10 Best Outdoor Dining Options in San Diego

One way to immerse yourself in local culture is to enjoy a leisurely meal outdoors. Most San Diego restaurants take advantage of the excellent weather by offering some sort of patio dining which is great for families, date night or meeting friends out for a drink.

George's Ocean Terrace, the rooftop casual bistro above George's at the Cove in La Jolla, offers guests incredible California cuisine and a panoramic view of the ocean. It's common for residents to take out-of-town guests here to show off the scenery. Dress is casual, umbrellas provide shade on sunny days and there's also an al fresco bar area. Do make a reservation and order the black bean soup.

Craving a margarita in Old Town? Though there are a variety of festive outdoor dining options here, Cafe Coyote, offers fresh tortillas made right on the patio in front of you, a long list of tequila and good Mexican food.

C Level is another popular outdoor dining spot where guests dine on an elevated patio over the water. Watch boats cruise around San Diego bay, enjoy the downtown skyline view with a nice glass of wine and hearty menu (highly recommend the lobster mac and cheese).

Eat like a local and reserve a table at one of San Diego's 10 best outdoor dining restaurants. And, yes, do reserve a table if it's an option, as these spots are hot! 

Cafe Coyote
Photo courtesy of Henri Louis Hirschfeld


From tortillas to tamales to salsa, Coyote Cafe; makes everything from scratch every day, on the premises. Start the day with a Breakfast Margarita, chilaquiles, menudo, or a chile relleno omelette. For lunch, try the chile verde, a quesadilla,...  Read More



Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens is almost an attraction in itself. Sure, it's San Diego's largest craft brewery but there is much more to it than delicious beer. It's family-friendly by day. What kid wouldn't love to wander a beautiful...  Read More



At KITCHEN 1540, an award-winning restaurant located in the L'Auberge Del Mar, a comfortable and simple atmosphere complements an intriguing, eclectic, and extraordinary menu by Chef Brandon Fortune. If you like Southern comfort food, this is...  Read More

Pacific Beach


JRDN is beachfront Tower 23 Hotel's 10,000 square foot contemporary oceanfront steak and seafood restaurant that features casually sophisticated cuisine. If you need a hip and trendy place that's less hectic than Gaslamp options, here's your...  Read More



Grab some complimentary coffee and coffee cake and leg out the weekend wait, because the food will be worth it. Recipient of accolades locally and nation-wide, breakfast is what The Cottage--very popular with local La Jollans--is known for. The...  Read More

Pacifica Breeze Cafe


There are few better places for al fresco dining than sunny San Diego. Part of seafood restaurant Pacifica Del Mar, this idyllic patio cafe has an unbeatable view. Breakfast is excellent here – enjoy the house smoked salmon benedict, turkey...  Read More

1500 Ocean


Set within the fashionable and historic Hotel del Coronado, 1500 Ocean is an elegant yet comfortable space with stunning ocean views and contemporary decor, serving coastal California cuisine that emphasizes seafood, spices from around the world...  Read More

Island Prime / C Level Lounge


C Level Lounge is the more casual dining area next to Island Prime but has a similar menu. Both are fashionable destinations for dinner or drinks. Island Prime boasts enchanting skyline views, a wealth of trendy cocktails, and flawless service....  Read More

Prado at Balboa Park


Picturesque Balboa Park, with its museums, lush gardens and performing arts venues, is on every visitor's itinerary. And at the end of a busy day exploring the park's many treasures, there's no better place to relax than Prado, where the...  Read More



Dramatically situated on Prospect Street in La Jolla overlooking the blue Pacific, George's at the Cove combines exceptional cuisine and service with spectacular views from every level of the multi-tiered restaurant. Dine in the contemporary...  Read More


Meet Katie Dillon

Katie Dillon originally moved to the seaside community of La Jolla to attend UC San Diego. When the opportunity presented itself, she and her husband set off for a 7 year stint overseas as...  More About Katie