clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
The view from Sam’s Chowder House
Shutterstock

Where to Eat and Drink in Half Moon Bay

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

View as Map
The view from Sam’s Chowder House
| Shutterstock

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, including an annual pumpkin festival and neighboring goat farm (read: good cheese). 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 options. So grab a beer and pull up a chair by the fire pit — here’s where to eat in Half Moon Bay.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
If you book a reservation through an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Hop Dogma Brewing Co.

Copy Link

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 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

Copy Link

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.

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company

Copy Link

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 (which is tented for the winter months), and the kitchen bakes them treats, too.

Barbara's Fishtrap

Copy Link

This 49-year-old beachside spot specializes in simple, traditional seafood dishes like a variety of fish and chip combinations and Louie salads. It’s chowder also has a loyal fan base, with many claiming it’s the best in the area. Make sure to stop at an ATM before your arrive — even now, Barbara’s remains cash only.

Sam's Chowder House

Copy Link

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.

The Barn

Copy Link

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

Copy Link

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

Copy Link

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.

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. There’s an expansive patio out front and a large backyard for outdoor dining.

Cafe Capistrano

Copy Link

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

Copy Link

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

Copy Link

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 ($135). 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.

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 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.

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 (which is tented for the winter months), and the kitchen bakes them treats, too.

Barbara's Fishtrap

This 49-year-old beachside spot specializes in simple, traditional seafood dishes like a variety of fish and chip combinations and Louie salads. It’s chowder also has a loyal fan base, with many claiming it’s the best in the area. Make sure to stop at an ATM before your arrive — even now, Barbara’s remains cash only.

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.

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.

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. 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.

Navio

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 ($135). 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.

Related Maps