Half Moon Bay is crab central. You can fish for crab, buy directly from fishermen or indulge in crab specials at local restaurants.

The recreational Dungeness crab season kicked off on November 4th and the commercial season is slated to open on November 15th, 2017 (check with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for updates).

  • If you’re planning on going crabbing you can find a summary of all regulations here. You can also head out with fishermen on boats such as the Hulicat. So far this season the captain reports that they have caught the limit on every trip, so pack your cooler!
  • To buy crabs from fishermen at Pillar Point Harbor, call the fish hotline 650-726-8724 x3 or visit CrabLine.

Half Moon Bay restaurants pride themselves on serving the freshest local Dungeness crab. Here are some highlights of where you will find it on the menu:

HALF MOON BAY BREWING COMPANY

This year, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company will serve Classic Cracked Crab served cold, with fresh Garlic Bread and drawn butter, or Warm Cracked Crab served with drawn butter, housemade pesto, or with Cajun spices and fresh Garlic Bread. The cajun spices were introduced by Chef Federico Godinez In 2016 and quickly became a best-seller.
390 Capistrano Rd., (650) 728-2739

Whole Crab with Pesto
HMB Brewing Company's Whole Crab with Pesto. Photo by Justin Lewis.

IT'S ITALIA

It’s Italia offers Cioppino featuring Dungeness crab, mussels, clams, scallops, and prawns. Says owner Betsy del Fierro “The traditional tomato base recipe is influenced by the Italian, Portuguese, and Mexican cultural flavorings, which reflects the cooking backgrounds of our kitchen staff who have all collaborated over the years on this recipe. It’s typically Half Moon Bay and the fish is finished with our very garlicy garlic bread on top.” 
401 Main Street, (650) 726-4444

NAVIO at THE RITZ-CARLTON, HALF MOON BAY

Chef de Cuisine Jason Pringle will feature once again his Spaghetti Chitarra with Dungeness crab, fennel, saffron. Says Pringle, “We’re always excited about Dungeness crab season in Navio. Typically I like to keep fresh Dungeness crab dishes very simple, adding some Meyer lemon, herbs and maybe some apple. I really want to highlight the star of the dish.”
One Miramontes Point Road, (650) 712-7000

Navio's Spaghetti Chitarra
Navio's Spaghetti Chitarra

SAM'S CHOWDER HOUSE

Sam's Chowder House will be featuring Whole Local Dungeness Crab steamed or chili garlic with drawn butter and choice of two sides as well as Cioppino with local Dungeness crab, prawns, mussels, clams, and rock fish, Dungeness Crab Salad with shaved celery root, Fuji apple and a lemon crème fraiche dressing and Dungeness Crab Tagliatelle with Calabrian chili, fresh herbs and olio nuovo.
4210 North Cabrillo Highway, (650) 712-0245

Chili Garlic Crab from Sam's Chowder House
Chili Garlic Crab from Sam's Chowder House

VIA UNO CUCINA ITALIANA & BAR

At Via Uno, indulge in Polpette di Granchio: Italian crab cakes with fresh crab meat, herbs, and spices served with a wasabi mayonnaise aioli, Fritelle di Granchio: fresh crab fritters served with a spicy gazpacho chutney, Tagliolini al Granchio: tagliolini pasta with fresh crab in a light champagne cream sauce with lemon zest, and Ravioli di Granchio: squid ink ravioli filled with fresh crab, potatoes, and parsley in a light Champagne cream sauce with lemon zest. Their Cioppino has Dungeness crab, Tiger prawns, Manila clams, Mediterranean mussels, Monterey calamari, and wild Alaskan salmon in a light spicy tomato sauce, served with toasted bread from their wood-burning oven. Says Massimo Sarubbi, co-owner, "Our customers get really excited about crab season every year.  We are lucky to have the best Dungeness crab in America right off of our coast, and love showcasing its sweet, delicious flavor in a variety of Italian dishes."
2810 Cabrillo Highway 1 North, (650) 560-8858

Via Uno's Crab Cioppino
Via Uno's Crab Cioppino

 

Amy Sherman is a local food and travel writer. She’s the author of Williams Sonoma New Flavors for Appetizers and Wine Passport Portugal and has written for food, travel and lifestyle publications including Afar, Food Network, Marin magazine, Fodor's and 7x7. After years of driving past Half Moon Bay on her way to and from UC Santa Cruz, she’s now happy to stop and fully enjoy its charms.