San Diego’s Best Waterfront Restaurants

There are few joys more sublime than enjoying a delicious meal in the open air and sunshine — especially given that outdoor dining is the far safer option under the current circumstances. San Diego is one of the best spots on Earth to dig into a little alfresco dining, given our sublime weather and abundance of oceanfront eateries. 

Feel like grabbing a bite with a Pacific view? Read on to get the lowdown on our favorite beachside bistros. 

Blue Wave Bar & Grill (just steps away)

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. A classic California café, Blue Wave offers fine dining in a casual atmosphere. Start with a generous shrimp cocktail or clam strips before diving into cavatappi Bolognese or beer-braised short ribs. Then grab a refreshing cocktail from our full-service bar and sip it while you look out over the gorgeous marina view. 

Ketch Grill and Taps (.8 miles from the hotel)

Just a 10-minute walk from our front door, Ketch Grill and Taps is a delicious option 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 away)

Don’t let the casual atmosphere at Mitch’s suggest that they don’t take their food very seriously. They do. Despite embodying the laid-back SoCal vibe, their pier-to-plate menu features fiercely fresh, locally sourced seafood, all caught sustainably and prepared deliciously. On Taco Tuesdays, their fried-fish tacos are just $2, which is an absolute steal. You’ll also find dungeness crab, calamari, beer-battered cod, and beer served just this side of freezing. 

1403 Scott St, San Diego, CA 92106

Island Prime/C-Level (4 miles away)

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 water 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. 

880 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92101

World Famous (7.5 miles away)

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, but the fish tacos are unmissable.    

711 Pacific Beach Dr, San Diego, CA 92109

Brockton Villa (13 miles away)

Built in a converted cottage on the waterfront, this cozy café offers an utterly charming atmosphere. The infatuation only continues once you get a gander at the menu, filled as it is with classic comfort-food favorites. Breakfast promises fluffy pancakes, hearty bowls, and a famously indulgent French toast. Lunch brings luscious lobster rolls and a signature surf n’ turf wrap. There’s also a kids’ menu and a range of decadent desserts. You won’t leave hungry. 

1235 Coast Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037