HALF MOON BAY, CA – The highly anticipated Dungeness crab season is officially upon us! These large, hard-shell crabs with a sweet flavor and flaky texture are found along the Northwest coast from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska to Northern California. Half Moon Bay, a gorgeous coastal community located just 40 minutes south of San Francisco, has one of the largest concentrations of this seafood delicacy. There are more than 50 commercial boats fishing off Pillar Point Harbor, the last working fishing harbor between San Francisco and Monterey.
Everyday boats haul in their catch and visitors can purchase live crabs and fresh fish directly from the local fisherman. To find out the day’s catch, call Pillar Point Harbor, (650) 726-8724, ext.3. The crab season runs through the end of June.
For those looking to catch their own crabs, several local companies offer excursions:
Princeton Pantry, (650) 726-0110
Or, satisfy that crab craving at one of the many restaurants throughout Half Moon Bay who are offering mouth-watering crab specials with Dungeness crabs caught right off the harbor. Below are several restaurants that are serving up can’t miss crab dishes this season.
Please also visit www.visithalfmoonbay.org for everything visitors need to plan their trip, from information on cozy inns and luxury coastal resorts, to renowned restaurants, farm visits, golfing, wine tasting, fishing, whale watching, surfing and much more.
Special Note: All locations are in Half Moon Bay unless otherwise noted.
Crab Landing Seafood & Steakhouse
Serving a bountiful selection of crab dishes, newly reopened Crab Landing Seafood & Steakhouse has nine different crab dishes. Pick from traditional options such as freshly cracked crab, Dungeness Crab Cocktail, Crab Louis, and Seafood and Crab Cioppino, or less traditional dishes such as the Bloody Crab and Shrimp Ceviche served in a spicy tomato citrus-cilantro and avocado mix. The Crab Claw Roll is a nice twist on the classic, tossed with a chipotle mayo on a toasted bun. The delectable Not Just Nachos are made with freshly cooked tortilla chips with poblano chile con queso, pico de gallo and smothered with cayenne spiced Dungeness crab and bay shrimp.
Tasty tostadas feature crab and shrimp on crispy tortilla shells with refried black beans and Napa cabbage, along with all the regular fixings. Last but not least is the ravioli, stuffed with crabmeat and topped with a sundried tomato sauce.
And be sure not to miss the Crab Cioppino Feast, held at Crab Landing on Saturday, January 7, complete with live music and dancing. Guests will also enjoy crab cioppino, calamari, wine, salad, bread and dessert. $55 in advance and $65 at the door. 260 Capistrano Road, Princeton by the Sea, (650) 712-1288, www.crablanding.com
Duarte’s Tavern, renowned for their artichoke and green chili soup, is featuring Crab Cioppino made with fresh Dungeness crab, prawns, and clams in a mild tomato-based sauce. Freshly cracked crab is also offered throughout the season. 202 Stage Road, Pescadero, (650) 879-0464, www.duartestavern.com
This crab season, Flavor takes their “California Comfort Food” to the next level with an array of mouthwatering crab dishes. Try the Crab Crostini served with brie, celery, shallots, red bell peppers and Dijon sour cream topped with Dungeness crab meat, as well as their savory crab cakes with dill aioli. Or, opt for the Crab Salad mixed with mango, avocado, cilantro and a Meyer lemon dressing or choose a classic Green Goddess salad with crabmeat.
There are also Crab Croquettes, a classic Cioppino, Crab Pasta and the not-to-miss Crab Mac n’ Cheese. All of these specials will be offered throughout the crab season on a rotating schedule. 10151 N. Cabrillo Hwy, El Granada, (650) 726-8000, www.flavoronthecoast.com
Half Moon Bay Brewing Company
Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, well known for its seasonal ales, is featuring Baked Pesto Infused Dungeness Crab. This unique dish, created by Chef Gaston Alfaro, is poached with Gaston’s secret blend of spices and a splash of Mavericks Ale.
