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Essential food to try in Half Moon Bay?

Me and the other half will be going to HMB for a little vacation weekend next month, from doing a little reading around it looks like some of the most popular places include Flying Fish Grill, Duarte's, Cafe Gibraltar, and Barbara's Fish Trap. But what are the best things to order at these places assuming we will only be visiting once per place? By the way, we are both seafood fans, and pretty adventurous, so you could recommend any kind of food really.

Also, anyone know what the best place for a really good quality pizza is?

Thanks for any help, I really appreciate it. I want to make it a nice vacation for her. :)

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Flying Fish Grill
99 San Mateo Rd, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

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

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

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  1. I live in Half Moon Bay but i'm not really a fish eater so I cant comment too much on what to specifically order fish wise. But I can tell you at Duarte's the artichoke soup and the artichoke omelet are awesome. For a romantic dinner out Pasta moon is very good. For lunch our favorite taqueria is Tres Amigos. For a great sandwich check out the San Benito house, where they bake their own bread each day. For sushi we love Shiki. Once a week we stop into Sams chowder house which has a great scene with a view. I always get a burger which is juicy and is served with fries seasoned with old bay seasoning. My wife is a fish eater and always raves about whatever she orders. And for pizza? My favorite restaurant in HMB It's Italia. http://www.itsitaliarestaurant.com/ I always order a Montara mountain. I hope that helps you.

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    Shiki
    1737 Post St Ste 360, San Francisco, CA 94115

    2 Replies
    1. re: KMM650

      Thanks so much, that's a big help. I'll definitely recommend the soup and omlette to her at Duartes. The fresh daily baked bread sandwiches at San Benito sound good too. And thanks for the pizza tip (pancetta on a pizza? I must try this Montara mountain!).

      1. re: KMM650

        Thanks all for the helpful replies... Ketch Joanne and Chez Shea are ones I never heard of, more options to think about!

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        Chez Shea
        408 Main St, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

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

      2. Anyone know what's best to try at Cafe Gibraltar and Barbaras Fish Trap? Thanks.

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

        5 Replies
        1. re: Argent3

          Barbara's Fish Trap also operates a little "to go" shack next to the restaurant proper. I like to get fish and chips from the shack, then eat them while sitting on the beach.

          According to the website, they only operate the shack on weekends and holidays.

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

          1. re: bayareabeagle

            I used to love Cetrella, but things have changed there and I've not been since so can't really speak to the food now. It was fabulous before, they always had one pizza special and it was always amazing. Plus a lot of other good dishes as well.

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            Cetrella
            845 Main Street, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

          2. re: Argent3

            Cafe Gibraltar will always have a fresh fish of the day, if you are focused on seafood, that will probably be a great bet. Their Cassola, a mixed seafood stew with a tomato based broth is also lovely. Their menu changes frequently.

            The same owners have a casual restaurant, Chez Shea, on Main Street in downtown HMB that has excellent Chilaquiles (and a wide range of other dishes) for lunch and brunch.

            Barbara's Fish Trap is very casual. It focuses on fried seafood. Keep in mind that they don't take reservations (put your name on the list and go across the street to the brewpub for a beer) and are cash only.

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

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

            Chez Shea
            408 Main St, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

            1. re: Argent3

              Note that the portions at Barbara's are huge. The one time the SO and I (late 20s, early 30s) went to Barbara's, we enjoyed it very much, but would have been fine with one entree between the two of us. The fresh grilled fish was delicious and very fresh. Also, cash only.

              Also, Barbara's clam chowder is dairy free, which is fabulous for me, but definitely a different sort of chowder than the traditional style.

              1. re: Argent3

                We'd been going to Barbara's for several years, and I felt like it had gone downhill a bit. Or I got tired of fried fish. Lately we've been walking down to Ketch Joanne for fish tacos and sitting out in front, weather permitting

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

              2. I like the fish and chips at Flying Fish Grill...very well prepped and very fair price. Chez Shea is a nice place for brunch.

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                Chez Shea
                408 Main St, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

                1. Duarte's should be easy for you for a single visit:

                  1) Either the artichoke or chili soup. There are two of you, so order one of each.
                  2) Abalone sandwich. Super super good.
                  3) Fruit pie - whatever fruit is in season is best, and the olallieberry is always good.

                  Michael

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

                  1. Just a quick update for those interested, we went to HMB finally for that little vacation, our findings:

                    -Flying Fish Grill- tried the standard fish taco w/ added guac and jack cheese, it was superb. Just really nicely done fish with great tortilla and fixings. The crabby cheesy bread was really good and rich and comforty.

                    -Duarte's- exceptional Cioppino, fresh and delicious and worth every penny of the thirty plus bucks. Nice crispy onion rings. Really really great crab sandwich, excellent flavor and not too much mayo, perfect seafood sandwich. Artichoke soup was pretty decent too. Just a great visit.

                    -Chez Shea- very well made food with great ingredients. Their legendary chilaquiles w/fried egg was very good and seemed quite authentic (though I'm not an expert on Mexican food). Torta sandwich w/ homemade chips was a great combination of flavors and very satisfying.

                    - Cafe Gibraltar- other half said the Cipporones (spelling? the calamari dish they're famous for) were flat out the best she's ever had. I'm not really into calamari, so I didn't try them. But the mezza platter was very good, with a lot of variety and different exotic flavors in the mouth. Nice eclectic little place with a lot of personality.

                    -Ketch Joanne- went as soon as they opened for breakfast, calamari steak sandwich was ok, cooked pretty well, but nothing amazing. The real star was the Cod fish and chips (I requested beer batter, don't think it's the standard batter)- simply some of the best fish and chips I've EVER had, and I am originally from the UK, so I know what I'm talking about.

                    - San Benito house- picked up a ham and swiss sandwich on wheat with everything on it, for the trip back, and it was incredible. The bread was just one of those things that has to be tasted to understand how good it is. Great top quality meat etc within the sandwich, but the bread makes it. Sandwich was made very quickly too, they have it down to a fine art. We weren't crazy about the cranberry cookie we bought from them, but who cares about cookies when the main item is that good. Definitely will return to this place if there's a next time.

                    -Tried to get some desert from the Pie Ranch but it was closed (I guess they're only open on weekends? though I'm not sure about that)... But at least we got a nice little drive up Hwy 1, lots of nice little places to stop and enjoy the view of the Pacific along there. So it wasn't a waste or anything.

                    PS. This post might sound like I'm overly enthusiastic about everywhere I go, but I'm really not. We just happened to go to a bunch of really good eateries. Thanks again to everyone who helped me out with advice.

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

                    Pie Ranch
                    2080 Cabrillo Highway, Pescadero, CA

                    1. Not in HMB proper, but 13 miles south on H1 is Gorilla BBQ. Pretty decent BBQ. The lines can be long. Popular items like the brisket sells out. Take out only.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: letsindulge

                        Actually, Gorilla BBQ is NORTH of Half Moon Bay - in Pacifica.

                        I personally think its hype is do to being on The Food Network and is only passable 'Que, but I live in the area and can get it easily on weekdays when there is no line.

                        I'd much rather drive to Smoking Pig in San Jose.

                        1. re: CarrieWas218

                          Yes, it's absolutely NORTH! LOL! I've had Smoking Pig as well and it's on par to Gorilla IMO. I've now heard that The Cats just outside of Los Gatos on H17 is cranking out some good BBQ. Personally I like my BBQ the best.