San Francisco is famous for its rolling hills, historical landmarks, eccentric vibes, and, of course, a massive array of delicious dining options.
A fantastic atmosphere and view can take your dining experience up a notch. So, in this article, I’ll share the best waterfront restaurants in San Francisco.
Whether you’re looking for a waterfront restaurant to enjoy a leisurely brunch, a romantic evening out, or a fun happy hour with friends, one of these restaurants is sure to fit the bill.
369 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105
EPIC Steak is a top-rated, classy, yet inviting steakhouse with juicy eats, a great happy hour, and a memorable view of the bay from the outdoor patio area.
They have an extensive wine list, making it an excellent place for after-work drinks or date night. This restaurant, located on the southern end of Rincon Park, is a bit pricier but is worth the visit.
I recommend ordering the Filet Mignonette or the Steak Tartare. If you’re going with a group, don’t hesitate to order the charcuterie plate!
PIER 1 1/2 The Embarcadero N, San Francisco, CA 94105
If the views from the piers are not enough to get you through the door, the Peruvian food by celebrity chef Gastón Acurio will do the trick.
La Mar Cebicheria Peruana is a top-rated spot for Peruvian seafood, including ceviche, octopus, and salmon. But the halibut on wild rice stands out among the rest!
There is a calming, chill vibe out on the patio, mainly because it’s so close to the water. It’s a great spot for after-work happy hour or a group evening dinner.
23 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111
Just three minutes north of La Mar on Pier 23 is the appropriately-named Pier 23 Cafe Restaurant and Bar.
This lively restaurant, across the way from Levi’s Plaza Park, has some of the best seafood San Fran has to offer.
It has a casual, unfussy atmosphere, which aligns with its popular menu items of crab and shrimp sandwiches.
I love getting their fish tacos and crab salads for lunch and a shrimp sandwich with cheesy sourdough bread for dinner. Dinnertime here is particularly fun due to the occasional live music and tasty beers!
1965 Al Scoma Way, San Francisco, CA 94133
Another casual seafood joint that’s similar to Pier 23 is Scoma’s Restaurant near the SS Jeremiah O’Brien army museum.
Like Pier 23, you can find tasty seafood sandwiches on fresh sourdough bread and unforgettable crab salads.
The restaurant also offers private dining, making it the perfect place for an engagement or birthday party.
I recommend opting for the Dungeness crab because it’s fresh and delicious. You won’t be disappointed by the vibe, price, and taste at Scoma’s. Plus, the view will astound you!
399 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105
Like many of San Fran’s best restaurants, Waterbar is right on the Embarcadero, arguably one of the most attractive and lively locations in the city.
Waterbar is the perfect place for a date, not only because they serve tasty, massive oyster plates that are great for sharing but also because of the stunning view of Bay Bridge.
They have an extensive wine list that adds a romantic feel as well. If you’d rather go with friends or coworkers, I recommend visiting during their spirited happy hours or going for brunch.
Pier 5 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111
Croqueta is a popular Spanish restaurant right on the pier. There is so much that Coqueta’s menu has to offer, including but not limited to:
- Grilled octopus
- Garlic shrimp
- Pork shoulder
- Smoked salmon
My personal favorite is the tasty gaucho bistec. Coqueta is an excellent restaurant to visit if you’re in the mood for cocktails since they have great classics, like mojitos and sangria, served with a Spanish-inspired flair and edible flowers.
39 pier, San Francisco, CA 94133
If you want a truly unforgettable waterfront experience with exceptional food, check out Fog Harbor Fish House.
Their seafood is as fresh as it gets, and you can’t go wrong with the Dungeness crab, the curry seafood plate, the garlic shrimp, or the mixed grill.
Even its location right on Pier 39 is something to write home about. Pier 39 is a popular tourist destination given the shops, the street performances, and the opportunity to experience virtual 3D rides.
Building A, 2 Marina Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94123
If you’re vegetarian and think that the only restaurants with great views of the bay are seafood joints or steak houses, think again!
Greens is a vegetarian restaurant in Fort Mason’s Great Meadow Park. Just because there’s no meat or fish doesn’t mean the menu is boring.
There are extensive options at Greens – from pupusas to salads to pizza – as well as a sizable wine list.
Plus, they have large windows that allow you to get waterfront views. Make sure to get there early, so you’re lucky enough to get a window seat!
Ferry Building, One, #11, San Francisco, CA 94111
As its name suggests, the specialty at Hog Island Oyster Co. is oysters. At this restaurant, near the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, you can get a range of oysters in different broths or opt for the seafood stew that includes:
A power move here is to order a grilled cheese sandwich as well. It sounds random, but dipping the sandwich into one of your broth items is absolutely incredible.
Pier 30 The Embarcadero S, San Francisco, CA 94105
Many waterfront restaurants can be quite fancy, but they certainly don’t have to be. If you’re looking for a casual, welcoming place to hang out with your friends, eat juicy burgers, and drink good beer, look no further than Red’s Java House.
The burgers are simple yet exceptionally tasty, and they’re served on fresh sourdough buns.
Plus, you’ll get views of the water and the Bay Bridge without paying the same amount as you might at some of the fancier spots along the pier.
699 Avenue of the Palms, San Francisco, CA 94130
Mersea Restaurant provides a hip, cozy, yet relatively upscale dining experience on Yerba Buena Island.
They serve comfort food, which is normally served in no-frills, hole-in-the-wall type of restaurants. But here, you’ll get an elevated fare and gorgeous views of the city.
Mersea is a great place to hang out with friends and family due to the playful activities in the garden, like corn hole and bocce ball. Mersea is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for an unforgettable dining experience.
4 Embarcadero Ctr, San Francisco, CA 94111
You won’t be able to view the water from every area of Harborview Restaurant & Bar, but if you’re lucky enough to get a top spot outside, you’ll get lovely views of the bay and the city.
Located behind Sue Bierman Park, Harborview is a top spot for tasty, family-style Chinese cuisine.
It has a laid-back vibe that encourages communication and connection with your loved ones over heaps of delicious Hong Kong and Cantonese-style dim sum.
39 Pier 39, San Francisco, CA 94133
Near the aforementioned Fog Harbor, Pier Market is another famous seafood restaurant. You can pretty much find any San Francisco seafood your heart desires, including:
- Crab sandwiches
- Clam chowder
Plus, you’ll get exceptional views of the Golden Gate Bridge and some entertaining views of sea lions sunbathing on the decks outside!
All these amazing features make Pier Market one of the best waterfront restaurants in San Francisco.
817 Terry A Francois Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94158
Mission Rock Resort is a large, two-story restaurant with an energetic atmosphere, especially during happy hour, brunch, or a Warriors or Giants game.
Due to their scrumptious eggs benedict and perfectly mixed bloody marys, weekend brunch is my favorite time to go.
Many people also enjoy their oysters, as they specialize in oysters and even have a complete oyster bar. They also host private events, making it a perfect location for a special dinner.
295 Terry A Francois Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94158
Last but not least, if you want views of California while eating California fare, ATWater Tavern is the perfect spot for you.
This hip, lively restaurant provides lovely views of the water and the surrounding city. It also has the most delicious oysters.
They have an oyster special where you can get $1 oysters from 4:00 to 6:00 pm! This special, along with their other happy hour deals, make it a great place to stop by before a Giants game.