Last month’s Dine About Town offered up fixed lunch and dinner options at select restaurants in San Francisco. It’s a good time to visit restaurants that normally might seem out of reach, such as Waterbar.

Waterbar is a grand restaurant along the Embarcadero with a sweeping view of the Bay Bridge. It opened a few years ago as a two-restaurant concept. Waterbar focused on seafood while Epic next door focused on steak. While it was an interesting concept in a fantastic location, the prices seemed on the high-end to me.

Waterbar shines on a sunny day

But with Dine About Town, Waterbar offered a two-course lunch for $17.95, so I went to check it out on a beautiful, sunny winter day with fellow food blogger Foodhoe and her husband. We all got the Dine About Town special, and added a couple of appetizers to round out our tasting.

Because it was such a beautiful day, we and many others ate at the restaurant’s outdoor patio. Since it was still one of the city’s cold winter day, we huddled under the heat lamps.

We started out with a ceviche off the menu that everyone enjoyed, although I felt the dish had a slight too much sheen of olive oil that muddled the fresh taste of the fish. We also ordered the daily special of oysters, which was nice and plump but took an unusually long time to come to our table. (Maybe it’s because the raw bar was busy putting together these humongous seafood platters that a lot of tables around us were ordering.)

Grilled sea scallops with Israeli couscous, caramelized fennel and blood orange

Our Dine About Town menu started with a broccoli soup, an unusual offering for a restaurant that emphasizes seafood but still a delightful soup that captured the essence of broccoli. Our main dish was a tray of grilled sea scallops sitting on Israeli couscous and drizzled with a light blood orange sauce. I thought the scallops were cooked fine, but it didn’t really have any surprising flavors to challenge my palate.

Overall, the service was professional and food was good, but it wasn’t extraordinary. I don’t know if I would have been happy if I had paid the regular price. Waterbar seems to attract people more for the view than the food.

Rating: 2.5 out of 4 camera snaps



Waterbar, 399 The Embarcadero South, San Francisco. PH: 415.284.0161. Major reservations and credit cards accepted. 4% added for HealthySF.

Waterbar on Urbanspoon

Ceviche came out beautifully plated but a bit too much oil

Bay Bridge reflects off the Waterbar windows

Broccoli soup with lemon oil and chives


6 Responses to Lunch by the Water at Waterbar

  1. Sandy says:

    Ben, I love scallops served virtually any way. As you said, citrus is not really a new flavor for scallops, but they still look pretty delicious!

  2. Carolyn Jung says:

    I hear it is pricey there. Would have been nice had it been more of a seafood bisque than a broccoli soup, which, as you so rightly noted, seems a little too ordinary considering the restaurant’s specialty.

  3. Cookie says:

    I love the Waterbar and it’s just perfect on a sunny day to sit outside and enjoy some wine and seafood. They do have a pretty decent happy hour too!