Dine with a View at the Best Patios in San Diego
From oceanfront hot spots to lively rooftops and patios, these are the best restaurants for soaking up the San Diego sun.
We’re so spoiled here in San Diego. It’s a given that we can sip mimosas while we people watch along the Embarcadero, slurp oysters with our toes in the sand, or chomp into a juicy burger in a shaded urban courtyard without giving the weather much thought. Outdoor dining is hardwired into San Diego’s culinary landscape, and whether you’re craving breakfast burritos overlooking the 18th hole in Balboa Park or mai tais at the edge of the glittering skyline, we’ve got nearly endless choices for superb al fresco dining. Now that warmer weather is here, we’re all ready to go out and explore the latest outdoor hotspots. Here’s our list of the best patios in San Diego right now.
SEA180º Coastal Tavern
An oceanfront restaurant just steps away from the sand, SEA180°, inside the Pier South Resort, offers 180-degree views from Coronado Island to Mexico. The menu features Baja-inspired coastal dishes like marinated and cured pork belly with pipian mole, carrots escabeche and tortillas or crab rigatoni with crab salad, guajillo salsa macha, roasted corn, poblano peppers and freshly grated parmesan.The patio is equipped with heaters, fire pits and blankets so you can get cozy on cool nights.
Carruth Cellars wine garden and tasting room in the historic Arts District in Liberty Station is an impressive 15,000 feet of indoor/outdoor space in one of San Diego’s buzziest neighborhoods. San Diego’s only urban winery, Carruth Cellars purchases premium grapes from all over the West Coast, then transports them to its production facility at HANGAR76 in Oceanside, where they’re fermented, aged and bottled. In addition to wines by the glass or bottle, build-your-own cheese and charcuterie platters, panini, sandwiches and salads are available to nibble. There’s also a marketplace with a cheese shop and a nice selection of specialty pantry goods, from olive oils and tapenades to preserves and salami.
How to book: Patio tables are available on a first-come first-served basis.
Lapper Kitchen + Tap
It’s always summer at Lapper Kitchen + Tap at the Town and Country Resort. The breezy, casual restaurant overlooks a gorgeous swimming pool, under a neon ode to Thelma Payne (a bronze-winning Olympic diver whose perfect form graced Jantzen swimsuit ads during the 1920s). Chef Ernesto Hernandez’s menu is full of comfort food like Surf and Turf Nachos, Baja Fish Tacos, Snap-O-Razzo® Beef Hot Dogs, and Fish and Chips. Pair your choice with a refreshing Stone Thelma Blond Ale, a special brew made especially for Lapper.
Go Go Amigo
Go Go Amigo takes advantage of its corner location with expansive outdoor seating, a new deck and a satellite bar. The agave-leaning cocktail menu features a variety of margaritas, palomas, micheladas, slushies and cervezas. The bill of fare features fusion Mexican favorites—standouts include a California Wet Burrito that requires extra napkins and Al Pastor Tacos, crammed with juicy marinated pork sliced off the spit when you order. Stop by on Taco Tuesday for $3 off tacos and all margaritas.
After impressing Valle de Guadalupe diners at Malva Cocina de Baja California over the last several years, chef Roberto Alcocer has put down roots in Oceanside with Valle, a lush restaurant with stellar views of the Pacific Ocean. The four- or eight-course, prix fixe menus feature California-sourced ingredients, with flavors that are sealed over an open wood fire and offered alongside an optional wine pairing. For the ultimate experience, book the chef’s table inside the kitchen that seats one to six guests, where you’ll be dazzled by an 8-12 course tasting menu and a guided, upscale wine pairing using the highest quality seasonal ingredients from the region in each course. A full bar serves craft agave cocktails.
How to book: Reservations can be made online.
Tobey's 19th Hole Cafe
You don’t have to play golf to appreciate the views from this charming fourth-generation cafe that started out as a hot dog stand in 1934. Early birds love the sunrise cityscape, but you’ll love the big diner-style breakfasts and old school lunch/dinner fare, paired with a cold beer or a bubbly mimosa any time of day.
