Dining with a drop-dead view of San Francisco Bay means high prices, right? Not necessarily. At this quartet of restaurants, the food is good, the prices fair, and the views inspiring.
It's hard to overstate the perennial popularity of Greens Restaurant in San Francisco's Fort Mason. Since 1979, even meat-eaters have flocked here for Chef Annie Somerville's seasonal vegetarian dishes, which might include ricotta corn cakes and a Meyer lemon-huckleberry pudding cake. But the view is equally tasty, with yachts bobbing just outside the windows and the Golden Gate Bridge rising beyond. Fort Mason, Building A (parking lot entrance at Marina Boulevard and Buchanan Street), San Francisco, (415) 771-6222.
Located on the end of a mile-long sliver of land extending into the bay, Emeryville's Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood Restaurant boasts a sweeping view that includes bridges, Mount Tamalpais, San Francisco, and coastal hills. The menu is vast, running from succulent har gau (shrimp dumplings) during lunchtime dim sum to an entire rock cod—fresh from the tank—steamed with ginger and scallions. 3199 Powell St., Emeryville, (510) 655-3388.
Okay, I'll admit that Red's Java House in San Francisco is a funky shack and no outpost of haute cuisine. But there's a lot to be said for a grilled double cheeseburger or an order of perfectly fried fish-and-chips paired with a cold brewski on a patio that juts over the water south of the Bay Bridge. At this joint, you don't just look at the view across the water toward Oakland; you feel like you’re part of it. Pier 30 (or if you’re using GPS: 38 Bryant Street), San Francisco (415) 777-5626.
With picture windows affording a front-and-center view of tacking sailboats, the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island, and San Francisco's skyline, Tiburon's The Caprice feels like a special occasion restaurant where, for example, one might pop the question. And French-Cal dishes like filet mignon with zinfandel sauce or halibut with a sauce of sun dried tomatoes and almond butter will certainly seal the deal for any ardent suitor who dines here. 2000 Paradise Dr., Tiburon, (415) 435-3400.
This blog post was first published in July 2013. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.