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Nov 22, 2008 07:17 AM

New Restaurants in Half Moon Bay

The Harbor Village complex at Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay and across Highway One from El Granada is finally opening up after a long delay. Crab Landing, the big view restaurant is now open for business. I have not eaten there, but stopped by yesterday at lunch time to check it out and get a copy of the menu.

Of course this is a water-view, touristy restaurant, so that must be taken into account. The interior is a rather odd combination of sleepy fish house (a mural with sea birds and anchors) mixed with a sterile corporate hotel feel and accoutrements like a trendy waterfall wall. There are two floors, two bar areas (one with a lovely view of the harbor), and outdoor seating as well. There is a full sushi bar on the first floor and also an oyster bar serving six kinds of oysters -- an order of six is $12, except for the Kumamoto, which is $15. Crab and lobster dishes are at market prices. The bars serve wine, beer, and signature cocktails. The fare is typical and straightforward. Appetizers include everything from roasted artichokes, fried calamari, and ahi tuna poke and range in price form $7 - $14. There are also entree-sized soups and salads (e.g. shrimp or crab louie, mango salad) and seafood and steak entrees. Seafood ranges from $22 - $26 (sides included) and steak from $26 to $36 for a 20 oz porterhouse. The hostesses told me the items and prices are for the opening menu and are subject to change.

Next to Crab Landing is the indoor shopping center -- The Shoppes at Harbor Village (and only one shop was open when I went) and across from this is the Mezza Luna Cafe, an offshoot of the very fine Mezza Luna Italian restaurant down the street in Princeton. It is still under construction and will be “opening soon.” Am hopeful this will be a place to get something casual like coffee, panini, pastries, etc., but who knows? There is also space for outdoor seating.

The Oceano Hotel, which is next to Crab Landing, has been open for a while and they also have a quiet bar/lounge situated off the lobby that serves some food. You can sit at the bar or at tables. There is also a very small outdoor seating space with a harbor view.

Crab Landing will be open for Thanksgiving. Today would be a beautiful day to come over and check out the stellar view, as the sun is shining -- at least for now! And there were very few diners yesterday as I think many people are still unaware that it's finally open.

Another newish place in Half Moon Bay is Sofia’s Steakhouse, which is in the San Benito House Inn on Main Street in downtown Half Moon Bay. I have yet to go, but it looks as though the lovely dining room of the original restaurant, which has not operated for several years, is still intact.

And Half Moon Bay Kitchen and Cocktails or the Half Moon Bay Inn, as it was also known, on the corner of Mill Street and Main has now closed. It’s Italia will be moving into the space in January, or so I hear, and I’m not sure what will happen to the old It’s Italia in Stone Pine Center, which is currently still open. The Half Moon Bay Inn didn’t have the best food, but the space was beautiful and it did offer a wide variety on its menu that could please friends with disparate tastes and also wasn't overly expensive. We can always use some variety here in HMB and I am sorry to see the place go.

Crab Landing
260 Capistrano Road
Half Moon Bay

Sofia’s Steakhouse
356 Main Street
Half Moon Bay

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  1. It's Italia, Half Moon Bay, CA

    Where do I start?!! I guess this is my third or fourth visit to the restaurant and the first time to the new location on Main Street. Things started off well when the friendly staff seated up at a window today. However, I ordered the carbonara for lunch and then things started going downhill....The carbonara was basically pasta, pancetta, and SCRAMBLED EGGS. I called the waiter over to tell him that the dish had been overcooked and that the eggs had not properly incorporated into the dish. He looked at it and said it looked okay but he would take it to the chef. There was a lot of discussion in the open kitchen area but they made me another plate and brought it back. If anything, it was worse this time - big pieces of scrambled eggs. I told the waiter that there was still a problem and that I should probably order something else. I also asked to speak to the manager, who frankly should have rushed to the table. The waiter came back to the table to remove my plate and give me the menu again. He said the manager would come to the table later. I told him that I wanted her to see the dish so she came over. She said it looked fine. She said she was sorry that I did not like it but she checked with the chef and that is how he makes carbonara (with chunks of scrambled eggs instead of smooth sauce of cream and egg). At that point, I told her that I particularly disappointed because I actually had a previous bad experience with the restaurant and this was suppose to be their chance to redeem themselves. I had ordered several pizzas for my son's birthday party at Lemos Farm on March 8th and when I called a few days ahead to confirm the number of pizzas, I ended up speaking to the owner, Betsy, who told my order had never been placed (I gave her the name of the person I had placed my order with) and that March 8th was in fact the day they were moving to their new location. She apologized and said that she would try to make it up to us if we ever came to restaurant. Frankly, it was a huge pain to find another pizza place at the last minute but that is another story.

