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Dining with a View

In San Diego, alfresco dining is a way of life. Whether craving tacos and beer, local seafood, or a five-star brunch, the following eateries will satisfy any appetite and provide some pleasant scenery, free of charge.


{1132 Prospect Street, La Jolla; 858.424.0771; lavalencia.com}
Executive Chef Alex Emery preps inventive California coastal cuisine with subtle Spanish influences at this signature restaurant in the La Valencia Hotel. To make the most of the scenery, reserve a table on the restaurant’s iconic ocean view terrace, complete with stunning sights of the La Jolla Cove and the property’s lush gardens.

Best time to visit: Weekend brunch, served on Saturday and Sunday from 10:30am to 2:30pm
Must-try items: Cast Iron Cinnamon Roll with pecan praline and vanilla bean cream cheese frosting. Savory options include Baja Shrimp Chilaquiles, Lobster Roll, or Carne Asada Benedict with chipotle hollandaise. Wash it all down with the signature Pink Lady cocktail, a refreshing sipper with vodka, basil, watermelon, and lemon juice.


Hello Betty Fish House
{211 Mission Avenue, Oceanside; 760.722.1008; hellobettyoceanside.com}
The rooftop lounge at this beachy spot in the heart of Oceanside serves a limited menu of casual Cali-Mex eats alongside sweeping ocean views. Place your order with the bartender and snag one of the cozy lounge seats by the rail. No reservations are necessary for the rooftop lounge—first come, first served!

Best time to visit: Lunch, Friday through Sunday
Must-try items: Grilled Mahi Mahi Tacos and Clam Chowder Soup (recently named one of the best options outside of New England by “Food Network”). Drink options are limited, but guests can score a can of local craft brew.


Vessel Restaurant
{1551 Shelter Island Drive, Shelter Island; 619.819.8195; resortkonakai.com}
Vessel Restaurant at Kona Kai Resort & Spa is a dining destination. The restaurant’s casual and chic atmosphere is dressed in distressed wood, beautiful fabrics, and industrial fixtures. Several tables, in addition to bar seating and an outdoor patio, serve up tranquil views of the Kona Kai marina, the hotel’s pool, and a small beach.

Best time to visit: Dinner on Thursday or Friday evening.
Must-try items: Daily specials include Prime Rib on Thursdays and “Go Fish Friday,” which features a different catch of the day offered every Friday. Try the Key Lime Pie for dessert or, for all you chocoholics, the Chocolate Lava Cake.