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Dining table and chairs set in garden. Wormwood/Facebook

15 Charming Spots for Outdoor Dining in San Diego

Find restaurants with cozy garden patios or stunning ocean views

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San Diego’s near-perfect weather makes the region a prime place for eating outdoors, with local restaurants able to take full advantage of the climate by offering open-air dining experiences. And with Valentine’s Day on the way, what’s better than cozying up outside? Unparalleled views of the ocean, garden patios, and an abundance of ambiance: here’s 15 romantic outdoor dining spots in San Diego County.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

Note: entries on this map are listed geographically.

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

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Diners don’t have to travel across the border to experience Valle de Guadalupe when they can just head to Oceanside to dine on dishes like taco de abulon, betabel nixtamal and chocolate de metate. And the restaurant’s generous wrap-around patio faces the Pacific Ocean.

Jeune et Jolie

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Jeune et Jolie’s four-course menu is reason enough to visit this delightful Carlsbad restaurant but for a truly romantic dinner, request a seat on their outdoor patio where stringed lights overhead set the atmosphere.

Starry Night dining patio at Jeune et Jolie in Carlsbad Courtesy photo

Valentina

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Valentina’s solid wine list plus a concise menu of modern European classics including steak frites, mussels al vino, and pulpo con papas make this a must-visit restaurant in Encinitas, but head there too for their abundant outdoor seating. It’s a mix of sidewalk and patio dining with umbrellas shading guests during the day.

A.R. Valentien

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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 Torrey Pines and the Pacific Ocean. The farm-to-table restaurant’s chef de cuisine Kelli Crosson was recently promoted to executive chef while longtime leader Jeff Jackson will now serve as The Lodge at Torrey Pines’s corporate culinary advisor.

George's at the Cove

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With its picture postcard views of La Jolla Cove, Scripps Pier and the bluffs at Torrey Pines, the aptly named Ocean Terrace at George’s is considered a quintessential dining San Diego experience and it’s a romantic destination too whether it’s a light lunch, sundowners, or even a special occasion dinner.

Wormwood

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Wormwood’s dining room and absinthe-focused menu transports diner to Paris is reason enough to visit this University Heights spot. Request a seat outdoors and you’ll be welcomed into the restaurant’s brick-lined patio and a lush secret garden.

Kairoa Brewing Company

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Romantic dining can be had at a pub too and this University Heights spot puts its rooftop bar to good use for couples looking to brunch, day drink, or catch dinner. The house beers and rotating guest taps are solid; food-wise try the fish and chips or New Zealand ‘cheese and seaboard’ with NZ brie and smoked sea bream.

Rooftop patio at Kairoa Brewing Company. Haley Hill Photography

Fort Oak

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Treat that special someone to Trust Group’s handsome restaurant and cocktail bar in Mission Hills where the outside patio is just as gorgeous as the interiors. It’s a great spot for brunch or Monday night happy hour featuring $1 oysters.

Front dining patio at Fort Oak. Paula Watts

Starlite

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The retro dining room at this midtown haunt has earned a slew of accolades (and fans) over the years, but the moodily lit back patio deserves some love of its own.

Mister A's

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Specializing in classic French and modern American cuisine, Mister A’s is a San Diego dining institution is an old school date spot with unparalleled views whether you eat indoors or out. Request a spot outdoors and wave to planes as they makes their final approach to the airport.

After 21 years, owner Bertrand Hug has passed on the restaurant’s reins to longtime operations director Ryan Thorsen, who will be updateding the space.

Carruth Cellars Wine Garden

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Share a bottle of wine and a build-your-own cheese board at this darling wine garden lined with olive trees and decked out with string lights. The maximum capacity at this Little Italy gem is only 30 people so you know it’s super intimate.

Kettner Exchange

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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.

Born and Raised

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It doesn’t get more glamorous in San Diego than sipping cocktails on the teak — and very sexy — rooftop at Consortium’s see-and-be-seen steakhouse. Come for drinks at the bar or dinner framed by San Diego skyline views. Side note: the coveted corner table up here is the best seat in the house.

The rooftop patio at night with columns made to look like trees with twinkling lights and a black and white striped floor. Zack Benson

Davanti Enoteca

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Little Italy is always seemingly busy but head to the back of Davanti Enoteca to experience their charming, intimate outdoor patio. Trees with twinkling lights transform the space by night. Those looking to do some people watching also have the option of the front patio too.

