Tom Ham's Lighthouse

Tom Ham's Lighthouse

For centuries, the lighthouse has been a symbol of comfort and safety to mariners on the high seas. It is therefore quite appropriate that this long-standing landmark at the tip of Harbor Island serves much the same purpose today.

In addition to being a fine restaurant, Tom Ham's Lighthouse is exactly that. Because of its strategic location, it is also an officially recognized navigational beacon on NOAA marine charts produced by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.

Once guests enter the upstairs dining room, however, their eyes will feast upon one of the most breathtaking views that our city's downtown skyline has to offer, particularly in the evening. But this is only the first of the many indulgences that will ultimately tempt them during their visit. Manager, David Wilson, is an accomplished host with an ability to inspire the very best performance from his employees.

After my guest and I were seated, our gracious server, Victor Santana, brought us a couple of the best cocktails in the house; smooth 'Gold Cadillac' margaritas, made with Grand Marnier and Jose Cuervo Especial. They helped to further enhance our already magnificent bayside vista.

We began with a delicious hors d'oeuvre tray featuring scrumptious coconut shrimp with pineapple chutney, rich crab cakes and crisp, tender strips of calamari. Along with the brightly seasoned, sweet chili dipping sauce, they created a perfect appetizer course.

Our salads were delightfully fresh and crisp. My spinach salad was a masterful rendition of the classic recipe; with warm bacon dressing in a crispy baked Parmesan basket that was good to the last crunch. My guest savored every bite of her Granny Smith apple salad with garden-fresh micro greens, walnuts, crumbled blue cheese and a brilliantly achieved apple dressing.

After our plates were cleared, Victor returned to our table with a broad smile on his face. "It's showtime, folks", he declared as he delivered the entrées before us with a well-practiced flourish.

It was hard for me not to gasp with delight as I inhaled the rich and creamy aroma of my Seafood Newburg; scallops, shrimp, lobster and chunks of swordfish bathed in an enticingly toothsome sauce that would make a multi-star French chef weep. Tasty risotto and a broccoli crown topped with orange hollandaise sauce accompanied the dish.

My guest's 'Tigers Brochette' consisted of two skewers of flawlessly grilled tiger prawns, swordfish and scallops in lemon butter sauce, along with rice, fresh carrots and squash. The seafood was tender and juicy, and the vegetables were perfectly al dente with just the right amount of seasoning to bring out their natural flavors.

In the few months that the new Executive Chef, Tom Goldie, has been at the helm, the menu has been completely transformed to offer guests a bevy of newly created dishes as well as time-tested favorites. The Lighthouse now also offers one of the most delectable and reasonably priced Sunday Brunch buffets in town.

Chef Goldie's desserts are extremely decadent, and we ended our meal with a thick piece of New York cheesecake topped with raspberry sauce and a slice of dark, dense and chocolaty 'Snickers' cake, which has become one of the house specialties.

We decided to forego an after dinner beverage, preferring instead to simply sit quietly for a few moments to enjoy our panoramic view of the shimmering bay and the downtown lights.

Earlier that evening, prior to our arrival at Tom Ham's Lighthouse at the very end of Harbor Island Drive, we had passed a number of other restaurants, hotels and cafés with signs and banners encouraging passersby to dine at their establishments. In retrospect, it seems as if this was an ironic stroke of circumstance …since on this particular occasion the best had indeed been saved for last.

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Restaurant Info

  • Address: 2150 Harbor Island Drive, San Diego CA 92101
  • Cross Street: N Harbor Drive
  • Location: Point Loma & Ocean Beach | Harbor Island
  • Cuisine: American |
  • Cost: $$ | Inexpensive | $25 - $50
  • Category: Casual Dining
  • Star Rating:
  • Reservations: Unknown
  • Dress Code: Casual
  • Meals Served: Brunch | Lunch | Dinner |
  • Parking:
  • Payment Options: VISA | Amex | MasterCard |
  • Corkage Fee: 11.50 | per 750 mL
  • Phone: (619) 291-9110

Business Hours

North Side - Window | Lunch 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
North Side - Window | Dinner 4:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
North Side - Window | Lunch 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
North Side - Window | Dinner 4:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
North Side - Window | Lunch 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
North Side - Window | Dinner 4:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
North Side - Window | Lunch 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
North Side - Window | Dinner 4:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
North Side - Window | Lunch 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
North Side - Window | Dinner 4:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.
North Side - Window | Dinner 4:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.
North Side - Window | Brunch 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
North Side - Window | Dinner 4 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.


