San Diego is the ultimate paradise for surfers, bird watchers, and nature lovers of all kinds. Its perfect weather, giant waves, and stunning coastal cliffs embody the idea of eternal summer.
Nature lovers can take a hike along the epic coastal cliffs or gaze at the seals basking in the sun at La Jolla Cove and Children’s Pool.
Outdoor activity and aquatic sports aren’t the coast’s only gifts. The Pacific Ocean bestows a bounty of fresh seafood.
California’s agricultural bounty combined with San Diego’s coastal location makes for an incredible seafood scene, so if you’re a seafood lover, you’ll also consider San Diego paradise.
I spent my last trip to San Diego searching for the best seafood restaurants and couldn’t have enjoyed my culinary research more.
Best Seafood Restaurants in San Diego
- Point Loma Seafoods
- El Pescador Fish Market
- Ironside Fish & Oyster
- Mitch’s Seafood
- The Fishery
- Oscar’s Mexican Seafood
- Oceana Coastal Kitchen
- Truluck’s Ocean’s Finest Seafood & Crab
- Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
- C Level Lounge
- Fish 101 Restaurant
- Jake’s Del Mar
- JRDN Restaurant
- George’s at the Cove
Whether you want a fine-dining multicourse seafood extravaganza or a Baja-style fish taco at the local neighborhood beach hut, you’ll find the best seafood restaurants in San Diego on my eclectic list of bistros, markets, and lounges.
Point Loma Seafood
2805 Emerson St, San Diego, CA 92106
Established in 1963, Point Loma Seafood is downtown San Diego’s most picturesque seafood restaurant and a local favorite for over half a century.
Located on San Diego Bay, Point Loma has the best sunset views from its large outdoor patio. Point Loma uses the freshest daily catches from San Diego’s fishermen, who smoke fish on site.
The menu at Point Loma is very California, with options that range from sushi to light sandwiches. It may also be the best value for your money, with large fish platters all under 18$.
I recommend the Combo Platter, with two pieces of cod, two shrimp, and one lump crab cake served with coleslaw, fries, and house-made tartar sauce.
El Pescador Fish Market
634 Pearl St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Located in the iconic La Jolla neighborhood, minutes away from some of San Diego’s best beaches, El Pescador Fish Market is a market and casual yet refined eatery.
Another San Diego staple, El Pescador, has been a fish seller and restaurant for over 40 years.
It’s La Jolla’s go-to for fresh fish, and if you go to dine there, you’ll see a stunning selection of fresh fish from the big glass case as a pre-meal teaser.
I love their creative plating, like placing seafood cocktails and poke in mason jars or the sashimi plate as a veritable rainbow pinwheel of fish.
The menu features raw offerings in a Japanese and California fusion along with sandwiches, salads, char-grilled seafood.
I loved the local yellowtail in a house marinade, which you can have on a salad, in a sandwich, or as a plate.
Ironside Fish & Oyster
1654 India St, San Diego, CA 92101
Ironside Fish and Oyster bar is a hip cocktail bar and seafood restaurant in Little Italy, blocks from the beautiful Waterfront Park.
The fabulous interior seamlessly combines old-school accents and industrial-chic décor, with a beautifully carved wooden bar, checkered floors, a mix of high-ceilinged concrete and brick tiled walls, and light fixtures that you’d find illuminating the hallways in an ocean liner.
They do a lunch service, close for a few hours, and then open for happy hour and dinner at 5 pm. I’d start with a platter of raw oysters, followed by their signature lobster rolls with brown butter mayo, crispy shallots, chives, and fries.
1403 Scott St, San Diego, CA 92106
Owned and operated by three fishermen families and proud San Diegans, Mitch’s Seafood is a family-friendly California-style Seafood house and pub that sources everything from seafood to beverage selection from the local bounty.
Located right on San Diego Bay amongst the working fisherman’s piers, Mitch’s brings in the day’s catch right to their waterside doorstep.
The wine and beer come from local artisanal breweries and the world-famous Napa Valley vineyards to the north.
The massive menu features raw bar items like cocktails, ceviche, poke, tacos, salads, tostadas, fried baskets, steamed seafood, and whole grilled fish selections.
5040 Cass St, San Diego, CA 92109
Located three blocks from the Ocean in the Pacific Beach neighborhood, The Fishery is an upscale seafood restaurant in a refurbished old warehouse.
Owners Judd and Marry Anne Brown partner with longstanding quality seafood purveyors Pacific Shellfish to supply customers with the freshest catches that executive chef Mike Reidy transforms into perfectly executed New American plates.
The full bar at The Fishery has a delicious selection of craft cocktails with a California twist that changes seasonally like the menu.
I loved their Pacific swordfish with ricotta gnocchi, melted leeks, bloomsdale spinach, and tomato caponata.
Oscar’s Mexican Seafood
With locations in Pacific Beach, North Pacific Beach, and Hillcrest, Oscar’s Mexican Seafood is an excellent, fast-casual Mexican seafood joint with fantastic nautical murals, quick service, and fun outdoor seating to enjoy everything from fish tacos to ceviche to Mexican-style fish sandwiches.
Oscar’s is California-inspired coastal Mexican street food that uses California-fresh ingredients at Mexican street-food prices.
I’d mix and match a few different tacos to sample all the fresh seafood and shellfish. One will certainly fill you up.
There are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, too. My favorite taco was the Taco Especial with smoked fish, shrimp, and scallops served with cabbage, onion, tomato, cilantro, avocado, and cheese.
Oceana Coastal Kitchen
3999 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109
Located in the Catamaran Resort Hotel overlooking the stunning Mission Bay, Oceana Coastal Kitchen is a waterfront New American Kitchen that strives to honor California’s coastal and agriculture bounty.
