15 Best San Francisco Restaurants For Outdoor Dining

Eating outside is one of life's greatest pleasures, a simple delight that many who have access to nature and its inherent presence in their lives (and meals) can take for granted. But the pleasure and privilege of dining al fresco is an increasingly difficult commodity to come across — especially the closer you live to one of those big, bustling metropolitan cities such as New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco, for instance.

But if you're in the know and know where to go, even the most imposingly industrial of city skylines can contain plenty of opportunities for exemplary outdoor seated eating. Whether you prefer drinks and dinner on a glamorous rooftop bar with trendy tapas and generous top-offs or a more classic culinary experience with a breathtaking beachside sunset, San Francisco has it all.

And all across the city of San Francisco, restaurants have found creative ways to provide outdoor dining to hungry diners come rain, shine, or fog (which the locals affectionately named 'Karl'). That's right, tucked in, around, and on top of those towering skyscrapers are some of the best bites, views, and alcoholic delights within sight. And, considering the sights, that's really saying something. There's just something about San Francisco's sprawling city hillsides and water bordering on all directions which makes eating outside a true and timeless delight.


If outdoor dining had an Olympic-style competition to determine a place with that perfect San Francisco view and mood, then Treasure Island's Mersea restaurant would take home the gold time repeatedly. After all, it is incredibly difficult to beat a view of all of San Francisco, as seen from an island located just one beautiful ferry ride, walk, or drive away. The food itself is a casual affair with a subtle element of elegance and a whole lot of flavor. 

Each and every day, the chef's special menu at Mersea changes to reflect the most inspirational, indulgent, and all-around delicious ingredients out there. But the promise of new and exciting foods to try each time you visit Mersea doesn't mean that the staple everyone appreciates, such as a classic burger and fries, will disappear anytime soon.

Plus, if the promise of plentiful and delicious plates of food with an undeniably stunning view still isn't quite enough to tempt you, then perhaps hearing all about the Golden Hour Bar will do the trick. For anyone who enjoys sipping cocktails under the sun, moon, and stars, consider catching a drink at The Golden Hour Bar, which was created in a local collaboration between The Gold Bar and Mersea. Mersea's quintessentially San Franciscan skyline and all-around exemplary outdoor dining and drinking experience just so happens to come with one last little perk: a pet menu made entirely for your furry friend, of course.


If you are the kind of person who enjoys a restaurant that seduces the senses through food and venue, then San Francisco's LUMA Hotel rooftop cocktail bar, Cavaña, is worth considering for your next culinary venture. After all, it's always lucky to look up and see an authentic Latin American eatery and cocktail bar with a view of the city that's so good you may not want to leave. (Especially when you remember that you can rent a room and stay the night instead.)

Although the cocktails are sinful, the food offered at Cavaña is, in many ways, a holy, show-stopping centerpiece that adds an essential element to the rooftop experience. Especially with the sheer artistry and all the amazing flavors the chefs of Cavaña somehow manage to pack into such small plates. Sip a drink, watch the twinkling lights of the San Francisco skyline at night, and enjoy some tasty tapas bite by bite.


It's hard not to get a little bit excited when you hear the words Korean restaurant and brunch in the same sentence. Considering the culinary clout of Korean BBQ in the United States (especially in recent years), it is increasingly clear that the bold flavors of Korean cuisine are something everyone craves. Lucky for San Francisco, a restaurant called Surisan has kindly taken it upon itself to help see to that need. Here, chefs provide only the absolute best contemporary Korean brunch, dinner, and drinks fare that you could possibly hope for.

Menu highlights include chef's specials such as galbi jjim (braised short ribs) and modern Korean BBQ meal combos like the Surisan sets, which include meat and toppings to grill. There are a ton of edible delights to enjoy in its open, expansive, well-planted outdoor dining patio. Surisan's outdoor bar and dining patio includes mood lighting, heaters to keep the cold at bay, and a perfectly clean and classy design style with just enough sophistication to make even outdoor diners feel upscale.


For the San Franciscan foodie who wants a rare yet flavorful flare to their outdoor dining fare, then they need only know to go to Prubechu'. This colorful eatery serves up a modern take on traditional Guam-style dishes. The food is served to customers family-style with a wide selection of sides and sauces to order alongside whatever entree catches your eye or makes your mouth water.

Much like the indoor experience at Prubechu', outdoor dinners can expect a spacious setup with fun, festive colors and an open-air experience that is rare to come across in a city as busy as San Francisco. Although those who want to soak up the sun can sit well within its rays under Prubechu's open expanse of blue sky overhead, the more shade-oriented eaters may seek refuge under awnings and umbrellas. Similarly, heaters are on hand to provide some much-needed respite from the cold come the chilly winds of winter.


