Welcome to the ultimate culinary journey through the picturesque coastal town of Half Moon Bay, where the briny breeze meets the freshest catches from the Pacific Ocean. Embark on a delectable expedition as we unveil comprehensive reviews of the 10 best seafood establishments, each offering a tantalizing array of ocean-inspired delights. From succulent crab cakes to buttery lobster rolls, prepare to indulge in a gastronomic adventure as we navigate through the finest dining experiences, showcasing the unparalleled flavors synonymous with the “best seafood in Half Moon Bay.”
Reviews of the 10 best seafood in Half Moon Bay
1.Barbara’s Fishtrap – best seafood in Half Moon Bay
Barbara’s Fishtrap in Half Moon Bay continues to reel in praises and dedicated patrons for its standout Fish & Chips, hailed as the best in the San Francisco Bay Area. Patrons consistently laud the establishment for its efficient, friendly service despite the bustling crowd, urging early arrival to avoid the queues. The hallmark of their Fish & Chips lies in the generously portioned, piping hot, and expertly cooked fillets served with an irresistible coleslaw side and ample fries. Notably, the lack of greasiness and the substantial fillets without excess batter showcase the culinary excellence. With a beer special at a steal for $2.50 a bottle, patrons find themselves repeatedly drawn back to this seafood haven.
While some find the main entrees a tad steep in pricing, the focus remains steadfast on the star attraction—the Fish & Chips and the affordable beer offering. The retro-charm of the place, unchanged over the years, adds to its allure. Early visits during weekdays guarantee prompt service without wait times, allowing patrons to savor the F&C’s at their freshest.
A family tradition for many, Barbara’s Fishtrap holds a special place in the hearts of patrons, transcending generations with its consistently high-quality and fresh seafood. Despite the bustling atmosphere, patrons share anecdotes of cherished memories, affirming its status as a lifetime tradition. The expansive seafood combinations, featuring hefty steak fries, receive commendation for their value and taste. Even amidst busy periods, locals advise that after 4 pm, wait times become negligible, ensuring a more relaxed dining experience.
Despite some minor critiques, such as the Key Lime Pie not meeting certain expectations, the overall sentiment revolves around the undoubted star quality of the Fish & Chips. With its enduring charm, superb seafood offerings, and a loyal customer base, Barbara’s Fishtrap remains a beacon of culinary excellence in Half Moon Bay, enticing patrons with its irresistible seafood delights and nostalgic ambiance.
Address: 281 Capistrano Rd, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, United States
Phone: +1 650-728-7049
2.Pasta Moon – best seafood in Half Moon Bay
Pasta Moon in Half Moon Bay beckons with its spacious interior, offering both a full bar seating area and a large dining space characterized by a more modern, less intimate ambiance. However, patrons highlight the covered patio as the ideal spot for a more intimate and inviting dining experience.
Diners laud the diverse menu selection, catering to a wide range of palates. Five distinct dishes sampled by patrons left an indelible mark of satisfaction. The daily special, featuring a beat salad with burrata cheese and arugula, earned praise for its complexity and balance. The calamari and shrimp fry delighted taste buds with its lightness and subtle peppery undertones. Rich and impeccably prepared, the risotto and scallops showcased exquisite tenderness and expert cooking. The robust and flavorful puttanesca accompanied by homemade pasta drew admiration, while the walnut and berry dessert sealed the meal on a high note.
Commendations also extend to the attentive service and reasonable pricing, enhancing the overall dining experience. While some guests expressed preferences for certain standout dishes like the apple salad and the ricotta gnocchi with guinea hen ragu, others appreciated the generous portions of pasta and the pleasant ambiance, particularly when seated indoors.
The culinary journey at Pasta Moon is characterized by exceptional food, service, and ambiance, making it a standout dining experience in Half Moon Bay. Despite its culinary excellence, a few patrons expressed dissatisfaction with the COVID-19 safety protocols, citing the requirement to wear masks even for short distances inside the restaurant.
Notably, one couple, unable to travel to their desired destinations, discovered a culinary haven at Pasta Moon, hailing it as an establishment rivaling the best of Italian cuisine outside Italy. With dishes like the spectacular eggplant Parmesan and succulent short rib agnolotti leaving an enduring impression, they found themselves returning for another exceptional dining affair, wholeheartedly recommending it as a must-visit.
