San Diego County Chapter


Our Love for the Ocean Doesn't Stop When We Leave the Beach...

Plastic pollution is suffocating our ocean and the many animals that call it home. Researchers estimate there are now over 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean with the number continuing to grow every day. This pollution is impacting our marine ecosystems, wildlife such as seabirds, dolphins, fish, and turtles, and plastic fragments are even displacing plankton at the base of the food chain. So what’s the best way to combat this global epidemic facing our ocean? It’s simple: we need to stop the problem at its source! The Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants program does just that. One restaurant, one customer at a time, increases awareness, drives change in behavior and ultimately creates scalable impact to reduce our plastic (and water!) footprint.

Dine at an Ocean Friendly Restaurant in San Diego County

What Makes a Restaurant "Ocean Friendly?"

The Ocean Friendly Restaurants program offers restaurants an easy way to show their commitment to making sustainable choices for our ocean. Interested in becoming a Surfrider Ocean Friendly Restaurant Member? 

Restaurants participating must follow the first five criteria:

  • No expanded polystyrene use (aka Styrofoam).
  • Proper recycling practices are followed.
  • Only reusable foodware is used for onsite dining. *
  • No plastic bags offered with take out or to-go orders and utensils are provided only upon request. 
  • Paper straws are provided only upon request.**
* Foodware includes dinnerware, drinkware, silverware, and ramekins/containers.
** Exceptions may be made for alternatives made from other naturally occurring materials and reusables.

And choose a minimum of two of these criteria:

  • No beverages sold in plastic bottles.
  • Discount is offered for customers with reusable cup, mug, bag, etc.
  • Vegetarian/vegan food options are offered on a regular basis
  • All seafood must be a ‘Best Choice’ or ‘Good Alternative’ as defined by Seafood Watch or certified as sustainable.
  • Water conservation and pollution mitigation efforts are implemented.
  • Energy efficiency efforts are in place.

Restaurants who meet all of the criteria are recognized as a Platinum Level Ocean Friendly Restaurant.

Interested in becoming a Surfrider Ocean Friendly Restaurant Member?

Check out this Quick Guide for Restaurants for specific ways to meet each of the criteria. 

If you want to take a deeper dive, we recommend our Ocean Friendly Foodware Guide to learn about greenwashing, product alternatives, and creative ways to implement more reusables.

How Can You Help?

  • Show your support by frequenting our registered Ocean Friendly Restaurants and letting them know you found them on the OFR webpage. 
  • Ask for water and other drinks in a reusable glass instead of plastic. 
  • Bring your own reusable mug for coffee, and remember to ask for a reusable mug when ordering “for here.” 
  • Bring a reusable bottle to avoid purchasing plastic bottles of water. 
  • If you think you may have leftovers, bring your own reusable container from home instead of getting a disposable one from the restaurant. 
  • Always bring your own bag when picking up takeout.
  • Say “no straw” whenever you order a drink (even takeout & drive-thru), and take the No Straw Pledge.
  • Register your favorite restaurant – anyone can become part of the OFR team and register restaurants in their community. Join us at a committee meeting to find out exactly how the process works!

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