Sightseers: The Best Bay View Restaurants in San Francisco

Traveling to San Francisco? The Bay Area features a wide range of restaurant dining options, some with spectacular bay views — all depending upon your vantage point. You can dine with views of the Golden Gate Bridge, just underneath the glittering lights of the Bay Bridge, see the famous skyline from the East Bay, or take in the nitty gritty working waterfront. You can sip on drinks from high atop Nob Hill, slurp oysters at a high-end seafood restaurant, or nibble on Chinese spareribs at a tropical getaway. Here are some top picks for the best bay view restaurants in San Francisco.

Waterbar, San Francisco
This glamorous seafood restaurant right under the Bay Bridge is an ideal place, day or night, to enjoy the vistas. Known for stunning floor-to-ceiling tropical aquariums and a firm commitment to sustainability and transparency, the restaurant offers a menu that even calls out the captains and fishing boats. It’s a prime spot for oysters with as many as 16 different types on any given day, and a daily pick is available for just $1.05 each from 11:30-5:30PM, with a nickel going to charity. It’s also a terrific place to indulge in a whole Dungeness crab or crab cocktail. Make a reservation at Waterbar.

Best Bay View Restaurants in San Francisco

La Mar Cebicheria Peruana, San Francisco
This Peruvian restaurant from acclaimed chef Gaston Acurio has a sunny deck and enticing specialties including empanadas, cebiches, and causas. It’s also a great place to try a Pisco cocktail. Or two. Arriving via the bay? La Mar is San Francisco’s only waterfront restaurant that offers complimentary boat parking for three hours. Make a reservation at La Mar Cebicheria Peruana.

Best Bay View Restaurants in San Francisco

EPIC Steak, San Francisco
With a newly added outside bar, the patio at Epic is more appealing than ever. This restaurant is as adept with steak as it is with delicate pasta and luscious fresh vegetables, such as a recent special of jumbo asparagus with a poached egg, Banyuls vinaigrette, and Cotija cheese. The best deal just might be the BBB, a bacon cheddar wagyu burger served with fries, a Budweiser, and a brownie for just $20. Add a 4th B — a shot of Michter’s bourbon — for another $5. Watch stormy days from inside or sit under the sunshine yellow umbrellas for lunch or drinks after work. Make a reservation at EPIC Steak.

Best Bay View Restaurants in San Francisco

ATwater Tavern, San Francisco
The latest addition to the San Francisco waterfront dining scene is ATwater Tavern. Located just past the baseball stadium, it’s the perfect place to celebrate a win, drown your sorrows should the Giants lose, or just wait until the traffic dies town before heading home after a game. The solid grill-focused menu offers plenty of seafood and a wide range of beer and wine on tap. Drink or dine from inside or out, upstairs or down, and see the workings of the port of San Francisco. Make a reservation at ATwater Tavern.

Best Bay View Restaurants in San Francisco

Top of the Mark, San Francisco
From Nob Hill at the top of the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel, you’ll enjoy great views of the City, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Marin Headlands, as well as Alcatraz Island and Fisherman’s Wharf. During World War II, servicemen would meet and toast the Golden Gate Bridge before shipping out in hopes that this good luck ritual would bring them safely home. Their wives and sweethearts would head to the northwest corner of the lounge to watch them depart, earning this famous spot the nickname “Weepers’ Corner.” The lounge is known for a creative martini menu and offers small bites in the evenings and an extensive brunch buffet on Sundays. Make a reservation at Top of the Mark.

Best Bay View Restaurants in San Francisco

Greens, San Francisco
Originally opened as part of the San Francisco Zen Center, for 35 years this restaurant located at Fort Mason has offered stunning marina and bay spectacles all the way out to the Golden Gate Bridge. The food here is vegetarian and draws from various cuisines around the world. Much of the produce is sourced from nearby Green Gulch Farm, a residential Zen community and organic farm located just an hour away. The carefully curated wine list focuses on small producers. Make a reservation at Greens.

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Celebrate Spring: The 100 Best Al Fresco Dining Restaurants in America 2016 #OpenTable100

In honor of spring and to kick off summer travel season, we are thrilled to reveal the 100 Best Al Fresco Dining Restaurants in America 2016. These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 20,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Best Al Fresco Dining Restaurants in America 2016

Featuring restaurants nestled on white sand beaches and under majestic desert skies to those in chic urban areas, the complete list features winning restaurants in 19 states and Washington, D.C., and includes Hau Tree Lanai in Honolulu, Farm & Table in Albuquerque, and Perch LA in Los Angeles. The scenic state of California claims almost half the number of winning restaurants with 44, followed by Florida with 13, Hawaii with 12, and Arizona with eight. North Carolina and South Carolina boast three honorees apiece. Maryland, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania have two each. Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. are also represented. Menus showcasing American cuisine are most popular; however, many highlight regional fare, including Californian, Hawaiian, and Mexican, and seafood is a common theme at coastal restaurants. Other cuisines strongly represented include French and Italian.

Check out some of the delightful outdoor dining experiences in our slideshow below.

 

The 100 Best Al Fresco Dining Restaurants in America list is generated from more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners between May 1, 2015, and April 30, 2016. All restaurants with a minimum “overall” score and number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration. Qualifying restaurants were then scored and sorted according to the percentage of qualifying reviews for which “great for outdoor dining” was selected as a special feature.