How to book: Patio tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Brigantine Restaurant Group’s beautiful Portside Pier dining hub is a destination for date night, a casual hang, or happy hour with your besties, and comes with million-dollar views of the bay. Brigantine Seafood and Oyster Bar, Ketch Grill & Taps, Portside Coffee and Gelato and Miguel’s Cocina make up the ground floor, with Ketch Brewing Tasting Deck and Topsail rooftop terrace lounge on the second level.
Sit back and sip a margarita or two at Coasterra while admiring the spectacular cityscape. The cocktail program ranges from fruity and floral to smoky and spicy and pairs perfectly with the modern Mexican menu that features a raw bar, several ceviches and aguachiles, seafood-centric entrees, and a killer Buttercake with pineapple-rum compote and cinnamon ice cream. Join them for happy hour when select appetizers and drinks are just $10.
Cleverly terraced levels ensure that everyone gets a great view on Serẽa’s airy, sophisticated patio. Enjoy world class sea-to-table cuisine selected and beautifully composed by chef Jojo Ruiz, a James Beard Smart Catch Leader recipient for his commitment to sustainable seafood practices. Pair your meal with a selection from the eclectic wine cellar or a luxurious hand-crafted cocktail.
The Presley makes the most of its nearly 2,100 square feet of dedicated outdoor dining space with cozy nooks, whimsical swings, and lots of twinkling lights. Executive chef Todd Nash’s menu features classic fare including cilantro-lime grilled Shrimp Lettuce Wraps, $17
Bacon and Shrimp Tacos, Horseradish Crusted Salmon, and a variety of flatbreads, sandwiches, and salads. The playful beverage menu incorporates twists on classic cocktails, including a Dole Whip Mimosa and Frozen Lava Flow.
Farmer & The Seahorse
Picnic tables and shady decks across an expansive lawn beckon you to sip mimosas and Bloody Marys, sangrias and micheladas, plus libations like the Dancing Embers (charred- pineapple–infused mezcal, house cilantro bitters and poblano liqueur) or the salted Watermelon Gimlet at Farmer & The Seahorse. Menu favorites include four different toasts–smashed avocado, truffled mushroom, wild blueberry and stracciatella, or miso-cured salmon–plus breakfast fried rice, double smash burgers, and a chimichurri steak sandwich.
How to book: Reservations for patio dining can be made online.
Sweeping vistas of La Jolla Cove make Brockton Villa the perfect place for brunch with an ocean view. Do not pass on the award-winning Coast Toast, a fluffy, souffle-like French toast with lovely orange zest notes, also available in Bananas Foster and S’mores renditions. Other offerings include warmly spiced Cinnamon Roll Pancakes and the Buenos Dias Breakfast Burrito, a yummy concoction with carne asada, cheddar, steamed scrambled eggs, brown rice, and guacamole, all wrapped in a warm flour tortilla. Non-breakfast plates include tacos with a quartet of filling options, Cioppino, and satisfying sandwiches.
Bali Hai Restaurant
For over half a century locals have been heading to this island paradise for sweet and potent tiki drinks served with a sparkling view of the downtown skyline. The restaurant’s signature cocktail is the Bali Hai Mai Tai, which is juice-free and so strong that you’ll be limited to two per visit. If you want something a little less intense, try a drink from a list of The Classics or a frozen tropical refresher. Either way, you’ll need something substantial to eat, like the Cheeseburger with truffle black pepper mayo or some Adobo Short Rib.
Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens
Both Stone Brewing locations have massive outdoor spaces filled with towering shade trees, winding stone paths, still ponds filled with koi, babbling brooks, waterfalls, and plenty of gargoyles to go with your FML Hazy DIPA. Soak up the brews with a food menu that includes highlights like a Stone Delicious IPA Bavarian Pretzel that’s served with Stone Delicious IPA mustard and beer cheese, as well as tacos, burgers, and sandwiches.
Refreshing, tropical cocktails are the name of the game at Puesto, where you can lounge among fire pits on the large outdoor patio at the Marina District location, or snag a seat on the sidewalk patio for some people-watching at the La Jolla or Mission Valley locations. If you’re stuck on what to order, the Puesto Perfect Margarita with fresh lime and organic agave syrup, or a malt-forward Mexican-style lager, brewed at the Mission Valley cerveceria are solid choices. Hit them up on Taco Tuesdays for $2.50 off all tacos and $6 Puesto drafts.
How to book: Check the website for each location's hours and reservations.