Top Waterfront Dining Destinations in San Diego

Image credit: Clayton Cardinalli

San Diego’s Pacific coast location is a significant reason why this city is one of the most sought-after places to live in the U.S. With sandy beaches and deep blue waters, it is one of the most scenic big cities in America. To best experience San Diego, combine its beautiful coastal setting with its unmatched food scene and head to one of the city’s many waterfront restaurants.

There are numerous picturesque restaurants by the San Diego waterfront serving delicious food and offering panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Let’s look at some of the best fine dining destinations in San Diego by the water.

Tom Ham’s Lighthouse

Tom Ham’s Lighthouse is a well-known San Diego landmark on Harbor Island that serves as a functioning lighthouse. Tom Ham’s patio, which extends over the ocean, is a popular spot to view the San Diego skyline and Coronado Bridge. This restaurant has been running for more than 50 years and, with a seafood-heavy menu, serves delicious dishes to its patrons. Everything from oysters and shrimp ceviche to seared salmon and scallops can be enjoyed here.

Image source: @TomHamsLighthouse (Facebook)

Valle Restaurant

Valle is an incredible eatery in Oceanside, famed for its immaculate setting and tasty menu. While a decent drive from downtown San Diego, the trip out will be well worth it for a gourmet meal with an ocean view. Enjoy dinner here while you watch the sunset over Oceanside City Beach and taste a menu that fuses local and Baja flavors. There are many options to consider on the Valle menu, such as ceviche, tacos de mollejas, and marinated vegetables.

Pacific Coast Grill

The Pacific Coast Grill is a highly-regarded restaurant in Cardiff situated along the water’s edge. This restaurant is a perfect date spot with an excellent atmosphere and a menu with a variety of options. It has a wide range of spaces to dine, including decks, patios, and multiple levels of bars. The menu includes fresh seafood dishes, sushi, and an oyster bar. The Pacific Coast Grill uses local, free-range ingredients to provide diners with the best dining experience possible.

Image source: @pacificcoastgrill (Facebook)

Las Olas

Las Olas, which means “the waves” in Spanish, is aptly named, given its views overlooking the beach. This Mexican restaurant in Cardiff has been a staple for more than 30 years, serving tasty and authentic Mexican classics. This restaurant gives its visitors the goods with excellent margaritas, affordable prices, and a stunning view. Enjoy everything from burritos and tacos to enchiladas and tostadas in one of San Diego’s most scenic restaurants.

Image source: @lasolasmex (Facebook)


Waterbar is a well-known hotspot on Ocean Boulevard overlooking Pacific Beach. This destination has a more laid-back bar and restaurant feel, serving top-notch drinks combined with American and fusion classics. Grabbing a seat by the windows here is a must, as it is the perfect place to enjoy a sunset. The menu includes craft cocktails, seafood specials like a grand seafood tower, and several appealing salads. It is a spot that’s perfect for people of all ages.

Image source: @waterbarsd (Facebook)

Jake’s Del Mar

Jake’s Del Mar is an upscale eatery in Del Mar with a location right on the water. Jake’s takes advantage of its scenic location with high floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing its beautiful surroundings. Whether you’re coming for a full meal or just to enjoy some beverages, there are many options to explore. The Jake’s menu has a huge selection of seafood offerings, like shrimp scampi and sumac-crusted Norwegian salmon. It also serves steak, burgers, and filet mignon.

Image source: @jakesdelmar (Facebook)
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