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Half Moon Bay and Honeymoon Plans

A friend of mine recommended Half Moon Bay as a potential honeymoon spot. I haven't found much on the boards to talk about it so I wanted to ask is there good eats to be had around there? I was looking at either Mavericks' Inn, Cypress Inn or Beach House as possible stay options any of these recommended?

The appeal of HMB is the serenity of the place, but if we can find a nice quiet hotel in the city that might pique our interest. However, we might be interested in staying in the city if there is a nice relaxing place to stay. I've already scouted out a few places I'd love to eat (listed below), but am unsure where to stay to get at these places. Any good locales? We're not much for touristy things. I was thinking of heading to the wharf, but after the warning that it smells awful and there's not much good food, I'm willing to let that go. One hotel that seemed to fit our budget and taste was Hotel Kabuki. Any advice?

We're pretty open to try all kinds of cuisine. We're coming from LA so we can get a good smattering of things here, and are more interested in things we're less likely to encounter here. We're not big drinkers, though I do enjoy microbrews quite a bit. Wouldn't mind exploring the world of wine a bit, but I'm very much in the dark about it and would need to start small. Our favorite foods are Sushi and Korean BBQ.

Thanks so much!

SF interests:
Coi
Gary Danko
Mission Beach Cafe
Zuni
Serpentine
Fog City Diner
Tadich

HMB:
Mezza Luna
Pasta Moon

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Zuni Cafe
1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Fog City Diner
1300 Battery Street, San Francisco, CA 94111

Mezza Luna
459 Prospect Way, Princeton, CA 94038

Gary Danko
800 N Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Mission Beach Cafe
198 Guerrero St., San Francisco, CA 94103

Pasta Moon
315 Main St., Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

Fog City Diner
1300 Battery St, San Francisco, CA 94111

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  1. Definitely check out the Half Moon Bay Inn - an adorable boutique property right on Main Street. Very romantic and luxurious, and yet very affordable. It's all about the beds there - so, so comfy. www.halfmoonbayinn.com. Also, in terms of great restaurants in town, try It's Italia, Cafe Gibralter, Cetrella, Pasta Moon or the Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. (house-brewed beer and great seafood). I'd skip Mezza Luna if I were you.

    For SF, AVOID Fisherman's Wharf at all costs - it's only for tourists and full of crappy restaurants and chotchkey shops. I haven't stayed at the Kabuki, but it looks nice and is right in the heart of little Japantown, which is fun. Also, check out Nopa restaurant - not too far from your hotel. Glad you're going to try Mission Beach Cafe - it is great!

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    Nopa
    560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

    Mission Beach Cafe
    198 Guerrero St., San Francisco, CA 94103

    Cetrella
    845 Main Street, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

    Pasta Moon
    315 Main St., Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

     
    2 Replies
    1. re: tvonisakovics

      Another vote for Cafe Gibraltar -- actually in El Granada, just north of HMB. Stop by Creekside Smokehouse up the street from there for picnic supplies -- some great smoked fish, smoked cheese, and even smoked butter (better than it sounds).

      If you do stay in HMB, Ketch Joanne in Princeton (across the highway from El Granada) is great for breakfast or lunch --we highly recommend the fish and chips. Not a fancy place at all though.

      -----
      Creekside Smokehouse
      280 Avenue Alhambra, El Granada, CA

      Cafe Gibraltar
      425 Ave. Alhambra, El Granada, CA 94018

      Ketch Joanne
      17 Johnson Pier, Princeton-by-the Sea, CA 94018

      1. re: tvonisakovics

        I'd recommend Cafe Gibralter as well... they have an appetizer that features squid. Try it! I've never had such tender squid like that before.
        I would return there...

      2. Well If you are in HMB on Sunday I suggest have the Brunch at Ritz Carlton. Its pricey but I still remember being memorable.
        If you are staying in Japan Town try Bushi Tei fro Brunch or Lunch.

        1. Half Moon Bay is nice, but food wise it is nothing like San Francisco. The greatest local flavor may be at Duarte's, with its great soups, pies, and a killer abalone sandwich.