  • Full Bar
  • Ocean View
  • Sunday Brunch
  • Late Dining
  • Outdoor Seating
  • Private Room
  • Prix Fixe Menu
  • Smoking Area
  • Wheelchair Access
  • Personal Wines Allowed


  • Child Friendly
  • Romantic Dining
  • Dining Alone
  • Business Dining
  • People Watching
  • Quiet Conversation
  • Special Occasion


F.A.Q. - Frequently Asked Questions


Dinner Menu





Restaurant Address: 2150 Harbor Island Drive, San Diego CA 92101

User Reviews

Wonderful Ambiance  

They have a new chef with a new menu, which surprised me. As always the food was wonderful and you can not get a better view of San Diego Bay.

Wonderful evening  

You will want to sit in a booth that seats up to four to view the beautiful harbor. Excellent meal, great coffee and dessert. You will be well pleased, we went twice in one week.


Be sure to try the meatloaf, doesnt sound to impressive but it is ground up steak and rib meat and is to die for. Some amazing deserts and a beautiful view of the San Diego Harbor.

Outstanding elegance  

Went to Tom's tonight for early dinner so we could catch the colors of the sky change over san diego (1730). It was wonderful all around. Our server Ray was a great waiter, with all the manners and ettiqute you expect from a fine dining experience. Spectaluar views from everywhere in the restaurant. Loved the Nautical theme, and the food was great! No complaints her, wonderful romantic little spot.


Several months ago I had the Seared Rare Ahi that was accompanied with a seaweed salad. Both were absolutely magnificent. I enjoy trying new things and I certainly hit the jackpot when I choose these. Wish I could get the recipe for the seaweed salad! I can guess how to prepare the ahi.


Didnt quite know what to expect since I had never been to the area this restaurant is located in. When I got there, I was quite impressed to the fact we had a seat with one of the best views of downtown San Diego I have ever seen. It was night so the skyline was all lit up and breathtaking. The food was pretty good, we had a shrimp cocktail for the appetizer, my girlfriend said it was good but I never much cared for shrimp. For the main course I had the special, which was a meatloaf... now dont go thinking this is your average meatloaf, it consisted of ground up prime rib and steak and made me drool with delight. The prices were about average for a nice restaurant in the 70 dollar range for 2 people. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone and for any special day.


Great Restaurant. Had dinner with my wife there for her birthday. She like it so much that she invited most of her collegues to go back for lunch the following week

Great Brunch  

Great selection of food. Food was freash and plentiful. Excellent service as well. Great dining experience. Good place for brunch and view of the San Diego Bay.

Tom Ham's Lighthouse  

Great ocean-view table..very patient waiter & courteous...Great deal $30-3 course (restaurant week) meal..appetizer "Lobster Bisque"-decent, had better..Main Course "Shrimp Diablo..very nice & lots of flavor & dessert very yummy "Chocolate Brownie w/Hagen Daaz -Dulce de Leche ice-cream..This is my 2nd time in this restaurant..overall My experience judging by food & customer experience I would give it 9 out of 10 !!

Great view & food for dinner and lunch  

Everyone has their opinion on this web site. Usually the people that write reviews are the ones that hate everything or the restaurant. Most restaurant reviews have more bad than good. That goes for anything you can review about. I have been going to the Lighthouse for 24 years. It was my Grandmas favorite restaurant and hangout. She would bring all her old people friends here to eat. Sadly of them have past on from old age, but my family and I have kept their memories alive by still going their. Im sure you can ask any person that has been going to the lighthouse for a long time and they will tell you the same thing. "Employees and Customers come and go, but the memories last a life time." The Lighthouse I think has the best view of San Diego. You can see the beautiful downtown skyline and watch the sunset beaming off the buildings. You can see the entire harbor and watch all the Navy and Cruise ships sail away. If your lucky, sometimes you might even see a whale near by, which I watched from the lighthouse before. You will see all kinds of wild life from Seals to Dolphins and what I like best watching the Pelicans flying in formation against setting sun.

Well, for the food. Dinner is pretty good. It all depends on what you like? Im more a meat person than fish. They have a lot of fish. I always like The Medallions of Beef. I hear the fish is pretty good though. The Spinach Salad is I think the best in town! The lighthouse is toned down and not super crowded like other places. You wont feel rushed! I think the best waiter for dinner is Victor. He's the big Mexican waiter that worked at all the high end restaurants in the past and will always entertain you. He will always try the best he can to make your time at the lighthouse a good one.

