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Serea outdoor dining terrace
Serea at the Hotel Del Coronado.

19 Stellar Spots for Waterfront Dining in San Diego

Gear up for summer by exploring breezy ocean view restaurants offering everything from seafood to steaks, sushi, and tacos.

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Serea at the Hotel Del Coronado.

As warmer weather sets in for the summer, this is an ideal time to explore the range of waterfront restaurants that San Diego has to offer. The reality is, San Diegans are lucky enough to enjoy seaside dining year-round thanks to mild Southern California temperatures, and with more than 70 miles of ocean coastlines and a handful of harbors around town, it’s easy to find breathtaking views.

Spanning Imperial Beach to Oceanside and offering everything from beachside casual to elegant fine dining, these 19 standout spots near the water are cooking up everything from tacos and seafood to pasta and steaks. If you’re looking more suggestions on where to dine with a view, check out Eater’s guide to 13 Enticing Rooftops for Eating and Drinking in San Diego.

Note: map points are not ranked.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Valle Restaurant

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Celebrity chef Roberto Alcocer launched his first U.S. restaurant along the Oceanside waterfront after phenomenal success at his acclaimed Malva restaurant in Mexico. Valle offers favorites like tartara (wagyu with fresh uni), betabel nixtamal (coal-roasted beet), and chocolate de metate (decadent chocolate ganache dessert topped with a gold leaf). 

Outdoor dining table with food at Valle Restaurant
Valle Restaurant.

Vigilucci's Seafood & Steakhouse

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Owner Roberto Vigilucci arrived in San Diego in the 1980s and fell in love with the city but craved Italian cuisine from his native Milan. His restaurant across from Cardiff State Beach offers ocean vistas as well as Nebraska grass-fed steaks, wet-aged for 40 days, and a seafood tower with generous portions of lobsters, clams, oysters, and mussels.

Seafood dish with Nebraska prime ribeye and filet
Seafood dish and steaks at Vigilucci’s Seafood & Steakhouse.
Helen I. Hwang

VAGA Restaurant & Bar

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Overlooking South Ponto Beach, Vaga’s dining patio provides sweeping views of a quiet shoreline. Al pastor pork belly with grilled pineapple-pickled daikon and dan-dan noodles with salsa macha are some of the creative dishes from consulting chef and Top Chef alum Claudette Zepeda.

VAGA French toast covered with figs
VAGA French toast covered with figs at VAGA Restaurant & Bar.
Helen I. Hwang

Pacific Coast Grill

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With stunning views overlooking Cardiff State Beach, diners get a great vantage point to watch surfers and sea life. In addition to the main restaurant level, there’s an upstairs dining patio for a more spectacular view. The smoky lobster and shrimp chowder and scrumptious filet mignon sliders stuffed with crispy onion strings are must-tries.

Filet mignon sliders with truffle fries and lobster and shrimp chowder
Filet mignon sliders with truffle fries and lobster and shrimp chowder at Pacific Coast Grill.
Helen I. Hwang

Las Olas

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The Mexican eatery has been a mainstay along Highway 101 and Cardiff State Beach for three decades, serving made-to-order beachside tacos and cheerful margaritas with idyllic views of the shimmering Pacific and golden sunsets. Wash down the popular Baja-style battered fish tacos and carnitas tacos with the spicy Chile N’ Pina margarita. 

Battered fish tacos
Las Olas.
Helen I. Hwang

Poseidon Restaurant Del Mar

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Very few upscale restaurants give diners an option to eat al fresco on the beach, as Poseidon does. Request a table on the terrace to listen to the soothing sounds of rolling waves. Customers have unfettered views of the sparkling ocean, even at night when the spotlights on the beach are illuminated. Dig into favorites like pistachio-crusted salmon and lemon-pepper Chilean sea bass. 

Dining terrace by the beach
Poseidon Restaurant Del Mar.

