1. The Cliff House: 1090 Point Lobos
This waterfront stunner is part of the Sutro Historic Landscape District, overlooking Ocean Beach, Seal Rocks, and the Sutro Bath ruins with its floor-to-ceiling windows. You’ll be glad to be inside—it’s usually pretty chilly around there. There are a few options here, including Sutro’s, known for its fresh seafood and the more casual Bistro Restaurant, a favorite for breakfast or brunch.
2. The Waterfront: Pier 7, The Embarcadero
The name alone tells you exactly what you’re getting, and this waterfront restaurant doesn’t disappoint. Opened since 1969, it offers a fine-dining ambiance inside and a cozy patio right on the bay with a spectacular view of the Bay Bridge. They serve a wide variety of dishes, from sustainable seafood to juicy steak to fresh vegan fare.
3. Waterbar: 399 The Embarcadero
This beautiful restaurant is also situated along the Embarcadero and features panoramic views of the bay. Fresh and sustainable seafood is their claim to fame. Come for the daily $1.05 Oyster Happy Hour.
4. The Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant: 1000 Great Highway at Ocean Beach
San Francisco’s only other oceanside restaurant sits alongside Ocean Beach and offers pretty spectacular views of the great Pacific. The food here is American-style, but we highly recommend going for the beer sampler.
5. EPIC Steak: 369 The Embarcadero
This modern steakhouse is fit with plush chairs and an incredible view of the Bay Bridge and the San Francisco skyline. To match the scenery, the food and wine selection is rich and impressive: fresh seafood and plenty of beef. The truly ravenous may want to splurge for the 5-lb. Epic “Dude Ranch” Steak.
6. The Slanted Door: 1 Ferry Building #3
This revered waterfront restaurant located in the Ferry Building puts a delicate, modern spin on classic Vietnamese dishes. The menu is extensive, from raw oysters to grass-fed beef to impeccably assembled vegetable dishes. The bay view makes it even more inviting.
7. Greens Restaurant: 2 Marina Boulevard, Fort Mason
If all that seafood and beef doesn’t excite you, head over to Fort Mason along the Marina to this vegetarian favorite, which uses local, organic ingredients in all of its healthy, creative dishes.
8. Hog Island Oyster Bar: 1 Ferry Building
Another hotspot in the gastronomic center of the Ferry Building, this restaurant offers a fine selection of oysters and seasonal seafood. Its cocktails are also worth a try, and it all goes exceptionally well with that bay view.
9. Pier 23 Cafe: Pier 23, The Embarcadero
This long-standing family-owned establishment is just far enough away from the touristy chaos of Fisherman’s Wharf to offer a fairly relaxing, down-to-earth, bayside environment. Take to the patio and enjoy a seafood dish or go all-American with the cheese burger.
10. Mission Rock Resort: 817 Terry Francois Blvd.
Just one mile south of AT&T Park, is one of Mission Bay’s few waterfront spots. The spacious patio steals the show here, but the diverse menu will satisfy most seafood lovers. The $0.99 Oyster Happy Hour (Monday - Friday, 3pm-7pm) is one of the best deals around.
11. The Ramp: 855 Terry Francois Blvd.
other waterfront spot, this one around for several decades, one ups its younger neighbor with live music on the weekends (Salsa Saturday and Brazilian Sunday). They also offer daily happy hour specials (Monday - Friday, 4:30pm-7pm).
12. Forbes Island: Sea Lion Harbor, Between Piers 39 & 41
Self-described as “fantasy fine dining aboard the world’s only floating island,” this unique spot allows you to dine underwater or simply have a sweet cocktail on the patio with some of the city’s finest views of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. Beware that you are indeed floating, so you will feel some swaying…