Some nights you might even find some of the San Diego Chargers players eating here. I have seen a lot of them in the past along with some Padres players. They also have a great Buffet for lunch Monday though Friday for only $10. I think its one of the best buffet in town. Everyday is different. It's not mass produced like regular buffets. It's all homemade food! I always enjoy the lunch buffet, this is where my Grandma would always go to. This is where you're find all the regulars go. If you ever go to their lunch often, you will be treated like family from every one. It's a really fun place to go to, always welcoming. Did I say the food is awesome! I just wanted to add my opinion about the Lighthouse. You have to see it for yourself if you like it. And if you don't like dinner, go for lunch, I think it's even better.

Great Views for a great dinner  

I enjoyed a great dinner with exceptional service and views to boot. I enjoyed the stunning view of San Diego and the bay with no airport noise. This is by far the best experience I have had for the price. I left with a satisfied feeling in my stomach also. The portions were perfect. My steak was cooked exactly as ordered. I will definitely recommend dining here to friends and family. I would highly recommend it for a romantic anniversaty or any special dinner. The only drawback is the menu on the outside at the entrance. They way it is posted detracts from what you are getting inside. I am glad I looked pat that and went in.





Great Place  

What I had a taste for was not the menu, but the chef accommodated me with the best shrimp fettuccini. The service was great and atmosphere was excellent. The seating was perfect. I would recommend this restaurant to family and friends.

Nice View & Service  

The food was very good. Not crowded inside and the view was great. A place to go to with someone that you want to spend a quiet romatic evening.

wonderful food, nice view  

The food was amazing, and looking out over the active bay was nice, but a military base as a backdrop was a little blah. Made reservations, and the table was ready early window seating and all. Once again, food was wonderful.

What a View  

This restaurants was impressive on several levels. It has an excellent view of the San Diego Skyline as well as a pretty good seafood menu. I was impressed that the prices weren't that bad, and then there was actually a good sized portion of food on the plate. I wasn't so impressed with the service, although our waitress was very polite and attentive. It had an atmosphere of a fine dining restaurant, but most of the customers were wearing jeans and our waitress actually pretty much sat in our booth with us while we ordered, which I don't appreciate. All in all, it was a pretty good restaurant and I think I might go there again sometime.

A great experience  

I wasn't sure what to expect, given the mixed reviews posted here, but Tom Ham's Lighthouse turned out to be a great experience. I'd been there before, many years ago, but the menu and staff have changed, and my wife wanted lobster and a view for our anniversary, so . . . The view was excellent from the booths, but crowd noise a little overpowering. We faced east (downtown) as the setting sun turned the business district orange and watched the planes lining up to land at the airport. There was music somewhere, barely audible however because of the noises in the rest of the dining room. Some decorative touches that soaked up some of the sound would have been nice. We started with the hot appetizer sampler, and were disappointed by two overcooked shrimp and flavorless crab cakes. The calimari filets, deep fried in a heavy batter, were better than expected, and the variety of sauces and the fruit salsa made everthing palatable. Our entrees literally made the meal. The charbroiled swordfish was hot and flavorful, and replacing the rice with herbed potatoes never an issue with our server. Mixed vegetables, including baby squash, were served as well and a perfect companion to the fish. (I was expecting the routine steamed broccoli.) I would have put some ground dried chili in the mango salsa, but that's just me. My wife's seafood newburg was AWESOME! Lots of food, in a light creamy sauce that didn't overpower the individual flavors of each ingredient. It too arrived piping hot and with its separate ceramic serving dish stayed hot throughout the meal. Her rice, however, was sticky and starchy. Our server seemed to appear whenever he was needed, and empty plates and used tableware scooped up by the attentive staff. They didn't replace silverware, however, and I had to ask a couple of times for spoon or knife that had been taken away. Finally, the price. Leaving aside the bottle of wine - which was actually on the cheap side - I found the food to be just a tad expensive. Call it paying for the view.

