There’s so much you can see and do in California. Yet for a food lover, nothing can be as exciting as discovering the offerings of the state’s famous restaurants. From American cuisine to seafood and all the way to fusion dishes, there’s definitely something to appease everyone’s palate.
But if you really want to make your meals special, reserve a seat at an oceanfront restaurant in California.
Offering views of the Pacific Ocean, these restaurants promise a memorable dining experience. But they may offer something a little extra. That is if the few stories surrounding them are 100% true. You may get to experience an encounter of the supernatural kind.
Here are nine haunted oceanfront restaurants you can try catching a ghost at.
California's 9 Best Oceanfront Restaurants That Are Guaranteed To Spook You
Table of Contents
- 9) Moss Beach Distillery Café, Moss Beach
- 8) The Marine Room, La Jolla
- 7) Sam’s Chowder House, Half Moon Bay
- 6) The Cliff House, San Francisco
- 5) 3 Thirty 3 Waterfront, Newport Beach
- 4) On The Waterfront Café, Venice Beach
- 3) 21 Oceanfront Restaurant, Newport Beach
- 2) Chuck’s Waterfront Grill, Santa Barbara
- 1) Driftwood Kitchen, Laguna Beach
9) Moss Beach Distillery Café, Moss Beach
Well known across the San Mateo coast, the Moss Beach Distillery offers great views of the ocean and equally delicious food. It has won several awards over the years, including Best Waterfront Dining and Best Romantic Restaurant. But one award it’s also in the running for is Best Restaurant to See a Ghost.
The Moss Beach Distillery takes pride in its resident ghost, The Blue Lady. The restaurant even has a page dedicated to her on their site.
According to the legend, a young, beautiful woman had an affair with the bar’s womanizing piano player. When her husband found out, he killed her while she was walking on the beach below the restaurant. Till this day, she’s searching for her lover.
Now you may not get to see her walk down the beach. But you may the victim of one of her harmless pranks, which include levitating checkbooks, locking doors, or stealing a single earring.
8) The Marine Room, La Jolla
Winner of La Jolla Village News’ Gold Medal for Best Ocean View 2016, The Marine Room is famous for fresh seafood and seasonal dishes. Since it opened in 1941, it was welcomed many celebrities as well as world figures.
Some of these, however, seems to love the place so much that they drop by even after death.
A few diners were surprised to see A-listers like Gregory Peck, who was also born in La Jolla. Just don’t try approaching them as they apparently disappear all of a sudden.
So, if you spot a dead celebrity’s lookalike at The Marine Room, continue enjoying the restaurant’s fine dining experience and let the ghosts be.
7) Sam’s Chowder House, Half Moon Bay
If you’re a fan of clam chowder, and lobster rolls, you’ll love Sam’s Chowder House. Its food and view of the ocean have earned it several awards, including Sante Magazine’s Service Hospitality Award and San Francisco Magazine’s Top Three Outdoor Dining Spots in the Bay Area.
But what the magazines won’t tell you is that you may glimpse a ghost walking down the beach there.
Glowing in a white dress, a young girl is rumored to haunt the area near the restaurant. The handful of people who saw her say that she waves at them as she goes by. Some have even heard her laugh as she ran on the beach.
So, if you spot a child in white and don’t see her footprints in the sand, consider yourself privileged.
6) The Cliff House, San Francisco
The 1909 historical Cliff House is one of the unique oceanfront restaurants in California. Overlooking the Pacific, it offers casual dining at The Bistro and fine dining at Sutro’s. While the menu may seem pricey, you’re definitely in for a treat. Especially if you want to see a ghost.
Just one minute away from the Sutro Baths, the restaurant offers you the chance to spot a few ghosts along the beach. They stand out from the rest of the crowd because of their periodic swimming garb.
The Cliff House itself may be haunted. Turning her head towards the kitchen after smelling burning meat, a female diner saw a semi-burned woman in servants clothing glide through a wall. Considering how the Cliff House burned down to the ground in 1907, there may be some truth to this story.
