News and Reviews: Marin Magazine

Marin Living magazine

A Day Out at Half Moon Bay

From the best clam chowder outside New England to charming mom-and-pop shops and family-friendly sandy beaches, Half Moon Bay is a coastal paradise.

excerpted from article by Casey Gillespie, May 2021

Sams Chowder House lit up at night from Marin MagazinePhoto by Marc Fiorito

Half Moon Bay, or Spanishtown as it was once called, is only about an hour’s car ride away, but once you are there it feels like you have truly escaped to a seaside paradise. It is named for the stunning crescent-shaped harbor situated just north of town, and it’s home to the world-famous Mavericks (the huge swells that draw surfers from near and far in the winter months). During Prohibition, Half Moon Bay with its dense fog and veiled coves became a smuggler’s dream, drawing Canadian rumrunners, which might explain the collection of exceptional breweries and distilleries in the area. The historic downtown is still home to many vintage buildings and there is nary a chain or corporate store to be found on Main Street. Venture a little farther and you’ll find blissful luxury hotels and some of the best seafood in California. Here are a few stops that should not be missed.


Sam’s Chowder House

It would be a sin to visit Half Moon Bay and not stop here for a lobster roll and a bowl of chowder. Located right on the beach and often voted as having the best seafood around, this place is an institution — and for good reason. No reservations on the weekend (the wait is usually about an hour), but you won’t be sorry.


News and Reviews: Check, Please! Bay Area KIds

Check, Please! Bay Area Kids

Check, Please! Bay Area Kids  Review Sam's Chowder House

Season 14, episode 23, aired Oct. 15, 2019

News and Reviews: Eater San Francisco

Eater San Francisco

Five Things to Know About Eating Inside the New Chase Center

From throwback burgerdogs to luxury wine vaults at the new home of the Warriors

Excerpted from August 28, 2019 article by Becky Duffett

More than 18,000 seats deep, with the largest LED screen in NBA history, the brand new and sparkly Chase Center opens next week — and sports fans and concert goers won’t have to suffer through sad nachos to survive the game. It’s still stadium food though, with thousands of pounds of barbecue and pizza dough, courtesy of food-service corporations Bon Appétit Management Company and Levy Restaurants. But there are also some interesting options from smaller local restaurants, including dim sum, lumpia, and tamales.

Stay tuned for a full guide to all of the food and drink vendors, coming closer to the first concert week. But for now, here are some things to look out for.

Sam's Chowder House lobster roll bites concessions at Chase Center


There are some throwbacks to try

The Burgerdog from Hot Dog Bill’s was the fan favorite with season ticket holders, who got an early taste last week. Dating back to 1950, exclusively served at the Olympic Club, and beloved by Herb Caen, it’s exactly what it sounds like — ground chuck on hot dog bun, hit with special sauce. The other early front-runner seems to be the lobster roll from Sam’s Chowder House, the Half Moon Bay institution, featuring hunks of seafood cloaked in the right amount of mayo.


There’s a gold-trimmed buffet

The “theater boxes,” are a string of 60 connected four-person tables, pictured above, with seats facing the court. It’s all very luxe — a long stretch of red banquets faces a gold-trimmed bar and serving stations, shared by the entire section. Buy a box for four people, and it’s an all-inclusive for food and drinks, including chips and guacamole, pretzel knots with mustards, Nashville-style hot chicken sliders, Sam’s lobster rolls, and more. There will also be carving stations, tossed pastas, salad bars, and a well stocked bar. Chase wasn’t ready to share the price of a four-person box just yet, so stay tuned.

There’s a rooftop bar

The cantina is an open-air bar, way up in the rafters in a dark corner with long bars and lots of high tops. Up to 148 season ticket holders can purchase assigned seats and hang out here all season. If you’re not a season ticket holder, up to 150 people can also just walk in. It’s $55 for a buffet of food and there’s a separate cash bar. Despite the location’s Mexican sounding name, the menu includes a global mashup of comfort foods like salsa and tortilla chips, a wedge salad with blue cheese and bacon, pork belly bao, baked penne pasta, and chocolate s’mores.