Nice Atmosphere & View, Food Needs Work  

Our reservations were for 7pm on a Friday night, and we expected it to be busy, however we were pleased that it was not. We were seated immediately, at a nice booth by the window with a spectacular view. The only complaint, as far as seating goes is that the restaurant was not busy, and there were far more empty tables than full - yet we were seated right next to a very large party, even though there several other window/view booths available. The host/waiter attending to the party was also very loud, particularly when singing "Happy Birthday/Anniversary", and while trying to figure out their camera. Other than their waiter, and occasional laughter, the volume in the restaurant was a nice medium to low. Our waiter was friendly and attentive, yet not annoying. Water was poured quickly, and while the bread arrived a bit late, the salads and soup were served in a very timely manner. The entrees left much to be desired, which was quite a disappointment considering the price of the food. The chef seemed to be trying too hard to make it look "gourmet" by drizzling sauce all over the plate, turning the meat up, etc - but instead of a nice artistic presentation, it just came off as looking like a huge mess. My husband had the Filet Mignon. A very nice thick cut of meat, rather bland - and nearly ruined by the sauce. Be sure to order it without the sauce, or sauce on the side. My mother in law had the lamb chops, which she said were tasty, but too fatty - and overall she described the meal as "mediocre". My seared rare ahi was served cool, which I really wasn't expecting. It was a very nice cut of fish, lightly crusted with seasoning and a deep purple/red color, but it could have used a few more seconds in the pan. It was arranged over a bed of shredded lettuce that must have been soaked in some sort of vinigarette? It was not good, and rather disappointing that all I really had to eat was some cool near-raw fish. On the plus side, I had started with a cup of lobster bisque, which was creamy and delicious. Overall, the food leaves much to be desired, but the wonderful atmosphere and view almost make up for it, so that is why I gave the rating of 4 stars. It might be nice to go again if treating someone from out of town, to take in the view, however I don't think we'll be going back anytime soon.

Priceless view, but....  

My initial trip to Tom Ham's was mixed. I did enjoy the view, and my food, but others in my party were unhappy with a few things. One disappointment was with a plate of sauteed mushrooms which were just too salty to be edible. Another was that after our order was submitted, it took a half hour to get food for a party of six. I should ask all the reviewers what is acceptable is terms of how long one should receive their food after ordering.

Great Views -- Okay Food  

the views are great, and it is worth going there just for that. Go around sunset so you can watch the city skyline come alive with lights. Can't see the sunset during the summer because of Pt. Loma, but maybe in the winter. the food was okay, should be better for the price. The crab cakes were good, calamari are too thick and chewy, coconut shrimp is better at Red Lobster. The scampi is good, but is in a cream sauce not butter. The lobster tail is good, served with a Parmesan cheese crust on top. Prime rib is good, but has some undertones from how it is cooked.

food good, but fails otherwise...  

Went To Tom's for the first time, visiting San Diego. Went early, around 5:30pm, and got sat at a nice table, but right next to the only other people in the restaurant! Waiter came immediately, tried to be helpful and pleasant, but came off VERY LOUD (his name was Victor - watch out for him!) and WAY overbearing. He kept telling us we were going to enjoy the Lighthouse and he was going to take care of us - LOUDLY. I felt like I was having dinner at the Mob's restaurant in New York or something. He kept repeating the same words that described the food on the menu when we asked about certain items, not telling us any information. And when he served the next group of folks next to us, he said the same exact thing - from start to finish. Although the food was indeed very good, everything else about the experience just turned me off (except the view, which was nice.) The waiter. The decor - it is a very open restaurant, and pretty plain - and not intimate at all, very family-ish and kind of lower-class - and here's the weird thing - it feels like it's TRYING to be upper class. The waiters are all dressed nice, the tables are lovely, it's clean- but for some reason, it just seemed like a front. I kept wondering what was really wrong with the food. The waiters and staff, unlike the waiters/staff at Mister A's (where i went the night before) joked and talked to each other loudly after leaving our table and other tables, and thre was really no real professionalism at all. Once we said we didn't want any dessert or coffee, our waiter ceased to be overbearing and trying-to-be-great and basically disappeared. After the folks next to us finished and left, with the restaurant still very empty - they sat the next party at that very same table next to us! When there were plenty of tables - plenty - available. All in all, the food was very good (around 35-40 bucks per person, with appetizer and drink) but I wouldn't go back to Tom's - because they fail everywhere else. They'd probably just do better turning it into a total family restaurant, like Red Lobster.

Poor food - fair service  

Friendly, attentive service could not compensate for a very poor dining experience (soggy lettuce, overcooked shrimp covered in a sickly, treacly concoction they called a vermouth sauce). San Diego has much better to offer.

Tourist Trap!  

