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Where to Eat and Drink in Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay’s top spots for breakfast, lunch, and dinner

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Only a short drive down the coast from the big city, Half Moon Bay can feel like a world apart, with big beach views and small-town vibes. As you might expect, there are beachy spots for kicking back with crab cakes and chowder, burgers and dogs, and local brews. But as a wealthy tech enclave, there’s also a glitzy upscale option, complete with an outrageous brunch buffet, as well as unexpected Mayan and Himalayan dining. So grab a beer and pull up a chair by the fire pit — here’s where to eat in Half Moon Bay.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Hop Dogma Brewing Co.

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A couple of local brewers opened this taproom inside Harbor Village in 2013, and it now welcomes surfers, kids, and dogs. They’ve won awards for their brews including German-style lagers and pilsners, which can once again be enjoyed at communal tables inside or on the patio. Local live music is back as well — follow Hop Dogma on Instagram for updates.

La Costanera

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La Costanera, the Michelin-starred Peruvian restaurant from prolific chef Carlos Altamirano, reopened in a new location overlooking Pillar Point Harbor in June 2020 (it spent 10 years in Montara before closing in March 2020). The two-story, 10,000-square-foot restaurant offers floor-to-ceiling views and a large side patio, serving Altamirano’s menu of famous cebiches, lomo saltado, empanadas, and, now, rotisserie-cooked pollo a la brasa. Dessert is a highlight here, with shareable options like mini churros and hot chocolate and shortbread cookies filled with dulce de leche, so save room.

Gibraltar Gems at Jettywave Distillery

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The newish Jettywave Distillery features an indoor tasting room and an outdoor bar with excellent California cuisine including dishes inspired by the Mediterranean, Thailand, and local seafood. Expect happy food with happy vibes in a casual but classy outdoor space. Don’t sleep on the dessert offerings, including a delectable cherry berry cobbler.

Jettywave Distillery

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company

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One of the oldest breweries on the coast, Half Moon Bay Brewing offers a big, well-spaced patio with fire pits, local brews, and lots of fish. Dig into the Dungeness crab roll, fish and chips, fish tacos, or a Portuguese fisherman’s stew, which is a family recipe from the owner’s grandfather. Dogs are welcome on the patio, and the kitchen bakes them treats, too.

Barbara's Fishtrap

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This 51-year-old beachside spot specializes in simple, traditional seafood dishes like a variety of fish and chip combinations and Louie salads. Its chowder also has a loyal fan base, with many claiming it’s the best in the area. The formerly cash-only spot now accepts credit cards and offers an ATM on site.

Sam's Chowder House

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A lobster roll on the deck at Sam’s is a quintessential Half Moon Bay experience, whether you want to catch a sunny brunch or cozy up to a fire pit at night. The owner and chef are both originally from the East Coast, hence the interest in New England crustaceans and chowders, but rest assured, they also pay due respects to our local Dungeness crab, in crab cakes, cioppino, or sandwich form. Dogs are welcome on the patio. (Pro tip: check the local weather on the website’s “Sam’s Cams.”)

Breakwater Barbecue

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This El Granada barbecue joint, which opened during the pandemic, specializes in just a few barbecued meats and side dishes, with weekend additions such as smoked chicken or turkey. Enjoy sandwiches on thick-cut sourdough or soft buns, or tender, smoky brisket on the yellow outdoor patio picnic tables.

The Barn

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This roadside stop converted an old barn into a restaurant for burgers and beers. It’s super casual, with an outdoor space filled with picnic tables, and a tented outdoor dining space. They source produce from local farms and sling grass-fed burgers, as well as a griddled hot dog that’s fully loaded, plus fried mac and cheese nuggets with buttermilk dressing for dunking.

Monsoon Himalayan Cuisine

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Yeah, you can get good dumplings by the beach. Chef-owner Ram Chandra Subedi grew up in a small village in the Himalayas in Nepal, and he’s now serving chicken, lamb, and prawn curries, as well as momos and samosas.

