A visit to Half Moon Bay – an arc of sweet seaside hamlets less than an hour south of San Francisco – feels like a foray to another place and time.
Close enough for a day trip, and packed with great things to do (and great places to eat!), Half Moon Bay is on my radar whenever I want a change of scene – sans passport or plane tickets.
When my childhood friend Maria visited recently, we took advantage of a deep discount rate at the Oceano Hotel and Spa, right on the harbor in the town of Princeton-by-the-Sea.
Thanks to the cooling effects of the Pacific Ocean, Half Moon Bay’s climate is much like San Francisco’s, with fresh breezes and lots of fog, even when it’s sunny and hot a few miles inland.
And also like San Francisco, Half Moon Bay has been a hub of both commercial and sport fishing for generations. Seafood restaurants abound – everything from casual seaside shacks to white-tablecloth places.
But nothing is fussy or pretentious. In the three days we spent in the area, only one of our meals was even close to a splurge.
You’ve already seen (Click Here) one memorable lunch – lobster rolls at Sam’s Chowder House.
We also did a few takeout meals, and we took advantage of value-priced specials at a couple of restaurants.
On our first evening, we’d spent so much time exploring that when we arrived at our dinner destination – Seville Tapas – it was ready to close.
A charming little place with indoor-outdoor seating and a firepit – where you order off the wall menu and pick up at the counter – Seville Tapas offers a wide range of Spanish specialties, tapas-style.
The gracious gal behind the counter offered to pack up our choices to go – and we jumped at the chance, knowing that we had a chilled bottle of cava (quality Spanish bubbly) waiting for us in the hotel room.
So Maria and I spent the evening in front of our cozy little fireplace, watching TV and sampling from our treasure trove.
Garlicky shrimp with spicy red pepper flakes. A beautifully seasoned crab sandwich to share. A generous bowl of cured olives, caperberries, and gherkins.
And my favorite, Jamon Iberico – paper-thin slices of prosciutto-like cured ham from acorn-fed pigs. Plus, of course, the cava to sip with every tasty morsel – which included an assortment of house desserts.
I’ll be back tomorrow to share some more treats from Half Moon Bay!
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