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Coasterra

Book a table at this San Diego waterfront knockout

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Got a boat? That’s the only way you’ll get a better view of San Diego’s waterfront skyline and twinkling bridges than the one you get from Coasterra Modern Mexican restaurant, the third Cohn Restaurant Group offering on the city’s Harbor Island. (The other two are the successful Island Prime and C Level.)

Every table in this multilevel dazzler—and the special event space for up to 500 guests that actually floats above the water—has a view that will have you Instagramming throughout your meal, especially if you’re there at sunset. “Table 408 outside, right at the tip of the pentacle over the water—that’s my favorite table,” says chef and Cohn Group partner Deborah Scott. “When the sun begins to set, there’s a shell-like color lighting up the buildings downtown. And it keeps changing—it’s like a nonstop slideshow, with tankers and sailboats going by.”

Even after dark, the 28,000-square-foot, $15 million restaurant is an eye-catcher. Sit at Coasterra’s bar, order a Deb’s Coconut Margarita—made with Olmeca Altos reposado tequila, coconut cream, lime juice, and a coconut-salt rim—and take in the restaurant’s sleek, contemporary styling. “I like minimalist design, and that’s what you see here,” says chef Scott, who had a strong hand in creating the feel of the space. “There aren’t any Mexican blankets or piñatas—it’s dramatic and open.”

Yearning for traditional Mexican fare? There are a few tacos and enchiladas on the menu, but most of Coasterra’s dishes are creative twists on Mexican classics. Ceviche gets an upgrade with bay shrimp and blue crab, roasted tomato salsa, mango, and cilantro. Dipping sauces for fresh-shucked oysters include pickled onion-habañero mignonette and fire-roasted cocktail sauce. A classic surf-and-turf becomes a spectacular stacked presentation of black angus carne asada topped with chimichurri, chipotle-garlic butter, pinto beans, Mexican rice, flour tortillas, and a half Maine lobster.

All told, Coasterra serves up a hard-to-beat combo of sophisticated design, deliciously eclectic dishes, and a world-class view.

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