Are you a fan of San Diego’s warm climate and vast beaches? Then, why not elevate your west coast vacation by enjoying a meal by San Diego Bay or the Pacific Ocean?
Indulging in the city’s finest surf & turf dishes is more immersive if you’re closer to the water.
4325 Ocean Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109
If you’re staying at any of the beachfront hotels near Pacific Beach, consider visiting Waterbar for your next meal.
This spacious spot serves scratch-made dishes daily that many guests love indulging in after a long day at the beach or nearby shopping mall. In addition, Executive Chef DJ Tangalin’s menu incorporates Baja, East Coast, and West Coast flavors into their “social seafood.
During my last visit to San Diego, I had their Vegetable Curry Bowl, Ahi Tuna Loin, Spicy Shrimp Roll, and Sea Bass with a side of Cali Spiced Fries or Coconut Rice. After dinner, be sure to try their S’mores Sundae.
Jake’s Del Mar
1660 Coast Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
The first place that I recommend for an excellent waterfront dining experience is Jake’s Del Mar, a short walk away from Powerhouse Park & Beach.
It has a casual vibe, an upscale menu, and an excellent coastline view. They offer lunch and dinner all week, along with brunch every Sunday.
They offer a wide selection of seafood and steakhouse favorites to satisfy your surf & turf cravings.
If you stop by for dinner, consider ordering their Mixed Seafood Pot or Surfing Steak. However, their lunchtime Baja Fish Tacos are also worth trying.
Don’t forget to try their seaside cocktails or signature Hula Pie to elevate your relaxing meal.
Brockton Villa Restaurant
1235 Coast Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037
Next up is Brockton Villa Restaurant, overlooking La Jolla Cove. If you’re in the mood for a relaxing daily brunch by the waterfront, you can count on their dishes to fill you up.
This tranquil destination has a lovely patio space for enjoying French toast and San Diego’s best summer-like days.
Consider trying their Cinnamon Roll Pancakes, Lump Crab Omelet, Surf N’ Turf Wrap, or Carne Asada Benedict with Rosemary Fennel Potatoes or their signature Coast Toast on the side.
You can’t go wrong with a Blended Espresso Frappe, Tropical Iced Tea, Lavender Lemonade, or Cove Mimosa to complement your meal.
1403 Scott St, San Diego, CA 92106
Another one of the best waterfront restaurants in San Diego is Mitch’s Seafood. You can find it minutes away from Hotel Point Loma.
This casual restaurant is a popular spot for anyone who loves fishing by the bay. To ensure quality in every dish, they make their seafood from fish caught in San Diego and Northern Baja by their teams or local fishermen.
I love ordering their Beer Battered Fish & Chips, Calamari Sandwich, or BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger with coleslaw on the side.
In addition, I also recommend trying their Fisherman’s Stew, made with wild shrimp, calamari, clams, mussels, and market fish.
C Level Lounge
880 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
Overlooking North San Diego Bay and the East Basin is C Level Lounge, an upscale-casual destination with a breezy atmosphere and a lovely view of the city’s skyline.
They offer tasty chophouse and seafood specials for anyone who loves the best of both worlds when it comes to a hearty waterfront dinner.
After starting with their Chicken Pot Stickers or Coconut Shrimp, be sure to try their Thai Chicken Bowl, Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese, Seafood Pasta, or Lobster & Fontina BLT.
Don’t forget to pair your meal with a Seafoam Martini, Isle of Zen, or Endless Summer cocktail. Finally, end your night in style with a Potted Brownie Banana Split.
Pacific Coast Grill
2526 S Coast Hwy 101, Cardiff, CA 92007
You can find Pacific Coast Grill by Cardiff Beach. It has a chill, airy ambiance with an excellent view of the sunset if you’re planning a special date night or dining alone. I recommend this restaurant for anyone who prefers outdoor dining on warm, clear days.
Be sure to end your meal by treating yourself to their Dark Chocolate Custard.
Vigilucci’s Seafood & Steakhouse
3878 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Vigilucci’s Seafood & Steakhouse is a popular waterfront restaurant serving Italian-inspired surf & turf by Tamarack Surf Beach. It has a relaxed atmosphere, ideal for winding down after riding the wild waves or playing a round of beach volleyball. They also have intimate private dining rooms for special occasions of any kind.
Their prime steak and fresh seafood offer some of the best flavors in the area. I’m a fan of their Ossobuco Alla Milanese, Capesante ai Pomodorini Secchi, Prime Tomahawk, and Lasagna Rustica. I prefer my steak medium-rare, so be sure to tell your server about your meat temperature preferences to ensure its quality flavor.