Pasta Moon emerges as a culinary gem in Half Moon Bay, offering a diverse menu, culinary finesse, and a dining experience that resonates with both local patrons and those seeking an exquisite taste of Italian cuisine in a modern setting.
Address: 845 Main St, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, United States
Reservations: pastamoon.com, opentable.com
Phone: +1 650-726-5125
3.La Costanera – best seafood in Half Moon Bay
La Costanera in Half Moon Bay offers an exceptional dining experience complemented by picturesque views of the harbor, making it an idyllic spot for a leisurely weekend lunch date. Patrons commend the convenience of making reservations and securing a seat with a stunning view, especially during favorable weather in Half Moon Bay.
Diners are enraptured by the delectable offerings, with standout dishes earning resounding praise. The buttery salmon and tart, refreshing pisco sours delight the taste buds, making for an excellent prelude to outdoor activities such as hiking and water adventures.
Celebrating a special occasion at La Costanera elevates the dining experience, as one visitor commemorated their friend’s 60th birthday with a feast of Peruvian cuisine that left a lasting impression. The flavors of each dish were meticulously balanced, earning high praise for the perfect seasoning and spice. Coupled with excellent service and a captivating bay view, this experience cemented a strong recommendation to revisit La Costanera repeatedly.
While most patrons revel in the culinary offerings and impeccable service, a minor hiccup in service was noted in one review, where a printed receipt was inadvertently left behind. Despite the oversight, the diner’s attempt to retrieve the receipt through a phone call to the restaurant encountered some delay, prompting a request for assistance via the review platform.
However, amidst this isolated incident, the culinary prowess of La Costanera shines through in the sumptuous dishes and outstanding service. Diners express their eagerness to return, impressed by the exquisite flavors of the chaufa and pescado a lo macho, alongside a particular fondness for the coconut rice.
Overall, La Costanera emerges as a top-notch dining destination in Half Moon Bay, offering a blend of delectable Peruvian cuisine, hospitable service, and breathtaking harbor views. Despite a minor service blip, the culinary excellence and ambiance leave an indelible mark on patrons, inspiring repeat visits and enthusiastic recommendations to indulge in the culinary delights offered by this coastal gem.
Located in: Oceano Hotel & Spa Half Moon Bay Harbor
Address: 260 Capistrano Rd, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, United States
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Phone: +1 650-728-1600
4.Mezza Luna Restaurant – best seafood in Half Moon Bay
Mezza Luna Restaurant in Half Moon Bay has become a cherished destination, drawing diners seeking exquisite Italian cuisine, especially for special occasions or simply for a craving of authentic flavors. The restaurant’s commitment to safety during these times is evident, with stringent adherence to safety measures, including ample spacing between tables and a masked staff, ensuring a comfortable and secure dining experience.
Diners raved about the generous portions and exceptional quality of their dishes. Starting with fresh, crisp salads, patrons enjoyed a delightful array of main courses. The Linguini Medley, teeming with seafood, and perfectly cooked lamb chops left a lasting impression on one couple celebrating a birthday, complete with a thoughtful candle-lit dessert for the occasion. The Petrale Sole special and Fettuccine Bolognese were particularly acclaimed, so much so that an additional pasta dish was ordered to savor the next day. The attentive service by the waiter added a VIP touch, elevating the dining experience and making the guests feel exceptionally cared for.
Even amidst simplicity, Mezza Luna’s attention to detail shines through. Patrons appreciated the thoughtful touches like bread served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, adding an extra layer of warmth to the meal. Despite being full from the substantial portions, the house-made desserts, especially the divine Tiramisu and homemade gelato, were irresistible, leaving a lingering desire to return.
The outdoor dining experience, with its well-organized patio space adorned with bright red umbrellas and spaced seating, received commendation for its ambiance and adherence to safety protocols. The attentive staff went above and beyond, proactively ensuring a comfortable distance from other diners, further enhancing the dining experience.
Beyond safety measures and excellent service, Mezza Luna’s true highlight remains its stellar cuisine. Fresh, locally sourced vegetables, impeccably fresh fish, and delectable game hen were among the culinary treasures relished by diners. The indulgent desserts, such as pumpkin ice cream with white chocolate cheesecake, left diners in a state of blissful satisfaction, even if a post-meal nap was required.
