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The Ultimate Heatmap For Best Ocean View Eats

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Eating and drinking with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop is what summer's all about in Southern California, and San Diego's got the lock on waterfront dining options up and down the coast. But how do you separate the tourist traps from local gems?

OpenTable just named two locals — JRDN and George's at the Cove — among the top 100 outdoor restaurants in the country, while Eater's here to share our top eating and drinking spots in coastal towns from Imperial Beach all the way to Oceanside.

Here are the 14 spots that comprise our Ultimate Heatmap For Best Ocean View Eats (leave your favorites in the comments).


· Heatmap: Where To Eat Right Now [~ESD~]
· The Ultimate Brunch Heatmap [~ESD~]
-Tierney Plumb Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Katy's Cafe

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704 Seacoast Dr
Imperial Beach, CA 91932
(619) 863-5524
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Locals love this beachfront staple, known for its hearty breakfasts and smoothies. Free Wi-Fi lets customers catch up on emails over eggs and coffee.

2. 1500 Ocean

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1500 Orange Ave
Coronado, CA 92118
(619) 522-8490
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The Hotel Del's most elegant restaurant uses California's coastal ingredients to create contemporary Mediterranean flavors. Chef Robert Hohmann has worked alongside such culinary legends as Mario Batali and Thomas Keller.

3. The Glass Door

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1835 Columbia St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 564-3755
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Dine on local seafood fare that changes day to day from this perch overlooking the San Diego Bay. New fruity cocktails for the summer include the Cocoa Beach with Malibu rum and the Bada Bing with blueberry vodka.

4. Tom Ham's Lighthouse

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2150 Harbor Island Dr
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 291-9110
The iconic Harbor Island restaurant just debuted its multi-million dollar renovation. The refresh includes a new seafood-focused menu from chef Lance Repp and a great craft beer program.

5. Fathom Bistro, Bait & Tackle

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1776 Shelter Island Drive
San Diego, CA 92106
A recent Yelper sums up this Shelter Island bistro that makes its own sausages and covers hot dogs in kimchi: “You can see the whole city skyline, eat a good meal complete with brewsky all for less than $11.”

6. Mitch's Seafood

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1403 Scott St
San Diego, CA 92106
In this less tourist-traveled Point Loma spot, take in views of the historic fishing community while scarfing up dishes of locally-caught fish. Wash it all down with $3 Ballast Point beers during happy hour.

7. South Beach Bar & Grille

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5059 Newport Ave
San Diego, CA 92107
(619) 226-4577
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This Ocean Beach stalwart got a recent makeover Get there early for Taco Tuesday, when the tacos are cheap ($2.75 all day) and the oceanfront views are priceless.

8. JRDN

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4551 Ocean Blvd
San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 270-5736
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A classy gem amidst Pacific Beach's dive bar scene, this glass-enclosed lounge in the Tower 23 hotel offers diners prime people watching views of sunsets, boardwalk bicyclists and surfers emerging from the water.

9. George's At The Cove

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1250 Prospect St
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 454-4244
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Take in stunning views of the La Jolla Cove from any of this restaurant's three levels. Their fine dining outpost on the first floor, George's California Modern, currently offers a four-course tasting menu for $68.

10. Jake's Del Mar

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1660 Coast Blvd
Del Mar, CA 92014
(858) 755-2002
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Watch waves crashing while catching a buzz off of coastal cocktails, like the Sunset Martini with Grey Goose vodka, peach, orange juice and cranberry. Wine Flight Monday means three different wines of the same variety for $25.

11. Bull Taco

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2050 S Coast Hwy 101
Cardiff by the Sea, CA 92007
(760) 635-3595
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The staff calls this taco shack's surf side view from a Cardiff cliff “pretty kick ass”; the shrimp, bacon and chorizo taco is the biggest seller at this original location, hidden within the Cardiff State Beach Campground.

12. Tomiko Restaurant & Bar

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87 Encinitas Blvd
Encinitas, CA 92024
(760) 633-3587
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Oceanfront views in Encinitas are surprisingly slim, but you can catch a peek of the water from this sushi sanctuary. Rolls are just $3 to $6 during happy hour.

13. Vigilucci's Seafood & Steak House

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3878 Carlsbad Blvd
Carlsbad, CA 92008
The 125-seat spot doesn't have a bad ocean view in the house. The newest menu item, Cappellacci di zucca, which includes homemade pasta with butternut squash, walnuts, ricotta and sage, can be enjoyed al fresco from one of its 10 outdoor tables.

14. Harbor Fish and Chips

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276 Harbor Dr S
Oceanside, CA 92054
(760) 722-4977
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This simple seafood eatery caters to a family crowd, with benches and four-top tables overlooking boats floating in the harbor. Just added last month: soft serve ice cream. The Captain's Special of two fish, two shrimp and a side for $12.50 goes fast.

