Being able to stare at large bodies of water is one of the biggest perks of living in the Bay Area (right next to wearing only a “light jacket” in winter). At these restaurants, you can take advantage of that perk while also eating good things and (if you want) drinking four glasses of sparkling wine. Here are some very solid waterfront spots that are open with outdoor seating right now.
The waterfront bar and restaurant on Pier 30 has reopened their patio seating, so you can once again have lovely views of the bay and the bridge while enjoying burgers and fish and chips. Reservations aren’t required and feel free to bring your dog along too.
The upscale Embarcadero seafood restaurant is always a great choice if you want phenomenal oysters and some of the best bay views. They’re dinner-only now, but starting March 3rd they’ll be open daily from 12-9:30pm. You can also drop by Wednesdays through Sundays from 2-5pm when the oyster-of-the-day is $1.05 each. Grab a reservation here.
There are plenty of reasons to head to this family-run bar and restaurant on the Embarcadero - good beer, good burgers, and casual, waterfront dining on their sunny (and heated) patio. They’re open Wednesdays to Sundays from 11:30am-4pm. Make a reservation here.
The casual Mission Bay restaurant overlooks the water and Oracle Park, which may or may not bum you out depending on how often you used to attend Giants games. The casual spot has plenty of patio space, including a rooftop deck. They also have chicken sandwiches, salads, flatbread pizza, and cocktails daily from 11:30am-6pm, and a Happy Hour from 3-6pm. Also, weekend brunch is from 10am-2pm. You can make reservations here.
The waterfront dive bar used to be a favorite pre-Giants game hangout spot. And now the Pier 28 ½ spot is a go-to for margaritas, burgers, BLTs, and fish tacos out on their patio. They’re open starting at 11:30am on weekdays and 10am on weekends.
Scoma’s is in the heart of tourist central, but is actually one of the only places in Fisherman’s Wharf where you’ll find us. The menu is full of old-school dishes like Crab Louie salad and linguine con vongole, but what you’re really here for are the clam chowder and Dungeness crab. Walk-ins are OK, but reservations are recommended. They’re open every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays for lunch and dinner.
La Mar does excellent ceviche right on the water, along with plenty of outdoor seating and heat lamps. They have a pretty great view of Treasure Island, too. The Peruvian spot is accepting reservations through their website, so grab one and have pisco sours, empanadas, and anticuchos for lunch or dinner.
If you need to be reminded that you live in a place surrounded by water, head to Mission Rock Resort, a two-story restaurant and bar in Mission Bay. They’re taking reservations, but walk-ins are welcome. And if you want to avoid a wait, find a spot on their ground floor cafe. It’s got bay views, a full bar, and lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch menus.
If you’re trying to eat and drink next to the water in Oakland, the answer is pretty much always Lake Chalet. It’s the only restaurant on Lake Merritt, and has outdoor dining available on their sunny, spacious dock. Heading here for Taco Tuesday (3-7pm) is always a good call if you want to have fish, grilled chicken, carne asada, or veggie tacos (three for $12), and mango margarita slushies.
The Oakland edition of the popular Thai spot in the Mission is located on the Jack London waterfront (in between Belcampo and Forge, both of which also have heated outdoor seating), and overlooks a pedestrian walkway and a bunch of boats. The festive restaurant has a good amount of outdoor seating, and they serve some great dishes too, like papaya salad, fried chicken, and short ribs in panang curry.
The big draw of this casual bar and restaurant is that it’s housed in an over 100-year-old lighthouse overlooking a quiet marina off Embarcadero in Oakland. Head straight upstairs to their casual pub, The Upper Deck, which has a large patio, plenty of beers, and serves things like burgers, sandwiches, and fish and chips. No reservations are required.
Coqueta makes Spanish classics like jamon, albondigas, and patatas bravas, but a perk of this place is that it’s on the water (assuming it’s not one of those Fogust days). You can make a reservation online or by calling 415-704-8866.
Hog Island Oyster Bar is one of our favorite spots to grab oysters and chill by the water. They’re located in the San Francisco Ferry Building, and their back patio features great views of the Bay Bridge, Treasure Island, and the cool blue waters of bay itself. They’re open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday (11:30am-5pm) and Friday through Sunday (11am-7pm).
Last year, the Ferry Building debuted expanded outdoor seating, which made it easy to grab food from places like Acme, Cowgirl Creamery, Daily Driver, and other great spots and enjoy it all in the back plaza under shaded umbrellas. Since the city reinstated outdoor dining, those outdoor seating areas have returned. There are also two tented dining areas on the Embarcadero side of the Ferry Building, too. The dining areas are open daily from 10am-5pm (note that restaurants with dedicated patio seating stay open later).
Epic Steak is the sister restaurant of Waterbar and is located next door - so expect really great views from their heated outdoor patio. Their menu has, like the name suggests, plenty of steak options and more seafood-focused dishes like shrimp cocktails, oysters and avocado Crab Louie. Reservations are available here.
The second location of the beloved Oakland grocery store debuted last year in Brooklyn Basin and is also home to a cafe called The Kitchen. You can get everything from soups to grilled cheese to burgers, and enjoy it with a bottle of wine from the store on their massive, covered seating area.
Seabreeze On The Dock
The Jack London Square restaurant opened last fall in the old Il Pescatore space, and is serving pretty much everything that comes from the sea. For starters, they have seafood boils with manila clams, oysters, crab, or shrimp. They also have Hawaiian shrimp with garlic noodles, fish and chips, fried oyster po’boys, and a really delicious lobster roll.
The waterfront German beer garden in Brooklyn Basin has outdoor seating (which is covered with a tent on those misty or drizzly days). They have sausages, pretzels, wienerschnitzel with fries, and changing specials, which all goes well with a pint of one of their 20 draft beers.