Seafood & Oyster Bar, San Dieog
Credit: Brigantine Seafood & Oyster Bar, San Dieog by Brigantine Seafood & Oyster Bar

Brigantine Seafood & Oyster Bar

Often named among the best restaurants for seafood in San Diego, Brigantine is a relatively new addition along the harbor, just north of the USS Midway Museum at the Portside Pier, but it’s been a staple in the area since 1969 when the Morton family opened the first Brigantine on Shelter Island. It’s renowned for its award-winning fish tacos, and the marinated grilled swordfish is a best-seller. Many like to start with the freshly shucked oysters followed by the San Diego-style surf and turf, but for those who like a good filet mignon, that’s an option too. Hometown craft beers and custom cocktails provide the perfect pairing.

Sally's Fish House & Bar Sally's Fish House & Bar
Credit: Sally's Fish House & Bar by Sally's Fish House & Bar

Sally's Fish House & Bar

An elegant eatery in the Grand Hyatt, Sally’s Fish House & Bar offers waterfront tables in the Marina District with breathtaking views of San Diego Bay. You can even bring your four-legged friend to join you for a meal at lunch on the patio. Look forward to sustainable seafood dishes that include fish tacos and lobster rolls while Fido indulges in the Howlin’ Good Chicken or the SURF&T-ARF. In the evening, the patio is ideal for dining by the fire pits with favorites like King Salmon, Diver Scallops, or Rack of Lamb with a glass of California wine.

Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill
Credit: Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill by Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill

Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill

The Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill offers casual waterfront dining on Glorietta Bay in the historic Hotel Del Coronado Boathouse. It can be reached by water taxi for an especially memorable entrance that’s followed up by fantastic fresh seafood with sweeping views of the bay. Favorites include clam chowder with sourdough bread, mussels with chorizo, fish ‘n chips, and even burgers.

Top of the Market Top of the Market
Credit: Top of the Market by Top of the Market

Top of the Market

A casual fish market sits below the Top of the Market, a sophisticated venue for dining on a wide range of seafood from Oregon dungeness crab to South American lobster tail and Chilean sea bass, all flown in daily. Enjoy any dish with a view from Point Lomo to the Coronado Bridge, along with exceptional service, and flickering candlelight that sets a perfect scene for romance. It has an exhibition-style kitchen and an expansive wine list, making it one of the best spots for waterfront dining in downtown San Diego. It’s worth coming for happy hour too. Offered from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, it includes $2 oysters.

Jake's Del Mar Jake's Del Mar
Credit: Jake's Del Mar by Jake's Del Mar

Jake's Del Mar

Located right on the sand, Jake’s Del Mar has spotlights on the ocean so you can enjoy the view day or night. It’s family-friendly and open for lunch, happy hour, dinner, and Sunday brunch with many seafood dishes, including a mixed seafood pot and Peruvian shrimp ceviche along with items for meat lovers like filet mignon. The Hawaiian-inspired Hula pie is worth saving room for.

Pacific Coast Grill Pacific Coast Grill
Credit: Pacific Coast Grill by Pacific Coast Grill

Pacific Coast Grill

Located in the small community of Cardiff north of San Diego proper, Pacific Coast Grill sits at the beachfront and boasts two levels of patios, decks, and bars which means every seat comes with an ocean view. It’s a fabulous casual option in north San Diego County for everything from lobster tacos with a fantastic margarita to sushi rolls, scallops, ahi, and even Hawaiian-style baby back ribs. There are many gluten-free and vegetarian options available with all dishes featuring fresh, local ingredients.

George's at the Cove George's at the Cove, La Jolla
Credit: George's at the Cove, La Jolla by George's at the Cove

George's at the Cove

Overlooking the ocean in La Jolla, George’s at the Cove is a contemporary multi-tiered restaurant and bar often recommended as the top spot for waterfront dining in the area. Its Ocean Terrace boasts panoramic views of La Jolla Cove, while Level2 is an open-air space with picture-perfect water views. The service is outstanding, as is the menu, which features light, flavorful coastal dishes and a choice of seafood, salads, sandwiches, and more. Best of all, they use the freshest locally sourced ingredients. Favorites include the Local Rock Fish Tacos, Poached Local Tuna Melt, Seared Rare Local Yellowtail, and Grass-Fed Burger. Foodies can put their trust in the hands of the talented Partner/Chef Trey Foshee, Executive Chef Masa Kojima, and Pastry Chef Aly Lyng, who offer an unforgettable tasting experience.

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