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In the highest price ranges you can expect great food and lovely ambiance, even breath-taking views. At the Ritz Carlton Resort, http://www.ritzcarlton.com/RESORTS/HA... lunch or dinner is a wonderful experience. As you drive up to the hotel you'll smell the sea breeze and be greeted by valet parking attendants - be sure to have your valet parking ticket validated in the restaurant. Enter the hotel and you'll see beautiful wood detailing, shiny floors, huge floral arrangements, and a fireplace in the center room, where you can elect to have drinks or a light lunch. A few more steps and you're in the Conservatory lounge, with floor to ceiling windows showcasing a superb view of the ocean. You can enjoy lunch or tea here, and the food is good but not superb - what makes it special is the atmosphere. A cheeseburger will run you $18. To the side of the Conservatory lounge is Navio, an excellent restaurant that also has a gorgeous view of the ocean. The food is trendy but excellent, with sauces and presentation that you'd expect at the finest and most expensive restaurants. The wine list is also top notch. Dinner is a leisurely affair, and the deserts are rich and exquisite. But the best part of a visit to the Ritz is a walk around the grounds, oceanfront.
In downtown Half Moon Bay you will find these restaurants:
Slightly less expensive than the Ritz Carlton with food that is just as good or better, is Cetrella: http://www.cetrella.com/ It is located in the town of Half Moon Bay in a lovely building - but there is no view, unless you count the gorgeous tile flooring installed by master craftsman Jay Delaney. The atmosphere here is more bustling and fun than at the Ritz Carlton, and the menu includes a wider variety of choices. I've never had a bad meal here and reviews the restaurant continues to receive support that.
The Pasta Moon restaurant: http://www.pastamoon.com/ on Main Street. The lasagna is the best I've ever had, and the salads are excellent too. Cute atmosphere and reasonably priced food.
For sandwiches, go to the San Benito House: http://www.sanbenitohouse.com/ . The bread is freshly baked and the sandwiches are large - you may find that one is enough to share between two people. The only downside to this place is that there is no indoor seating, and on rainy days you won't want to sit at tables outside.
Tres Amigos on the Pacific Coast Highway has good Mexican food at an economical price. The locals eat here, and it's not fancy but they get a lot of repeat business from folks who know how Mexican food should be served.
North of Half Moon Bay you will find these good restaurants:
In Princeton harbor is Half Moon Bay Brewing Company is known for its beer (brews its own) and live music. The food includes seafood, sandwiches, and other good food. The restaurant has a view of the harbor area in Half Moon Bay and is quite popular, so best to reserve in advance. Prices range from $$ to $$$ dependent on what one orders.
Barbara's Fish Trap is right across the street from Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, is extremely casual and has a limited menu, but locals think they have the best Fish 'n Chips in the area, and lines form on weekends. They don't accept credit cards so bring cash.