          Hotel Kabuki is a better bet food wise since it puts you in San Francisco. I have not stayed there, but I have been to several smaller-scale events there and found it very congenial. You're not going to have a view like you would on the water in HMB, but you'll be walking distance from SPQR and lots of Japantown restaurants (not to mention the izakaya in the hotel), plus it's easy to reach lots of other locations by bus or car. San Francisco is way smaller in area than LA; stay anywhere in the city and you can get to a lot of great chow destinations pretty easily.

          Michael

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          Duarte's Tavern
          202 Stage Rd, Pescadero, CA 94060

          SPQR
          1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

          1. Thanks for the recs so far. I still have to iron out the details, but I am going to shoot for the best of both worlds. spend 2-3 days in HMB then finish our trip in SF. We'll be sure to visit Cafe Gibralter, Cetrella and Duarte's while in HMB. Frisco is wide open, but I'm hoping to hit Mission Beach, Tadich, and probably Coi. The rest will remain up to whether or not we feel like exploring. I hear there isn't good transportation to HMB except to rent a car; is this true?

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            Mission Beach Cafe
            198 Guerrero St., San Francisco, CA 94103

            Cetrella
            845 Main Street, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

            13 Replies
            1. re: memco

              I'm not sure what you're looking for in your honeymoon, but I wouldn't really call HMB any sort of destination spot. Just my opinion. You could probably eventually get there by bus, but you should definitely rent a car.

              1. re: emily

                HMB is serene and sleepy...but it's also foggy/overcast most of the time with an average day time temp around 60 degrees in the summer. I wouldn't call it a destination place either but it does feel remote.

              2. re: memco

                I'm really surprised someone would include HMB for a honeymoon. Yes, you need a car: just getting down to different beaches would take a while by foot. There's a bus to HMB if you're super gung ho (county bus, samtrans) about public transit. HMB (and pacifica) get really foggy and cloudy in the summer, so don't expect a fun-and-frolic experience. Get a hotel room with an ocean view and fireplace and expect to stay inside. The sushi restaurant and the nicer restaurant across from it are OK.

                For a romantic rustic experience, consider getting further out of town, like renting a small house in Inverness or Bodega Bay. Further from the airport and city, and much more rural. If you've seen Hitchcock's The Birds, you've seen Bodega Bay. Inverness has a couple of quirky restaurants, and Bodega would be covered on the California board.

                1. re: bbulkow

                  I really concur with bbulkow -- go North if you want a real quiet, beautiful coastal experience. Drive up 1 past Pt Reyes Station, perhaps visit Pt Reyes and stay at Inverness (B&B), definitely have shuck-your-own oysters at Hog Island (Marshall) straight out of Tomales Bay. Head up to Bodega Bay, maybe even Mendocino. Lots of delightful B&Bs in Mendocino and good food. Back by way of redwoods...

                  1. re: bbulkow

                    Thanks for the info. That serene atmosphere might work to our advantage. However, the hotel I'm considering doesn't have a fireplace in the room so that makes the cozy evenings indoors less cozy.

                    I looked into the details of public transit and while technically possible, it isn't ideal, but the budget rules out renting a car so it just might have to do. Thanks for all the help. I've got a great lst of things to eat no matter where we go, which should make the trip that much more enjoyable.

                    1. re: memco

                      Ah! Budget.

                      Just be warned that HMB is half of a bedroom community for silicon valley, and half agricultural town that happens to be coastal. It's not that interesting and what is interesting requires a car. Like going down to Pescadero. 1 is a great driving road speckled with views and beaches, built for afternoon drives. Without that, a pretty dull town.

                      Really, I'd just do SF. There's *lots* more to do on a budget. SF is a pretty darned good cheap eat town. SF is a hub for transit, so getting out to, say, baker beach (my personal favorite) is fairly easy - just walk down past Robbin William's house. And you can get all the way to pt reyes by ferry and bus in just a couple hours, muir woods, etc.