Dad's Luncheonette

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Diners who usually drove straight through Half Moon Bay hit the brakes in 2017, when a former fine dining chef from Saison started serving burgers out of an old caboose that’s parked on Highway 1. The burgers come sandwiched on white sliced bread, and cost all of $12, and rosé comes by the can.

Fattoria e Mare

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Chef and owner Pablo Estrada, a native of Yucatan who spent years in esteemed Bay Area restaurants specializing in Italian cuisine, relocated his Burlingame restaurant to Half Moon Bay in 2021. Reservations are highly recommended for dinner on the weekends at this Michelin-starred joint. 

This spot started as a Hawaiian dessert spot, but has since expanded its menu to offer island-style treats like spam musubi, loaded hot dogs, and a slew of Hawaiian barbecue offerings that are available every Friday and Saturday. There’s an expansive patio out front and a large backyard for outdoor dining.

Cafe Capistrano

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Not quite the usual taqueria, Café Capistrano focuses on Mayan food, served out of a cozy house. Chef Arturo Mul is originally from the Yucatan, and he makes a mean cochinita pibil, the region’s famed braised pork, as well as huevos moltuleños, smothered in a roasted tomato sauce and melted cheese.

Moonside Bakery & Cafe

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This European-style bakery offers a solid selection of pastries, cakes, and pies. They also serve daily breakfasts with eggy standards and excellent pancakes, and for lunch there are salads, sandwiches, and wood-fired pizzas.

Pasta Moon

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Whenever you need a break from the fish and burgers, head to Pasta Moon, a sweet Italian-American spot that’s been putting out pizza, pasta, and pork chops for more than 30 years. Chef-owner Kim Levin has always loved the fruit and vegetable stands that dot the coastal highway and has close relationships with local farms.

Never least, south of town, the Ritz Carlton shines like a fine dining lighthouse with Navio, the seafood restaurant within the hotel. For dinner, Navio’s rotating three-course tasting menu is focused on local and seasonal seafood ($155). Its weekend brunch buffet has been replaced with a two-hour, unlimited ala carte experience including breakfast standards, oysters, and salads (a cool $199 per person). Reservations can be made here.

Albert Law

Hop Dogma Brewing Co.

A couple of local brewers opened this taproom inside Harbor Village in 2013, and it now welcomes surfers, kids, and dogs. They’ve won awards for their brews including German-style lagers and pilsners, which can once again be enjoyed at communal tables inside or on the patio. Local live music is back as well — follow Hop Dogma on Instagram for updates.

La Costanera

La Costanera, the Michelin-starred Peruvian restaurant from prolific chef Carlos Altamirano, reopened in a new location overlooking Pillar Point Harbor in June 2020 (it spent 10 years in Montara before closing in March 2020). The two-story, 10,000-square-foot restaurant offers floor-to-ceiling views and a large side patio, serving Altamirano’s menu of famous cebiches, lomo saltado, empanadas, and, now, rotisserie-cooked pollo a la brasa. Dessert is a highlight here, with shareable options like mini churros and hot chocolate and shortbread cookies filled with dulce de leche, so save room.

Gibraltar Gems at Jettywave Distillery

Jettywave Distillery

The newish Jettywave Distillery features an indoor tasting room and an outdoor bar with excellent California cuisine including dishes inspired by the Mediterranean, Thailand, and local seafood. Expect happy food with happy vibes in a casual but classy outdoor space. Don’t sleep on the dessert offerings, including a delectable cherry berry cobbler.

Jettywave Distillery

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company

One of the oldest breweries on the coast, Half Moon Bay Brewing offers a big, well-spaced patio with fire pits, local brews, and lots of fish. Dig into the Dungeness crab roll, fish and chips, fish tacos, or a Portuguese fisherman’s stew, which is a family recipe from the owner’s grandfather. Dogs are welcome on the patio, and the kitchen bakes them treats, too.