There’s a super luxury option too

The 32 courtside lounges, including front-row seats and a full dining experience, are clearly the most luxurious way to take in the entertainment here. Each block of seats in the stadium is linked via a short tunnel to an underground lair, and comes not just with food and drink, but a wine vault, which you can fill with your own bottles or request to have stocked. A dedicated server (which they are calling a “private butler” in a strange nod to a bygone era) is ready to pass appetizers like cheese, charcuterie, and crostini, and hand out and top up glasses of champagne. It’s an obvious play to local tech execs, including wifi, if anyone wants to call it a satellite office. Chase Center wouldn’t confirm pricing, but annual fees will get into seven figures.

News and Reviews: San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Chronicle

10 scenic waterfront restaurants open in the Bay Area right now

Excerpted from August 4, 2020 article by Janelle Bitker


Sam’s Chowder House

Half Moon Bay has several pretty waterfront seafood restaurants, but Sam’s Chowder House is a consistent favorite for good reason. Emulating a classic East Coast chowder spot, the restaurant makes a rich, bacon-studded clam chowder; a soft, buttery lobster roll; and a shrimp Louis amped up with blue crab. The extensive patio overlooks the endless blue of the ocean and, thankfully, is lined with heat lamps.

Sam’s Chowder House. 11:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. 4210 North Cabrillo Hwy., Half Moon Bay. 650-712-0245 or

waterfront outdoor dining in Half Moon Bay


News and Reviews: San Jose Mercury News

Half Moon Bay day trip: 3 great spots to eat

by Jackie Burrell, March 25, 2021

Sam's famous lobster roll sandwich
The famous lobster roll at Sam’s Chowder House (Bay Area News Group)

Whether you’re beach bound or hitting the Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail — or Devil’s Slide to the north — you’ll need to refuel. Here are three tasty options near the coast.

Dad’s Luncheonette

Located in a charming, bright red caboose on Highway 1, this casual roadside counter-service spot hails from chef-owner Scott Clark, who spent three years at San Francisco’s Michelin-starred Saison. Here Clark turns out decked-out burgers ($12) made with grass-fed beef or maitake mushrooms, topped with melty cheese and a soft egg and served on grilled Rosalind Bakery white bread. The potato chips are housemade, the herb salad tossed with a Meyer lemon vinaigrette and there are seasonal specials, too.

Details: The popular eatery menu occasionally sells out — especially on weekends — so if you’re going on the late side, you’ll want to call ahead. Open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday-Sunday at 225 Cabrillo Highway in Half Moon Bay;

The Barn

How can you resist a big ol’ barn that proclaims itself Barnalicious? Add in outdoor beer garden seating, Four Barrel Coffee and locavore fare, including Marin Sun Farm Barn Burgers ($10.50), What the Cluck chicken sandwiches ($15.25), deep-fried Mac Attack ($6.50) and seasonal salads, all made with ingredients from nearby producers. Order at the window, then grab a perch in the tent or garden.

Details: Open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and until 6 p.m. on Sunday at 3068 Cabrillo Highway in Half Moon Bay;

Sam’s Chowder House

This Half Moon Bay seafood mainstay has not yet reopened for indoor dining — renovations are still underway to make the interior safer for guests — but don’t fret. Sam’s full menu is available for alfresco dining. And you can still get those signature lobster rolls ($27) and chowder ($9) at the eatery’s takeout window to enjoy at the beach or on the lower lawn. (That chowder is available by the quart to reheat at home, too.)

Details: Sam’s outdoor dining is open from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on weekdays for reservations and walk-ins, and 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on weekends for walk-ins only. Order takeout online or at the window, just be aware that the weekend wait may be 30 minutes or more. 4210 Cabrillo Highway in Half Moon Bay;