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A view of the sunset from behind the bar.

16 San Francisco Restaurants With Spectacular Views

Restaurants to best view San Francisco’s natural splendor and gorgeous man-made wonders

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Every direction of San Francisco offers a lovely view, and in its center, there’s a vibrant urban landscape that offers its own kind of beauty. For this list of restaurants with absolutely stunning surroundings, we're focusing on the spots that give you the greatest vistas to gaze upon; some of these restaurants have good food and some of them have great food. Either way, all of them get you an eyeful of the best the city has to offer.

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Mersea Restaurant, Bar and Venue

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Treasure Island is still technically part of San Francisco — in fact, it offers the best views of the city, from halfway across the Bay Bridge. Mersea is a restaurant built into an old shipping container, and the cafe serves comforting burgers, fish and chips, chowder, and cioppino.

Sarah Chorey

Scoma's Restaurant

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Sitting on the proverbial dock of the bay, Scoma’s is a seafood institution, serving local fish pulled straight from the boat since 1965. The restaurant is kind of slung low like a ship’s cabin, winding through several bars and dining rooms, filled with warm woods and rich leather. But slide into a booth and look out the window, and the bay is lapping just outside, with boats floating by.

This groundbreaking vegetarian restaurant first opened as part of the San Francisco Zen Center in 1979. It was a pioneer of Calfornian farm-to-table cooking in the 80s and 90s, with all due respects to the legendary nut loaf. Today, it’s still well worth a visit to Fort Mason, where it serves fresh vegetable soups, salads, pastas, pizzas, and more in a warehouse space with views of the bay, bridge, and headlands.

Radhaus

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Fort Mason beer hall Radhaus is lined on one side with large windows that offer a panoramic view of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Bavarian-style restaurant has a menu of wursts, salads, and cheeses, as well as nine taps of German brews.

Hog Island Oyster Co.

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The Ferry Building has plenty of great dining options but if a memorable view is on your checklist, here’s the pro-move: grab a seat either on the Hog Island Oyster Co. patio or at the raw bar. From either perch you’ll be able to watch the ferry boats come and go, take in the Bay Bridge, and those gorgeous blue waters while you slurp fresh-caught oysters and sip a glass of something bubbly. 

A view of the Bay Bridge from inside Hog Island at the Ferry Building. Lauren Saria

Empress by Boon

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The Empress of China — a Chinese banquet hall that ruled for nearly half a century — always had a regal view from its sixth-story vantage above Chinatown. It sadly shuttered in 2014, but now the new Empress by Boon has opened in the historic space and is serving modern Cantonese fare, as well as views north across Chinatown and North Beach, and east looking down into Portsmouth Square and the Financial District.

The Empress at Sea cocktail at Empress by Boon Lauren Saria

Mister Jiu's

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Chinatown is notoriously dense, though the occasional rooftop access yields a great view. Diners at Mister Jiu’s can gaze down Commercial street at the Transamerica Pyramid and the very distinct beauty of the neighborhood. It's definitely not a 360-degree view of the Bay, but it's a beautiful and very San Francisco scene.

Top of the Mark

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High atop the Intercontinental is the Top of the Mark, offering small plates, a pricey Sunday brunch, and views of the city, bays, and bridges. It’s occasionally greyed-out by the fog, but that's gorgeous, too.

Epic Steak

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The patio views are unparalleled at Epic Steak, where diners find themselves gazing up at the Bay Bridge. On clear days this is a power lunch destination, but at night, the lights of the Bay Bridge are ideal for a sassy date, or just people who love looking at nice things. Sister restaurant Waterbar makes an equally strong option if you’re craving seafood rather than red meat.

Red's Java House

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Meanwhile at Red’s Java House you can score big on Bay Bridge views without having to break the bank. This old-school, no-frills burger spot (though there are other food options including fish and chips and sandwiches) sits right on the water, practically underneath the bridge, so you can gape up at the blue sky, down glittering water, and out the city itself while enjoying a cold Budweiser and a basket of excellent onion rings. 

A bottle of beer with the Bay Bridge in the background. Lauren Saria

KAIYO ROOFTOP

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One of San Francisco’s newest rooftop rarities, Kaiyo soars above the SoMa skyline, just a block or two away from Oracle Park. The location southeast of the freeway means you can take in the full expanse of downtown skyscrapers from one side of the Peruvian-Japanese bar and restaurant, while the other direction features a panoramic view of the Bay Bridge and Berkeley Hills in the far distance. 

A view of downtown San Francisco from the east.

ATwater Tavern

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This view may not be of water, but when it's game night and you can't get in the actual ballpark, Atwater Tavern may be your second best option. The Spanish seafood tavern plays the game, while looking directly at AT&T Park.

Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant

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There may be a parking lot between the Beach Chalet and Ocean Beach, but eventually your gaze will meet the horizon. A great view of kite-boarders, beach-goers and turbulent Pacific Ocean waves is available from this second-floor restaurant, which brews its own beer, offers a full bar, and serves lunch, dinner, and brunch.

Mission Rock Resort

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This double-deck waterfront restaurant hovers over the Bay, providing a great view of passing boats and ships. The lunch and dinner menu is focused on seafood, and brunch (which, on warm days, is best enjoyed in its outdoor seating area) is an eggs and oysters affair.

The Lookout

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Perched above 16th and Market streets, the Lookout isn’t just a Castro District gay bar with a reliable menu of sandwiches, tacos, and pizzas: It’s also one of the best views one can get of one of the city’s busiest and most fascinating intersections.

