If you read my first blog, you know that I’m a foodie and I always have been. I’ve been lucky enough throughout my career to travel all over the world and eat at some top restaurants, so when I moved to Half Moon Bay just about 5 years ago the first thing I checked out was the restaurant scene. What a surprise it was!
While I expected some good seafood restaurants, I was drawn to our fine Italian dining. What a surprise it was to find not one, not two, not even three, but four great Italian restaurants here! I was delighted to dive in!
Rumor had it that one of the top restaurants is Pasta Moon, so that’s where I started. I was not disappointed. The most impressive part of my meal was just how fresh everything was. I swear they they must have gone out back and picked the arugula for my salad just before it was served. I'd heard the restaurant was known for both its lasagna and butternut squash ravioli - I chose the ravioli and it lived up to its reputation. The pasta was perfectly cooked, the stuffing well balanced, the brown butter sage sauce beautiful and fragrant.
Next up was Via Uno, a little north of downtown on Highway 1. They have a locals night where you get 2 courses for $19.95. It was here that I was introduced to my favorite dish, Fiocchetti di pera, small pasta purses filled with Gorgonzola and pear, served with a delicious creamy sauce, butter spinach and shaved Parmesan. All I can say is wow. I order that whenever I can, but it sells out early! Their meatball appetizer is excellent too. The service there is consistently good, the owners are on site and likely to stop by your table to check in. It is clear they deeply care about customer service.
My third stop was Mezza Luna, north of town near the Harbor. Mezza Luna is a long term staple here, serving locals for more than 25 years. Lots of locals make it a part of their weekly routine. The food is consistently good, and there is a Tuesday locals special of a main dish for $11.95. Their Chicken Saltimbocca is excellent, with a tasty, well balanced white wine and sage sauce, and a healthy serving of chicken. My niece loves their Fettuccine Alfredo, and she makes me take her there whenever she'sin town.
Last but not least was It's Italia in downtown. I'd had 3 amazing meals at the other places and I was sure this one could never live up to those. Boy was I wrong. It's Italia quickly became one of my favorite restaurants in town. As great as the daily menu is and as much as I want to try everything on it, they always have a special that pulls me in. On my most recent trip I had Short Ribs with Polenta - the ribs were tender and the sauce rich - at first I thought it might be too rich, but when I had a bite with the polenta I realized just how perfectly they matched. It was heavenly. As much as I love trying their specials, I have a friend that swears by their black truffle gnocci and in all the times she's been to It's Italia she's only ordered anything else once- she had the carbonara and was very happy she did, it was excellent.
So - where can you find the best Italian food in town? I've learned that discussing this topic is like discussing politics or religion - there are VERY strong opinions in town! I've found It's Italia to be most consistently good across the board, from the food to the service to the friendly staff, though I'm sure you'd be happy with any of these choices. All of them currently offer outdoor dining.
One caveat - we will soon have yet another Italian restaurant in town and I may have to rethink this all. There is a sign on the old Pasta Moon storefront (on the left after the bridge as you head into town from 92) that there is a NEW Italian restaurant opening there soon, Fattoria e Mare. My understanding is that it was located in Burlingame but relocating to Half Moon Bay. It got excellent reviews. I'm not sure when it will open but I can’t wait to check it out, you’ll find me first in line!
So, if you've already visited any of these, please feel free to leave YOUR review in the comments section! I would LOVE to hear from you!