In summary, Mezza Luna Restaurant in Half Moon Bay delivers a gastronomic journey steeped in authenticity, thoughtful service, and culinary excellence, making it a standout choice for those seeking an exceptional Italian dining experience or simply craving delicious, fresh fare in a welcoming setting.
Address: 459 Prospect Way, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, United States
Reservations: mezzalunabythesea.com, opentable.com
Phone: +1 650-728-8108
5.It’s Italia – best seafood in Half Moon Bay
It’s Italia in Half Moon Bay encapsulates a delightful blend of warmth, exquisite cuisine, and thoughtful service, making it a cherished destination for special occasions or a leisurely dining experience. The restaurant’s inviting atmosphere, as noted by patrons, immediately sets the tone for a memorable evening.
Diners praised the outdoor patio, designed to shield from the wind yet offering a balance of open-air dining and comfort with added coverings and heat lamps. Celebratory occasions are honored graciously, with attentive servers making guests feel special throughout the evening. The culinary journey at It’s Italia unfolded with delightful flavors, ranging from a shrimp appetizer to minestrone soup, artichoke ravioli, and a special halibut entree. While the pace of service might be considered leisurely, patrons reveled in the unhurried pace, extending the joy of a special evening.
The restaurant’s commitment to COVID precautions was commendable, ensuring a safe and secure environment without compromising on the warmth of service or quality of experience. However, some diners found the desserts to be on the pricey side without meeting their expectations, although the drinks received high praise for their quality and worth.
Highly recommended by patrons, the standout dishes such as the char-grilled octopus salad, seafood risotto, and artichoke raviolis showcased the culinary prowess of It’s Italia. The ambiance and helpfulness of the staff further enhanced the dining experience, leaving guests eager to return.
Notably, the restaurant’s adherence to safety measures, including designated traffic patterns and mandatory masks, contributed to a sense of comfort for diners, making it an appealing choice for those cautiously re-entering the dining scene. However, beyond safety, the highlight of the visit remained the impeccably prepared, creative, and delicious food that left a lasting impression.
In summary, It’s Italia in Half Moon Bay stands as a beacon of excellence, offering a delightful amalgamation of inviting ambiance, attentive service, and tantalizing cuisine. Whether celebrating a special occasion or seeking an exceptional dining experience, It’s Italia beckons with its warm hospitality and culinary delights, ensuring a memorable and enjoyable outing for patrons.
Located in: Half Moon Bay Inn
Address: 401 Main St, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, United States
Order: itsitaliarestaurant.com, toasttab.com
Phone: +1 650-726-4444
6.Dad’s Luncheonette – best seafood in Half Moon Bay
Dad’s Luncheonette in Half Moon Bay is a hidden gem tucked away in a charming caboose alongside Highway 1, capturing the hearts and taste buds of passersby with its delectable offerings. The limited seating inside and a few tables outside reflect its cozy and intimate setting, creating a sense of exclusivity that adds to the allure of this culinary find.
Patrons unanimously praised the exceptional flavors and freshness of the dishes, all of which are prepared with organic ingredients. The grilled mushroom sandwich received high acclaim, praised for its excellence in taste, as did the lemongrass soup and the mac and cheese, earning enthusiastic endorsements from delighted diners. The menu’s emphasis on freshness, quality, and flavor resonated through every dish, leaving a lasting impression.
The uniqueness of the setting—a caboose—added to the experience, accentuating the casual and relaxed ambiance that pairs seamlessly with the delicious fare. The standout items, such as the beef burger sandwich and the mushroom burger sandwich, were described as flavor-packed, featuring meticulously crafted components from the grilled bread to the soft egg, pickled onion, and lusciously melted cheese. Complementing the savory delights, patrons indulged in perfectly sweet fruit/custard tarts that were simply irresistible.
Although the limited seating can lead to waits due to its popularity, patrons unanimously agreed that the food’s quality and personal touch from the staff make Dad’s Luncheonette a worthwhile stop. The anticipation of the queues speaks volumes about the exceptional culinary experience awaiting visitors. The hamburger sandwich, in particular, was highlighted as a standout item, described as cooked to perfection and hailed as one of the best ever tasted.
