Last Updated on June 22, 2023

San Diego County boasts an impressive 70-miles of stunning coastline from Imperial Beach in the south to Oceanside in the north. As a result, you’ll find plenty of restaurants with view San Diego where the setting eclipses even an outstanding meal.

As San Diego residents, my husband and I are often asked for our dining recommendations by visitors. While the area has its share of outstanding inland restaurants worth a reservation, we always suggest an ocean view restaurant in San Diego for those making their first trip or celebrating a special occasion.

The Pacific Ocean and its associated bays are stunning. Why not eat lunch or dinner on the water at one of the restaurants with the best views in San Diego where you can enjoy magnificent vistas along with a cocktail or glass or wine, fresh farm or sea to table cuisine and an awe-inspiring sunset?

Our favorite restaurants with view San Diego run the gamut from very casual to shi-shi semi-formal, but yep, they all sport amazing views.

Ocean View Restaurant in San Diego

Oceana Coastal Kitchen

Outdoor dining at Oceana Coastal Kitchen.
Outdoor dining at Oceana Coastal Kitchen. Photo by Noreen Kompanik

Dining at Oceana Coastal Kitchen, the signature restaurant of the Catamaran Resort in Pacific Beach, is a must. Oceana is a hidden treasure that doesn’t always come into mind when considering San Diego oceanfront restaurants, but this South Sea Island themed restaurant is gorgeous.

Technically, it’s not even on the ocean. Water views are overlooking picturesque Mission Bay.

Oceana’s California cuisine complements the view with a myriad of seafood, sushi, and other culinary delights. At night, tiki torches are lit, setting the perfect mood for staying at this tropical paradise. 

Island Prime/C Level

Resting on stilts atop San Diego Bay overlooking the city skyline and Coronado, Island Prime and C-Level on Harbor Island boasts some of the loveliest waterfront cityscape views in the county.

This is a wonderful restaurant to celebrate a special occasion, but Happy Hour here on the outdoor C-Level deck is extremely popular. Bites and libations are moderately priced and the panoramic vistas are amazing.

Though seafood is the star of the show, the menu features other selections for the land-lubber.

Coasterra

Located adjacent to Island Prime, Coasterra is another of renowned chef Deborah Scott’s creations. Innovative and modern Mexican cuisine with a distinct Baja twist can only be outshined by the splendid bayfront setting overlooking the Coronado Bridge and San Diego’s downtown skyline.

Indoor and outdoor settings are available though you’ll want to ask for seating on the outside deck when making your reservation as this is one of the most popular restaurants with best view in San Diego.

Pacific Coast Grill

This oceanfront venue in North County’s Cardiff by the Sea features unique Pacific Coastal cuisine, an oyster bar, and a variety of seafood choices, tantalizing steaks and more.

The restaurant offers two levels of dining in which every seat in the house has an ocean view. A heated outdoor patio and deck offers more up-close-and-personal Pacific Ocean action.

During the day, diners can watch wave surfers, kite surfers, dolphins, whales and spectacular sunsets. This is one of our favorite restaurants with view San Diego in North County.

The Marine Room

For 80 years, The Marine Room has been a premier fine dining destination in La Jolla. A true San Diego landmark, the restaurant is renowned for its culinary excellence, uncompromising service and stunning beachfront setting.

True to its name, seafood definitely reigns supreme here, but another reason diners come is for the waves crashing against the large glass picture windows during high tide providing a dramatic show you’ll never forget.

The Marine Room is definitely the place to celebrate a family milestone, engagement or other special occasion. It does come with a pretty hefty price tag, but it’s well worth it.

Tom Ham’s Lighthouse

This restaurant is housed in a historic-but-still-functioning lighthouse at the tip of Harbor Island Drive not far from the airport. The restaurant was founded by Tom Ham, an amateur historian and UCLA graduate after he’d opened his first restaurant, Bali Hai.

Ham’s selections reflect the lovely bayfront setting with a seafood-driven menu available from brunch to dinner. Whether you sit indoors or on the open-air deck overhanging the water, views from every angle are magnificent.