3 Felspar St, San Diego, CA 9210972
Located near Pacific Beach and Crystal Pier Hotel & Cottages, JRDN Restaurant is another waterfront restaurant I recommend for anyone seeking an immersive San Diego fine dining experience.
It has a stylish, modern aesthetic and quality surf & turf entrees prepared by Executive Chef Stephen Gage.
In my opinion, you should consider ordering their Grilled Hamachi Collar, Ahi Tuna Nachos, Lobster Risotto, or Grilled Lamb Lollipops with a side of roasted baby yams or smoked cheddar biscuits.
If you’re looking for something different than beer by the tap or craft cocktails, pair your dinner with JRDN’s premium sake. They also serve breakfast on the weekends from 9 AM to 11 PM.
George’s at the Cove
1250 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Immerse yourself in an elegant setting while indulging in La Jolla’s finest flavors by booking your next reservation at George’s at the Cove, near Sunny Jim’s Sea Cave. It has a stylish interior and an open-air Ocean Terrace for enjoying a drink by La Jolla Cove.
This restaurant’s all-day menu is the perfect solution for satisfying your daily cravings. I love their Crispy Mahi Mahi, Grilled Cauliflower, Seafood Chowder, and Braised Short Rib.
Are you in the mood for an enhanced dessert experience? Then, consider ordering their Citrus Fruit Tart or Warm Chocolate Cake with a Pink Mule. It doesn’t hurt to treat yourself during your vacation.
Harbor Fish & Chips
276 Harbor Drive, Oceanside, CA 92054
Harbor Fish & Chips is a family-owned and operated restaurant found within Oceanside Harbor Village.
As their namesake states, this cozy and family-friendly destination offers the best fish & chips north of San Diego. Their outdoor seating has an excellent view of South Harbor, especially at sunset.
On Wednesdays, you can enjoy their Grilled Fish Plate Special, and on Thursdays, you can try their tasty Fish Taco Special.
But, I prefer ordering their Jumbo Shrimp Basket with a side of onion rings or fried zucchini. You can get free refills for their coffee and soft drinks if you prefer skipping out on their domestic and imported beer.
711 Pacific Beach Dr, San Diego, CA 92109
Across the street from the Blue Sea Beach Hotel stands World Famous, one of the best waterfront restaurants in San Diego that’s offering coastal comfort pub fare for anyone spending the day at Pacific Beach. Its simple, wood-paneled exterior gives it a casual, rustic touch.
Chef Dieter May prepares meals made from locally caught fish and beachside drinks to make guests feel like it’s summer every day.
If you’re looking for a premium dinner option, you can’t go wrong with their Potato-Wrapped Northern Halibut or Spicy Mardi Gras Pasta.
However, I also recommend their World Famous Lobster Salad with a Piña Colada or Orange Creamsicle seaside cocktail.
1360 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
If you’re having trouble finding any waterfront restaurants in San Diego near the Maritime Museum and Waterfront Park, Portside Pier is your best option with stylish and airy digs.
I consider it an excellent option because of its sheer cuisine variety, from its seafood and oyster bar to its Mexican kitchen and rooftop tasting deck
You can also enjoy a panoramic view of the bay from any of Portside Pier’s dining areas.
My go-to dinner options are their Parmesan-Crusted Sand Dabs, Lobster Tempura Tacos, Tiger Shrimp & Grits, and Grilled Marinated Swordfish. But, if you stop by for brunch, try their Crab & Shrimp Fondue or Lobster Omelet.
Tom Ham’s Lighthouse
2150 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
Another one of the best waterfront restaurants in San Diego is Tom Ham’s Lighthouse, eight minutes west of Harbor Island Park. It has a casual, nautical ambiance, enhanced by its lighthouse and bayside view.
Their seafood-based menu also lets fellow pescatarians introduce familiar and new dishes to friends looking for something enticing to eat.
If you want to customize your own seafood platter, consider trying their Manila Clams, Jumbo Tiger Shrimp, and Maine Lobster.
However, if you prefer a more straightforward entree, their Paella, Linguini and Clams, Fresh Pan-Seared Salmon, or Bouillabaisse should satisfy your cravings. They taste great with a Citrus Siesta cocktail.
880 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
A mile away from San Diego International Airport stands Coasterra, a stylish, modern waterfront restaurant offering panoramic bay views and quality Mexican cuisine.
I recommend this dining destination for anyone looking for something to enjoy besides seafood. After all, a little variety doesn’t hurt once in a while.
If you’re dining with a friend, consider ordering their Mexican Paella or Prime Bone-In Ribeye for Two.
If not, their Seared Dayboat Scallops, Chile en Nogada, or Pork Adobo Carnitas with a Twice Baked Potato and Frida Rita cocktail are ideal options when dining alone. They also serve a tasty Surf & Turf Quesadilla for lunch.
Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
With locations near Seaport Village and La Jolla Cove, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood is one of the top waterfront restaurants in San Diego that offers a more upscale and elegant ambiance for avid food-lovers. They have an outdoor deck, free Wi-FI, and an intimate cocktail lounge with live jazz.
If you’re craving the best seafood in town, start with their Kung Pao Calamari and order their Parmesan Sole or South African Lobster with a side of Grilled Asparagus or Au Gratin Cheddar Potatoes.
Not in the mood for seafood? Then, consider trying their Center-Cut Filet Mignon or Bacon-Wrapped Filet Medallions.
1360 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
Overlooking North San Diego Bay, minutes away from the city’s Little Italy neighborhood, TopSail is one of the many Portside Pier restaurants where you can enjoy quality seafood while getting an excellent waterside view. It has a casual atmosphere, enhanced by its rooftop terrace bar and lounge.
TopSail offers guests tasty small plates and cocktails to indulge in for anyone who loves outdoor dining.
Their Vegetable Flatbread, Lobster Mac & Cheese, Oysters on the Half Shell, and Blackened Ahi Sliders are popular delicacies you don’t want to miss out on. Don’t forget to try them with a Mojito or Rhubarb Collins cocktail.
Check out our list of other rooftop bars in San Diego if you want views of the whole city.
Oceana Coastal Kitchen
3999 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109
If you’re staying at Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa, one of the best waterfront restaurants in San Diego you should visit during your stay is Oceana Coastal Kitchen.
This airy yet upscale restaurant offers the best Californian cuisine in the city as you enjoy the panoramic view of Mission Bay from their covered, heated patio. It’s great for treating your family to dinner during your vacation.
Consider ordering their Crispy Shrimp Roll, Pan-Roasted Chicken Breast, or Oceana House Roll after starting with their charcuterie or butternut squash soup. I prefer stopping by on Thursdays for their half-price wine bottles and live entertainment.
Brigantine Seafood Restaurant
With locations in the Point Loma, Kearny Mesa, and Portside Pier areas of San Diego, Brigantine Seafood Restaurant is one of the best places for sampling San Diego-style surf & turf in a casual, clubby setting.
Since 1969, this family-run establishment has become a popular destination for locals and tourists alike because of its welcoming atmosphere.
On Massive Mondays, they host an all-night happy hour, and on Wine Wednesdays, they offer half-priced wine bottles.
Stop by their oyster bar for their gluten-free Oysters Rockefeller or order an enticing Wok-Charred Ahi, Crab & Shrimp Cobb, Crispy Lobster Tempura Tacos, or Crab-Stuffed Jumbo Prawns.
1551 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106
Vessel Restaurant is a waterfront eatery found within the Kona Kai Resort and Spa, a short drive away from the Friendship Bell monument.
Many people enjoy eating here because of its chic, contemporary atmosphere and tasty New American fare.
They also have a firepit on their private beach for anyone interested in roasting marshmallows on a nightly bonfire.
Vessel’s best dishes that I recommend for lunch are Prime Flat Iron Steak Frites, Fried Chicken Sandwich, and Grilled Fish Tacos.
I also recommend their Linguini Bolognese if you prefer stopping by for dinner. Visit the Tiki Pool Bar for a refreshing Rum Runner or Blue Hawaiian cocktail.
1404 Vacation Rd, San Diego, CA 92109
Do you prefer a more rustic and relaxed ambiance for your dinner near North Cove Beach? If so, look no further than Tidal, nestled within Paradise Point Resort, for your waterfront dining needs.
Unlike the other restaurants on this list, they change their menu options every day, so you’re encouraged to check out every daily special.
I recommend their Roasted Cauliflower Steak on Wednesday, Coco Loco on Thursday, Chicken Parmesan on Friday, and Dirty-Rubbed Sticky Pork Ribs on Saturday. They also offer brunch on Sundays and a kid’s menu for children 12 or under.
861 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
Last but not least, on this rundown of the best waterfront restaurants in San Diego is Edgewater Grill, nestled within Seaport Village.
This casual eatery offers fresh, local seafood and a stunning view of the water. They offer indoor and outdoor dining.
Additionally, it’s an ideal location for watching annual waterfront events, such as San Diego’s Parade of Lights.
I love starting with their Crab Cakes or Poke Nachos and ordering their Seared Ahi Risotto, Bone-In Ribeye, Seasonal Vegetable Tacos, or Catch Burger.
Consider stopping by their bar for happy hour deals on Margarita Mondays and 40% off all wine bottles on Wine Wednesdays.