clock menu more-arrow no yes
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.

View as Map
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.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Valle Restaurant

Copy Link
201 N Myers St
Oceanside, CA 92054

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.

2. Vigilucci's Seafood & Steakhouse

Copy Link
3878 Carlsbad Blvd
Carlsbad, CA 92008
(760) 434-2580
Visit Website

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

3. VAGA Restaurant & Bar

Copy Link
2100 N Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024
(760) 452-3484
Visit Website

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

4. Pacific Coast Grill

Copy Link
2526 S Coast Hwy 101
Cardiff, CA 92007
(760) 479-0721
Visit Website

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

5. Las Olas

Copy Link
2655 S Coast Hwy 101
Cardiff, CA 92007
(760) 942-1860
Visit Website

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

6. Poseidon Restaurant Del Mar

Copy Link
1670 Coast Blvd
Del Mar, CA 92014
(858) 755-9345
Visit Website

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.

7. Monarch Ocean Pub

Copy Link
1555 Camino Del Mar Suite 322
Del Mar, CA 92014
(858) 925-6047
Visit Website

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.

8. Brockton Villa Restaurant

Copy Link
1235 Coast Blvd
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 454-7393
Visit Website

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.

9. Blue Ocean / Harumama - La Jolla

Copy Link
1250 Prospect St
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 999-0323
Visit Website

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

10. George's at the Cove

Copy Link
1250 Prospect St
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 454-4244
Visit Website

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.

11. JRDN Restaurant

Copy Link
723 Felspar St
San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 270-5736
Visit Website

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.

12. Cannonball

Copy Link
3105 Ocean Front Walk
San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 228-9304
Visit Website

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.

13. C Level Lounge

Copy Link
880 Harbor Island Dr
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 298-6802
Visit Website

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

14. Mitch's Seafood

Copy Link
1403 Scott St
San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 222-8787
Visit Website

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.

15. Portside Pier

Copy Link
1360 N Harbor Dr
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 719-4960
Visit Website

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

16. Bali Hai Restaurant

Copy Link
2230 Shelter Island Dr
San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 222-1181
Visit Website

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. 

17. Il Fornaio Coronado

Copy Link
1333 1st St
Coronado, CA 92118
(619) 437-4911
Visit Website

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

18. Serea Coastal Cuisine

Copy Link
1500 Orange Ave
Coronado, CA 92118
(619) 435-6611
Visit Website

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

19. SEA180

Copy Link
800 Seacoast Dr
Imperial Beach, CA 91932
(619) 631-4949
Visit Website

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

1. Valle Restaurant

201 N Myers St, Oceanside, CA 92054
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). 

201 N Myers St
Oceanside, CA 92054

2. Vigilucci's Seafood & Steakhouse

3878 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad, CA 92008
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.

3878 Carlsbad Blvd
Carlsbad, CA 92008

3. VAGA Restaurant & Bar

2100 N Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024
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.

2100 N Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024

4. Pacific Coast Grill

2526 S Coast Hwy 101, Cardiff, CA 92007
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.

2526 S Coast Hwy 101
Cardiff, CA 92007

5. Las Olas

2655 S Coast Hwy 101, Cardiff, CA 92007
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. 

2655 S Coast Hwy 101
Cardiff, CA 92007

6. Poseidon Restaurant Del Mar

1670 Coast Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
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. 

1670 Coast Blvd
Del Mar, CA 92014

7. Monarch Ocean Pub

1555 Camino Del Mar Suite 322, Del Mar, CA 92014
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. 

1555 Camino Del Mar Suite 322
Del Mar, CA 92014

8. Brockton Villa Restaurant

1235 Coast Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037
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.

1235 Coast Blvd
La Jolla, CA 92037

9. Blue Ocean / Harumama - La Jolla

1250 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
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. 

1250 Prospect St
La Jolla, CA 92037

10. George's at the Cove

1250 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
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.

1250 Prospect St
La Jolla, CA 92037

11. JRDN Restaurant

723 Felspar St, San Diego, CA 92109
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.

723 Felspar St
San Diego, CA 92109

12. Cannonball

3105 Ocean Front Walk, San Diego, CA 92109
Lobster sushi roll
Lobster sushi roll at Cannonball.

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.

3105 Ocean Front Walk
San Diego, CA 92109

13. C Level Lounge

880 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
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

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.

880 Harbor Island Dr
San Diego, CA 92101

14. Mitch's Seafood

1403 Scott St, San Diego, CA 92106
Mitch’s Seafood
Mitch’s Seafood.

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.

1403 Scott St
San Diego, CA 92106

15. Portside Pier

1360 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
Front of Brigantine at Portside Pier
Portside Pier.
Haley Hill Photography

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. 

1360 N Harbor Dr
San Diego, CA 92101

Related Maps

16. Bali Hai Restaurant

2230 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106

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. 

2230 Shelter Island Dr
San Diego, CA 92106

17. Il Fornaio Coronado

1333 1st St, Coronado, CA 92118
Paccheri Alla Vodka
Il Fornaio Coronado.
Helen I. Hwang

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. 

1333 1st St
Coronado, CA 92118

18. Serea Coastal Cuisine

1500 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118
Wood-grilled whole fish
Wood-grilled whole fish at Serea Coastal Cuisine.
Arlene Ibarra

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.

1500 Orange Ave
Coronado, CA 92118

19. SEA180

800 Seacoast Dr, Imperial Beach, CA 91932
Spicy mango tango margarita
Spicy mango tango margarita at SEA180.
Helen I. Hwang

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. 

800 Seacoast Dr
Imperial Beach, CA 91932

Related Maps