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  • Sam's Chowder House

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Sam's Chowder House
Sam's Chowder House

Sam's Chowder House Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://samschowderhouse.com
  • Phone: (650) 712-0245
  • Hours of Operation: Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:30am - 5:00pm, Saturday - Sunday: 11:00am - 5:00pm; Dinner: Monday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 9:30pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Sunday: 5:00pm - 9:30pm; Seafood Market open Saturday and Sunday 12-8pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Seafood, American
  • Executive Chef: Lewis Rossman
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Entertainment, Fireplace, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Takeout, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Entertainment: Live music Friday and Saturday nights in the fall/winter from 7-10pm inside, and also on Sunday outside from 4-8 during the summer months.
  • Special Events & Promotions: Five oceanfront spaces are available for corporate events, weddings, and other special events. Offering appetizer, lunch and dinner selections and special lobster clambakes. All rooms have ocean views from every seat.

Getting there

  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: There are two lots available.
A word from Sam's Chowder House
Enjoy amazing sunsets by the cozy fire, a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean, and fresh, award-winning New England style seafood in a casual, coastside setting. Watch the crashing surf, dine outside under a cozy heat lamp, or settle into an Adirondack chair near a toasty fire pit on Sam's dog-friendly patio, complete with wind protection and heat lamps. Featured on NBC’s The Today Show, and “Best of the Bay TV”, and named “Best Outdoor Dining in the Bay Area” by San Francisco Magazine, and “Best Seafood Restaurant in San Mateo County” by San Jose Magazine readers.Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerSeafood
  • Diners' Choice WinnerGreat for Lunch
  • Diners' Choice WinnerOutdoor Dining
Diner Reviews
  • "We have been to Sam's many times before and it never fails. The seafood is awesome! The steak is superb, and the sides are the fresh and local. We love Sam's Chowder House!"
    Dined on 7/28/2014
  • "We visit Sam's several times a year. We usually go for brunch and like to sit outside on the patio. The lobster roll is very good - like getting a lobster without the work! They have some great cocktails and desserts. It has become a family favorite for us."
    Dined on 7/27/2014
  • "We have loved Sam's for years but my birthday dinner there was spectacular! Rebecca was a wonderful server whose attentive (but not invasive) service and attention to every minor request made the excellent dining even more special. Keep the lobster ceviche on the menu - what a delicious entree - and the hot fudge sundae a true treat! Many heartfelt thanks! Liza & Paul"
    Dined on 7/27/2014
  • "On a clear sunny day the view is beautiful and perfect for sunset watching. The lobster roll was delicious and perfectly cooked. The New England clam chowder was one of the best."
    Dined on 7/26/2014
  • "Using Open Table we had no trouble getting seated even though it was a Friday night in late July in Half Moon Bay. The place was very crowded. I ordered the Lobster roll which was good. My husband ordered the seafood combo platter which was huge but good. We both ordered glasses of the white wine special which was a Spanish wine. It was nice, not too dry but not too fruity. I would recommend this place."
    Dined on 7/25/2014
  • "The menu reads great! Lots of delicious-sounding items. But we only had a couple of appetizers which we enjoyed. We had the kusshi oysters and they were excellent along with the mignonette that accompanied them. We had the Fritti of artichoke (fried artichoke hearts) and they were good. Also we shared the Ahi Tuna Poke which I thought was a bit small for 2, tasty though. Service was excellent. The views, of the harbor and hundreds of pelicans, the beach, the Pacific ocean, were especially nice on this warm and sunny, and nearly windless evening on the coast!"
    Dined on 7/25/2014
  • "Sam's is a great place for excellent seafood and a spectacular ocean view. IF you can get there from the Peninsula/East Bay (we and the other couple we were meeting there encountered a lengthy delay due to an accident on 92 just outside of HMB that blocked the entire road - unnecessarily, it seemed). Then when we finally made it to Sam's, we trolled the parking lot for at least 10 minutes trying to find a space. We had to follow someone out of the restaurant to his car and fight off another party angling for the same spot. Noise level was high but service was good and so was the seafood. Worth the hassle but you might want to go there at an "off" time - like Tuesday for lunch!"