Ultimately, Dad’s Luncheonette emerges as a destination for culinary enthusiasts seeking an exceptional dining experience amidst its unassuming caboose setting. The commitment to fresh, organic, and delicious offerings combined with personalized service continues to captivate visitors, making it a must-visit spot for anyone passing through or exploring the area.
Located in: Shoreline Station
Address: 225 Cabrillo Highway South at, Kelly Ave, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, United States
Phone: +1 650-560-9832
7.Sam’s Chowder House – best seafood in Half Moon Bay
Sam’s Chowder House in Half Moon Bay is a quintessential seafood haven that resonates with both locals and visitors seeking an exceptional coastal dining experience. Renowned for its fresh, flavorful offerings, the restaurant holds a reputation that draws patrons back repeatedly.
Patrons lauded the diverse selection of dishes over multiple visits, opting for local catches like halibut and sole, which proved to be excellent choices. The tuna poke, accentuating freshness and taste, left a lasting impression on those who appreciate this dish. The emphasis on fresh vegetables sourced from local farms further enhanced the dining experience, adding depth and authenticity to each meal. While the New England clam chowder received praise for its excellent flavor, some remarked on its modest clam content. Despite this, the service was consistently praised, reflecting the establishment’s commitment to quality and efficiency, ensuring a seamless dining experience.
The outdoor seating, complemented by heaters on cooler days, provided a comfortable ambiance, allowing patrons to enjoy stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. The seafood shack atmosphere exudes charm, perfectly aligning with the coastal setting, making it an ideal spot for those craving a genuine seafood experience.
Guests praised the reasonable pricing despite the current inflationary climate, highlighting the value offered. The New England clam chowder, a standout dish, consistently impressed diners with its exceptional taste and quality, complementing the well-prepared and flavorful menu offerings.
Among the standout dishes, the Cioppino left a lasting impression on one guest, described as outstanding with a delightful touch of spice. The attentive and accommodating service received praise, notably for creating a custom drink option for a guest with dietary restrictions, showcasing the staff’s friendliness and willingness to go the extra mile to ensure guest satisfaction.
In summary, Sam’s Chowder House in Half Moon Bay remains a beacon of exceptional seafood dining, offering a delightful blend of flavorful dishes, impeccable service, and a charming coastal atmosphere. The consistently positive experiences shared by patrons solidify its position as a must-visit destination for a memorable seafood dining affair along the Pacific coast.
Address: 4210 CA-1, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, United States
Reservations: samschowderhouse.com, opentable.com
Order: samschowderhouse.com, toasttab.com
Phone: +1 650-712-0245
8.Moss Beach Distillery – best seafood in Half Moon Bay
Moss Beach Distillery in Half Moon Bay stands as a nostalgic treasure along the scenic California coast, exuding a charming 1920s allure despite its need for a refresh. However, the breathtaking vistas from the patio overlooking the Pacific Ocean compensate generously for any architectural antiquity. The stunning views served as an exquisite backdrop to a dining experience that left patrons enamored.
Diners found the culinary offerings to be a highlight of their visit. The beer-battered artichoke hearts received raving reviews for their deliciousness and ample portions, setting the tone for the meal. The coast sliders were praised for their freshness and robust flavors, delighting the taste buds with every bite. Moreover, the clam chowder with oyster crackers and the fish tacos with fresh salads found favor among patrons, accentuating the seaside dining experience.
For some patrons, the dishes at Moss Beach Distillery were nothing short of extraordinary. The naked lobster roll, beet salad, and seafood risotto left a lasting impression, perhaps marking the best restaurant meal experience for one guest. Despite minor oversights by a young and seemingly inexperienced server, the overall dining experience remained lovely, with the exceptional quality of the food compensating for any service discrepancies.
The restaurant’s adherence to COVID precautions didn’t go unnoticed, with commendations for the staff’s diligence in ensuring safety measures were observed. The exceptional service by Mel and the team contributed significantly to the overall dining experience. The flavorsome crab cake, delectable oysters, fish & chips, and clams added depth and richness to the dining affair, impressing patrons with their taste and quality.
Situated a short walk from the Seal Cove Inn, Moss Beach Distillery presents itself not only as a culinary delight but also as an ideal spot to witness the enchanting beauty of a Pacific sunset. The combination of excellent food, commendable service, and mesmerizing vistas make it a highly recommended dining destination for those seeking a memorable coastal dining experience.
