Food & Drink

The Best San Diego Beachfront Hotels, Restaurants & Hangouts

Published On 11/23/2016 Published On 11/23/2016
Draft san diego
Courtesy of Draft
Tower23 Hotel


Pacific Beach

Located right on the boardwalk of bustling PB, JRDN is Tower 23 Hotel’s signature restaurant. On any given day, you’ll see this restaurant and bar packed with locals and the chill tourists, enjoying mimosas for brunch on the patio, or multiple dinner courses in the indoor dining area. American fare is the specialty here. The lobster BLT. is a lunch favorite, as well as Mama’s French toast for brunch, and don’t forget to build your own mimosa, with either cava or prosecco while you're avoiding people snapping photos of our beachfront every two seconds.    



Mission Beach

Craft beer and San Diego go hand-in-hand. Add in beach views, and you’ve got yourself a winning combo. On Mission Beach's boardwalk, Draft sports a 31ft TV screen and 69 beers on tap to fulfill any beer-drinker’s needs. Not just a place for getting sloshed, weekend brunch features hearty dishes like the breakfast mac with bacon, gruyere cheese, and a sunnyside egg, and sweet bites like the house donuts with bacon and cream cheese.

Courtesy of Hotel del Coronado

1500 Ocean


Inside the Hotel Del Coronado, with the high volume of tourists continually roaming around, you’d think 1500 Ocean would be a let down, but you'd be wrong. Appointed in 2014, Chef de Cuisine Meredith Manee pulls ingredients from the hotel’s on-site garden, provided by the Berry Good Food Foundation, a foundation dedicated to supporting local, sustainably-grown food. An outdoor patio with views of the beach and ocean breezes complement the restaurant’s seafood-centric menu.

Candelas on the Bay

Candelas on the Bay


This elegant Mexican restaurant is situated on the edge of Coronado’s Ferry Landing. A popular place for special events, few realize that in addition to having a lovely space, it also has a Sunday brunch buffet from 11am-3pm that includes bottomless mimosas. A place made for day drinking, Candelas has floor to ceiling windows, perfect for people-watching and beach-gazing. Food delights include chilaquiles, crepes, street tacos, as well as martinis, like the mango chili and horchata.  

Flickr/Leo Suarez

South Beach Bar & Grille

Ocean Beach

Everyone knows about South Beach’s incredible fish tacos. The winner of numerous “Best Fish Taco” awards around the city, South Beach's have giant, pieces of fried freshly-caught fish engulfed in your choice of a flour or corn tortilla. This casual spot is continually packed with people enjoying a taco, catching a game, or enjoying a drink or two at the busy bar. It’s also perfectly situated at the end of Newport Avenue in laid-back OB, just steps from the beach.

Jorgensen Photography

C Level

Harbor Island

Alright, this one isn’t exactly located on a beach, but it still has an incredible view and is literally on top of the water in secluded Harbor Island. An out-of-towner and local crowd pleaser, it’s tucked on the patio behind its formal companion, Island Prime. C Level captures stunning views of the bay and downtown skyline, as well as tasty American bites like a sherried lobster bisque, Chef Deborah’s pepita and sesame crusted brie, a lobster and fontina BLT sandwich, and fish and chips.

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1. JRDN 723 Felspar St, San Diego, CA 92109

JRDN is a contemporary steak and seafood restaurant at the Tower23 Hotel that serves up California cuisine in menu sections like raw bar, starters, soups and salads, and “supper” and “butcher’s cut,” both of which feature larger plates, like American wagyu skirt steak and baked rigatoni with milk-braised pork shoulder, Swiss chard, lemon, and oregano. The décor is fresh, cool, clean, and upbeat, with polished concrete floors, dark leather booths, and light wood tables and chairs. Head to JRDN before dusk to witness the 70-foot long “wave wall” at the back of the restaurant as it’s filled with an ambient reflection of the Pacific sunset.

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2. Draft 3105 Ocean Front Walk, San Diego, CA 92109

This Pacific Beach spot has approximately 70 beers on tap and over 50 bottles of beer, making Draft a great place to kick back on your way home from the beach. While you're sipping, try some snacks from the menu, which is comprised of sharing plates, like mustard dusted pretzel bites; grilled items, like the bison burger with poblano pepper and cumin mayonnaise; greens, like the seared ahi salad; and sweets, like key lime pie. Draft’s boardwalk patio is a picturesque spot to grab a breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner bite with an oceanfront view, but if you want to catch the game, you’ll want to head inside to watch on one of the flat-screens.

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3. 1500 OCEAN 1500 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118

The headlining restaurant at the Hotel del Coronado, 1500 Ocean brings guests California coastal cuisine in a ritzy, beachfront setting. Highlights from the seafood-inflected menu include a daily selection of market oysters with coconut pearls and yuzu-ponzu, local black cod with savory corn custard, and a surf-and-turf entrée of filet, lobster tail, and truffle risotto. Dining here is an exceptional experience and best reserved for a splurge-worthy occasion.

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4. Candela's On The Bay 1201 1st St Ste 115, Coronado, CA 92118

Candelas On The Bay styles itself culinarily after Mexico City, but it's hard to escape thoughts of San Diego when you're surrounded by such impactful views of her skyline. If you can tear yourself away from window gazing, a menu of elevated, seafood-heavy Mexican dishes resituates you farther South via zingy ceviches, and a mahi mahi stuffed with pepperjack cheese, in addition to requisite fajitas and tacos. Brunch buffets are best on either of the two open-air terraces.

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5. South Beach Bar & Grille 5059 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107

Rumor has it that the best fish tacos in San Diego can be found at South Beach Bar and Grille, just a stone’s throw from the Pacific Ocean in Ocean Beach. Mahi tacos are served with cheese, red cabbage, salsa fresca, and white sauce, piled high on a soft flour tortilla (though corn tortillas are available upon request). The fish is so soft and moist it nearly melts in your mouth, and the teriyaki and pineapple marinade lend a tangy taste that will make your lips pucker. For the taco-averse, you can choose from a variety of fried seafood, like lobster, wahoo, shark, calamari, and shrimp, as well as burgers, chicken, and vegetarian options. Enjoy your dish and watch the sun set as you sip on a drink from the bar that offers 22 tequilas and more than 40 beers.

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6. C Level 880 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92101

C Level isn’t shy about sticking to its maritime theme. The San Diego restaurant boasts a dinner menu divided into “Under Way,” “Kelp Beds & Tide Pools,” “High Tide,” and “Market Fresh Seafood,” offering highlights like the ahi tuna stack with fresh crab, avocado and tomato, papaya-mango salsa, taro chips, caviar, and sweet chili sauce, as well as lobster truffle mac & cheese with local organic greens, candied walnuts, and fresh herb vinaigrette. The waterfront views provide a window onto the San Diego skyline, making for a meal that pleases the eye as well as the stomach.