San Francisco’s Best: Spectacular Scenic View Restaurant

Of all the San Francisco restaurants with a view, you will be able to find many with romantic ambiance, seafood, and high-end service. There is so much beauty to take in that there are many different restaurants with great views in San Francisco.

Sunset view of San Francisco skyline

It is true that the most sought-after view is usually the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge, but there are also views of Oakland, the Bay Bridge lit up with the famous artistic dancing lights, and views of the City itself with famous landmarks like the Transamerica building, Coit Tower, Bank of America building and the new controversial Salesforce tower. Some people love it, some complain that it is an eye sore.


When you search for San Francisco’s best restaurants with view it will be best to know which type of view you are seeking. Let’s say you want to have dinner with a view San Francisco. You can search online for San Francisco restaurants with a view and see which ones come up on a map. Using the map, you can guess what type of views the restaurant will have. For example, if the restaurant is right on the water on the North side of San Francisco you can bet it will have views of the Golden Gate Bridge. If, however, the restaurant is closer to the East side of San Francisco on the water you are more likely to have views of the Bay Bridge.


About our Pier 39 location and history

fleet week at PIER 39


The first construction of San Francisco’s famous PIER 39 began in August 1977.  By October 1978 a grand opening ceremony was held celebrating the 50 stores, 23 restaurants and many street performers that would collectively feed and entertain millions of visitors over the years since then.  While features have come and gone (the original diving pool was replaced in 1983 by a Venetian Carousel) one thing has never changed and that is the flow of hundreds of thousands of visitors to this iconic tourist attraction. 


Our patriarch, Warren Simmons, was the developer of PIER 39 back in 1977. Although Fog Harbor did not exist when he originally built the PIER, Warren had a dream to create a PIER where locals and San Francisco visitors could enjoy the San Francisco waterfront on a PIER where they could explore, shop and eat. It’s no surprise that Warren Simmons and his family ended up opening the busiest and most successful restaurant on PIER 39 decades later – Fog Harbor Fish House in 2007. 


Situated on the northeastern side of the bay, the pier has stunning views which include the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and the much-touted Californian sea lions that began appearing on Pier 39 in early 1990 after the big earthquake.  If you are seeking the best restaurants in San Francisco with a view, then this is definitely the place to be. 

Your view from the dining room

man and woman looking out the window at alcatraz

At Fog Harbor Fish House, you might jokingly be asked if you would like a “view of Golden Gate Bridge on the side”!  Of course, we jest, but we really take huge pride in the location of our award-winning seafood restaurant. San Francisco’s fine dining restaurants with a view don’t get much better than this.  There are many restaurants in San Francisco with a nice view, but we boast the BEST views from our location on Pier 39. San Francisco dining with a view starts here as our dining room literally faces directly onto the Bay of San Francisco with its majestic views and world-recognized landmarks for all our customers to enjoy.  


You will enjoy taking in sights of the famous Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz, Marin Headlands, and even the PIER 39 sea lions barking away on the docks of the marina. Next time you hear a friend trying to find dinner with a view San Francisco you will have a hard time not thinking of the Fog Harbor dining experience. Just look at our photos. Simply breathtaking. 


Feast on our delicious seafood specials like Californian sea bass, wild-caught salmon, Prince Edward Island mussels while absorbing the mesmerizing view of the stately Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and the stunning waters of the Bay.  


The dining experience

Shellfish platter overlooking the San Francisco Bay

The dining experience at the Fog Harbor Fish House is nothing short of spectacular.  No wonder it is one of San Francisco’s best restaurants with a view!


The waterfront position allows the beauty of the Bay to seep into the room and every table in the restaurant guarantees dinner with a view in San Francisco’s best seafood restaurant. You immediately feel the warm hug of hospitality inside the lobby with its warm fireplace and soothing waterfalls creating a calm and peaceful atmosphere. The friendly servers will even tie your bib on for you before you dig into messy entrees. 


Our award-winning food must also get a mention. The 100% sustainability commitment means the food we serve is sourced with great care and we create dishes to please everyone’s taste. One of our favorites, crab cake appetizer, have two delicious crab cakes with a Cajun remoulade, mixed greens, and mango, to set your taste buds on fire! 


Or how about a bowl of the best clam chowder in San Francisco with that signature, soul-warming sourdough bowl? For a lighter meal, choose from our large selection of creative salads including Dungeness crab, (what some would call the best crab in San Francisco), salmon, and shrimp, to name but a few. 


Sustainable seafood

Dungeness crab on a plate with bottle of beer

With so much talk about how to save our environment and the ever-warming planet, there is ever-increasing pressure to source and produce sustainable food.  We are proud to say that we were ahead of the trend because back in 2011 the San Francisco Seafood Watch Alliance certified the Fog Harbor Fish House as the first 100% sustainable seafood restaurant in the Fisherman’s Wharf area. 


This is not simply another “feather” in our hat – our restaurant wholeheartedly supports the need to protect the marine environments around our shores and beyond.  We make a huge effort to personally select our fish from trusted sources that give us information about how and where it was caught. With over 200 tons of seafood being served annually on our premises, we feel a sense of responsibility towards our customers and our future. Sourcing 100% sustainable seafood was the first step but we have also made other changes including changing from plastic to paper straws. We are currently promoting the “Skip the Straw” initiative.  


Fog Harbor Fish House is a proud member of San Francisco Green Business which helped us improve our sustainability objectives including composting food waste (which we have been doing since 2005). For us at Fog Harbor Fish House, sustainability is another reason why we consider ourselves to have the best seafood in San Francisco.  

