Quirky Attraction: Walking on Water Cafe at Ocean Beach Pier in San Diego

san diego ocean beach pier cafe

Walking on Water Cafe (formerly Ocean Beach Pier Cafe)
Location: San Diego, California (5091 Niagara Ave.)
When to visit: Open daily between 8 am – 8 pm
Cost: $10-15 for most dishes
Time needed: 30-60 minutes for a meal
Website: https://walkingonwatercafe.com/

Google Maps is telling me there’s a restaurant in the Pacific Ocean! How can this be?

I assume the map is malfunctioning, but when I get to Ocean Beach and see the small building attached the to pier, I realized Google has been right all along. Silly me to question them!

Walking on Water Cafe – not to be confused with some other Pier Cafes on the water in other San Diego neighborhoods – sits several hundred feet out into the ocean.

It used to be known as Ocean Beach Pier Cafe, but t some point they switched to the more mystical name Walking on Water Cafe.

It must be a pain to get the food way out on that pier, and to prepare it in what must be a tiny kitchen. But those logistical issues are not our concern. We just want to eat on the ocean!

The cafe has a small dining room with great views looking back towards shore. You can get take-out. And there’s also a small bar along the pier where you can eat outside, though you may have to share your meal with the birds.

walking on water cafe - pier cafe seating

UPDATE: As of early 2024, the cafe is listed as “temporarily closed.” A note posted on Google by the owner in response to a user review says, “Yes we are currently closed while the City determines their short and long term plans for the OB Pier.”

A storm in January caused damage and compelled the city to close the pier entirely. Hopefully they get this place open again, because its location is so unique!

History of the Pier and the Cafe

Ocean Beach Municipal Pier opened in 1966. At 1971 feet long, it’s believed to be the longest cement pier on the West Coast.

The cafe has been a family-owned business since 1993. As you might expect from its location, on rare occasions, it gets hit with large waves during storms. One storm in 2002 damaged the cafe, but it was able to rebuild and reopen.

This is one of the more popular beaches in San Diego, so make sure to wear your bathing suit when the weather is nice and enjoy the sand and sun!

ocean beach pier

Eating at Walking on Water Cafe

The cafe is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You’ll have to park near the beach and make the trek toward the end of the pier.

The cafe does not take reservations but does accept credit cards. Restrooms are not in the small cafe, but there are public restrooms on the pier.

The Yelp reviews are so-so. But I suspect most people go here for the novelty of eating out in the ocean. And actually, the lobster tacos sound pretty intriguing.

I can’t give a personal review of this place, since they’ve rebranded and made a lot of menu changes since my visit. These days, the menu runs the gamut from seafood to burgers to Mexican to all-day breakfast.

The expanded menu still includes plenty of seafood, including fish and chips, breaded clams, clam chowder, Captain’s Platter (pollock, halibut, and shrimp), mahi-mahi tacos, and lobster tacos, which feature sauteed and grilled lobster with shredded cabbage and salsa.

The large all-day breakfast menu includes pancakes, French toast, omelettes, breakfast burritos, and Huevos Rancheros.

As for Mexican food, the cafe offers nachos supreme, rolled tacos, and chips and salsa. They have burgers, salads, onion rings, jalapeno poppers, and more.

Most dishes cost around $10-15, although you can get a grilled cheese or hot dog for $6.

Here’s their complete menu, although it’s worth noting that they still have photos of chicken wings, a Philly cheese sandwich, and shrimp tacos on the page, even though none of these items is actually on their current menu.

Don’t forget while you’re in San Diego to visit the kissing sailor statue, stop by the San Diego Zoo, visit the quirky Cabrillo Monument, see the Maritime Museum, check out Horton Plaza Park in Downtown, and check out some of the more interesting San Diego neighborhoods.

Would you eat a meal on a pier in the ocean?