San Diego has an iconic skyline, some famously beautiful beaches, and a whole bunch of cliffs and other incredible natural features. And, of course, the ocean. In other words, it's got a lot of unforgettable views. So it’s not surprising that a lot of restaurants have been built to take the best advantage of these views. If you want a dining experience that’s more than just a meal, you should check out the top San Diego restaurants with a view.
Rustic Root has plenty of rooftop seating, giving rooftop patrons a great view of the neighborhood. And, because that neighborhood is right in the middle of the Gaslamp, it’s quite a view. The old fashioned buildings are quite atmospheric. The food is pretty tasty, too. It’s mostly good, old fashioned American comfort food, made with a California twist. You should make sure to check out the drinks menu, too. The bar has a line of signature cocktails that are not to be missed.
The Nolen is one of San Diego’s hidden gems. Literally. To get to it, you have to go to the Courtyard Gaslamp and take the elevator to the 14th floor. And it’s well worth taking the trip, because the 14th floor is home to a really incredible rooftop bar and lounge. From that height you get a really incredible view of downtown San Diego right on out to the Coronado Bridge. Besides the view, the Nolen has some interesting modern takes on classic cocktails and better-than-average bar food.
Sally’s Fish House & Bar
If you’re looking for more of a nautical dining experience, try Sally’s Fish House & Bar. It’s got an outdoor patio overlooking a marina, so you’ll get to enjoy your locally-sourced seafood right on the edge of the water, surrounded by boats of all sorts. The sushi is good, and they make some good ceviche, too. However, you should really try the crab cakes and the seafood paella. The Chilean sea bass grilled on a wood fire is also rather tasty. The outdoor fire pits can make an evening meal really cozy.
The Fish Market
OK, the name of this restaurant isn’t particularly inspired, but the view from the restaurant is. It’s built right over the water in a location that gives it an incredible panoramic view of the whole bay. The Fish Market serves seafood, of course, cooked in a variety of different styles. No matter what the style, though, each dish is subtly and skillfully flavored. All of the seafood is locally sourced. And if you don’t particularly like seafood, there are other dishes, too. They do a pretty good steak. The Fish Market is a family restaurant, so feel free to bring the kids.
If you want more of a Mexican meal, head out to the Valle Restaurant. It serves traditional Mexican cuisine done really, really well, with some surprising little twists. And that’s not surprising, because the chef is Michelin starred. The picaña, for example, is made with a nice, exceptionally tender wagyu beef. The outdoor patio looks right over the palm tree-lined beach, giving diners there the sort of view that can only enhance a fine meal of the sort you can get here. For the best vibe, go in the evening.
This is the largest beachfront rooftop restaurant in all of San Diego. You get a great view of Mission Beach, and that’s a really appropriate view for a place that has a vibe like a beach party. You should really go there for their Acoustic Sunsets. The combination of live music and the sun going down over the ocean is a lot of fun. The sushi menu is really incredible.
For a truly unique dining experience, eat at Bali Hai. It has an awesome retro 60s tiki vibe. The food is mostly Indonesian, but there are several interesting fusion dishes on the menu as well. The result is like nothing you’ve had anywhere in San Diego. Or anywhere else either, for that matter. Bali Hai has a panoramic view of the ocean that makes dining there a feast for the eyes as well as the tongue.
Kairoa Brewing Co.
Kairoa Brewing Co. offers up an interesting mix of favorite New Zealand dishes and classic American ones. Try pairing a New Zealand sausage roll with a local San Diegan beer. There’s all kinds of interesting beers to go along with your meal, as well as wine cocktails, hard kombucha, and cocktails. And they’re particularly enjoyable when consumed on the rooftop patio, which overlooks the University Heights district. We also recommend the salmon sashimi.
This restaurant has two levels of both dining overlooking Little Italy. The rooftoppatio is great for a dinner experience that’s atmospheric as well as innovative. The menu is creative, featuring such unexpected items as foie gras French toast and suckling pig larb. The cocktails are every bit as creative as the meals are. You can even rent the cabanas on the rooftop. The building itself won a prestigious award for architecture.
The view here is one that is best enjoyed at a particular time of day. Sunset, to be precise. You see, it has an excellent view of both the ocean and the downtown area. So when the sun goes down, the ocean waves catch on fire while the darkening city lights up. It’s quite a show. And while you’re enjoying it, you can also enjoy some high quality food. The steak with the house sauce and pickled vegetables is worth trying. The roasted chicken is more delicious than roasted chicken has any right to be. Enjoy them with a coconut margarita, which is possibly the best drink ever invented. Grab some churros with chocolate caramel dipping sauce while you’re at it. They’re incredible!
George’s by the Cove
George's by the Cove is a classic San Diego restaurant located in the heart of La Jolla. With its outdoor patio and breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, it is the perfect spot for a romantic dinner or a night out with friends. Enjoy the unique menu featuring seafood, steak, and more.
Mister A's is a modern American restaurant located on the 12th floor of a building in Banker's Hill. Enjoy stunning views of San Diego Bay and beyond while savoring delicious cuisine. The restaurant offers an extensive wine list and craft cocktails, as well as a variety of gourmet dishes. A must-try is the signature dish, the pan-seared scallops with mushrooms and truffle oil. Enjoy the view and the delightful flavors of the food in the sophisticated atmosphere of Mister A's.