Celebrate with us 


Do you have an upcoming celebration on the horizon and are looking for Nice restaurants in San Francisco with a view? A birthday to celebrate? A corporate event in a relaxed, but elegant environment?  Why not let us help you plan for it? As one of the best seafood restaurants with a view in the Bay Area, our location will take your breath away and is suitable for any occasion including group dining, corporate events, and tour groups.  


We offer:

  •     Pre-designed group and custom menus for both lunch and dinner.
  •     Price fix menus 
  •     Special menu for groups of 25 or more
  •     For that Christmas meal, or during the Christmas holidays, we have special menus for groups of 20 or more. 


Our Sea Lion Room and Alcatraz Room can accommodate 52 and 56 guests respectively in what is the best San Francisco restaurant with a view.  

If you are planning drinks with a choice of delicious entrées we can mix a mean cocktail.  The list of our standard cocktails (by no means standard in quality and originality) will give your guests a real dilemma as to which one to choose… our “Ultimate Dirty Martini” with Tito’s Vodka, olive juice, and blue cheese stuffed olive (you read right), is heaven!  Some more traditional cocktails are included and there are many after-dinner drinks (hot and cold) to tempt you too. All tastes are catered for, whether alcoholic or non-alcoholic.

Romantic experience

Oysters on ice
If you are planning to pop a special question, have a big anniversary coming up, or just simply want to have a romantic night out with your Hunny you are on the right track with exploring San Francisco fine dining restaurants with a view. There is nothing like overlooking a beautiful view in a comfortable dining room with tasty wine and cocktails and top-notch service to help you and your partner relax and enjoy each other. 


To make your meal extra romantic, here are a few tips. 

  • Make a reservation in advance and write in the reservation notes that you are celebrating or a specific table request. While restaurants cannot always accommodate the request since many guests have the same table desire, it doesn’t hurt to ask. It may help the host keep in mind that you are celebrating a special occasion and would be overjoyed with the window table. Special note: Fog Harbor Fish House loves to celebrate with you by bringing out a special celebratory dessert on the house. Just let us know what you are celebrating! 
  • Tell your partner to block off the day and time and what to wear, but keep it a surprise which San Francisco fine dining restaurants with a view you chose. Hint: this works best if you researched and found a restaurant you have not yet been to so your partner is thrown off by the newness of your plan and dazzled by the time and thoughtfulness you put into the date. 
  • Do you have a special wine from your wedding day or favorite trip together? Or perhaps a fond memory of a special cake you enjoyed at your wedding or memorable vacation? Order and bring it in advance. Most restaurants have a modest corkage fee or cake cutting fee and allow you to enjoy your special item during your meal. Your date will be thrilled that you planned ahead and brought a special reminder to add to the occasion. 
  • Look up parking options in advance. Dressy date nights usually mean uncomfortable shoes and you don’t want to be parking blocks away and getting blisters without planning for it. Sometimes it is best to Uber or Lyft to dinner to save you the hassle of where to park your car and then you can both enjoy your cocktails freely and really lean into the experience. As for Fog Harbor Fish House, we offer 1-hour free parking validation in the PIER 39 parking garage which is right across the street from our restaurant as a great option. 

Other waterfront experiences

Sunset in San Francisco

Since you are wanting to experience San Francisco restaurants with a view you should also consider other waterfront activities that you might enjoy. San Francisco is a small yet dense city with water on three sides giving it numerous points of water access around the perimeter to take in views. 


Check out the new Tunnel Tops park experience near the Golden Gate Bridge which is fun for all ages. There is a park with slides, swings, and other things to explore. There are picnic benches and stairs for you to gather and sit with friends and family while the kids play. All including Bay views galore. 


The San Francisco Ferry Building is another incredible not-to-miss adventure with a view. This beautiful building has many artisan shops, delicious restaurants, famous coffee, ice cream, and more. It is also aptly named the ferry building because it is in fact where you board and deboard the ferries that will take you to many destinations around the San Francisco Bay Area. 


The Exploratorium is another fantastic large space with tons to explore. It is packed full of simple exhibits and experiments that remind and teach visitors about things like light bouncing, gravity, satellites, echos, and more. It is fun and enlightening for all ages. This adventurous outing also happens to be spectacularly placed along the waterfront with incredible views. As if the inside of the exhibit isn’t dazzling enough. Check the calendar for specially-themed nights and events with DJ’s and themed food if you are interested in any specific topics. 


Do you love baseball? So do San Franciscans. So much so that they built an entire baseball stadium along the waterfront! Talk about prime real estate. Attending a San Francisco Giants baseball game is a special experience being along the San Francisco Bay. If you’re a baseball fan you probably already know that this stadium was built with a gap in the seating next to the Bay. Why? Two reasons. One reason is so that the fans can fully enjoy the Bay views from inside the glorious unique stadium. And the other reason? Splash hits! Yep, you read that right. There is an ongoing counter of the number of home runs that have been hit and splashed into the San Francisco Bay. There are always multiple kayakers that sit out in the splash zone in their boats and try to catch the home-run hit balls. Let’s hope they catch them instead of getting hit. Ouch! 


Baker Beach is another fantastic option if you would like to explore the San Francisco views and enjoy a little beach time. Be sure to bundle up unless you triple-check the weather as San Francisco is usually chilly and the beach is more for sitting in a sweater bundled up and taking in the sites than sunbathing and getting a tan.