Monarch Ocean Pub

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There are only good vibes at the pub perched high above Del Mar. One entire wall of windows opens to an incredible view of the endless ocean. To set the mood, every evening at sunset the bartender rings a bell, stands atop the bar, and reads a daily poem he wrote while toasting diners. Try the butter-poached lobster and wild shrimp on a toasted brioche bun with the dragonfruit margarita, rimmed with black lava salt. 

Lobster and wild shrimp roll
Lobster and wild shrimp roll at Monarch Ocean Pub.

Brockton Villa Restaurant

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The historic former residence turned cafe overlooks La Jolla Cove so diners can observe and listen to barking seals in their natural habitat. The Coast Toast is their version of French toast with a souffled center, flavored with orange curacao and Tahitian vanilla. The carnitas chilaquiles with steamed scrambled eggs and slow-cooked pork is another favorite.

Coast Toast - French toast with souffle in the center
Coast toast at Brockton Villa Restaurant.

Blue Ocean / Harumama - La Jolla

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The combination of Harumama’s cutesy character buns with Blue Ocean’s fresh sashimi makes this joint venture a winning combination. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer diners a 180-degree view of La Jolla’s shoreline, replete with seals and seabirds resting comfortably side by side. Try the pork pig buns, nine-course Blue Ocean omakase box, or Nutella-stuffed bunny buns for dessert. 

Sashimi and sushi in an omakase box
Blue Ocean / Harumama - La Jolla.
Helen I. Hwang

George's at the Cove

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With multiple levels of dining available, all with equally arresting views, patrons can dive into California coastal cuisine from settings that range from more formal to rooftop casual. Renowned chef Trey Foshee’s specialties include George’s Famous Soup with smoked chicken and black beans, mussels mariniere with crème fraiche and leeks, and spaghetti and clams.

Cocktail on the rooftop terrace
George’s at the Cove.

JRDN Restaurant

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This sea-level restaurant sits next to the Pacific Beach boardwalk with views of the ocean and Cape Cod-style cottages right on the historic Crystal Pier. Anchoring the Tower23 Hotel, this steak and seafood specialist serves up customer favorites like steamed mussels with chorizo and ahi tuna nachos with mango and sriracha aioli.

Steamed mussels with chorizo
Steamed mussels with chorizo at JRDN Restaurant.

Cannonball

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High above the Mission Beach boardwalk sits an outdoor rooftop restaurant with unparalleled views of the Pacific. Diners might spot dolphins frolicking in the glistening waters while delving into a robust sushi menu, including the popular lobster sushi roll. Pair it with the Sunny & 75 cocktail, made with guava and sparkling wine.

Lobster sushi roll
Lobster sushi roll at Cannonball.

C Level Lounge

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Looking out onto the city skyline and Coronado Island, this relaxed restaurant serves up dishes like lobster and fontina BLT made with whitefish salad, and an ahi, crab, and avocado stack. There’s also a dizzying array of cocktails with an emphasis on local distilleries like Cutwater Spirits.

Lobster and Fontina BLT, poke bowl, black bramble cocktail, and ahi crab and avocado stack
Black bramble cocktail with lobster and fontina BLT, poke bowl, and ahi stack at C Level Lounge.
Helen I. Hwang

Mitch's Seafood

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Located in a working fishing harbor, this friendly restaurant features fish caught in local waters off San Diego or Northern Baja. Customer favorites include grilled fish tacos, grilled octopus with Romesco sauce, and beer-battered fish and chips.

Mitch’s Seafood
Mitch’s Seafood.

Portside Pier

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Downtown San Diego got a boost with this $25-million waterfront project that offers several few dining options under one roof. Visitors will find a brewery, a rooftop cocktail bar, gelato, Mexican cuisine, and seafood. Brigantine Seafood and Oyster Bar is the most notable for Brig’s Famous Fish Tacos or oysters, raw or grilled, along with a draft beer from their very own Ketch Brewing. 