                      Here's a link to the Chron's bargain bites list, which isn't a bad place to start:
                      http://www.sfgate.com/food/bargains/

                      1. re: bbulkow

                        Here's an example wonderful cheap day. Walk down to the Ferry building and grab breakfast and picknic supplies. Walk to union square. Take the 76 bus all the way to the marin headlands. Walk down to the lighthouse and enjoy the most stunning views of the pacific and the city. Eat your picknic. After a few hours, take the bus back, but get off at the south parking lot for the golden gate bridge. Walk halfway out the bridge, or walk down to fort point, or both. Touristy but nice. Instead of taking the 76 bus back, you're hungry now, so take the 28 bus through the presidio down to Geary. Get off at Geary, and you've got a lot of choices. 5 blocks to Boudin bakery, the less touristy sister of the SF original. Walk one block to Clement and down the street, a real melting pot of asian (and russian) immigrants. Spices is excellent Szechuan. Korean Village BBQ is well regarded. Poke around, follow your nose, food in this neighborhood is excellent and cheap. When you're tired, just walk back to Geary, and catch the 38L back to union square. Probably worth getting the muni day pass. That's scratch a lot of the ocean view itch and have some great eats (far better than HMB on both counts!)

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                        Korean Village Restaurant
                        4609 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118

                        1. re: bbulkow

                          I'd strongly second this suggestion as a great way to spend a visit to San Francisco, whether or not you are on a budget, and whether or not you are a visitor! Exercise the same degree of caution as you would in any big city and you'll have many lovely memories of your honeymoon.

                          1. re: pilinut

                            If one has a phone capable of running Google Maps (iphone android symbian blackberry), the public transit system can be used to very great effect without worry, unlike the fogging around and careful planning that was required previously. You just speak the name of where you're going and get the fastest public transit route from your current location, what can beat that? This single tool will greatly increase the cheap enjoyment of SF, as the public transit is extensive (if not on time).

                            Knowing where you're going so you can focus on your surroundings (and enjoying your surroundings!) is the best degree of caution.

                            Another of my favorite walks is Castro St station to 16th and mission station via Mission Dolores park. Great, great eats on that path, like BiRite Creamery. And if you get lucky with the Dolores street food, more's the bonus.

                            -----
                            Mission Dolores
                            3321 16th St, San Francisco, CA

                          2. re: bbulkow

                            The San Francisco City Pass is a pretty good deal...7 day Muni pass, cable car ride, 5 museums (MOMA, Legion of Honor, Cal Academy of Science) plus some tourist stuff...$65 bucks. You save about half and you skip the lines.

                            http://www.citypass.com/san-francisco

                        2. re: memco

                          If you can't rent a car, I don't think you want to be staying in Half Moon Bay. The most interesting eats, like Duarte's, are not easily accessible any other way.

                          Michael

                      2. re: memco

                        Concur with the other posters here; without a car, what you can do and see in Half Moon Bay is going to be EXTREMELY limited. A friend and I drove down from San Francisco this afternoon on a lark and it took us exactly two hours to walk and shop the entire town.

                        We ended up driving down to Cafe Gibraltar for dinner (about 5 miles north of HMB) and love that restaurant, but without a car, would be quite a hike.

                        My ex-boyfriend took me to HMB for my birthday several years ago and quite frankly, by the end of our second day, we were pretty bored. I think you would be much, much happier in San Francisco, especially if you don't have a vehicle. There is infinitely more to do (or not do) without a vehicle. You could spend two solid weeks exploring and eating around San Francisco without a car, but in HMB, I think you will find yourself severely limited as to your options without a vehicle to access anything worthwhile.

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                        Cafe Gibraltar
                        425 Ave. Alhambra, El Granada, CA 94018

                        1. re: memco

                          If you want to eat at coi, i would recommend making a reservation as soon as you can.