It is then cracked and slathered in his special spinach and basil pesto sauce and put into a very hot oven for a few minutes to create an amazing dish that does not disappoint. For the more traditional crab lover, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company also offers the classic cracked crab with fresh garlic bread and drawn butter. 390 Capistrano Ave., (650) 728-2739, www.hmbbrewingco.com.
Well known for sustainability and supporting local growers and producers, Tuscan-style It’s Italia has three delicious crab dishes offered for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 3 pm: Baked Dungeness Crab Cake; Crab and Shrimp Louisa Salad made with fresh Dungeness crab, baby shrimp, grilled asparagus, avocado, tomato, hardboiled egg and hearts of romaine; and the Grilled Cheesy Crab and Shrimp Salad Sandwich.
This mouthwatering sandwich is made with fresh Dungeness crab, shrimp, celery, house mayonnaise, cheese, grilled and served on toasted French bread with fresh tomatoes and mixed green salad. 401 Main Street, (650) 726-4444, www.itsitaliarestaurant.com
Miramar Beach Restaurant
Located directly across the street from the stunning Pacific, enjoy a spectacular sunset while dining on fresh local crab. Every Thursday in December, Miramar is offering a complete three-course dinner for $19.95, plus 25% off all bottled wines. Thursday evening dinners on December 15and 29feature a choice of classic Seafood Cioppino or whole Dungeness crab served with lemon and butter, plus salad and dessert. These dishes will also be offered as daily specials for lunch and dinner. 131 Mirada Road, (650) 726-9053, www.miramarbeachrestaurant.com .
Moss Beach Distillery
Enjoy a delectable crab dinner while enjoying a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean at Moss Beach Distillery. This season, they are offering a Crab and Avocado Quesadilla made with fresh Dungeness crab, California avocados and jack cheese. Served with fresh pico de gallo, sour cream and a spicy lime aioli, this quesadilla is sure to make the mouth water. 140 Beach Way, Moss Beach, (650) 728-0220, www.mossbeachdistillery.com. Media Contact: Melissa Vega, Sukimouse@sbcglobal.net .
Princeton Seafood Company
Princeton Seafood Company, located in Pillar Point Harbor just steps from the crabbing boats, allows customers to bring in their own freshly caught crustacean, and they’ll cook them in their Fresh Seafood Market for $2 per crab (for $2.50 per crab, they’ll clean and cook them). Head there on Sundays through Thursdays after 4 pm and indulge in a two-person crab dinner for $29.99 that includes garden salads, award-winning clam chowder and crab served hot with drawn butter or cold with cocktail sauce.
Guests can also enjoy crab cakes and crab cocktail appetizers, Crab Louie salad, a crab sandwich on a ciabatta roll plus the traditional crab platter and cioppino entrees. In addition, they will ship crabs anywhere in the US. For those interested in shipping crab, contact Marty at (650) 868-0330. Nine Johnson Pier, (650) 726-CRAB (2722), www.princetonseafood.com.
Sam’s Chowder House
Sam’s Chowder House is offering an array of crab dishes featuring locally caught Dungeness crab. Treat yourself to the savory Sam’s Seafood Cioppino, stewed with crab, jumbo prawns, mussels, clams, and rockfish in special homemade broth. Indulge in the Jumbo Crab Stuffed Prawns, wrapped in bacon and served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and creamy horseradish sauce. Sam’s Authentic Crab Louie is loaded with fresh crabmeat, crisp Fuji apples, iceberg lettuce, cucumber, hard boiled eggs and homemade Louis dressing. Enjoy a Chili Garlic Roasted Crab or a steamed whole Dungeness crab, served with drawn butter and a choice of two delectable sides such as the fresh Giusti Farms Brussels Sprouts with capers and lemon or roasted garlic mashed potatoes. 4210 Cabrillo Hwy North, (650) 712-0245, www.samschowderhouse.com