Front of Brigantine at Portside Pier
Portside Pier.
Haley Hill Photography

Bali Hai Restaurant

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The iconic Shelter Island establishment sits in a Polynesian-style circular “hut” so patrons can enjoy panoramic views of the San Diego Bay. Built in 1953 and inspired by Clark Gable’s film, The Bounty, a tiki motif inspires the dishes and drinks here. Favorite items include wok-fried sea bass, poke, and the mighty strong Bali Hai Mai Tai that’s so popular it merits its own electronic tally counter. Over 2,745,000 sold to date and counting. 

Il Fornaio Coronado

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This Tuscan restaurant aims to transport a slice of Italy to San Diego’s waterfront. Almost everything, from ingredients to pasta makers, is imported from Europe, including the tomatoes they use. Fresh pasta and pizza dough are made onsite every day. Try the Paccheri Alla Vodka, tubular pasta covered in scrumptious vodka tomato sauce, or the Pizza Cristina with Italian prosciutto, mushrooms, and white truffle oil. 

Paccheri Alla Vodka
Il Fornaio Coronado.
Helen I. Hwang

Serea Coastal Cuisine

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The anchor restaurant of the legendary Hotel Del Coronado offers gorgeous views of palm trees lining the lively esplanade next to Coronado Beach. Helmed by acclaimed chef Jojo Ruiz, standout specialties include wood-grilled whole fish deboned tableside and the Serea Mezze, a hummus platter with whipped cheese, and house-made pita bread.

Wood-grilled whole fish
Wood-grilled whole fish at Serea Coastal Cuisine.
Arlene Ibarra

This seaside restaurant sits at the ground level of the Pier South Resort in Imperial Beach, the most southwesterly beach town in the U.S. where diners can enjoy sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. Try the popular Sea180 Double Cheeseburger with bacon jam or the seafood platter, available on the weekends, along with the spicy mango tango margarita. 

Spicy mango tango margarita
Spicy mango tango margarita at SEA180.
Helen I. Hwang

Valle Restaurant

Outdoor dining table with food at Valle Restaurant
Valle Restaurant.

Celebrity chef Roberto Alcocer launched his first U.S. restaurant along the Oceanside waterfront after phenomenal success at his acclaimed Malva restaurant in Mexico. Valle offers favorites like tartara (wagyu with fresh uni), betabel nixtamal (coal-roasted beet), and chocolate de metate (decadent chocolate ganache dessert topped with a gold leaf). 

Outdoor dining table with food at Valle Restaurant
Valle Restaurant.

Vigilucci's Seafood & Steakhouse

Seafood dish with Nebraska prime ribeye and filet
Seafood dish and steaks at Vigilucci’s Seafood & Steakhouse.
Helen I. Hwang

Owner Roberto Vigilucci arrived in San Diego in the 1980s and fell in love with the city but craved Italian cuisine from his native Milan. His restaurant across from Cardiff State Beach offers ocean vistas as well as Nebraska grass-fed steaks, wet-aged for 40 days, and a seafood tower with generous portions of lobsters, clams, oysters, and mussels.

Seafood dish with Nebraska prime ribeye and filet
Seafood dish and steaks at Vigilucci’s Seafood & Steakhouse.
Helen I. Hwang

VAGA Restaurant & Bar

VAGA French toast covered with figs
VAGA French toast covered with figs at VAGA Restaurant & Bar.
Helen I. Hwang

Overlooking South Ponto Beach, Vaga’s dining patio provides sweeping views of a quiet shoreline. Al pastor pork belly with grilled pineapple-pickled daikon and dan-dan noodles with salsa macha are some of the creative dishes from consulting chef and Top Chef alum Claudette Zepeda.

VAGA French toast covered with figs
VAGA French toast covered with figs at VAGA Restaurant & Bar.
Helen I. Hwang

Pacific Coast Grill

Filet mignon sliders with truffle fries and lobster and shrimp chowder
Filet mignon sliders with truffle fries and lobster and shrimp chowder at Pacific Coast Grill.
Helen I. Hwang

With stunning views overlooking Cardiff State Beach, diners get a great vantage point to watch surfers and sea life. In addition to the main restaurant level, there’s an upstairs dining patio for a more spectacular view. The smoky lobster and shrimp chowder and scrumptious filet mignon sliders stuffed with crispy onion strings are must-tries.

