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Half Moon Bay: Sam's Chowder House4210 North Cabrillo Hwy , Phone: (650) 712-0245
Closing day: None
Reviewed by: Jonathan from UK, review #4042
Wonderful food; great view if you're lucky with the weather!
A fabulous setting, overlooking the bay, with lovely big windows, and an outside terrace if it's warm enough.
The food is superb: a great variety of ultra-fresh seafood, skillfully prepared, and beautifully presented. The three of us shared several starters: the seafood bruschetta was piled high with generous amounts of scallops, shrimps & calamari, topped with avocado strips, and sitting on basil leaves with a drizzle of oil. And the lobster ceviche was brilliantly vivid in flavour.
2 of us had the famous lobster roll as a main. Wonderful, buttery lobster, and a little pot of coleslaw on the side. Philippa's grilled salmon on vegetables was lovely - I can't remember the exact description on the menu, but looking at my photo reminds me of the imaginative and delicious mixture of vegetables, with a buttery-creamy sauce.
We were pretty full by then, but shared a slice of the (also justly famous) key lime pie. I have a photo of a totally empty plate with three forks on it, which says it all!
Lovely, friendly service, and very reasonable prices given the quality of the food. One to return to - maybe when the sun is shining!
Reviewed by: Roz from USA, review #3428
The food is so good that it almost makes you forget about the amazing view.
My son lives in Half Moon Bay, and has sampled pretty much all the restaurants in that delightful little Coastside town. Sam's Chowder House is at the top of his list, and from the two or three times we've gone there with him, we can definitely understand why. Some restaurants with the spectacular ocean view that Sam's enjoys might coast along on that. (Check out the web cam on their site to see what I mean about the view.) But the food at Sam's is so fabulous that it can actually make you forget how beautiful the setting is.
Sam's claims to be a California version of a New England chowder house. I lived a long time in New England, and have never eaten so well at a chowder house there, as I have at Sam's. New England has good fish, but Sam's is a lot more creative in its menu than most seafood restaurants in the Northeast.
On our last visit there our group of seven shared an assortment of starters, each one more delicious than the last. Fried calamari, ahi tuna marinated in sesame, soy, and ginger, clams steamed in white wine, and crab louis were all wonderful. For a main dish, everyone decided on the local halibut, which was so fresh we swore it must have been swimming around outside just that morning. It was grilled and served with a perfectly seasoned light cream sauce, accompanied by fresh artichokes and fingerling potatoes. Lunch entrees are in the $20 - $25 range, but there are sandwich options for well under $20.
Sam's is well known for its key lime pie, which deserves its reputation. But the Meyer lemon pudding cake and banana bread pudding, also shared around the table, were every bit as good.
There was not one wrong note in the meal. Service was very friendly and professional. We had a little girl with us, who was well taken care of with crayons and a children's menu that included her favorite mac and cheese. Sam's absolutely deserves its San Francisco Examiner award for the Best Waterfront Dining in the Bay Area.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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