Destination Guides,  Restaurant Guides

The 10 Best Sausalito Restaurants on the Water (2024)

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While living in Sausalito a few years ago, Mr. V and I had the chance to explore all the coastal community has to offer: access to outdoor adventures like hiking and kayaking, cultural experiences like art galleries and wine tastings, and – when we could due to pandemic restrictions – eating a lot of great food at Sausalito’s many delicious restaurants.

One of the top questions we’d get from friends who wanted to visit was about which of Sausalito’s waterfront restaurants we recommended, and luckily, we had visited basically all of them, between birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, and other special occasions.

Sausalito Restaurants on the Water Hero
The View from Scoma’s toward San Francisco

While it’s a coastal town, there aren’t as many Sausalito restaurants on the waterfront as you’d expect. The majority of the Sausalito waterfront is either residential (marinas, floating homes, or houseboats) or industrial (marine services and docks). And there are other restaurants with water views, but which aren’t strictly on the water.

Don’t worry though: what it lacks in quantity, Sausalito makes up for in quality. Here are the 10 best (and actually 10 only) Sausalito restaurants on the water across the range from fancy to no-frills.

Sausalito is the traditional lands of the Graton Rancheria, Miwok, and Me-Wuk (Coast Miwok) peoples. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation to the past and present stewards of these lands. To learn more, I invite you to explore Native-Land.ca.

This post was originally published on my blog Discover Sausalito; it was migrated to this site in January 2024.

The Best Sausalito Restaurants on the Water

Rather than rank these Sausalito waterfront restaurants based on my own opinion, I’ve designed my own formula that takes into account three factors:

  • public ratings (including my own, as I leave reviews on sites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook too)
  • the restaurant’s popularity (total reviews)
  • proximity to the Sausalito Ferry

These last two factors are “bonus” factors – they give you a sense of which restaurants are universally beloved and easy to reach if you’re visiting Sausalito.

In the end, each restaurant receives a score out of 5 – but a restaurant can score higher than five based on the bonuses for being close to the ferry and how popular it is. In general, the higher the score, the better – and any restaurant above 5 has great food! Here is my ranked list of which restaurant offers the best waterfront restaurants in Sausalito:

Rank
(2024)
RestaurantScoreChange
(from 2023)
1Scoma’s of Sausalito4.95
2Ditas4.94New!
3Barrel House Tavern4.93↓1
4Salito’s Crab House & Prime Rib4.77
5The Spinnaker4.77↑1
6Fish.4.57↓3
7Bar Bocce4.51↓2
8The Trident4.49↑2
8Seafood Peddler4.49↓1
10Joinery, Beerhall4.48↓3
Click here to learn more about the ranking formula I use to generate these scores.

Ready to learn about each of these Sausalito restaurants on the water – and decide which one you want to visit?

1. Scoma’s of Sausalito

Seattle Restaurants on the Water - Scomas & Trident
Scoma’s of Sausalito and The Trident looking out toward San Francisco
  • Neighborhood: Bridgeway Promenade
  • Cuisine: Seafood/Classic American/Italian
  • Website: scomassausalito.com

Scoma’s is a Sausalito institution – heck, it’s a San Francisco institution, too (they have another location in Fisherman’s Wharf). It has earned that status through decades of great food and service, and the stunning views that earn the white tablecloth experience. Back in pre-pandemic days, Scoma’s packed everyone in along the windows to enjoy the view; we’re not sure how it will look going forward, but a reservation is a must in any event.

2. Ditas

Photos courtesy of Ditas

  • Neighborhood: Bridgeway Promenade
  • Cuisine: Seafood/Classic American/Italian
  • Website: ditasmarin.com

Ditas opened in Sausalito in 2023, and it’s been exciting to see where it has ranked on various restaurant lists as I’ve updated them for 2024. This restaurant opened in the old Ondine Events space next to the Trident, so it certainly qualifies for the list by having arguably one of the best waterfront views of any Sausalito restaurant. But a good view alone is not enough to make this list!

For being a relatively new – and thus not as reviewed – restaurant, Ditas jumped right to the #2 spot on this list, which means the reviews it’s getting are stellar – and the menu backs that up. A combination of incredible seafood dishes (Pacific King Salmon with Schezchuan chili sauce!), meat entrees (Australian lamb rack), and vegetarian options (roasted corn risotto made with Mt. Tam Triple Crème Brie) mean that literally everyone will find something incredible to try – and there is such an extensive wine list that everything has several options to pair the view and meal with.

