Pictured is Lucas Wharf Restaurant & Bar, Bodega Bay, CA, where the views are great, and so is the food.
When you live in or visit the most beautiful place in the world (California,) you can't resist wanting to dine on the oceanfront. The majority of beach cities have at least one restaurant sporting ocean views, and for tourists it is the best opportunity to participate in one of the top travel activities-dining.
San Diego and San Francisco have many view restaurants to choose but pickings are slim as you veer out into less populated coastal zones such as Bodega Bay where the Alfred Hitchcok movie, The Birds, was filmed. That city has several restaurants with bay views, and the fine dining attracts visitors from near & far. Bay Area residents like to escape and spend the weekend, or just drive from places such as Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park for relaxing meals.
If you throw caution to the wind, a nice appetizer, entree, salad, dessert and several cocktails or glasses of wine will set you back about $100. Those trying to make their "greens" last will find the cash runs out fast after several days of ocean dining during road trips.
Here's what you have to do:
*Hamburgers are almost always on the fish restaurant menu. Eat the burger for about $8 - 9, and you'll often get french fries or some side.
*Swap the french fries on your plate for vegetables or add on a dinner salad and your bill will still be under $15.
*Ask for a side serving of bleu cheese dressing for your vegetables or salad. You can put some on your burger, making it a gourmet entree that restaurants charge an additional $5 for.
*Drink water-it's the healthiest cocktail on the planet.
*Don't cave in and buy dessert. You don't need the calories. If you need sweets, go across the street to the convenience market and buy a piece of chocolate after your meal. You'll save a minimum of $5, and contribute to your own health.
Surprisingly, many of the nice restaurants we've discovered on the coast offer an affordable entree that's tasty, satisfying and doesn't require pulling out more than a $20 bill. And what's amazing is that while the other entrees start at $19, we've eaten delicious hamburgers, full Mexican food platters and other sizzling cuisine on the oceanfront spending no more than $15-20 for the works. With nice companionship, good food, healthier options, and the same ocean view that the table of 4 next to you just spent $500 to enjoy, you're in the sweet spot. Bon appetit!
Note: We left out the obvious "Happy Hour" dining suggestion for saving money because not all popular beach restaurants offer it, especially during prime time dining.