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1. Katy's Cafe

704 Seacoast Dr, Imperial Beach, CA 91932
Locals love this beachfront staple, known for its hearty breakfasts and smoothies. Free Wi-Fi lets customers catch up on emails over eggs and coffee.
704 Seacoast Dr
Imperial Beach, CA 91932

2. 1500 Ocean

1500 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118
The Hotel Del's most elegant restaurant uses California's coastal ingredients to create contemporary Mediterranean flavors. Chef Robert Hohmann has worked alongside such culinary legends as Mario Batali and Thomas Keller.
1500 Orange Ave
Coronado, CA 92118

3. The Glass Door

1835 Columbia St, San Diego, CA 92101
Dine on local seafood fare that changes day to day from this perch overlooking the San Diego Bay. New fruity cocktails for the summer include the Cocoa Beach with Malibu rum and the Bada Bing with blueberry vodka.
1835 Columbia St
San Diego, CA 92101

4. Tom Ham's Lighthouse

2150 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
The iconic Harbor Island restaurant just debuted its multi-million dollar renovation. The refresh includes a new seafood-focused menu from chef Lance Repp and a great craft beer program.
2150 Harbor Island Dr
San Diego, CA 92101

5. Fathom Bistro, Bait & Tackle

1776 Shelter Island Drive, San Diego, CA 92106
A recent Yelper sums up this Shelter Island bistro that makes its own sausages and covers hot dogs in kimchi: “You can see the whole city skyline, eat a good meal complete with brewsky all for less than $11.”
1776 Shelter Island Drive
San Diego, CA 92106

6. Mitch's Seafood

1403 Scott St, San Diego, CA 92106
In this less tourist-traveled Point Loma spot, take in views of the historic fishing community while scarfing up dishes of locally-caught fish. Wash it all down with $3 Ballast Point beers during happy hour.
1403 Scott St
San Diego, CA 92106

7. South Beach Bar & Grille

5059 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107
This Ocean Beach stalwart got a recent makeover Get there early for Taco Tuesday, when the tacos are cheap ($2.75 all day) and the oceanfront views are priceless.
5059 Newport Ave
San Diego, CA 92107

8. JRDN

4551 Ocean Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109
A classy gem amidst Pacific Beach's dive bar scene, this glass-enclosed lounge in the Tower 23 hotel offers diners prime people watching views of sunsets, boardwalk bicyclists and surfers emerging from the water.
4551 Ocean Blvd
San Diego, CA 92109

9. George's At The Cove

1250 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Take in stunning views of the La Jolla Cove from any of this restaurant's three levels. Their fine dining outpost on the first floor, George's California Modern, currently offers a four-course tasting menu for $68.
1250 Prospect St
La Jolla, CA 92037

10. Jake's Del Mar

1660 Coast Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
Watch waves crashing while catching a buzz off of coastal cocktails, like the Sunset Martini with Grey Goose vodka, peach, orange juice and cranberry. Wine Flight Monday means three different wines of the same variety for $25.
1660 Coast Blvd
Del Mar, CA 92014

11. Bull Taco

2050 S Coast Hwy 101, Cardiff by the Sea, CA 92007
The staff calls this taco shack's surf side view from a Cardiff cliff “pretty kick ass”; the shrimp, bacon and chorizo taco is the biggest seller at this original location, hidden within the Cardiff State Beach Campground.
2050 S Coast Hwy 101
Cardiff by the Sea, CA 92007

12. Tomiko Restaurant & Bar

87 Encinitas Blvd, Encinitas, CA 92024
Oceanfront views in Encinitas are surprisingly slim, but you can catch a peek of the water from this sushi sanctuary. Rolls are just $3 to $6 during happy hour.
87 Encinitas Blvd
Encinitas, CA 92024

13. Vigilucci's Seafood & Steak House

3878 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad, CA 92008
The 125-seat spot doesn't have a bad ocean view in the house. The newest menu item, Cappellacci di zucca, which includes homemade pasta with butternut squash, walnuts, ricotta and sage, can be enjoyed al fresco from one of its 10 outdoor tables.
3878 Carlsbad Blvd
Carlsbad, CA 92008

14. Harbor Fish and Chips

276 Harbor Dr S, Oceanside, CA 92054
This simple seafood eatery caters to a family crowd, with benches and four-top tables overlooking boats floating in the harbor. Just added last month: soft serve ice cream. The Captain's Special of two fish, two shrimp and a side for $12.50 goes fast.
276 Harbor Dr S
Oceanside, CA 92054

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