Just about everyone and their mother appreciates a perfectly spit-roasted piece of meat, which is what makes the Italian fare offered at Cotogna in San Francisco unbeatable. The eatery is for anyone who hasn't sworn off being a carnivore now and again. And whether you prefer a plate piled with wood-fired fish, flame-kissed meat, or even pasta and slightly charred pizza, then Cotogna is absolutely capable of catering to your cravings. 

What makes this restaurant an even better option is its outdoor dining setup, in which guests can gather together to enjoy a contemporary but classic rendition of favorited meat-leaning Italian dishes. The view of an urban jungle is contrasted by the welcoming rustic ambiance. It matches the simple and sophisticated perfection on every plate served at Cotogna.


A list of amazing outdoor dining in San Francisco would not be complete without a shoutout to the flavorful and environmentally friendly plant-based food sold at Wildseed. Wildseed is the city's favorite, most seasonally selective, and downright sumptuous vegan restaurant out there, with a menu offering a variety of everyone's favorite vegan staples such as curry, pizzas, bowls, burgers, and more. And if savory isn't your thing, know that the dessert menu at Wildseed is as extensive as it is tempting — plus, it comes with special dessert cocktail suggestions to match whatever the mood might be.

Of course, this vegan eatery boasts an outdoor dining setup to match its casual but highly cultivated approach to plant-based dining. The outdoor seating area at Wildseed features an impeccably clean take on sidewalk dining, in both style and literal cleanliness. The entire area is painted an inviting combination of crisp white and jaunty yellow, a pairing that promises to uplift the spirits just as much as the food uplifts your mood. And at night, Wildseed customers can sit back and enjoy the overhead hanging lights that lend a magical ambiance to any evening.

Mission Rock Resort

How do you know when an establishment's outdoor dining was done with care, especially with a venue that could potentially just coast by on waterfront views? Well, while a view and a few drinks with good food are always nice, what you really want, and what a place like Mission Rock Resort has graciously supplied, is wide weather-proof awnings with full coverage. And according to the Mission Rock Resort website, over 25 heaters that will help to ensure warm, comfy, and all-around satisfied eaters.

Without having to worry about the elements, you can enjoy the stunning waterfront seating area at Mission Rock Resort and simply kick up your heels, chill, and make good use of both the oyster bar and the grill. After all, when in San Francisco ... it's best to do as the San Franciscans do. And, in this case, that means eating only the most high-scale seafood imaginable, paired with a great drink and a bay view all around you.

Kaiyō Rooftop

If you're on the lookout for a place to eat outside in San Francisco, one that is guaranteed to be adored by damsels and dudes alike, look no further than Kaiyō Rooftop. Whether your occasion to dine out is a romantic dinner date, a rendezvous between business partners, or even a first-time meeting with your hard-to-impress potential future in-laws, you can count on the view and the food to boost the mealtime mood.

Kaiyō Rooftop is, as the establishment's name would imply, an upscale rooftop bar that offers patrons a high-up perch to see the city from high above. Patrons can come and sip on some spiked drinks and enjoy an air of undeniable yet understated style that lets the breathtaking view of San Francisco's skyline, or perhaps the person sitting across from you, take your full attention. The tropical fare from Kaiyō Rooftop is an amalgamation of Japanese and Peruvian food that pairs perfectly with the specialty cocktails that San Francisco's culinary crowd can't help but crave when the occasion strikes. Just make sure that the occasion strikes ahead of time since the rooftop requires reservations.

Foreign Cinema

It is impossible to write an article listing the best outdoor dining destinations in San Francisco without mentioning everyone's favorite brunch and dinner date place: Foreign Cinema. Everything about this venue's outdoor eating setup is purposeful and adds an essential element to the experience, especially at night when servers break out the mood lighting with candles and the strings of light overhead. A generous dusting of heaters to keep everyone cozy, and, of course, the pièce de résistance of any dinner at Foreign Cinema is an overhead projector playing a classic cinematic masterpiece for diners to enjoy as the evening's entertainment.

Movies aside, the fresh California-influenced fare of Mediterranean food at Foreign Cinema is just as good as the ambiance, which is honestly a difficult feat to accomplish considering just how dreamy the outdoor dining setup feels. But when the server comes out with a dozen raw oysters on the half shell, a drink that is divine, and dessert to top it all off ... well, it's easy to see how Foreign Cinema has held its own in a city that knows film and food almost equally well.


True to this restaurant's name of Coqueta, which more or less translates to mean "flirt" in Spanish, there is something truly romantic about this uncomplicated yet deceptively intimate outdoor dining setup. Diners can sit out underneath the stars and the city lights, looking out onto the blue water of the bay, sipping carefully selected wine while enjoying impeccable table-side service as well.

The food, much like the view at Coqueta, speaks for itself. You can start out with a beverage order, alcoholic or otherwise, accompanied by an authentic sampling of tapas, cold or hot. Or, if you're feeling like having something a little bit more substantial, there's always the wood grill, as well as an excellent selection of cheese and cured meats. And if you and your party are feeling a bit famished for food, Coqueta won't disappoint since the restaurant's paella is as filling as it is delicious.