Executive Chef Steven Riemer creates innovative renditions of classic seafood dishes to enjoy in a luxurious patio right on the beach.
There’s live music on Wednesdays and Thursdays with half-priced bottles of wine and discounted craft beer.
I recommend the Norwegian Ocean Trout with honey, and red wine reduction served with roasted cauliflower and confit fingerling potatoes.
Truluck’s Ocean’s Finest Seafood & Crab
8990 University Center Ln, San Diego, CA 92122
Truluck’s is a renowned Texas-based fine-dining Seafood restaurant famous for its Florida-sourced stone crab dishes.
Their upscale, fine-dining experience with extravagant multicourse meals, top-quality service, and coat-and-tie dress code makes Truluck’s La Jolla’s premier spot for fancy celebratory dinners, corporate lunches, and romantic dates.
I recommend starting with the crab and shrimp Napoleon with blue crab, shrimp, mango, and smoked tomato vinaigrette.
Even though California is on the opposite side of the nation from Florida, I still recommend their fresh Florida Stone crab claws that come pre-cracked, chilled, and served with house mustard sauce.
Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
Eddie V’s Prime Seafood is a traditional steakhouse and seafood restaurant with locations in La Jolla and San Diego’s Marina Park North.
Eddie V’s offers a bustling atmosphere in an elegant contemporary dining space with a beautiful cocktail lounge, live jazz music, and one of my favorite happy hours in San Diego.
Eddie V’s serves a traditional and utterly decadent selection of the finest steaks and seafood in a multi-course format.
You must try their incredible shellfish tower, with Maine lobster, shrimp, oysters, and jumbo lump crab.
My favorite fish dish here is the Chilean Sea Bass steamed Hong Kong-style with light soy broth and a side of crispy brussels sprouts in a Korean glaze with crushed peanuts.
C Level Lounge
880 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA, 92101
Located on Harbor Island, across the bay from Downtown San Diego’s stunning skyline, C Level Lounge is an upscale seafood and steakhouse that has consistently won the most romantic and picturesque restaurant in San Diego since its opening.
OpenTable, San Diego Magazine, and Wine Spectator have honored C Level Lounge with accolades for its incredible atmosphere and delicious food and drink program.
Executive Chef Deborah Scott creates beautiful plates of the highest quality steaks and seafood fresh from the Bay.
The C Lounge’s rooftop patio is undoubtedly the best place to enjoy Happy Hour during San Diego’s spectacular golden hour.
Fish 101 Restaurant
2101 San Elijo Ave, Cardiff, CA 92007
Located in the quaint, picturesque town of Cardiff by the Sea, Fish 101 Restaurant is a casual California-style seafood joint and pub with a great backyard and fast, friendly service.
Fish 101 uses California’s fresh fish bounty and local flavors to create delectable salads, burritos, tacos, bowls, fish fry baskets, and more.
They’re a popular take-out spot, serving all their meals in cardboard plates for you to enjoy as a delicious beach picnic.
I loved their Baja Shrimp Burrito with beer battered fried shrimp, rice, black beans, chipotle crema, cabbage, and pico de gallo with a side of salsa verde and tortilla chips.
Jake’s Del Mar
1660 Coast Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
Del Mar is a classy, historic seaside village and a popular spot for San Diegans and tourists to visit as a short day trip, and Jake’s is a lively seafood restaurant and bar to enjoy a delicious lunch, brunch, or dinner after a day at the beach.
The menu features hearty plates of American favorites, from barbecue to burgers, and of course, great seafood options like ceviche, seafood chowder, and more.
My favorite seafood entrée was the curry and cumin-crusted ahi with coconut basmati rice, bok choy, shiitake mushroom soy butter, and pickled green papaya.
723 Felspar St, San Diego, CA 92109
Located inside the oceanfront Tower23 Hotel, JRDN Restaurant is a beachside restaurant and bar run by Executive Chef Stephan Gage.
He works with local farmers and fishers to create a California-inspired, seasonal menu. Chef Gage’s menu fuses California’s bounty with world flavors, featuring contemporary takes on world cuisine.
Whether you want lobster risotto or over-the-top sushi rolls, JRDN Restaurant showcases seafood in numerous culinary traditions.
My favorite dish was the Ahi Tuna nachos with avocado, mango, Fresno chili, shiso, cilantro, crispy wonton chips, sriracha aioli, and sesame seeds.
George’s at the Cove
1250 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
After spending a day at La Jolla’s most popular beach for swimming and seal gazing, George’s at the Cove is the perfect way to end your day on a high note. George’s is a Michelin-plated modern California-cuisine fine-dining restaurant.
Every publication from local San Diego Magazine to the Washington Post and U.S.A. Today hails George’s as one of the best restaurants in the nation for a top-tier meal in a romantic and picturesque oceanside setting.
Everything from craft cocktails to entrees is served in a stunning display of culinary fine art.
I started with the lobster ravioli with snap peas, marinated shitake mushrooms, lemongrass lobster broth, and Thai basil.
My favorite entrée here is the herb-crusted local yellowtail with summer squash, olive marinated tomatoes, squash blossom and saffron pistou, and nepitella pesto.
There’s no better way to enjoy the Ocean more than a delicious seafood meal, and San Diego’s Pacific Coast bounty provides the perfect foundation for its many seafood restaurants.
Whether you want a fast-casual fish taco or the height of fine-dining seafood bistros, my list of the best seafood restaurants in San Diego covers all the bases.
If you want to expand your culinary horizons to other delectable offerings in San Diego, check out my list of great breakfast spots.
Did we leave something out of this list? Comment below, and we’ll check it out!