    Dined on 7/25/2014
  • "Ordered chowder never got it , never got a chance to order a second drink the only time waitress came over wAs to deliver the check"
    Dined on 7/23/2014
  • "I visited with a friend and we had a wonderful long leisurely lunch of New England Clam Chowder and Crab Louie - it was perfect! We had a "to die for" view of the beach and ocean, the food was outstanding, service was prompt and friendly - and our wait person did not try to hurry us along. My friend had a slice of key lime pie which I tasted and that was fresh and tasty too. They have espresso drinks and my latte was really good too. I love this place!"
    Dined on 7/23/2014
  • "Have had better seafood, but overall, it was a good dining experience."
    Dined on 7/22/2014
  • "We live in the East Bay and love taking the nice drive over to Sam's Chowder House when we can. We have always had wonderful service and delicious food."
    Dined on 7/22/2014
  • "We come here for the view and ambiance. Service is always friendly."
    Dined on 7/21/2014
  • "The lobster roll is made without mayo. Yeah! The clam chowder was good, the gumbo, not so much."
    Dined on 7/21/2014
  • "They don't rush you through. Very busy place hence the noise level. Service was amazing. Food was good but not the best I've ever had. Chowder has huge chunks of clams."
    Dined on 7/20/2014
  • "Pros: clam chowder, crab cakes, salad Cons: crab-stuffed jumbo shrimp abominably prepared, half the crab burnt & crispy; kale mixed in runny mashed potatoes, shrimp tough/chewy. Service the worst ever experienced ... checked in at 6 pm, seated at 6:45 pm, server first appeared at 7 pm, entrees arrived at 8:15 pm. Not the best experience for our 46th anniversary."
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "The service and the views were fantastic but the food seems to be the only department that's lacking. I took my wife on our first date there and we loved it. We went back a few times after and the food seemed to be getting worse. I do not mind spending $70 on a plate by no means but when the lobster comes to the table cold and tough I seem to have a little problem with it. The crab cakes on our first time there were cakes,,, now they are balls ( like hush puppies). The best thing about our most recent visit was the Dirty Martini that I ordered to take the edge off. Don't get me wrong, I will more than likely go back ( because that was where we had our first date) but it will be no time soon. Take it for what it's worth, it is what it is."
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "Awesome first time visit with this establishment!! They were full of patrons, however, we made reservations and arrived early and was seated immediately! The main course, Spanish Paella, was well worth the wait! We had a table by the window and if you look beyond the people who are dining outdoors, which are a few feet from the window, the view is spectacular! A place to visit more than just a few times! A keeper indeed! A 5 Star without a doubt! You have to try it at least once, even if you don't eat seafood!"
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "We stopped here on Saturday after my husband bicycled to Half Moon Bay. It was hopping busy but our waiter was attentive and our service was good. There are so many good things on the menu that we have to come back. I had cioppino and had enough to bring home for lunch next day. We shared the grilled sardines as a starter -- a nice change from calamari, which looked delicious. My husband said his seafood spaghetti was excellent as well. This is a must do for us on the coast now."
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "The chowder and fish selections were excellent. Great garlic mashed potatoes and onion rings."
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "The parking lot is always full. They really need to do something about it. But once you get inside the view is incredible. The food is always good. They do have a problem with service though. Our waitress was so unfriendly to the point of being cold. I tried to chit chat with her and she was having none of it."
    Dined on 7/18/2014
  • "My fish sandwich was tasty, but the piece of fish was about half the size of the bun ."
    Dined on 7/17/2014
  • "Seated immediately on a Wednesday afternoon. Superb service. Delicious food: Chowder, Oysters Rockefeller, Popcorn Shrimp, crab cake app, beer battered Shrimp, Petrole Sole & Crab Louie Salads. 4 for a B-Day Lunch on the patio. Crab cakes(4) golf ball size, a bit over done, but everything else was superb. The peach cobbler with a scoop of Vanilla Gelato was wonderful. The ocean view from the patio & the sun filled sky lent itself to a perfect day for a birthday luncheon with good friends! I've personally eaten here on several occasions & always was very happy with the dining experience."
    Dined on 7/16/2014
  • "My partner and I are very frequent customers and love the vibe, view and servers at SAMs, but it's always a hit or miss with the food. We LOVE their lobster rolls but if they are busy or on their off night the roll doesn't meet my expectations and their reputation of what I know it truly is."
    Dined on 7/15/2014
  • "Best lobster roll on the west coast. Bar none! Always consistent, good service, good ocean view. Music on Sunday at lunch time is very cool!"