    The waiter returned to our table a couple of times after that to question me on how I made carbonara! Enough already! I am a decent cook and I know carbonara does not come out with chunks of scrambled egg in it! The staff and management just needed to be professional, apologize and move on.

    On a positive note, the panino burger was very good and 1.5 hours into our visit there I was happy to eat it without being challenged by the staff. My friend's spinich salad was very good as well. The strawberry short cake dessert was okay but seemed to be missing its advertised triple sec sauce or any sauce for that matter. The cappuchino was excellent.

    At the end, I found the experience just trying and exhausting. There was not even a price adjustment for the hassle of it all! I guess I can be grateful that I was not charged for the carbonara. I do not think we will be returning there. I chalk it up to lack of professional service. Pasta Moon is far more professional with consistent quality in food. That is where you'll find us!

    3 Replies
    1. re: SanMateoFoodie


      It's Italia Pizzeria
      401 Main Street, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

      1. re: SanMateoFoodie

        I really like It's Italia. I'm there a couple of times a month on average. They have great spaghetti, something I don't usually find at other restaurants. I also really like most of their salads. If you want soupy carbonara, you should definitely try Milano, the restaurant that went into the old It's Italia space. Yuck!

        1. re: LindaRacine

          Usually we only get take-out pizza at It's Italia, but we went for a late lunch a few weeks ago, our first time dining in the new location. Enjoyed my prawn Caesar salad and my husband had a good burger. Ate at the bar because there was a party at the outdoor patio. As for Milano, why oh why do we need another Italian restaurant in the area? I've had no desire to try it.

      2. Since we're posting to old threads - I always enjoy whatever restaurant is in the San Benito House. I think I went to Sofia's about a year back, and enjoyed it. Not enough to be a destination, but well enough to remember why I like San Benito House.

        My gf had a dry ice lemon drop to drink - well made, and fun. I remember the steak that night - maybe not the steak dreams are made of, but a very passable steak.

        It's the atmosphere of the place that gets me, with the strange dual swinging doors to the kitchen, the massive distances between the tables. It's all peculiar to our modern restaurant sensibilities, which is why I like it so.

        On years when the dining room isn't open, it seems there's always casual food available in the bar. I don't know exactly how much of the restaurant menu is available in the bar, but there's nice booth seating and a cozy atmosphere.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bbulkow

          Haven't tried Sofia's yet, but I always liked the atmosphere at San Benito House.

        2. Another new place adjacent to Crab Landing is the Mezza Luna Cafe, which is owned by the same folks who run the fine Italian restaurant Mezza Luna in Princeton. This is a very casual place for dessert, gelato, coffee, etc. and also some lunch fare -- focaccia pizzas, salads, etc. It's a good addition to the area, though I wish they'd spent a little more time on decor instead of doing something so generic. There is also outdoor seating.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Wendy_san

            Have you tried the gelato? They say on the website they make it

            Caffe Mezza Luna
            240 Capistrano Rd, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

            1. re: rworange

              I try and avoid gelato -- will get too hooked. But I am happy to do it for research and report back. :-) They do have some very different (to me) housemade Italian pastries that I'd never had before that were quite tasty. They don't seem to have them at their restaurant.

          2. The original comment has been removed