Filet mignon sliders with truffle fries and lobster and shrimp chowder
Filet mignon sliders with truffle fries and lobster and shrimp chowder at Pacific Coast Grill.
Helen I. Hwang

Las Olas

Battered fish tacos
Las Olas.
Helen I. Hwang

The Mexican eatery has been a mainstay along Highway 101 and Cardiff State Beach for three decades, serving made-to-order beachside tacos and cheerful margaritas with idyllic views of the shimmering Pacific and golden sunsets. Wash down the popular Baja-style battered fish tacos and carnitas tacos with the spicy Chile N’ Pina margarita. 

Battered fish tacos
Las Olas.
Helen I. Hwang

Poseidon Restaurant Del Mar

Dining terrace by the beach
Poseidon Restaurant Del Mar.

Very few upscale restaurants give diners an option to eat al fresco on the beach, as Poseidon does. Request a table on the terrace to listen to the soothing sounds of rolling waves. Customers have unfettered views of the sparkling ocean, even at night when the spotlights on the beach are illuminated. Dig into favorites like pistachio-crusted salmon and lemon-pepper Chilean sea bass. 

Dining terrace by the beach
Poseidon Restaurant Del Mar.

Monarch Ocean Pub

Lobster and wild shrimp roll
Lobster and wild shrimp roll at Monarch Ocean Pub.

There are only good vibes at the pub perched high above Del Mar. One entire wall of windows opens to an incredible view of the endless ocean. To set the mood, every evening at sunset the bartender rings a bell, stands atop the bar, and reads a daily poem he wrote while toasting diners. Try the butter-poached lobster and wild shrimp on a toasted brioche bun with the dragonfruit margarita, rimmed with black lava salt. 

Lobster and wild shrimp roll
Lobster and wild shrimp roll at Monarch Ocean Pub.

Brockton Villa Restaurant

Coast Toast - French toast with souffle in the center
Coast toast at Brockton Villa Restaurant.

The historic former residence turned cafe overlooks La Jolla Cove so diners can observe and listen to barking seals in their natural habitat. The Coast Toast is their version of French toast with a souffled center, flavored with orange curacao and Tahitian vanilla. The carnitas chilaquiles with steamed scrambled eggs and slow-cooked pork is another favorite.

Coast Toast - French toast with souffle in the center
Coast toast at Brockton Villa Restaurant.

Blue Ocean / Harumama - La Jolla

Sashimi and sushi in an omakase box
Blue Ocean / Harumama - La Jolla.
Helen I. Hwang

The combination of Harumama’s cutesy character buns with Blue Ocean’s fresh sashimi makes this joint venture a winning combination. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer diners a 180-degree view of La Jolla’s shoreline, replete with seals and seabirds resting comfortably side by side. Try the pork pig buns, nine-course Blue Ocean omakase box, or Nutella-stuffed bunny buns for dessert. 

Sashimi and sushi in an omakase box
Blue Ocean / Harumama - La Jolla.
Helen I. Hwang

George's at the Cove

Cocktail on the rooftop terrace
George’s at the Cove.

With multiple levels of dining available, all with equally arresting views, patrons can dive into California coastal cuisine from settings that range from more formal to rooftop casual. Renowned chef Trey Foshee’s specialties include George’s Famous Soup with smoked chicken and black beans, mussels mariniere with crème fraiche and leeks, and spaghetti and clams.

Cocktail on the rooftop terrace
George’s at the Cove.

JRDN Restaurant

Steamed mussels with chorizo
Steamed mussels with chorizo at JRDN Restaurant.

This sea-level restaurant sits next to the Pacific Beach boardwalk with views of the ocean and Cape Cod-style cottages right on the historic Crystal Pier. Anchoring the Tower23 Hotel, this steak and seafood specialist serves up customer favorites like steamed mussels with chorizo and ahi tuna nachos with mango and sriracha aioli.