Mitch’s Seafood

Lines are out the door during lunch and dinner for seafood dishes at this casual waterfront eatery. No reservations are accepted, and seafood here is as good as it gets. Located in the heart of the Point Loma Sportfishing Dock, Mitch’s is dedicated to serving sustainable locally caught seafood from San Diego fishermen.

There’s plenty of indoor dining but the most coveted seats are found outside for the best views of the harbor and the fishing fleet.

Peohe’s

San Diego views from Peohe's Coronado.
San Diego views from Peohe’s Coronado. Photo by Noreen Kompanik

Peohe’s represents elegant fine dining with a casual island vibe. Its spirit of aloha and dazzling views overlooking Coronado Bay make this one of the most popular eateries of all Coronado restaurants.  This is a place we love to meet up with friends and a go-to for taking family and friends visiting from out of town.

The happy hour menu incorporates some of the restaurant’s favorite cocktails at a discount, with many appetizers at half price. We love the Spicy Tuna and Lobster California Rolls, Coconut Crunchy Shrimp, Kim Chee Calamari with crispy vegetables, Thai Chicken Spring Rolls and Ahi Poke Nachos.

Brigantine Portside Pier

When this restaurant opened up on downtown San Diego’s Embarcadero, we couldn’t have been happier.

Though Brigantine does have a family of restaurants in San Diego, they all have unique menus and Portside Pier definitely wins top billing for knock-your-socks-off San Diego Bay and Embarcadero views.

We love the open-air spacious ambience of this eatery. The entrees feature seafood but other options are available, and service is top notch.

Brockton Villa Restaurant

Originally constructed as a beach cottage in 1894, this historic building was later transformed into a cozy restaurant that’s very popular with the locals. The dramatic views of La Jolla’s rugged coastline is a big draw along with its seasonal brunch, lunch and dinner menus.

Bali Hai

Tiki found a home in San Diego in 1954, particularly at the Bali Hai, located on the very tip of Shelter Island. You’ll instantly feel the aloha at this restaurant equally known for its bay and San Diego skyline views as well as its strong Mai Tai cocktails. The restaurant’s Polynesian menu includes coconut shrimp, crispy ahi tuna and wok-fried bass.

The famed Tiki Bar, the crown jewel of the eatery, is one of the most beautiful tiki bars in the world.

Duke’s La Jolla

An off shoot of the original in Waikiki, Duke’s La Jolla not only serves up delectable Hawaiian delights, but also has incredible oceanfront vistas overlooking the spectacular La Jolla Cove.

A tribute to Hawaii and Southern California beach life, the restaurant is named after Duke Kahanamoku, the father of modern surfing. 

The signature cocktail is Duke’s Mai Tai, a luscious libation made with fresh Hawaiian juices with two types of rum. Mojitos, mules, margaritas, and locally- sourced lavender drinks are also popular.

Though the menu isn’t extensive, it’s well thought-out to satisfy a variety of tastes.

Jake’s Del Mar

Del Mar Beach from our table at Jake's.
Del Mar Beach from our table at Jake’s. Photo by Noreen Kompanik

Jake’s is the quintessential ocean view restaurant in San Diego. With chef-driven California coastal fare, craft cocktails and unforgettable ocean views, this is another of our ‘go-to’ dining venues that’s extremely popular with the locals.

If you don’t have a reservation, you’ll likely have to wait an hour for a table.

The menu is reasonably priced, entrees are well prepared, service is always top-notch and of course, you can’t beat the setting- right on the surfing beach in Del Mar. Oh, and sunsets here are stunning.

George’s at the Cove

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean and northern coastline, George’s is a renowned dining destination in a stunning La Jolla setting. It’s hard to beat a restaurant whose motto is “where life is to be enjoyed one sunset at a time.”

Acclaimed as the region’s best rooftop dining, the restaurant offers panoramic views of the La Jolla Cove from its sophisticated interior, but especially its oceanfront terrace. Entrees are amazing, cocktails creative, and life is good when you’re dining in paradise.

Author

  • Noreen Kompanik

    Noreen Kompanik is a retired registered nurse, legal nurse consultant and military spouse turned travel writer. She launched her travel writing career in 2014 and has over 1,000 published articles in a variety of digital and print publications.