Sunny skies, mild temperatures, and unbeatable views are just a few reasons why San Diego is so perfect for outdoor dining. Even when the sun sets and the weather cools, most restaurants are equipped with patio heaters and cozy blankets for borrowing. With picturesque views that range from the scenic Pacific Ocean to bustling cityscapes, it would be foolish not to take advantage of the outdoor dining options that abound in our corner of the country.Read More
Seek Out These Outdoor Dining Spots in San Diego
Find restaurants with cozy garden patios or stunning beach views
This Oceanside restaurant boasts stellar views of the Pacific Ocean from the wraparound patio. Not only do diners feast their eyes on the view, but they’re also privy to the culinary creations of chef Roberto Alcocer. Dishes, like langosta Puerto Nuevo (butter poached lobster taco) and wagyu costilla (48-hour short ribs with coffee and ancho chile jus), have earned the restaurant recognition in the recent Michelin California Guide.
Also featured in:
Jeune et Jolie
The gardenesque patio space whisks diners away to a faraway French countryside villa with lush overarching trees, soft table lighting, and bright string lights. Diners can nestle in for a Michelin-starred, four-course tasting menu with highlights like rabbit with rhubarb and beet raspberry creme fraiche.
With abundant outdoor seating, this North County restaurant off the 101 oozes Spanish beach vibes. Valentina’s solid wine list (along with its off-the-menu bright Aperol spritz cocktail) pairs well with Mediterranean specialties like gambas al ajillo and Mediterranean sashimi. The breezy open windows and enclosed covered patio terrace keep guests cozy while enjoying the fresh air.
Newly-minted executive chef Brandon Jennings has taken over the kitchen at the Rancho Santa Fe enclave. The courtyard outdoor dining area is overflowing with foliage and country home vibes. Try the pan-roasted Atlantic Dover sole (flown in daily) with Chino Farms produce, or the Mille Fleurs lobster salad.
Cross Street Chicken and Beer
This North County location of the Korean fried chicken and beer restaurant has an open-air dining terrace at the Del Mar Highlands Town Center. Enjoy recent additions like soon dubu, a Korean tofu soup, with cocktails, like an ube jasmine collins, next to a pedestrianized walkway.
Also featured in:
Urbana Mexican Gastronomy & Mixology
Located at Del Mar Highlands Town Center’s Skydeck food collective, this spot offers a 1,000-square-foot outdoor patio that’s above the tree line and under the stars. Try their tiki margarita and carnitas tacos with scratch-made salsas.
While the inside of A.R. Valentien is decorated with warm woods, it’s the outdoor dining area you’ll want to request for sweeping views of the famous Torrey Pines golf course and the Pacific Ocean. Helmed by chef Kelli Crosson, the farm-to-table restaurant boasts hyperlocal dishes and a robust wine list to enjoy with the view.
George's at the Cove
Perched above Prospect Street where you’ll score a picturesque view of La Jolla Cove, Scripps Pier, and the Torrey Pines bluffs, the aptly-named Ocean Terrace at George’s is considered a quintessential San Diego dining experience for sunset toasts or lunch with friends.
La Valencia Hotel
The view from the hotel’s seventh-floor Ocean View Terrace is magnificent with a birds-eye perspective of La Jolla Cove. Ask for table #625 for the ideal view while enjoying Mediterranean dishes, like shawarma-spiced octopus and persimmon scallops.
The whimsically decorated open-air dining area invites visitors when they first walk into the La Jolla restaurant where the Italian hearth cooking and expertly-crafted pasta, inventive cocktails, and housemade limoncello invoke the atmosphere of the Amalfi Coast.
This relatively new Bird Rock restaurant has added a fresh outdoor patio with heaters where you can hear live music streaming in from the iconic baby grand piano in the main dining area. Catch the lively happy hours with a bites menu and cocktails like Ocean Planet, a blue-hued vodka cocktail where 50 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography.
Also featured in:
This new waterfront dining restaurant has recently opened at the Bahia Resort Hotel with views of cabanas on Mission Bay beach and the hotel's paddleboat steamer moored in the marina. Led by executive chef Bryan Stuppy, the menu features seafood towers and chicken under a brick, a recipe from its sister restaurant A.R. Valentien.
Also featured in:
White Rice Bodega
Acclaimed chef Phillip Esteban invokes the nostalgic flavors of his childhood with Filipino cuisine. Chill out on the Adams Avenue-facing patio while dining on smoked cabbage with patis (Filipino fish sauce) Caesar dressing or silog, a rice bowl made with garlic rice and fried egg.
Also featured in:
Bask in the retro vibes at the Town and Country Resort with a view of the pool and waterslide from Arlo’s dining patio. Chef Josh Mouzakes offers a variety of easy-to-share plates, like wood-fired flatbreads, to go along with an extensive wine and beer selection.
With an absinthe-focused menu, a trip to an outdoor table in the backyard’s lush secret garden feels extra clandestine. The Bohemian atmosphere is nicely touched off with Parisian dishes like confit de canard and quatre fromages.
The urban patio area tucked between two indoor dining spaces is a perfect setup for chef Brad Wise’s wood-fired dishes and $1 oysters on Monday afternoons between 4 and 6 p.m. Sip on a cocktail concocted by bar manager Jess Stewart, such as the Roadmaster, an old fashioned with orange black pepper oleo.
Carruth Cellars Urban Winegarden & Cheese Shop: Liberty Station
Indulge in a wine and cheese flight in the darling wine gardens lined with olive trees and decked out with string lights. With locations in Little Italy, Solana Beach, Carlsbad, Oceanside, and Liberty Station, guests can also find crostini flights and an extensive cheese shop with fromage from around the world.
The classic San Diego old-school dining destination has undergone an invigorating transformation in the hands of proprietor Ryan Thorsen. The former operations director took over from the legendary Bertrand Hug and transformed the dining area into a sleek, modern space with a sumptuous cocktail bar for drop-in drinks and decadent dishes, like hiramasa crudo and Maine lobster pot pie. The outdoor deck that wraps around two sides of the restaurant offers cushioned lounge seating and plenty of tables to take in the views of the city skyline, harbor, and planes as they glide below the guests and make their final descent to the San Diego Airport.
Anchored by a beautiful olive tree, KEX’s buzzy rooftop patio has plenty of seating, from benches to cabanas and non-traditional options (read: giant swing) for laid-back Sunday brunches and dressy date nights. The cabanas in the open-air lounge can be reserved with a food and beverage minimum; a chilled-out way to relax with cocktail decanters and dishes from the chef’s menu.
Born and Raised
It doesn’t get more glamorous in San Diego than sipping cocktails on the teak rooftop at this see-and-be-seen steakhouse. Come for drinks at the bar or dinner framed by San Diego skyline views. If you do opt for dinner, try one of the new dishes from culinary director Perfecte Rocher and recently-promoted executive chef Charleen Sandoval, which include o-toro tartare and lamb loin with eggplant basil puree and mint chimichurri. Pro tip: the coveted corner table facing India Street is one of the best spots in the house.
Serea Coastal Cuisine
The anchor restaurant at the Hotel Del Coronado grants guests unparalleled views of Coronado Beach while taking in the hustle and bustle of visitors. The two-tiered patio is the perfect setting to indulge in chef JoJo Ruiz’s sustainable seafood menu.
No other restaurant patio places the diner practically right on the sands of Imperial Beach with a view of Mexico in the faraway distance. Stay on shore with ocean breezes to cool the air and fire pits to warm up. Sea180’s menu reflects its proximity to Baja with dishes like cured pork belly with pipian (pumpkin seed) mole and crab rigatoni made with guajillo salsa macha.