No other restaurant patio places the diner squarely between Downtown San Diego and the Mexican border, while still staying on by the shore with ocean breezes to cool the air and fire pits to warm up. But Sea180 does just that while serving a fine dining menu filled with items like grilled Spanish octopus and shrimp enchiladas.

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Valle Restaurant

Diners don’t have to travel across the border to experience Valle de Guadalupe when they can just head to Oceanside to dine on dishes like taco de abulon, betabel nixtamal and chocolate de metate. And the restaurant’s generous wrap-around patio faces the Pacific Ocean.

Jeune et Jolie

Starry Night dining patio at Jeune et Jolie in Carlsbad Courtesy photo

Jeune et Jolie’s four-course menu is reason enough to visit this delightful Carlsbad restaurant but for a truly romantic dinner, request a seat on their outdoor patio where stringed lights overhead set the atmosphere.

Starry Night dining patio at Jeune et Jolie in Carlsbad Courtesy photo

Valentina

Valentina’s solid wine list plus a concise menu of modern European classics including steak frites, mussels al vino, and pulpo con papas make this a must-visit restaurant in Encinitas, but head there too for their abundant outdoor seating. It’s a mix of sidewalk and patio dining with umbrellas shading guests during the day.

A.R. Valentien

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 Torrey Pines and the Pacific Ocean. The farm-to-table restaurant’s chef de cuisine Kelli Crosson was recently promoted to executive chef while longtime leader Jeff Jackson will now serve as The Lodge at Torrey Pines’s corporate culinary advisor.

George's at the Cove

With its picture postcard views of La Jolla Cove, Scripps Pier and the bluffs at Torrey Pines, the aptly named Ocean Terrace at George’s is considered a quintessential dining San Diego experience and it’s a romantic destination too whether it’s a light lunch, sundowners, or even a special occasion dinner.

Wormwood

Wormwood’s dining room and absinthe-focused menu transports diner to Paris is reason enough to visit this University Heights spot. Request a seat outdoors and you’ll be welcomed into the restaurant’s brick-lined patio and a lush secret garden.

Kairoa Brewing Company

Rooftop patio at Kairoa Brewing Company. Haley Hill Photography

Romantic dining can be had at a pub too and this University Heights spot puts its rooftop bar to good use for couples looking to brunch, day drink, or catch dinner. The house beers and rotating guest taps are solid; food-wise try the fish and chips or New Zealand ‘cheese and seaboard’ with NZ brie and smoked sea bream.

Rooftop patio at Kairoa Brewing Company. Haley Hill Photography

Fort Oak

Front dining patio at Fort Oak. Paula Watts

Treat that special someone to Trust Group’s handsome restaurant and cocktail bar in Mission Hills where the outside patio is just as gorgeous as the interiors. It’s a great spot for brunch or Monday night happy hour featuring $1 oysters.

Front dining patio at Fort Oak. Paula Watts

Starlite

The retro dining room at this midtown haunt has earned a slew of accolades (and fans) over the years, but the moodily lit back patio deserves some love of its own.

Mister A's

Specializing in classic French and modern American cuisine, Mister A’s is a San Diego dining institution is an old school date spot with unparalleled views whether you eat indoors or out. Request a spot outdoors and wave to planes as they makes their final approach to the airport.

After 21 years, owner Bertrand Hug has passed on the restaurant’s reins to longtime operations director Ryan Thorsen, who will be updateding the space.

Carruth Cellars Wine Garden

Share a bottle of wine and a build-your-own cheese board at this darling wine garden lined with olive trees and decked out with string lights. The maximum capacity at this Little Italy gem is only 30 people so you know it’s super intimate.

Kettner Exchange

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.

Born and Raised

The rooftop patio at night with columns made to look like trees with twinkling lights and a black and white striped floor. Zack Benson

It doesn’t get more glamorous in San Diego than sipping cocktails on the teak — and very sexy — rooftop at Consortium’s see-and-be-seen steakhouse. Come for drinks at the bar or dinner framed by San Diego skyline views. Side note: the coveted corner table up here is the best seat in the house.

The rooftop patio at night with columns made to look like trees with twinkling lights and a black and white striped floor. Zack Benson

Davanti Enoteca

Little Italy is always seemingly busy but head to the back of Davanti Enoteca to experience their charming, intimate outdoor patio. Trees with twinkling lights transform the space by night. Those looking to do some people watching also have the option of the front patio too.

SEA180