But don’t head to The Cliff House just to see a ghost. Make that the side dish as you dig into some of the most exquisite dishes in San Francisco.
5) 3 Thirty 3 Waterfront, Newport Beach
If you’re in the mood for something aside from seafood, 3 Thirty 3 Waterfront may be right up your alley. The eatery/bar offers a great ambiance where you can relax after work. The food is equally as tempting, especially the 3-Thirty-3-Waterfront original gourmet slider.
If you see the chef around, though, look properly at him before approaching him.
A group dining there apparently approached ‘the chef’ as he was walking near their table. The chef appeared startled and asked, “You can see me?” According to a member of that group, they all became terrified when a waiter walked through the chef to inquire about what happened.
No one knows who that ‘chef’ was. And you shouldn’t try finding out because the staff may not know either. Just sit back, relax, eat, and keep your eyes peeled for a ghostly chef.
4) On The Waterfront Café, Venice Beach
Located right on the Venice Boardwalk, On the Waterfront Café offers exquisite views of the Pacific Ocean. You can peer outside while indulging in their famous fish and chips or grabbing your favorite wine or beer.
The café is equally as entertaining if you seek ghosts. A few diners have experienced cold spots in the outdoor seating area. And that too during summer! Some have felt cold hands touch their necks as well.
While no one has seen the culprit, they’re sure that it’s a supernatural being because of the way their heart races afterwards. But who knows? Maybe you’ll be the first person to see the entity presumably haunting On The Waterfront Café.
3) 21 Oceanfront Restaurant, Newport Beach
Lovers of prime steaks and fresh seafood are always welcome at 21 Oceanfront Restaurant. Recognized as OC’s most romantic restaurant, it also offers a full bar that boasts a tasty selection of sparkling and white wines.
But these spirits aren’t the only kind this restaurant has to offer. Or so claims a couple dining there two years ago.
While being directed to their favorite table, the wife noticed a couple already sitting there. She was surprised, however, when the waiter moved to pull back one of the chairs for her. The couple sitting there gave them one long look before disappearing into thin air.
If you’re ever in the same predicament, just politely mention that you reserved the table. If you’d rather steer away from trouble, consider requesting another table.
2) Chuck’s Waterfront Grill, Santa Barbara
Another highly recommended restaurant for classic steak and seafood is Chuck’s Waterfront Grill. Famous for its award-winning clam chowder and original Mai-Tai, it’s a popular oceanfront restaurant on the ‘American Riviera’.
Food and view aside, Chuck’s Waterfront Grill may have something extra to offer: the chance to spot a ghost.
According to one of the restaurant’s oldest patrons, one of the first waiters hired at the establishment is still there. In spirit, actually.
The elderly man recounts his first encounter with the ghost. He beckoned to him like he always did, but was surprised to see another waiter come forth. Every time he wished to talk to his regular server, someone else would cut in.
Thinking the man was trying to help the younger staff, the diner decided to tip him regardless. So, as he left, he held a few bills and tried placing them in the man’s hand. The dollars fell to the floor and the waiter smiled before vanishing.
1) Driftwood Kitchen, Laguna Beach
Driftwood Kitchen has earned its 4+ stars by delivering the freshest seafood, finest steaks, and sweetest cocktails. It’s even so close to the Pacific that it boasts “any closer and you would have to swim”.
If the stories are true, though, ‘ghosts’ may be another thing this restaurant has to offer.
Some claim that the restaurant is haunted by a long-haired woman in white. She apparently glares at diners if they catch her eye. Few stories also claim that it’s haunted by twin boys. They supposedly play pranks on patrons, including tickling their calves beneath their tables.
You can only be sure of these stories if you visit Driftwood Kitchen. Even if you don’t get to see a ghost, at least you’ll get a great meal and a mesmerizing view.