Let's be honest — at this point, going out for a French bistro brunch is a bit of a cultural staple that you can find in most cities, both big and small, all across the U.S. And, as you would expect, San Francisco is no exception to the famous fusion of breakfast, lunch, and socially acceptable day drinking that bind together. Whether or not you want to indulge in some bubbly with breakfast foods at noon or instead have a more sophisticated and incredibly romantic French fare outside, Zazie is the place to go in San Francisco. And guess what? The menu even offers escargots!

You're bound to fall in love at Zazie, not only with the extensive and authentically French menu but with whoever invited you out to such an amazing outdoor dining experience as well. Be it day or night, the brunch rush or a dinner date, or maybe just a quick dip in for drinks and a dessert date on the go, the pedestrian pathways that cross Zazie's outdoor section are bustling. If you're looking for a fast-paced environment (or want to watch one from a tucked-away booth, here you are.

The Vault Steakhouse & Garden

There are enough casual outdoor eateries out there that it can be easy to think of outside dining as demanding an inherent element of informality. It is safe to say that The Vault Steakhouse & Garden doesn't ascribe to any such misconception since, time and time again, the kitchen puts sophistication on a plate and serves it to you under the big blue sky. 

This restaurant has everything essential to satisfy even the most hard-to-please foodie, and customers can enjoy seafood platters stacked high with crab, perfectly-cooked potato and caviar appetizer bites, savory steak tartare, oysters on the half-shell, and so much more — in fact, even the bread and butter at The Vault Steakhouse & Garden is better than you can expect to find in many if not most, bakeries.

In accordance with the changeable, often cold climate of San Francisco, The Vault Steakhouse & Garden carefully crafted its garden (where customers may take a seat outside to eat) to include covering from the unpredictable elements. The Vault also have a seemingly infinite supply of industrial-grade heaters that are strong enough to keep outdoor diners toasty, even in winter when biting coastal winds come whipping in off the Pacific Ocean.

Hog Island Oyster Co.

Anyone who wants to experience one of the most San Francisco moments out there must, at least once, take a ferry ride into the city before sitting down to try a sampling of raw oysters on the half shell from Hog Island Oyster Co. Those of you who don't ... well, you're missing out on a truly special experience. After all, the historic, eclectic, and downright majestic San Francisco Ferry Building in which Hog Island Oyster Co. is located is well worth a visit on its own. Between the Ferry Building marketplace and specialty shops offering everything from fresh-foraged mushrooms to bestselling books and, of course, oysters, it's hard to go wrong.

And even if you're not a fan of oysters, raw or otherwise, you can count on the menu at Hog Island Oyster Co. to offer plenty of delicious dishes to enjoy with your outdoor dining experience (including a downright sumptuous softshell crab sandwich). So, the next time you want to sit outside on the oceanside, consider going to Hog Island Oyster Co., where you can watch as the ferry boats come and go and come back all over again. Let that first drink and the accompanying appetizers and entrees fade away to empty plates and pleasant seaside memories.


For a quintessential San Franciscan dining experience, there are few better options than Californios, an upscale Californian Mexican restaurant with two Michelin stars to its name. The menu at Californios rests at the intersection of sophistication and tradition and offers up small, impeccably arranged plates with big, bold, and brilliantly balanced flavors. The decor of Californios perfectly reflects the food with complex and colorful centerpieces so bright they seem to pop off the plate. 

Customers are in for a treat when it comes to ambiance, as both the indoor and outdoor dining options available at this fine dining establishment are lushly decorated with soothing black walls that are balanced out with plenty of live plants, mood lighting, and complimentary/contemporary pops of color. The outdoor dining area is fully enclosed by a tall black fence that allows complete privacy to its diners. This seclusion, when paired with the cozy pillow-covered couches and potted plants, makes for what very well may be the most comfortable outdoor dining experience out there.


Say you're in San Francisco and have the urge for upscale booze with a bite-to-eat somewhere that is impeccably clean and casual, high in quality, and without a hint of officiousness. Look no further than the Terrene. For those who have yet to visit this excellent establishment know that Terrene is a high-end cocktail bar associated with 1 Hotel. It's regarded for its elegant decor style and delicious eats. 

Many times, the menu at more mixology-minded cocktail bars can be a bit disappointing. However, there is not one dish at Terrene that falls short of terrific. This is, of course, due to the establishment's focus on finding only the freshest, most in-season produce from local sources to serve alongside drinks. Both the food and drinks at Terrene are best enjoyed outside and with a stunning up-close view of the Bay Bridge (and the bay, of course). The simple white and wood decor masterfully matches the waterfront ambiance and offers a sophisticated rendezvous spot for any occasion.

So, when you're craving a cocktail with delicious sides such as artisanal mushroom flatbread, crispy french fries, sizable sliders, and more, stop by Terrene. And don't forget to request a seat outside to enjoy the entire experience in the great outdoors.