San Diego’s Best Waterfront Restaurants

There are few joys more sublime than enjoying a delicious meal in the open air and sunshine. Thanks to our famously mild year-round weather, “America’s Finest City” is one of the best spots on Earth to dig into a little alfresco dining. Even better, our 70 miles of coastline means you’re never far from tucking into something satisfying while enjoying a nice water view on the side. Read on for local insider tips on the best beachside bistros and waterfront restaurants San Diego has to offer. 


Blue Wave Bar & Grill (just steps away)


(Photo: @bluewavebarandgrill)

At the risk of singing our own praises, we’re quite partial to our own Blue Wave Bar & Grill, located right here at Best Western Plus Island Palms. As a classic California café, Blue Wave offers fine dining in a casual atmosphere — right in front of Shelter Island’s marina and alongside our stunning outdoor pool. Planning to stop by for this month’s Big Game, or on Valentine’s Day? We’ve got you covered with signature specials and special events. Don’t forget to grab a refreshing cocktail from our full-service bar so you can sip and savor while you look out over our gorgeous marina view. 

2051 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106


Humphreys SoCal Dining and Music (0.3 miles)

(Photo: @halfmooninn)

This exceptional eatery — just a short stroll up Shelter Island at our sister hotel Humphreys Half Moon Inn — is a great option for a delicious waterfront dining experience. Enjoy locally sourced seafood, steaks, and other fresh twists on creative cuisine. Not only will you be treated to the perfect plates, but the views of the marina are unbeatable! Whether you’re grabbing a bite before attending one of Humphreys Concerts, or simply want to take in the views, you’re sure to have a beautiful time when you stop by to check it out.

2241 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106  


Bali Hai (0.6 miles)

(Photo: @balihairestaurant)

Our Shelter Island neighbors at Bali Hai offer a grand Polynesian dining experience wrapped in a delightfully kitschy, tropically Googie exterior. The potent fruity beverages (a.k.a. their dangerously potent Bali Hai Mai Tai) and sweeping San Diego Bay views may be some of their biggest draws, but the crazy-fresh poké bowl is what you’re really here for. Bali Hai’s version not only features the bright, citrusy tuna you’d expect, but also generous and authentic sides like sticky rice and creamy mac salad. To get there, just enjoy a quick stroll across the island from our hotel for a truly romantic dinner date!

2230 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106


Ketch Grill and Taps (0.8 miles)

(Photo: @ketchgrillandtaps)

Just a 10-minute walk from our front door, Ketch Grill and Taps offers fresh seafood in a modern setting. Craft beer, an extensive wine list, and a spectacular harborside view are all on the menu here. You’ll also discover a full range of breakfast, lunch and dinner choices like New England-style chowder, a delicious short-rib melt sandwich, macadamia-crusted mahi mahi, and sweet chile-glazed salmon. Be sure to ask your server about the “Ketch of the Day,” too.

2614 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106


Mitch’s Seafood (1.2 miles)

(Photo: @mitchsseafood)

Don’t let the casual atmosphere at Mitch’s suggest that they don’t take their food very seriously. They do — and so do we San Diegans. Despite embodying the laid-back SoCal vibe, their pier-to-plate menu features fiercely fresh, locally sourced seafood, all caught sustainably and prepared deliciously. You’ll also find Dungeness crab, calamari, battered cod, and beer served just this side of freezing. Insider tip: don’t pass up the delicious fish tacos. We never do.

1403 Scott St, San Diego, CA 92106


The Holding Company (3.8 miles)

(Photo: @thc1502)

This inviting three-story hangout in Ocean Beach is located just half a block from the water. The always-hopping space features live music, Asian-inspired cuisine, and lively happy hours. When you arrive, head up to the rooftop for a uniquely Pacific perspective. We recommend trying the Phở Dip — a sandwich inspired by the legendarily delicious Vietnamese soup. It’s a scrumptious specialty you simply can’t get anywhere else. Insider Tip: we recommend ordering their famous Skrewball Peanut Butter whiskey shot. Originating at their original location, this spirit has become popular nationwide. It’s worth checking off your San Diego foodie bucket-list. 

5046 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107


Island Prime/C-Level (4 miles)

Island Prime (and its on-site C-Level Lounge) takes oceanfront dining to an entirely new level. Set on piles directly over the water, this eatery lets you go beyond the beach — offering exceptional views of the San Diego Bay and downtown skyline. The menu also offers an elevated experience, specializing in steaks and seafood. Start with the splendid Kumiai oysters or crab cakes before diving into grilled swordfish, prime ribeye, or the best rack of lamb in town. This is a fantastic choice for a romantic evening or first date; one that’s sure to impress.

880 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92101


Portside Pier (5 miles)

(Photo: @elgueroadkins)

Portside Pier is a recently built dining destination in the Embarcadero area. You’ll be spoiled for choice here thanks to a collection of restaurants, elevated viewing decks, and 360-degree panoramic waterfront views. Whether you’re enjoying traditional Mexican at Miguel’s Cocina, handcrafted cocktails at Topsail, or a little after-dinner sweetness at Portside Coffee & Gelato, you can feast your eyes on awe-inspiring views of the Embarcadero right outside the window.    

1360 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101


Cannonball (7.2 miles)

(Photo: @cannonballsd)

Cannonball is a favorite spot among locals. Once you check it out, you won’t be surprised as to why that might be. Directly overlooking the Mission Beach Boardwalk, Cannonball can lay claim to having the largest beachfront rooftop in the city, with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. They also serve always-fresh sushi, seafood, and fresh California cuisine. You’ll find a delightful drinks menu of beachy cocktails here, too. So order up, kick back, and enjoy the stunning view.

3105 Ocean Front Walk, San Diego, CA 92109 


World Famous (7.5 miles)

(Photo: @worldfamouspb)

World Famous is an aptly named beachfront dining destination, given its popularity. The vibe is casual, even though the food is decidedly a cut above. The outdoor patio is adjacent to the Pacific Beach boardwalk, affording a spectacular view, as well as world-class people-watching. The breakfasts are particularly good here, but it’s impossible to go wrong any time of day. Seafood and salads are also great choices at World Famous.    

711 Pacific Beach Dr, San Diego, CA 92109


George’s at the Cove (12.9 miles)

(Photo: @georgesatthecove)

There is perhaps no more upbeat place to enjoy San Diego’s famously mild weather than at this local institution. Long treasured as a jewel of the city dining scene, George’s has offered rooftop seating since before rooftop seating was cool. Whether you opt for a table overlooking the ocean, or belly up to the stocked-to-the-gills full-service bar, you’ll enjoy stellar views with your booze and chews. 

1250 Prospect St. La Jolla, CA 92037


Plan Your Foodie Tour at Island Palms

Best Western Plus Island Palms is the perfect place to launch your exploration of our fair city’s waterfront eateries. Take a look at our Special Offers page for all of our latest and greatest San Diego travel deals to plan your next visit. Eat to your heart’s desire, and then come kick back at our outdoor pool and hot tub, or take a stroll along the marina. We look forward to welcoming you!