                        2. I live just north of HMB, and I'd agree that you do need a car. HMB itself isn't very big or particularly interesting. With a car, there's plenty you can do. The drive down to Santa Cruz is very relaxing on Highway 1 and quite beautiful. Sea lions congregate at Anno Nuevo, Princeton by the sea is pretty cool, Tunitas Creek road is a very nice drive, Pescadero is nice, Duarte's is a good place to eat there. Several good and interesting stops along the coastside, including Cameron's zany tribute to London, with the double decker smoking buses parked outside. Cafe Gibralter and Ketch Joanne. But you do need a car. The best thing about being on the San Mateo Coast is that you can get into the city pretty quickly. Even if you have a car, I'd recommend taking BART into the city and using public transportation. Driving in SF, particularly downtown, can make you crazy. .

                          -----
                          double decker
                          465 Grove St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                          Ketch Joanne
                          17 Johnson Pier, Princeton-by-the Sea, CA 94018

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: chuckl

                            Tunitas Creek on a car, the upper portion means dodging bicyclists on a weekend. I feel a little antisocial even when I take my motorcycle. But a loop of that and eat at Alice's among the redwoods, and/or several hikes in the redwoods off Skyline, then back down 84 is a nice afternoon. Can be done on a bicycle if you are very serious about bicycling.

                          2. Hi

                            In the city, we stay at the Harbor Court hotel, it is a nice place, comfy rooms, (small) with great bedding and an evening wine and cheese (I have never done this) It is across the street from the Ferry building. We often go from the ferry building for the farmers market on Saturday AM, to one of the great museums in SF. One day we went to Golden Gate park and walked, came upon a jazz band, listened for a while and ended up at the De Young.

                            At the ferry building, I love the Jicama salad at Mijita, and we eat breakfast at the Rose stand. Great pancakes, and breakfast sandwichs and my husband always gets oysters.

                            HMB is great, for an afternoon, but without a car, not a great choice for a honeymoon, the downtown is only a couple of blocks long.

                            have fun

                            -----
                            Mijita
                            1 Ferry Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94111

                            1. I would recommend the Beach House, most of the rooms face the ocean and it's just steps away. Price is a little high on the weekend ($395, week days are $195), but hey, it's your honeymoon. There is also a sitting area and a fireplace; plus a "kitchenette" with a small refrigerator. We've stayed there a couple fo times, and have brought our own wine and cheese.

                              Sam's Chowder House is right next door. I was a little skeptical at first but their lobster roll is very good. Most of the other items are pretty standard fish house fare, good but the angels didn't sing. They have music outside on the week ends which you can hear from the hotel.

                              Same with Duarte's, except for their abalone sandwich, it's the abalone itself, the rest of the sandwich is pretty standard. Not sure if they always have it on the menu or not.

                              -----
                              Sam's Chowder House
                              4210 Cabrillo Hwy, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Dawgmommy

                                Wow, thanks for all the input. Sadly I didn't get to read most of it until after booking the hotel. I think I can still cancel it, but that all depends on being able to find another place in the city. However, HMB was on my list because it's such a sleeper town–I want a break I don't want lots of people or noise, etc.

                                I'll look into Harbor Court. As of now, we have a few nights at HMB inn and then a few days at Hotel Kabuki. I figured this way, we get a little time away and get some fun in the city.

                                We can afford a rental for a day or two so maybe if we get bored, we can always grab one and head out for a day.

                                Again, thanks for all the help.

                                1. re: memco

                                  With a car you'll be more then fine. Have fun.

                                  If you go to Pescadero or drive around, beside Duarte's there's also Taqueria De Amigos and Haley Farm (working goat farm, very good goat cheese) and Pie Ranch further down.

                                  -----
                                  Pie Ranch
                                  2080 Cabrillo Highway, Pescadero, CA

                                  1. re: memco

                                    As stated. HMB is pretty sleepy and you need a car. Great things to do there are horseback riding, walking along the "foggy" beach, and going to the tidepools at the Moss Beach Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. A highway cuts through the town, so it is not fun to walk hence the need for a car. Its just not a really "cute" place. I would prefer Pacific Grove, Stinson, or Pt. Reyes area on the coast. But I visit HMB often (love the tidepools - lot of seals and pelicans out there).