San Diego is one of the most picturesque cities in the country, and yet I am constantly surprised how few restaurants can boast a beautiful view, especially in the north county where I live. I thought about this over the weekend while dining at one of my favorite spots in San Diego, Cucina Enoteca. Our dining experience was nearly perfect–excellent food, top-notch service, and unique stylish decor–but it’s located in a strip mall with a view of a grocery store and a parking lot.
There are, however, a handful of fantastic restaurants in town, where you can marvel at our glorious coastline while dining and here are my Top 10 Favorites (this list is not in preferential order, but rather in geographical order from southern-most to northern-most):
Sea180 Coastal Tavern: Leave it to the Cohn Family of restaurants to open up a restaurant that will make me want to drive 50 miles to dine. Sea 180 is their newest venture and is part of the Pier South Resort in Imperial Beach. I wouldn’t be surprised if IB becomes the next up and coming part of town thanks to this new hot spot.
Il Fornaio: Though it’s a chain restaurant, which I don’t typically recommend for special nights out, their delicious Italian food, combined with a breathtaking view, lands them a spot on this list. Located on Coronado Island, this place is a must-visit. They also have a small dining area perfect for smaller private parties with the same great view.
Top of the Hyatt: Okay, this isn’t quite a restaurant, but if you are downtown on a date night, this is one of the best places to start the night off or end up for a nightcap. The panoramic view, 40 stories above San Diego Bay, is unparalleled. They only serve appetizers and desserts, but their martinis are divine and they have a superb wine list, so the Top of the Hyatt is a must! Located on the Top Floor of the Seaport Tower of the Manchester Grand Hyatt.
Bertrand’s at Mr. A’s: Native San Diegans who are as old as I am will remember this shi shi restaurant simply as Mr. A’s. Located on the top floor of an office building in Bankers Hill, just outside of downtown San Diego, this San Diego institution is the perfect place for a special occasion or just a romantic night out.
C Level Lounge & Island Prime– Located on Harbor Island, these two restaurants are two of the many fantastic Cohn Family restaurants in San Diego. They are next to each other, in the same venue, but the C Level lounge is more casual (and the one I would recommend) and Island Prime is a fancier, more upscale restaurant. They both have amazing views of the bay, downtown, and Coronado. I recommend sitting on the outside patio of C Level Lounge, and ordering the Deborah Scott Healthy Skirts of Fire skirt steak salad. To. Die. For.
The Marine Room – Literally located right on the beach in La Jolla, nothing beats the view from this restaurant, especially when it’s high tide and the waves are crashing up on the windows. Upon entering this restaurant for the first time, your first words will be, “Oh wow!” I guarantee it.
George’s of the Cove – Another La Jolla oldie but goodie, George’s has an expansive view of the San Diego coastline and a peach gazpacho. Nom to the nom.
Pacific Coast Grill – Since re-opening its doors earlier this summer, in a new right-on-the-water location, Pacific Coast Grill has a line out the door at any given time of day. Not only is the food out of this world, but the specialty drink menu is somethin’ pretty special. Make your reservations and go there for your next date night!
Chandler’s – Being a Carlsbad resident, I have been waiting for a local place like this to open up. A casual atmosphere, an eclectic menu and most importantly a stunning view, especially at sunset, makes this my new favorite place to go. It’s located inside the Hilton Oceanfront Resort and Spa on the 101.
333 Pacific – I’m so happy the Cohn Family ventured up to North County to open up this steak and seafood joint complete with a martini bar and yes, a stunning view. Take your date night to the next level with oysters and some bubbly. If you’re up in Carlsbad or Oceanside, definitely make your way to 333.
Any others that I’ve forgotten? What would you add to this list?