Barbara's Fishtrap

This 51-year-old beachside spot specializes in simple, traditional seafood dishes like a variety of fish and chip combinations and Louie salads. Its chowder also has a loyal fan base, with many claiming it’s the best in the area. The formerly cash-only spot now accepts credit cards and offers an ATM on site.

Sam's Chowder House

A lobster roll on the deck at Sam’s is a quintessential Half Moon Bay experience, whether you want to catch a sunny brunch or cozy up to a fire pit at night. The owner and chef are both originally from the East Coast, hence the interest in New England crustaceans and chowders, but rest assured, they also pay due respects to our local Dungeness crab, in crab cakes, cioppino, or sandwich form. Dogs are welcome on the patio. (Pro tip: check the local weather on the website’s “Sam’s Cams.”)

Breakwater Barbecue

This El Granada barbecue joint, which opened during the pandemic, specializes in just a few barbecued meats and side dishes, with weekend additions such as smoked chicken or turkey. Enjoy sandwiches on thick-cut sourdough or soft buns, or tender, smoky brisket on the yellow outdoor patio picnic tables.

The Barn

This roadside stop converted an old barn into a restaurant for burgers and beers. It’s super casual, with an outdoor space filled with picnic tables, and a tented outdoor dining space. They source produce from local farms and sling grass-fed burgers, as well as a griddled hot dog that’s fully loaded, plus fried mac and cheese nuggets with buttermilk dressing for dunking.

Monsoon Himalayan Cuisine

Yeah, you can get good dumplings by the beach. Chef-owner Ram Chandra Subedi grew up in a small village in the Himalayas in Nepal, and he’s now serving chicken, lamb, and prawn curries, as well as momos and samosas.

Dad's Luncheonette

Diners who usually drove straight through Half Moon Bay hit the brakes in 2017, when a former fine dining chef from Saison started serving burgers out of an old caboose that’s parked on Highway 1. The burgers come sandwiched on white sliced bread, and cost all of $12, and rosé comes by the can.

Fattoria e Mare

Chef and owner Pablo Estrada, a native of Yucatan who spent years in esteemed Bay Area restaurants specializing in Italian cuisine, relocated his Burlingame restaurant to Half Moon Bay in 2021. Reservations are highly recommended for dinner on the weekends at this Michelin-starred joint. 

Nano's

This spot started as a Hawaiian dessert spot, but has since expanded its menu to offer island-style treats like spam musubi, loaded hot dogs, and a slew of Hawaiian barbecue offerings that are available every Friday and Saturday. There’s an expansive patio out front and a large backyard for outdoor dining.

Cafe Capistrano

Not quite the usual taqueria, Café Capistrano focuses on Mayan food, served out of a cozy house. Chef Arturo Mul is originally from the Yucatan, and he makes a mean cochinita pibil, the region’s famed braised pork, as well as huevos moltuleños, smothered in a roasted tomato sauce and melted cheese.

Moonside Bakery & Cafe

This European-style bakery offers a solid selection of pastries, cakes, and pies. They also serve daily breakfasts with eggy standards and excellent pancakes, and for lunch there are salads, sandwiches, and wood-fired pizzas.

Pasta Moon

Whenever you need a break from the fish and burgers, head to Pasta Moon, a sweet Italian-American spot that’s been putting out pizza, pasta, and pork chops for more than 30 years. Chef-owner Kim Levin has always loved the fruit and vegetable stands that dot the coastal highway and has close relationships with local farms.

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Navio

Albert Law

Never least, south of town, the Ritz Carlton shines like a fine dining lighthouse with Navio, the seafood restaurant within the hotel. For dinner, Navio’s rotating three-course tasting menu is focused on local and seasonal seafood ($155). Its weekend brunch buffet has been replaced with a two-hour, unlimited ala carte experience including breakfast standards, oysters, and salads (a cool $199 per person). Reservations can be made here.