Best Ocean View Dining
San Diego has plenty of ocean view dining options, from fish tacos on a picnic table to 5 Star restaurants that cost more than your car payment. But one restaurant stands out as the quintessential San Diego dining experience and that's George's at the Cove's Ocean Terrace.
Sitting high on a bluff overlooking La Jolla Cove, you will be hard pressed to find a view better than this..... anywhere! And unlike most restaurants where the quality of the view is often in direct opposition to the quality of the food, every bite is pure California cuisine heaven. Mmmmmm!
It's casual enough for jeans, or dress it up for a nice night out!
There are actually three dining options at George's at the Cove. The main indoor restaurant is George's California Modern, located on the first floor. It's gourmet fancy and about as close as San Diego gets to a Thomas "French Laundry" Keller restaurant. The setting is hip and contemporary, the food elegant and upscale, California Modern is often called the best restaurant in San Diego. But as much as I love dining there, and believe me I do, it's an indoor restaurant. Nothing wrong with windows on a winter day, but the ultimate San Diego restaurant must be al fresco and for that you have to move upstairs.
One level up is the bar with its full ocean view and... no windows to block the ocean breeze. It's a lively setting filled with the young and beautiful but come on in anyway. San Diego is a welcoming place so squeeze in and pull up a chair.
Now nothing bugs me more than ordering a drink and seeing the bartender pull out the gallon jug of industrial "mix", splashing some booze on top and telling me it's $10. That's not going to happen at George's where their cocktails are all made from fresh and natural ingredients with no fake flavors and no shortcuts. My favorite? The Bee Sting made with fresh kumquat, lemongrass, ginger and honey. Save your regrets and order one here as you can't get it once you move upstairs. Wait, upstairs? Oh yeah, we're going to the roof!
Up on the Roof is where I want to be...
Hang onto your drink as you reach the top of the stairs because this view is going to knock you out! This isn't just an ocean view, this is a view of La Jolla Cove! Look, are those seals on the rocks?
Watch out, here comes a plate of sizzling mussels, popping and hissing like a piece of plutonium and filling the air with a savory aroma. The setting upstairs is as lively as a bistro in Paris with people hanging at the bar and plates of delicious food flying out the kitchen. You won't be able to decide whether to stare at the view, the food, or the people. Go ahead, take a picture. The folks back home will not believe you without one.
LOCAL WALLY'S RESERVATION TIP: You're going to want to eat here so call now to make your reservation and ask for a table next to the glass wall. You don't want to be one of those sad people walking down the stairs after being told it's a 2 hour wait. Time it out right so you get a sunset view! (858.454.4244)
Bee Sting in hand, it's time to start making some big dining decisions. I love their signature Smoked Chicken and Black Bean Soup and have actually gotten pretty good making it at home - here's the recipe. It's rich and creamy and is so delicious I guarantee you will do the FoodTV "Mmmmm - it's so good" shot when you try to describe it. You know that shot - they show it at the end of every show and you won't be able to help yourself, the soup's that good!
Entrees range from classics like Steak Frites (aka steak and fries) to seafood options like sesame crusted tombo, and it's all good. Everything is simply prepared and if the Ocean Terrace doesn't match the downstairs California Modern in its inventiveness, the quality of the food and the addition of the view make up for it.
A sunset view from George's Ocean Terrace is really a sight to see, but those on a budget will appreciate that the lunch menu is surprisingly affordable. $11 gets you a killer burger and fries, or go with the marinated and grilled fish tacos ($12) or the shrimp tacos for a buck more. Considering that a combo plate of Mexican food is about that much these days, dining on the rooftop at George's with an ocean view is an outright bargain. How's that for a bit of vacation rationalization!?
Romantic sunsets, Beautiful views, Just Perfect!
Ask any local where to eat in San Diego and you'll get a ton of different answers, from roadside burger stands to little know eateries off the tourist track. But ask them where the best ocean view dining is and where to go for the most impressive outdoor dining experience and they will invariably say "Go to George's, upstairs, to the Ocean Terrace".
It's the place locals go to celebrate, the place locals go for great food, the place locals go to impress their out of town guests, and it's the place you should go when you're looking for the quintessential San Diego dining experience! Ready for your close up? "Mmmmm, it's sooo good!"
George's at the Cove (web)
1250 Prospect St
La Jolla, California 92037
SPRING 2013: Migrating whales, tacos filled with local lobster, sunny days and cheap hotel rooms, that's Spring in San Diego. If your days are filled with snow and ice then plan a quick trip to San Diego and get back in the sunshine. And it's not too early to start planning your Summer vacation.
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