Based on this methodology, the following restaurants, listed in alphabetical order, comprise the 100 Best Al Fresco Dining Restaurants in America 2016 according to OpenTable diners.

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OpenTable Discover: App Redesign Helps Travelers + Locals Discover New Dining Experiences

In anticipation of summer travel season, we’re thrilled to announce the launch of our redesigned OpenTable iOS app, enabling diners to more easily discover and book great dining experiences, from the hottest new restaurants to neighborhood gems.

The redesign features a new Discover tab, which allows traveling and local diners to discover more with a single tap by connecting them to new dining experiences, ranging from trending cuisines and popular restaurants to curated option such as “OpenTable Insider Picks,” which allows you to dine like a local even when you’re in another city.

OpenTable Discover

“Whether you’re landing hungry on the tarmac in a new city or planning a last minute date night in your local neighborhood, OpenTable wants to be the dining concierge in your pocket,” said our own Christa Quarles, OpenTable Chief Executive Officer. “Dining has never been more mobile and our new app experience helps diners discover the perfect restaurant to satisfy every occasion, mood and craving whether they’re at home or on the road.”

The content presented on the Discover tab factors in elements like availability, popularity, proximity and personal favorites. It enables quick visual browsing of categories to get recommendations that will satisfy any taste. The recommendations are especially handy for local diners eager to explore something new and for travelers hoping to sink their teeth into amazing culinary experiences. New categories in the Discover tab include:

  • New & Hot – Recently opened restaurants with high popularity scores
  • Most Popular – Restaurants with the highest popularity scores
  • My Favorites – Diner’s favorite restaurant list
  • Special Features – Restaurants perfect for every occasion ranging from romantic to kid-friendly
  • Near Me Now – Nearby restaurants with immediate availability
  • Dinner Tonight – Restaurants with availability that night
  • Editorial Picks – Restaurants nominated by local OpenTable Insiders and other industry experts.

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City of Gold: Intrepid Dining Tips from Food Critic Jonathan Gold

Pulitzer Prize-winning insatiably curious eater and Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold, star of the new documentary City of Gold, shares how dining out is one of the best ways to discover a city, whether traveling or in your hometown.

Jonathan Gold

Finding a city’s hidden gem eateries — be it a dusty food truck with incredible fried fish tacos or a counter spot in a dingy strip mall slinging life-changing pho — is far more than an Instagrammable form of epicurean off-roading. It awakens us to the oft-underappreciated mosaic of cuisines and cultures that make up our cities’ landscapes.

For Jonathan Gold, longtime food critic at the L.A. Times and star of a documentary on this very subject, dining out has always been about uncovering culinary treasures — a quest that started in his early 20s with a mission to try every hole-in-the-wall restaurant and ethnic street vendor on a 15-mile stretch of LA’s Pico Boulevard.

Last month while in Chicago promoting the release of City of Gold, he caught up with OpenTable for a little Intrepid Dining: 101. From scouting foreign-language message boards for restaurant tips to eating at (literally) every Indonesian noodle house, he shared advice on how to discover — or perhaps re-discover — a city’s culture through its food.

Was there a certain cuisine or experience when you were starting out that sparked your curiosity?

I did this thing right after college when I was bored out of my mind working as a proofreader at a law newspaper – I decided to eat at every restaurant on Pico Boulevard. It was at the time of the wars in Central America, so there was a lot of new immigration there and a lot of new places, from street vendors to tiny little restaurants.

I’d grown up in LA and driven down this street before thinking those restaurants were monolithically Mexican because everything was in Spanish. And then you start going from door to door and you go, wait a second, this one’s Guatemalan, this one’s Nicaraguan, this one’s from El Salvador, this one’s from Mexico but it’s Jalisco, and this one’s also Mexican but it’s Sinaloa so the food is completely different. Then you do it a little more and you see which ones have big city or European influences because their menus are more continental.

It wasn’t even the actual basic things being served. It was just the knowledge that this wasn’t monolithic, that what had seemed like one big thing turned out to be this mosaic — an endless, tessellated grid of culture. And it was so good.

What’s your strategy for finding under-the-radar restaurants?

I do it a million different ways. I will go down certain streets and eat at every single restaurant. I’ll spend hours on message boards in foreign languages with Google translate, like Weibo, the Chinese Facebook. I also find that going to a restaurant that looks like the center of a community probably means what you’ll find there will be pretty good. It may not be the absolute best one. But then what I’ll do is eat at all of the Indonesian noodle houses to tell you which one is the best one.

How long does that usually take you?

Sometimes that takes quite awhile, other times not so much. I tend to try to spread them out, but there always comes a time where it will be six places in a weekend.

Is there anything that would make you skip a place? Your strategy seems to be to try pretty much everything.

Yeah, well (laughs), I don’t like being bored. One kind of restaurant I tend not go to is actually lounge restaurants. I find the food tends to be really subsidiary to what else is going on there. Or if I’m looking at an Italian restaurant and it has exactly the same menu that every other Italian restaurant has, there’s no point in going there.

Jonathan Gold

For the average diner experiencing a certain cuisine for the first time, how should they set themselves up for a successful meal? Continue Reading