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Oct 19, 2008 05:27 PM

Half Moon Bay, CA

Hi, we're in the Cleveland, OH, area - going to SF for 6 days during spring break in April. Our flight arrives at SFO late morning and we can't check into our hotel in the Cow Hollow area on Lombard Street until 4pm, so am thinking we ought to drive down to Half Moon Bay for lunch. I have been reading a lot of the posts regarding SF, Half Moon, etc. I am wondering if anyone has been to Princeton Seafood Co. lately in HMB? Would that be a good lunch place for good fresh seafood? A friend suggested the Moss Beach Distillery or a place called 3 Amigos. I looked at the menu for MBD online - not a lot of seafood choices. Not interested in New England clam chowder or Maine lobster stuff - we lived in Boston at one time & have had the best of that. Not not going to SF for New England food. Interested in CA pacific seafood. Any suggestions for HMB? Thanks.

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  1. My husband & I went with a large group to Princeton Seafood Co.about a year ago. We were with a very diverse group---ages from 10 to 75, some from the HMB area, some from Northern CA, and the two of us who are living in the Midwest, but frequent visitors to NY. Each person ordered something different---fish & chips, broiled seafood, pasta---and everyone was pleased with their choice. The place is not fancy, but the service was friendly & efficient, and the food very good. If you choose to skip the clam chowder (which is very good), have a cup of the artichoke soup. We plan to return to this restaurant when we're out there again next month. FWIW, we had considered going to Moss Beach Distillery, but it got VERY bad reviews from the locals in our group.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Anne

      Thanks for the helpful information. I suspected the PSC was not fancy - reminded me of the unassuming no frills lobster pounds along the coast of Maine.

      1. re: CurryLover

        Anne, one thing I failed to mention was that my husband and I will be traveling to CA with our 14 year old daughter - and I read somewhere that there is a pier near the PSC and one can watch the sea lions from the restaurant. I'm not sure what season was mentioned but is that an option for April? I am not sure how much time we will need to kill between getting off our flight at SFO late morning & having lunch somewhere on the coast & turning around to head into SF to check into our hotel around 4pm. A long time friend wants to meet us at our hotel & take us to his favorite sushi place for a light late sushi dinner in the Cow Hollow area. Thanks for your help

    2. You might want to drive down the coast a little bit further and have lunch at Duarte's in Pescadero for good soups, fresh fish and excellent house-baked berry pie.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DavidT

        Thanks for the helpful information. I'll put that on my list. I'm not sure how far we want to drive down the coast after a 5 hr flight from Cleveland then we have to turn around and drive into SF to check into our hotel late in the day. Making note of the three hour time difference, I imagine we'll be ready to hit the sack early.

        You mentioned berry pie - are local strawberries/or any type of berry in season in that area of California in April??? What's in season as far as fruit/vegetables in April?

      2. There isn't much "CA pacific seafood" served in CA. You might find some sole, halibut, or farmed oysters, but many of the local fisheries have been shut down or are not in season. Since you mention April, crab will be in season, and there is usually sebastes available. Ling cod seems to be making a comeback.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Alan408

          Thanks for your helpful information. I found the following website to get an idea of what kind of seafood would be in season in April. Are you talking about dungeness/rock when you mentioned crab? Any preference? What is seabastes??? Sorry so many questions.

          1. re: CurryLover

            Dungeness Crab.

            Sebastes is a scientific name for a fish locally called: rock cod, pacific red snapper.

        2. What time are you landing? Looks like you'll be waking up at some absurd hour that day. LOL. Some other options if you really don't want to drive so much that day:

          1) SFO airport is close to some of the best dim sum in the area. Have lunch there & head into City for touring Coit Tower or GG Bridge & then checking in.

          2) Lunch at the Ferry Bldg taking in views of Bay Bridge & then may be heading out to Coit Tower before checking in.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ceekskat

            Good suggestions for our duration in SF, but we want to use the afternoon we arrive to drive outside the city & see some of the coastline. Our flight leaves Cleveland at 9am & arrives about 11:30am at SFO (three hr time difference) I figure HMB is about a 30 min drive from SFO so it will be close to 1-2 pm (close to our dinner time EST) when we get to HMB or wherever we ultimately decide to lunch/dinner along the coast. We've been told the drive alone to HMB is scenic & beautiful. This forum has been very helpful. I have lots of lists from everyone & I'm doing lots of research.

          2. In Princeton-by-the-Sea, I like Ketch Joanne right on the pier, just off Highway 1. They serve very fresh fish, great cioppino, even great breakfasts. Here's a link to their menu:


            To see other parts of the menu, click "more menu options" under "menu" on the top of the page.

            Ketch Joanne
            Princeton CA, Princeton, CA

            10 Replies
            1. re: Nancy Berry

              Ketch Joannes is my favorite Princeton restaurant, when available they use local seafood.

              1. re: Alan408

                Great suggestions! I am going to be in HMB/Montara for about 23 hours and would like to try one or two of these places. We are going to lunch at the Ritz for one meal.

                1. re: manomin

                  We like Pasta Moon on Main Street in Half Moon Bay - Cal/Med and use of a lot of regional/seasonal items and always good seafood. Chez Shea is good for brunch too. Sushi on Main is excellent as well.

                  1. re: SanMateoFoodie

                    Ok, I'm going to see if I can find menus online for those you mentioned - Pasta Moon, Chez Shea - thanks for the suggestions.

              2. re: Nancy Berry

                Loved the menu - thanks for sharing the website - the cioppino looks fabulous. Unfortunately, they are closed Tuesdays!!!! That's the day we're flying into SFO & heading to the HMB area in April.

                1. re: CurryLover

                  Ok, fellow chowhounders - anybody have any good experiences with Sam's Chowder House or Flying Fish Grille in HMB??? Are those good options? I was really impressed with the Ketch Joanne menu but they are not open Tuesdays, which is unfortunately, the day we are flying into SFO. You guys are so helpful & great!

                  1. re: CurryLover

                    Nobody seems to have mentioned it yet, but Barbara's Fish Trap is right over the water in Princeton, in the area "above" and to the north of Ketch Joannes which is down by the pier and fishing boats. Barbara's is very popular, has almost a "divey" atmosphere, and quite good fried goodies like veggies and all sorts of fish. They'll fix your fish by sautéing if you ask, but their frying is very good. Also, their crab cocktail is all crab and lots of it. It's not "fine food", but they're good at what they do in a great location. I take visitors there.

                    Barbara's Fish Trap
                    281 Capistrano Rd, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

                    1. re: Mick Ruthven

                      It's been a while since I've been to Barbara's but it's a great location, and great fried seafood. However, they used to be cash only, something to be aware of.

                      Also, agree with the recommendations for Pasta Moon and Chez Shea on Main Street in HMB. Chez Shea is very casual like a cafe but their food is great.

                    2. re: CurryLover

                      The view at Sam's is great and I'd like to go back sometime to sit outside under the heat lamps. The food was okay, not great. I shared the crab cakes (In February, when crab was in season) and the grilled fish sandwich. I was there for lunch on a weekday and the place was full of families with young children. It was pretty noisy.

                      1. re: CurryLover

                        I wasn't very impressed w/ Sam's Chowder House when we went about 5 months ago. The atmosphere is nice and cozy, but the food was just ok for the price. We had the lobster roll and fish n' chips. If Ketch Joanne isn't open, then I'd try Barbara's Fish Trap mentioned above.