3. Barrel House Tavern

Seattle Restaurants on the Water - The View from Barrel House
The View from Barrel House toward San Francisco

Barrel House Tavern is located in the main waterfront development in Old Town Sausalito; it’s an easy walk from the ferry – but so is everywhere else in Sausalito! What makes Barrel House special is their second-story outdoor dining area that looks right over Richardson Bay, Angel Island, and the Bay Area.

They have certain rules for taking a seat in this area (like you need to order an entree, not just drinks), but it’s worth it for dinner with this kind of view.

4. Salito’s Crab House & Prime Rib

Sausalito Restaurants on the Water - Salito's Crab House

If your idea of a perfect meal is surf and turf, there’s no place better than Salito’s – especially if you want a great view while enjoying this kind of splurge-worthy meal. Salito’s is located on the waterfront in New Town between Bar Bocce and Joinery, but it’s one of those classic institution-style restaurants – as evidenced by the iconic black and white tiled floors and awnings throughout the restaurant.

Being in the proximity of other great Sausalito restaurants plus offering one of the nicest dinner options in town (especially among those with a view), it’s no surprise Salito’s ranks so highly on the list. It’s well worth trying for your next special occasion.

5. The Spinnaker

Seattle Restaurants on the Water - Spinnaker Point
The view from Spinnaker Point toward San Francisco

While Scoma’s and the Trident both have great views, nobody can beat the Spinnaker for having the best view from a waterfront restaurant in Sausalito. Heck – The Spinnaker is the only one on Spinnaker Point, which juts out the furthest into Richardson Bay and gives the restaurant 270° water views – including the San Francisco skyline.

Fish. is known for their awesome fresh seafood, so you’ll get to enjoy the nautical view while noshing on fresh fish and shellfish – a perfect pair!

6. Fish.

  • Neighborhood: Marinship
  • Cuisine: Seafood
  • Website: 331fish.com

After having eaten here finally, I can say that Fish. has well earned its improved spot on my list of the best Sausalito restaurants on the water for this year.

Fish. is located on the water in Clipper Yacht Harbor, about halfway up the Marinship toward Waldo Point; it’s actually easy to miss if you’re not familiar with the area or don’t know it’s there. They have a large outdoor dining area that looks right out over the water, and you can watch boats pulling in and out from the nearby fuel dock – so there’s always something to see.

7. Bar Bocce

  • Neighborhood: New Town (Need a guide to Sausalito neighborhoods? Here ya go!)
  • Cuisine: Italian/New American
  • Website: barbocce.com

Bar Bocce is located right on the water in New Town and capitalizes on it by spilling over onto the public beach right in front of the restaurant. It’s a popular weekend spot – especially when it’s nice (which is almost always, since it’s in Sausalito’s “banana belt”). Grab a pizza or two, try and snag a table, and enjoy the view.

8. The Trident

  • Neighborhood: Bridgeway Promenade
  • Cuisine: Seafood/Classic American
  • Website: thetrident.net

The Trident is the southernmost restaurant on the Sausalito waterfront, though it’s only partway down the Bridgeway Promenade – everyone else who gets to enjoy the view does so from the residences that line the Promenade and beach in Hurricane Gulch. Like Scoma’s next door, you can see panoramic views of the Bay and San Francisco skyline from the Trident; they also have an outdoor dining area if you want to enjoy fresh air while you dine.

9. Seafood Peddler

Okay, technically Seafood Peddler isn’t on the water, as there’s a parking lot and a public shore path between the restaurant and the water. But from your view while dining here, it’s as good as.

From Seafood Peddler, you can look out over Pelican Harbor Marina, and your waterfront views while dining will be of the boats all moored in their various slips. This is the perfect view to have while enjoying fresh seafood – the restaurant’s specialty as their name suggests.

10. Joinery, Beerhall

Sausalito Restaurants on the Water - Joinery

Joinery was one of the first places we ever ate in Sausalito, since it’s right near our marina. It has a great outdoor dining area right on the dock, it’s separated from the public walkway by a row of happy plants in large pots. Joinery offers German food and great beer; our go-to is the monstrous kielbasa sausage with sauerkraut and a few pints while watching the birds soar by, over Richardson Bay.

Which of these Sausalito waterfront restaurants do you most want to try? Let me know in the comments below!

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I was born on the East Coast and currently live in the Midwest – but my heart will always be out West. I lived for 15 years in Alaska, as well as four years each in California and Washington. I share travel resources and stories based on my personal experience and knowledge.

2 Comments

    • Valerie

      When is the last time you were there? I definitely don’t feel safe in the main parts of the city that visitors spend time in; neighborhoods are different but my friends in SF continue to complain about property crime across the city.

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