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Nov 8, 2010 04:49 PM

Unlimited budget: top-notch food with an oceanfront view?

(first-time caller, long-time reader)

This may be an impossible request, but: I'm looking for near-Michelin-caliber cuisine with an oceanfront view anywhere in the Bay Area. I've been researching carefully, and have only found a handful of options which come close to the level I'm hoping for.

I've followed this board's recommendation for years, and haven't seen a thread which really provides a good solution. Maybe there isn't one. Of course, most small town restaurants naturally tend to feature old-fashioned menus, and living in San Francisco spoils us all. But surely there must be some option, somewhere?

My wish list:

-- directly on the ocean or an oceanfront bluff, not a bay
-- patio or terrace for outdoor dining
-- locally sourced seasonal ingredients, line-caught fish, grass-fed beef, lots of fresh produce, etc.

An example of a contender might be La Costa Nera, which won a Bib Gourmand rating this year. I haven't been personally. Perhaps the Ritz in Halfmoon Bay, as well as the Olema Inn (which I thought was solid, but isn't strictly waterfront of course).

Non-contenders include places like the Moss Beach Distillery: costs notwithstanding, the menu is pretty dull and I walked away from our table after reading it last year.

Any advice or ideas, other than to give up? Have I missed any gems? I've also asked this question on the larger California board, with reference to non-SF locations.

Thanks in advance!

Olema Inn
10000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Olema, CA 94946

Moss Beach Distillery Restaurant
140 Beach Way, Moss Beach, CA 94038

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    1. re: pikawicca

      If you wish to go further north there are more choices
      Albion River Inn
      Rivers End
      a few more also

      1. re: celeryroot

        Thanks everybody for the tips! Much appreciated.

        Thanks, yes, we're looking up North as well. Since the Bay Area board claims ownership of some prime coastal real estate, I wanted to check here too. Agreed Mendocino / Little River may have some good options (e.g. Ravens', La Petit Rive, etc.)

    2. Are you thinking of lunch? This time of year, there's nothing to see at dinner.

      I haven't been to La Costanera, but I had the chef's food at Mochica. He's great.

      Navio at The Ritz Carlton
      1 Miramontes Point Road, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

      La Costanera
      8150 Cabrillo Highway, Montara, CA 94037

      3 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        It doesn't appear the the Ritz has an outdoor dining area. Honestly, there are so few days a year when you can count on dining comfortably (rain in winter, wind in spring, fog in summer) in Half Moon Bay that I can see why they don't bother. La Costanera is only open for dinner, so until we go back on daylight savings it's not an practical option.

        La Costanera
        8150 Cabrillo Highway, Montara, CA 94037

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          One of the bottom five meals of my life was Sunday brunch at the HMB Ritz Carlton. Not worthy of the Ritz, not worthy at all.

        2. re: Robert Lauriston

          Sorry for not being clear about timing. I'm planning a dinner sometime in late May or early October next year. Agreed, I love the chef's food (and modern Peruvian cuisine, in general).

        3. Could I ask why a bay view wouldn't work? That opens up a lot. And, as Robert says, it's going to be lunch only. Right?

          1 Reply
          1. re: c oliver

            A bay view is lovely, I agree, and there are lots of great bayfront choices which come to mind in SF, Marin, etc. The Cavallo Point suggestion below, for example, and La Mar Cebicheria Peruana.

            In this case, I'm planning a dinner for a partner who loves the ocean, and that's not my area of expertise, so I figured I'd make that part of the request.

            Sorry for not being clear on timing: am thinking early dinner in late May or early October, when we'll have more daylight and a few non-foggy days.


            La Mar Cebicheria Peruana
            Pier 1 1/2, The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111

            Cavallo Point
            601 Murray Circle, Sausalito, CA

          2. Take at look at the Murray Circle Restaurant at Cavallo Point, on the Marin side of the Golden Gate Bridge:


            Murray Circle
            601 Murray Circle, Sausalito, CA 94965

            Cavallo Point
            601 Murray Circle, Sausalito, CA

            2 Replies
              1. re: foodwithaview

                Sorry, Murray Circle has no view. It is close to the water and you can leave over the railing to see the edge of the bay, but it is too far off the water's edge...

                Murray Circle
                601 Murray Circle, Sausalito, CA 94965

            1. A spot to consider might be Murray Circle at Fort Baker/Cavallo Point Lodge. If you sit on the patio, you can see the bay, the GG bridge, and SF. The food is seasonal, pretty local, and phenomenal (1 Michelin star).

              Murray Circle
              601 Murray Circle, Sausalito, CA 94965

              2 Replies
              1. re: curlygirl17

                Can you sit on patio during January for brunch or will it be too cold? Do they have outdoor heaters? I realize that rain can be an issue too.

                1. re: DebitNM

                  don't know if they have outdoor heaters, but the weather in January in that area could be beautiful and sunny, or rainy and cold. Ift is not raining, eating outside is likely doable. But January is the middle of rainy season.