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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

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Katy's Cafe

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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.

1500 Ocean

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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.

The Glass Door

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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.

Tom Ham's Lighthouse

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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.

Fathom Bistro, Bait & Tackle

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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.”

Mitch's Seafood

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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.

South Beach Bar & Grille

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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.

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.

George's At The Cove

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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.

Jake's Del Mar

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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.

Bull Taco

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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.

Tomiko Restaurant & Bar

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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.

Vigilucci's Seafood & Steak House

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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.

Harbor Fish and Chips

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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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Katy's Cafe

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.

1500 Ocean

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.

The Glass Door

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.

Tom Ham's Lighthouse

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.

Fathom Bistro, Bait & Tackle

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.”

Mitch's Seafood

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.

South Beach Bar & Grille

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.

JRDN

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.

George's At The Cove

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.

Jake's Del Mar

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.

Bull Taco

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.

Tomiko Restaurant & Bar

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.

Vigilucci's Seafood & Steak House

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.

Harbor Fish and Chips

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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