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From the Pacific Ocean to San Diego Bay, hundreds of restaurants offer memorable meals just steps from the shore. Here are some local waterfront favorites.
With its 70-plus miles of coastline, San Diego is blessed with many spectacular spots for waterfront dining. From charming Coronado to the shimmering sands of Cardiff, there's a wealth of restaurants offering outstanding meals with views to match. Here are some local favorites that are as appealing to the eye as they are to the appetite.
Near Seaport Village at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, Sally's Seafood on the Water lives up to its name, with outdoor tables overlooking the marina and a menu that ranges from sushi to ceviche and beyond.
Just a few blocks north of Sally's, you'll find this favorite, where the daily catch is char-grilled and oysters are served on a deck suspended above the water with a backdrop of sailboats. Or, get the ultimate view out on the water with a sunset cruise dinner aboard the City Cruises or Flagship boats.
There's a wealth of gorgeous views and meal options at the Portside Pier, including delicious surf and turf entrees at the Brigantine Seafood and Oyster Bar and tasty pub fare at Ketch Grill & Taps. And there's nothing quite like taking in the glittering vistas of San Diego Bay from inside Portside Pier's distinctive, glassed-in dome, which sits right over the water.
Perched atop The Fish Market restaurant right at the harbor's edge, this fine-dining oasis boasts impressive views of the USS Midway Museum right next door, as well as the ebb and flow of boat traffic and the lights of Coronado beyond. The classic menu includes such favorites as Alaskan halibut, wild sea bass and a chilled seafood platter featuring lobster, prawns, crab, clams and oysters.
A casual favorite along the Embarcadero near the Broadway Pier, this takeout spot offers outdoor bench seating with prime views of the waterfront and harbor. Carnitas Snack Shack's namesake pulled-pork specialties are the go-to menu items for regulars.
This venerable Bankers Hill restaurant may not be right on the water, but its breathtaking 180-degree vistas of San Diego Bay and beyond have helped make it an enduring San Diego icon. Mister A's reopened in 2022 after a $2 million re-envisioning under new owner Ryan Thorsen, with a more modern look and menu but the same commanding views.
On Shelter Island, the 1960s-vintage hotspot Bali Hai Restaurant still celebrates tiki culture, and its chic renovation has further elevated its appeal as a perfect spot for mai tais and such South Seas cuisine as coconut shrimp pupus, ahi poke and fresh catch. Diners can arrive in style by boat and dock right by Bali Hai.
Vessel is the mod restaurant at Kona Kai Resort, offering views of the yacht-dotted harbor and cliffside mansions on Point Loma. The menu features fun small plates and handcrafted cocktails, and live music and underwater images on giant video screens add to the scene.
Retro cool Island Prime - C Level Lounge and sister restaurant Coasterra on Harbor Island also makes the most of their location with floor-to-ceiling windows and an over-the-water patio where it's hard not to be distracted from your spicy steak salad and lobster mac 'n cheese by all the sleek yachts and water play fun.
Humphreys offers inventive appetizers, fresh seafood and steaks with great views and nightly entertainment, both at the BackStage Live Music Club and Humphreys Concerts by the Bay.
Just steps from Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach, JRDN offers a modern twist on waterfront dining. Here, overlooking the ocean waves, contemporary cuisine is paired with a cool vibe in a room filled with motion and music. The restaurant boasts an undulating wall highlighted by colorful spotlights, and an open-air patio (separated from the beach by panes of glass) where diners nosh on seafood and steaks while sipping colorful cocktails and watching the sun go down.
At Oceana Coastal Kitchen at the Catamaran Resort & Spa, alfresco dining and a seafood-centric menu await. Enjoy sushi, crab cakes, braised scallops and more, while watching stand-up paddleboarders and kayakers glide across Mission Bay.
The grande dame of San Diego waterfront dining has to be the Marine Room. Built on the sands of La Jolla Shores, this iconic dining room has been a San Diego destination since debuting in 1941. The restaurant quickly became famous for the pounding surf that creates dramatic displays outside the expansive windows. A recent update includes the addition of The Lounge, a luxury dining experience that combines oceanfront views with curated cocktails, a specially devised menu and more.
At nearby George's at the Cove, three restaurants await, all with ocean vistas. George's California Modern melds executive chef Trey Foshee's progressive coastal cuisine, which celebrates our local farms, with spectacular views of La Jolla Cove, the cliffs of Torrey Pines and the endless blue of the Pacific. Up top, Ocean Terrace boasts rooftop dining that features handcrafted cocktails and SoCal gourmet casual cuisine such as fish tacos, kale salad, pastas and more. That same menu can be found at Level 2, a lovely ocean-view spot to drink in the view and sip the Sea3 margarita with mango, lime zest and chile-infused tequila, agave and fresh lime juice, all strained over a saline ice cube with suspended seaweed.
Named for the fabled Hawaiian waterman Duke Kahanamoku, an Olympic swimming champ and the father of modern surfing, Dukes is perched above the spectacular seascapes of La Jolla Cove. Feast your eyes on the shimmering Pacific while you enjoy contemporary interpretations of traditional island plates on the restaurant's expansive outdoor deck.
Pacific Coast Grill sits right on the beach in lovely Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Grab a table on the patio or upper deck, an idyllic setting to sip blackberry margaritas, nibble on sushi rolls and watch the local surfing talent catch the last waves of the day at sunset. Dolphins frolic in the kelp beds and whales can be spotted seasonally as they migrate and feed off the coast.
Savor the pairing of a great meal and a gorgeous sunset at Jake’s Del Mar, perched right on the sand in one of coastal North County’s most exquisite cities. Chef Duvinh Ta presides over a menu of American favorites, from fresh seafood to premium meats, all served in a showcase space with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the shimmering Pacific. (There’s also plenty of inviting outdoor space.)
Set along the serene shores of San Dieguito Lagoon on the northern fringes of Del Mar, this expansive, 7,000 square-foot brewery and restaurant boasts sweeping views and a full-service dining experience presided over by Executive Chef Dustin Karagheusian. Also a major draw at this indoor/outdoor favorite: Viewpoint's 20 taps, offering an intriguing mix of house-brewed beers.
The iconic Hotel del Coronado, with its Queen Anne architecture and red roof turrets, is home to Sheerwater, a casual-yet-refined gem that serves up California coastal cuisine and stellar views of the Pacific.
Perched on Coronado's sweeping sands just a pebble's throw from the waves, Serẽa at the Hotel del Coronado features a sustainable, sea-to-table dining experience with delicious coastal cuisine to match the sumptuous ocean views from the restaurant's spacious outdoor patio.
Tacos by the beach are nice, but how about tacos on the beach? That's the big draw of the Hotel Del's Beach & Taco Shack -- besides, of course, the place's menu of something-for-everybody taco specialties, from the vegan mushroom poblano taco to the chicken tinga and much more. There's nothing quite like tucking into a taco while sticking your toes in the sand.
There's also waterfront dining at the Coronado Ferry Landing, where you'll find Peohe's, known for its flavorful, Pacific island-inspired fare and umbrella drinks, and Costa Azul, with its blend of Mexican and California Fresh influences.
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