My husband and I went to eat here for our anniversary. I gave a 2 rating only because of the view! My husband had a salad that he enjoyed and things went downhill from there. It took about 25 minutes to get our food, my steak was over cooked. I sent it back and then it was seriously under cooked. The waiter's explanation was he just serves it, he doesn't cook it. My husband's salmon was over cooked and they had the guts to serve what tasted like instant mashed potatoes! ... all for a 5 star price! Pure tourist trap!

Pretty view, not so great food.  

I went to Tom Ham's lighthouse with a date yesterday. Before yesterday, I've been there twice and LOVED it. The last time I visited Tom Ham's was about 3 years ago. I don't know what happened. The gorgeous view was still there, but our food was not even up to par with a Denny's. We started off with a sampler plate consisting of crab cakes, jumbo coconut shrimp, and calamari. While the coconut shrimp was delicious, the crab cakes were mediocre--as if they were bought from the frozen aisle of a grocery store--and I have never seen calamari made to look like fish sticks. For our entrees, I had the catch of the day (which was a halibut), served with mashed potatoes and clam chowder, and my date had the Lighthouse steak, cooked medium rare. The presentation was not pretty, the portion was decent, and the food was less than acceptable. Both my halibut and his steak tasted like it's been sitting out for a while. His steak, asked for medium rare, came out med-well, instead. My clam chowder was watery. There was nothing special about the mashed potatoes. I don't know what happened to such a magnificent place, but I will not go back there again. Horrible food for a high price.

Living on its reputation and view  

Tom Ham's is obviously living on the coattails of its reputation and wonderful view. The view is so great you can almost forget how bad the food is. I went there recently to decide if I would have a banquet there. The employees all knew why I was there. My salad had some rotten lettuce in it; my veggies were cold, and when I complained, I didn't even get an apology, they brought me some lukewarm veggies instead. The orange chicken tastes like overcooked chicken with marmalade on it. But the view is amazing. Not quite good enough for us to forget the food though. Not even worth the low prices they offer, unless you just need the view and maybe dessert.

Don't bother  

If you like GOOD seafood - don't bother with this restaurant. The taste was not even on par with a seafood chain. The lobster bisque tasted canned, the swordfish was very fishy and tough, the garlic mashed potatoes were dry and tasted like instant - not to mention they had no garlic flavor whatsoever. The seafood newberg (I think that was what it was called) sounded good, but again, the lobster, shrimp and scallops in it were overcooked and tough. The rice that went with it was sticky. I can't even give this place a high rating for the view since we were seated at a little table against a wall with one seat next to a corner of the window despite the restaurant not really being that busy. The room was also way too lit up to actually see anything outside the windows (there was too much of a glare). The only reason this restaurant got 1 star is because of the waiter. He was attentive and efficient. But again, if you enjoy good seafood, don't make our mistake - go somewhere else.

Avoid It, Terrible Service, Mindblowing Price  

I recently had some out of town friends (10) visit San Diego and took them to Tom Hamms (among other restaurants) for a memorable dinner. Was it ever! The service was incredibly slow, and while we waited, the waiter kept hawking appetizers, more drinks, etc. (we can't serve your salad but we can bring you a $25 appetizer right away). When we left the bill was more than twice what we paid at any other restaurant that week. Before we left (after more than two hours of waiting for every thing we orderd) I asked the manager if they didn't understand good service or were simply trying to inflate the check. He said "I certainly understand what good service is" but didn't apologize for the incredibly poor service we got at a price that would shame any San Diego restaurant. I e-mailed the restaurant to complain, but they never gave me the courtesy of a response. Tom Ham's is either managed by crooks or idiots - and for a diner it doesn't matter which they are.

Party of four disappointed  

Tried 2 bottles of wine, one was corked, the other was vinegary. Was not allowed to open 3rd bottle. Appetizers reasonable. Entrees were "horrible" - could not eat - fish & shrimps smelt very strong and tasted terrible. Complained & Night Manager was very rude and only deducted one entree, although 4 were inedible. NEVER AGAIN!

Champaign Brunch BEWARE of Glass in your Champaign  

This restaurant has long been one of my favorites, my husband proposed to me at this restaurant! HOWEVER, on Jan. 28, 2007, we went to the Champaign Brunch, I was drinking my Champaign when my husband stopped me very suddenly there was a good size piece of the glass Champaign bottle in the bottom of my glass. Had my husband not stopped me I could have been badly hurt by this. When we called the Manager over to alert her to what happened she felt bad and said they would do something about it and they would contact me later that week. They NEVER contacted me not even to say they were sorry or anything. They have been incredibly rude every time I have called. ALL I CAN SAY IS BEWARE!!!!

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