Address: 140 Beach Way, Moss Beach, CA 94038, United States
Phone: +1 650-728-5595
9.Miramar Beach Restaurant – best seafood in Half Moon Bay
Miramar Beach Restaurant in Half Moon Bay is a coastal gem offering a captivating dining experience that seamlessly blends delicious cuisine with an incredible seaside setting. As a historic establishment dating back to the 1900s, it has weathered numerous challenges and emerged as a cherished destination, nestled by the legendary Mavericks surf spot, overlooking the vast Pacific Ocean.
Guests celebrating special occasions, like Marilyn and her partner commemorating their 30th anniversary, found themselves in a charming oceanfront dining room with captivating views. The exceptional service, exemplified by Jesus, ensured a memorable evening with prompt martini orders and perfectly-timed oysters on the half shell. The seafood Capellini and saffron-infused Paella impressed with their flavors, while the bread pudding and ice cream provided a delightful finale. Engaging with fellow diners, enjoying the sunset, and a friendly atmosphere made this experience truly exceptional.
Despite varied reviews, visitors consistently praised the restaurant’s resilience and its stunning location. The spacious indoor area, complete with a fantastic ocean-view bar, and the outdoor seating with cozy fire pits and heaters allowed guests to relish their meals in comfort while soaking in the magnificent ocean vistas. The staff’s pleasant and helpful demeanor, exemplified by servers like Noemi accommodating unique dietary needs, added to the positive experience.
Patrons also commended the delicious offerings, highlighting the scrumptious calamari, clam chowder, and lightly battered sole. The addition of live entertainment enhanced the dining vibe, compensating for the dining room’s simplicity. The friendly hostess, reasonable wine list, and the picturesque seaside ambiance, especially during sunset, contributed to a memorable dining experience.
Despite mixed ratings, the consensus among patrons was overwhelmingly positive, emphasizing the incredible food, welcoming service, and the enchanting setting at Miramar Beach Restaurant. For anyone seeking an extraordinary dining affair overlooking the Pacific Ocean, this destination remains a worthwhile choice, promising a memorable and enjoyable experience.
Address: 131 Mirada Rd, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, United States
Phone: +1 650-726-9053
10.Flying Fish & Grill – best seafood in Half Moon Bay
Flying Fish & Grill in Half Moon Bay holds its own as a hidden gem, tucked away inconspicuously, yet serving up impeccable seafood dishes that leave patrons raving about their dining experiences.
Despite its slightly obscure location, nestled in an area that might be easy to miss, visitors find this quaint restaurant to be a delightful find. The prompt service and relaxed ambiance allow for a comfortable and efficient dining experience. However, a few observations about the shrimp taco being slightly sour indicate that while the food is generally excellent, some nuances might not suit every palate.
Guests appreciate the restaurant’s affordability without compromising on the quality of the seafood. The bar area provided a cozy spot for some diners, where they relished the flavors of delectable dishes like ceviche and clam chowder. The ceviche received high accolades, standing out as one of the best with its generous portion size. The fish & chips, although not frequently ordered by one guest, were deemed delicious, making a noteworthy impression.
While the restaurant’s outside dining lacks ambiance, the takeout option proves to be a popular choice, especially for beach-goers seeking a flavorful meal to enjoy by the sea. Dishes like the salmon BLT and the Fish & chips garnered praise for their taste and generous portion sizes. The crispy fries, both regular and sweet potato, added to the overall dining satisfaction, although the sweet potato option wasn’t explicitly offered.
For those opting for takeout, the coconut shrimp tacos and halibut dishes received glowing reviews, with generous servings leaving diners satisfied and eager for a return visit. The halibut’s delectable preparation with butter, lemon, and caper sauce paired perfectly with sides like spinach and sweet potato fries, earning high praise and a definite reorder from delighted customers.
In summary, Flying Fish & Grill stands as a testament to quality seafood dining in Half Moon Bay. Its unassuming appearance belies the delicious offerings that captivate visitors seeking reasonably priced, flavorful seafood dishes. Despite minor observations, patrons unanimously agree that the restaurant’s dishes merit a return visit, making it a worthy stop for seafood enthusiasts exploring the area.
Address: 211 San Mateo Rd, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, United States
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Phone: +1 650-712-1125