Best Restaurants for Outdoor Dining in San Diego

San Diego has always had an extensive outdoor dining scene, with beautiful weather year-round and locals wanting to take advantage of that with alfresco options.

As restrictions loosen around the city, outdoor dining will remain the default for many who have embraced the city’s patio spaces. Take a look at the best outdoor dining San Diego options the city has to offer and plan that next meal out.

Outdoor restaurant patio, Hillcrest, San Diego

San Diego’s Best Patio Scene

San Diego’s patio scene has only expanded as more people are looking to eat out and support their favorite eateries. Some restaurant owners have expanded patio spaces to accommodate the interest, and San Diegans are all the luckier for it. Let’s look at the best of the city’s patios and outdoor restaurants San Diego is known for.

Buona Forchetta

The vibe at this Italian staple in the charming South Park neighborhood of San Diego has always been warm and welcoming, and it has translated seamlessly to an expanded outdoor dining space. The fresh pastas are divine, but it’s the Neapolitan pizza that keeps locals returning again and again. Try one of their white pizzas for a unique spin on their woodfired pies.

wood-fired Neapolitan -style pizza

Louisiana Purchase

This North Park restaurant brings a little bit of New Orleans to San Diego with its menu of Louisiana Creole cuisine. That means crawfish, cheddar biscuits, and gator bites to name a few of their best snacks. Their patio is modeled after New Orleans courtyards and is open to the modern interior.

Miss B’s Coconut Club

This airy Caribbean-style restaurant and bar serves up daily specials in a laidback space, well-suited for casual Mission Beach. Munch on tropical fruit bowls or jerk chicken wraps while sipping on seasonal cocktails. Yes, those drinks will likely have little umbrellas in them.

Friends enjoying tropical drinks

Outdoor Dining San Diego with Beautiful Views

San Diego is spoiled with eateries that line the city’s beaches and bays, not to mention the rooftop bars and restaurants that offer panoramic views of the surrounding neighborhoods. Here are a few of the most iconic San Diego restaurants that offer not only outdoor dining, but beautiful views to boot.

Born and Raised

This special occasion steakhouse boasts a luxe interior to go along with a menu of aged meats and fine wines. It’s the rooftop at Born and Raised that has become a neighborhood favorite for those living in a downtown San Diego apartment. Visit from 3-5 pm Monday through Friday for select happy hour bites and cocktails if you’re not looking to splurge.

Truffle steak

Mister A’s

Those seeking the best bird’s-eye views of the city should look no further than Mister A’s, a French-inspired restaurant with patio seating where you can watch the planes come in. Those Bankers Hill views are well-known to locals, so expect diners looking for that perfect photo while you’re enjoying your carpaccio. It’s all worth it to dine in the sky.

Oceana Coastal Kitchen

The best views in San Diego have to include some beachfront dining. Oceana Coastal Kitchen allows diners views onto Mission Bay on their covered and heated patio. The restaurant is part of the Catamaran Resort Hotel, a worthwhile stop on any visit to the bay in itself.

Seared scallops

Best Outdoor Dining in Little Italy

Little Italy San Diego restaurants have always had a vibrant patio dining scene, particularly with the introduction of the Piazza della Famiglia, an Italian-style piazza that recently reopened for residents’ passive use. The piazza is one of the best things to do in Little Italy today.

The Crack Shack

The fried chicken restaurant from celebrity chef Richard Blais has never offered indoor dining, so they were always well-equipped for this moment. This casual pick looks like a good time, with a giant rooster welcoming you in and outdoor games out front when you’re done with your meal, but the food here is serious. Indulge in the juiciest fried chicken you’ll find in the city, and leave room for one of their handcrafted milkshakes.

friend chicken sandwiches

Davanti Enoteca

A large patio offers a welcoming vibe at this modern Italian eatery on India Street. Well-known for fresh ingredients and its lively ambiance, Davanti Enoteca tops many locals’ favorite Little San Diego restaurants. The focaccia appetizer is a perfect shareable plate on a warm day.

Kettner Exchange

Kettner Exchange is as well-known for its food and signature cocktail menu as it is for its two levels of see and be seen vibes. Head to the rooftop for Little Italy views or their private courtyard for a quieter atmosphere. 

friends having dinner on a restaurant patio

If you’re already all-in on Little Italy and a luxury apartment in San Diego, you won’t find a more impressive option than the Allegro Towers. Schedule a visit to see how you can join a community of like-minded residents who love taking advantage of all that Little Italy has to offer, including an array of delicious restaurants.