12 Waterfront Restaurants With Unforgettable Views

Echelberger Group


Certainly, California boasts an incredible coastline that stands out as one of its most captivating features. The privilege of enjoying a meal just a stone's throw away from the ocean, accompanied by awe-inspiring vistas of the expansive blue sea, is truly remarkable. The opportunity to bask in the tranquility and satisfaction that comes from inhaling the rejuvenating salty air, observing boats gracefully traverse the bay, and relishing the sunset on a summer evening is unparalleled in Southern California. Consider spicing up your evening out or treating your guests from out of town to the enchanting views offered by one of Orange County's waterfront restaurants for an authentic California experience.

Sol Mexican Cocina

Credit: Mary Carol Fitzgerald
Situated adjacent to Mariner's Mile on Balboa Marina in Newport Beach is Sol Mexican Cocina. Here, patrons can unwind on the waterfront patio and relish a breathtaking sunset. Drawing inspiration from journeys to Baja, the menu boasts a variety of meticulously crafted, fresh, and uncomplicated dishes. According to Deborah M. Schneider, the executive chef and partner, Sol Mexican Cocina is a haven for relaxation. Guests can savor delectable seafood, specialty tacos, and delightful margaritas while admiring the picturesque view of Mariner's Mile.
Location: Newport Beach

Tavern House Kitchen + Bar

Location: Newport Beach



Credit: The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
Elevate your dining experience by visiting RAYA at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. Indulge in Latin American-inspired pairings that will tantalize your taste buds while you savor both the delectable flavors and the stunning vistas. RAYA boasts not only expansive ocean views but also presents a delightful Pan-Latin coastal cuisine crafted by the renowned Chef Richard Sandoval. The menu, available for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch, offers an unparalleled culinary experience, allowing guests to relish the restaurant's offerings at any time of the day. According to Sheryl Ishizaki, the Director of Food and Beverage at the Ritz-Carlton, patrons can enjoy this exceptional dining experience while observing local surfers riding the waves at Salt Creek Beach from sunrise to sunset.
Location: Dana Point


Credit: Splashes

Sit and dine 25 feet above the water at Splashes restaurant in Laguna Beach. Whether on the patio or inside near the open windows, you’re sure to take in the ocean breeze and relax to the sounds of the waves. Fresh and local ingredients make up every dish on the breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner menus, making the food just as delicious as the view.
Location: Laguna Beach

A+O Restaurant | Bar

A+O Restaurant | Bar, derived from Anchors and Oceans, presents itself as a coastal-chic gastropub located at Balboa Bay Resort. With a recently revamped menu that honors the picturesque waterfront, A+O showcases an exclusive cocktail selection, aptly named the California Distilled menu. This curated menu spotlights the contributions of farmers, small-scale producers, local spirit distillers, and suppliers within the Golden State. According to Balboa Bay Resort Executive Chef Vic Casanova, guests at A+O Restaurant | Bar can enjoy craft cocktails during the day. In the evenings, locals have the opportunity to unwind by one of three fire pits, accompanied by live music on weekends, or indulge in the creation of tableside s'mores.
Local Insight: Staying at the Balboa Bay Resort? Guests can enjoy in-room dining 24 hours a day from the comfort of their room or suite.
Location: Newport Beach

The Rooftop Lounge

Outdoor Dining Orange CountyPhotography Provided By: The Rooftop Lounge
Offering panoramic views of the ocean from every angle, The Rooftop Lounge in Laguna Beach is truly impressive. Enjoy the breathtaking expanse of the azure sea while indulging in delectable seafood selections such as shrimp ceviche, spicy fish and chips, and piloncillo-morita chili-glazed salmon. Your group is guaranteed a memorable dining experience in this stunning setting. For optimal enjoyment, consider making a reservation and coordinating your visit to coincide with a captivating sunset.
Location: Laguna Beach

The Deck on Laguna Beach

What could be more delightful than a beachside vista? Experience it firsthand at The Deck on Laguna Beach, a rare gem among waterfront dining establishments positioned directly along the shore. Delight in the daily selection of oysters or opt for a classic burger—whatever suits your taste, rest assured that your dining experience will be complemented by the refreshing embrace of the ocean breeze.
Location: Laguna Beach

Driftwood Kitchen

Credit: Anne Watson
Experience fresh, ocean-to-table dining at Driftwood Kitchen, a waterfront restaurant whose slogan is, “Any closer and you would have to swim.” If that doesn’t give you an indication of the view you’ll get, we don’t know what does! Try their California-inspired cuisine with seasonal ingredients and, of course, a thing or two from the ocean, such as the yellowfin tuna tartare or grilled spanish octopus. 
Location: Laguna Beach


Credit: Mathew Martinez
Get all the fresh air you need at Tanner’s, the rooftop restaurant at Paséa Hotel & Spa in Huntington Beach. With a breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks menu, the view can be taken in from any time of day. You can also opt to take it up a notch, literally, and go up to Tanner’s Treehouse, a rooftop lounge, for happy hour Monday through Thursday, from 4-7 p.m.
Local Insight: Get $8 valet parking for three hours at the Paséa Hotel & Spa with validation when dining at Tanner’s.
Location: Huntington Beach

Ola Mexican Kitchen

Local Insight: Hanging out in Huntington Beach for the day? Pacific City is the perfect stop. Whether eating, shopping or just walking to the beach, all your entertainment needs will be met at this entertainment hub.

Location: Huntington Beach


Bluewater Grill

Location: Newport Beach



Credit: Mariusz Jeglinski Photography
Observe the mesmerizing ocean waves from an elevated perspective at 180blu within the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. According to Ishizaki, the outdoor cocktail lounge at 180blu is highly sought after by both locals and visitors, thanks to its boundless ocean panoramas and breathtaking sunsets. Combine these unmatched views with delectable seafood starters, artisanal cocktails, and live weekend music, and you're in for an exceptional Southern California dining affair.
Location: Dana Point
Previously published on Locale


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