What could be better than enjoying a pleasant meal with a scenic view over the Pacific Ocean and listening to the sound of the sea? Luckily, California has no shortage of stunning waterfront restaurants, each with its own unique setting and vibe. From the picturesque Napa Valley to the bustling city of San Diego.
To help you narrow down your options, we’ve compiled a list of California’s most beautiful waterfront restaurants. Whether you’re in the mood for seafood, steaks or just a good old-fashioned burger, we’ve got you covered!
With its stunning location on the pier in Malibu, this farm-to-table restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy fresh, local seafood. Relax on the outdoor patio and take in the Pacific Ocean’s incredible views while enjoying dishes like lobster rolls, grilled fish tacos and wood-fired pizza.
Located on the beach in Malibu, Nobu is the perfect place to enjoy fresh sushi and sashimi while you take in sweeping ocean views. The menu features a wide variety of Japanese-inspired dishes like black cod miso, yellowtail jalapeño and tuna tartare, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Located at the renowned Post Ranch Inn, Sierra Mar overlooks the dramatic cliffs of Big Sur. The restaurant features a constantly changing menu that highlights the very best of seasonal, local ingredients — think Santa Cruz Sand Dabs with Meyer lemon and summer squash or Heirloom Tomato Salad with house-made mozzarella. With its stunning location and exquisite cuisine, Sierra Mar is an unforgettable dining spot.
With its modern yet beachy vibe, The Strand House is the perfect place to enjoy oceanfront dining. Sip on a refreshing cocktail while you nibble on seared ahi tuna Orono, then indulge in a juicy steak or fresh seafood entree. Save room for dessert — the chocolate souffle should not be missed!
Located at the end of the famous Malibu pier, Geoffrey’s Malibu has been a local favorite since 1977. Treat yourself to some fresh seafood dishes like seared scallops with ginger cabbage or fire-roasted Alaskan halibut for the ultimate seaside dining experience.
Coasterra boasts one of San Diego’s most picturesque waterfront views and is the perfect place to start your vacation dining experience. Enjoy a freshly prepared seafood dish like lobster ravioli with crab-saffron velouté or filet mignon au Poivre while you take in sweeping ocean views from virtually anywhere on the property.
The Lobster specializes in seafood — the menu features an array of fresh seafood dishes like Maine lobster rolls, seared diver scallops and wild Atlantic salmon. The restaurant also offers a stunning oceanfront patio overlooking the Santa Monica pier, the perfect spot for an al fresco dining experience.
With its outdoor patio overlooking the scenic Cardiff State Beach, Pacific Coast Grill is perfect for a romantic dinner or a night out with friends. Sip on cocktails as you watch the sun set over the water, then enjoy seafood favorites like grilled Mahi Mahi, lobster ravioli and seared scallops.
Located right on Santa Barbara’s Stearns Wharf, this seafood spot is the perfect place to enjoy fresh catch-of-the-day sandwiches and clam chowder while you watch the waves. Don’t miss out on the fried calamari, which comes with a delectable garlic aioli dipping sauce.
If a sweeping oceanfront view isn’t on your radar, why not enjoy an intimate sunset dining experience inside Splashes at the Surf & Sand Resort? Regardless of whether you opt for a table indoors or out, the windows completely open up to give you views of the Pacific — plus, the menu features farm-to-table seasonal dishes like miso-glazed Hokkaido sea scallops with beet bok choy and vanilla extract.
Experience stunning ocean views while dining on classic California fare at Nepenthe. This Big Sur restaurant has been a popular destination among celebrities, writers and tourists since its opening in the 1940s. The roadside eatery features hearty dishes such as wild boar pork chops with a farmhouse potatoes.
Georges Ocean Terrace, located at the La Valencia Hotel, is one of San Diego’s most trendy and unique dining experiences. The beautifully landscaped patio features fire pits and strings of outdoor lights, while the menu offers fresh seafood like buttered Maine lobster with brown butter mashed potatoes and Black Angus filet steak from the in-house ranch in Montana. Make sure to reserve a table so you don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind oceanfront lunch.
These are our 12 most beautiful waterfront restaurants in California! Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!