When it comes to dining, Half Moon Bay has something for everyone. You’ll find a wide range of options, from pub food to fine dining, to BBQ to pizza.
Whether you are looking for a great spot for coffee in the morning or a romantic dinner for two, or elevated diner classics from a star chef, you can find it in and around Half Moon Bay. Here’s just a taste of some of the great places to eat.
Breakfast on the Go
Shelly Auyeung, the Communications Manager for The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay,says Granola's Coffee House is her go-to place for coffee. She adds, “In the mornings I enjoy a soy latte and they make a delicious one. They also have a menu of healthy breakfast options including breakfast sandwiches and bagels, parfaits, smoothies, and a Belgium waffle with topping options.” Chris Cheeseman, managing partner at San Benito House agrees. Says Cheeseman, “The staff is the best, and we always leave in a good mood.”
Italian, Per Favore
Half Moon Bay has no shortage of Italian restaurants. Nantucket Whale Inn’s David Vipond recommends Pasta Moon and It’s Italia to guests and so does Dana Dahl of Beach House. Dahl notes that Pasta Moon make the best lobster linguini and seasonally they do the same dish with crab. Much of their menu features local produce and seafood.
At It’s Italia, Dahl singles out the Hatch's Woods pizza made with portobella mushrooms with pancetta, garlic and asiago. She even brought one half-baked to her niece in Pennsylvania because she loves it so much.
A new Italian spot is Fattoria e Mare, their menu includes a wide selection of mostly seafood “cicchetti” or little appetizers such as grilled octopus, potato, green beans and radishes or scallops with cucumber and mint. Come for drinks and a nibble or a full meal.
Let’s Do Lunch
Auyeung says one of her favorite spots for casual dining is Dad’s Luncheonette housed in a historic train caboose on Highway 1. Serving American roadside classics, the “dad” is Chef Scott Clark, formerly a three Michelin star chef de cuisine of Saison in San Francisco. She says, “Their hamburger sandwich and mushroom sandwich are fantastic and their homemade potato chips seasoned with nutritional yeast are addictive! It's a small space, so if you plan to dine in, get there early before the line forms.”
For those seeking Hawaiian barbecue, there’s Nano’s Ohana Cafe with a special Friday only menu that features Kalua pork bowls, Samoan style poke, BBQ chicken musubi, teriyaki tri-tip, and more.
If you’re in the mood for traditional Texas barbecue it’s got to be Breakwater BBQ in El Granada. A surfer spot that opened during the pandemic, they feature smoked meat including certified Black Angus brisket, pulled pork and spareribs, plus a down homemade Texas sheet cake with chocolate, coffee, Kraken rum, house smoked pecans and sea salt.
Seafood with a View
Navio at The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay has a romantic ambiance and is perfect for special occasions. Chef de Cuisine Francisco Simón presents innovative, yet approachable coastal cuisine with a focus on sustainability. The menu changes based on seasonality, but some favorite dishes on the dinner menu include the watercress risotto with Fort Bragg uni, Alba clamshell mushrooms, and Point Reyes Bay Blue and the yellowfin tuna tartare with ponzu cucumber, Castelvetrano olive, and Tsar Nicoulai caviar.
La Costanera, formerly located in Montara, is now at Pillar Point Harbor with waterfront views and a large patio. The seafood-focused Peruvian menu includes specialties such as Scallops Carlitos - pan-seared dayboat scallops, picantito de choclo, toasted nori and togarashi and Langostinos Crocantes - Mexican shrimp, crispy quinoa, house made BBQ-Inca Kola sauce and mashed sweet potatoes.
For more casual dining, Lauren Jackowitz-Fogarty, of Oceano Hotel & Spa recommends the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, right next door to the Oceano Hotel. The restaurant is a relaxed brewpub offering seafood favorites such as calamari, fish and chips, and Baja style tacos. They use only locally sourced ingredients in their wide variety of specialty and seasonal beers and have seating indoors and out.
Cover photo by Charlie Villyard for La Costanera.