El Techo de Lolinda

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Ascend to the El Techo rooftop to gaze on Mission Street below. El Techo de Lolinda offers great city views right in the middle of the Mission, and serves rooftop cocktails and Latin street food-style snacks.

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Mersea Restaurant, Bar and Venue

Treasure Island is still technically part of San Francisco — in fact, it offers the best views of the city, from halfway across the Bay Bridge. Mersea is a restaurant built into an old shipping container, and the cafe serves comforting burgers, fish and chips, chowder, and cioppino.

Sarah Chorey

Scoma's Restaurant

Sitting on the proverbial dock of the bay, Scoma’s is a seafood institution, serving local fish pulled straight from the boat since 1965. The restaurant is kind of slung low like a ship’s cabin, winding through several bars and dining rooms, filled with warm woods and rich leather. But slide into a booth and look out the window, and the bay is lapping just outside, with boats floating by.

Greens

This groundbreaking vegetarian restaurant first opened as part of the San Francisco Zen Center in 1979. It was a pioneer of Calfornian farm-to-table cooking in the 80s and 90s, with all due respects to the legendary nut loaf. Today, it’s still well worth a visit to Fort Mason, where it serves fresh vegetable soups, salads, pastas, pizzas, and more in a warehouse space with views of the bay, bridge, and headlands.

Radhaus

Fort Mason beer hall Radhaus is lined on one side with large windows that offer a panoramic view of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Bavarian-style restaurant has a menu of wursts, salads, and cheeses, as well as nine taps of German brews.

Hog Island Oyster Co.

The Ferry Building has plenty of great dining options but if a memorable view is on your checklist, here’s the pro-move: grab a seat either on the Hog Island Oyster Co. patio or at the raw bar. From either perch you’ll be able to watch the ferry boats come and go, take in the Bay Bridge, and those gorgeous blue waters while you slurp fresh-caught oysters and sip a glass of something bubbly. 

A view of the Bay Bridge from inside Hog Island at the Ferry Building. Lauren Saria

Empress by Boon

The Empress of China — a Chinese banquet hall that ruled for nearly half a century — always had a regal view from its sixth-story vantage above Chinatown. It sadly shuttered in 2014, but now the new Empress by Boon has opened in the historic space and is serving modern Cantonese fare, as well as views north across Chinatown and North Beach, and east looking down into Portsmouth Square and the Financial District.

The Empress at Sea cocktail at Empress by Boon Lauren Saria

Mister Jiu's

Chinatown is notoriously dense, though the occasional rooftop access yields a great view. Diners at Mister Jiu’s can gaze down Commercial street at the Transamerica Pyramid and the very distinct beauty of the neighborhood. It's definitely not a 360-degree view of the Bay, but it's a beautiful and very San Francisco scene.

Top of the Mark

High atop the Intercontinental is the Top of the Mark, offering small plates, a pricey Sunday brunch, and views of the city, bays, and bridges. It’s occasionally greyed-out by the fog, but that's gorgeous, too.

Epic Steak

The patio views are unparalleled at Epic Steak, where diners find themselves gazing up at the Bay Bridge. On clear days this is a power lunch destination, but at night, the lights of the Bay Bridge are ideal for a sassy date, or just people who love looking at nice things. Sister restaurant Waterbar makes an equally strong option if you’re craving seafood rather than red meat.

Red's Java House

Meanwhile at Red’s Java House you can score big on Bay Bridge views without having to break the bank. This old-school, no-frills burger spot (though there are other food options including fish and chips and sandwiches) sits right on the water, practically underneath the bridge, so you can gape up at the blue sky, down glittering water, and out the city itself while enjoying a cold Budweiser and a basket of excellent onion rings. 

A bottle of beer with the Bay Bridge in the background. Lauren Saria

KAIYO ROOFTOP

One of San Francisco’s newest rooftop rarities, Kaiyo soars above the SoMa skyline, just a block or two away from Oracle Park. The location southeast of the freeway means you can take in the full expanse of downtown skyscrapers from one side of the Peruvian-Japanese bar and restaurant, while the other direction features a panoramic view of the Bay Bridge and Berkeley Hills in the far distance. 

A view of downtown San Francisco from the east.

ATwater Tavern

This view may not be of water, but when it's game night and you can't get in the actual ballpark, Atwater Tavern may be your second best option. The Spanish seafood tavern plays the game, while looking directly at AT&T Park.

Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant

There may be a parking lot between the Beach Chalet and Ocean Beach, but eventually your gaze will meet the horizon. A great view of kite-boarders, beach-goers and turbulent Pacific Ocean waves is available from this second-floor restaurant, which brews its own beer, offers a full bar, and serves lunch, dinner, and brunch.

Mission Rock Resort

This double-deck waterfront restaurant hovers over the Bay, providing a great view of passing boats and ships. The lunch and dinner menu is focused on seafood, and brunch (which, on warm days, is best enjoyed in its outdoor seating area) is an eggs and oysters affair.

The Lookout

Perched above 16th and Market streets, the Lookout isn’t just a Castro District gay bar with a reliable menu of sandwiches, tacos, and pizzas: It’s also one of the best views one can get of one of the city’s busiest and most fascinating intersections.

Related Maps

El Techo de Lolinda

Ascend to the El Techo rooftop to gaze on Mission Street below. El Techo de Lolinda offers great city views right in the middle of the Mission, and serves rooftop cocktails and Latin street food-style snacks.

Related Maps