Brian Malarkey’s glamorous Asian fusion restaurant has just reopened and rebooted. Seating moved to the expansive patio at the base of the Pacific Gate complex, and new executive chef Nate Appleman (a James Beard Award winner) developed a menu that introduces more seafood and lighter summer dishes, but he kept favorites like the tom yum mushrooms.
969 Pacific Highway, Marina District
This seaside sushi restaurant has an expansive rooftop patio overlooking Mission Beach. There’s plenty of space (the deck is about 10,000 square feet) with tables, lounge seating, and fire pits where you can relax with a cold beer or sake.
3105 Ocean Front Walk, Mission Beach
This massive restaurant (24,000 square feet) perched at the end of Harbor Island has arguably one of the best views of San Diego Bay. While there’s no more guacamole made tableside, plenty of Mexican-inspired favorites from chef Deborah Scott are still on the menu, like the Acapulco ceviche cocktail. Don’t miss the coconut margarita and extensive tequila list.
880 Harbor Island Drive, Harbor Island
The two-story restaurant on Lake San Marcos has plenty of outdoor seating, and it’s family friendly. Explore the marina afterward, where you can also rent a pontoon boat or fishing gear.
Lakehouse Hotel and Resort, 1025 La Bonita Drive, San Marcos
This landmark restaurant is one of the most scenic in San Diego, and has patio dining on two floors that offer clear views of La Jolla Cove. Make a reservation for a seat at the rooftop Ocean Terrace or at Level 2, and toast to this good weather.
1250 Prospect Street, La Jolla
You don’t need a reservation for a seat at their expansive rooftop lounge that’s across the street from the Oceanside Pier. Feel the breeze while enjoying Baja stone crab and cheese dip or tequila and lime carnitas.
211 Mission Avenue, Oceanside
The high-end steakhouse just opened last week in the Gaslamp, and specializes in serving prized Wagyu beef and Japanese whiskeys—they have the largest collection of the spirit in Southern California. Get a whiskey flight and enjoy it on the patio that faces Fifth Avenue.
376 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp Quarter
The New Zealand–themed brewery recently reopened their rooftop patio. Pooches are unfortunately no longer allowed, but you can come and grab a burger and brew and take in some people watching. Try the smoked barbacoa lamb fries and their hazy IPA flavored with pineapple, mango, and coconut.
4601 Park Boulevard, University Heights
Tear some injera (a spongy flatbread) and use it to scoop up some spicy stew or beef braised with berbere at this beloved neighborhood Ethiopian restaurant. They have a cozy deck, perfect for sipping some of the house honey wine.
4651 Park Boulevard, University Heights
The Italian eatery offers a relaxed outdoor dining experience at both of their San Diego locations. Fill up on handmade pastas, pizzas, and cocktails for lunch or dinner, and come back for weekend brunch favorites like cinnamon french toast and breakfast pizza.
7055 Friars Road, Fashion Valley
3715 Caminito Court, One Paseo
Set just steps away from the sand at La Jolla Shores, it’s a sweet vantage point to watch the sun go down. Plus, you can snack on beer-battered mahimahi tacos and wash them down with a spicy margarita as day turns into night.
8110 Camino del Oro, La Jolla
Indulge in burgers, tater tots, and craft beer on this neighborhood garden patio that’s also kid friendly.
2204 Fern Street, South Park
If you haven’t tried the sangria yet at this cozy Bankers Hill bistro, you’re missing out. Both the red and white versions have made our “Best Of” lists, and garnered a following. There’s a new small patio next to the restaurant and outdoor seating in front.
1927 Fourth Avenue, Bankers Hill