    Dined on 7/13/2014
  • "I took my sister here for a birthday lunch. The food is really good at excellent prices. The clam chowder is the best - no gluey texture. It tastes like they made it from scratch. We both had the salmon on baby spinach salad which was very fresh. The salmon tasted like it had just been caught. I'll definitely be back!"
    Dined on 7/13/2014
  • "...you'll probably appreciate the effort that Sam's puts in to creating a typical chowder house experience. The menu selection suits, the service is good, and the food is well presented. The recipes are a decidedly local take on chowder house fare. When we were there, the local fish dishes had a nice crust, but were cooked through to a much higher temperature than we're used to. The clam chowder was much more responsible than we're used to, as well - considerably less creamy, with much fewer clams."
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "So sad. This was where I wanted to go - all the time. But last few times and particularly this time, just not good. Crab cake appetizer more crab balls with lots of filler. Crab stuffed Shrimp mostly filler with bacon. Not good. Gazpacho with lobster very good. Oysters - fresh! Music in bar excellent. Cocktails magnificent. Next trip we sit at the bar on a Friday night or Sat afternoon. Maybe we get a lobsta roll. But that's it. Skip the rice pudding for sure. I'm not sure what is wrong but this is not the place it was."
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "We had a fabulous dinner on Friday: oysters, clam chowder and lobster clambake. Clear sky, awesome ocean view, friendly service and great live music. What a combo. One must experience. Will be back."
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "I've been to Sam's many times and have always enjoyed a wonderful meal by the sea. However, I was disappointed in the lobster roll when I dined there this week. It came overflowing with lobster meat on a toasted brioche roll, looking as great as ever, but the presentation was the end of my happy experience. The claw meat had a fishy taste that stopped me short. I was able to pick through my sandwich, mostly avoiding the large pieces, which seemed to be the worst offenders. This was the first time I've ever been unhappy with one of my meals here, so I hope it's just one of those things that sometimes happen, even at the best restaurants. This won't be the end of my visits to Sams, but I probably won't order the roll again."
    Dined on 7/9/2014
  • "Took a friend for retirement dinner--had placed a request for a table by the window, which the restaurant gladly provided despite a VERY busy evening. Food was outstanding--fried calamari very tasty; crab cakes delicious (although a bit small)--would suggest 2 orders if you have 4 people. One person ordered 16 oz sirloin--done to perfection and delicious; one person had mussels with linguine (as recommended by server to make a full dinner)--very good; others had halibut and cod with very tasty vegetables--all very, very good. Desert of chocolate cake--just enough for two as is very rich; soft serve with olive oil and sea salt sounds weird but was very good. Only thing missing was a beautiful California sunset as it was foggy!!!"
    Dined on 7/8/2014
  • "Best lobster roll ever. Little or no filling, just sweet lobster on a nicely toasted sourdough roll. Cioppino excellent as well. Flavorful and full of seafood. Schedule your Trip around it!"
    Dined on 7/7/2014
  • "Always a pleasure to eat here. Great service! The view is excellent, however always arrive early as the parking can often be tough to find."
    Dined on 7/7/2014
  • "We've been to SAMs before-- and loved it. Super high quaility fish, prepared simply, but deliciously. Unfortunately 3 of our 5 dinners were inadequate. More roadside fish stand quality, perpetration & presentation than our previous dinners at Sam's. We love the seaside feel, so we'll try again ... one more time."
    Dined on 7/6/2014
  • "We are HMB locals and come here often. The food and service are excellent and nothing can beat the ocean view during a sunset. Ask for a table by the window in your reservation note, they are very accomodating. We love the tuna poke appetizer and seafood rissotto - but we've never been disappointed."
    Dined on 7/6/2014
  • "You don't have to know much more about a restaurant when you see large crowds waiting for seating at dinner time. That speaks of value and quality both. Having said that, It has the menu of an upscale pub. They do fish very well and I see no reason to order a hamburger except for children etc. The fried seafood entree has too much batter, but for all other dishes the fish is easily recognized. Wine and beer prices are reasonable. Can't beat the view, especially at sunset. Don't go in the evening without a reservation. d"
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "Originally made a reservation for six, more people ended up coming... so we got to the reservation desk and told them that we instead needed a table for 10. They accommodated and it was a perfect get-together!"
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "We couldn't have asked for a better day at Sam's. The weather was perfect, the band was awesome, the food was yummy and the waitstaff were very friendly. Great kids menu too. We will definitely be heading back."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "The place is airy and full of light. My waitress was extremely friendly and helpful. The food was solid, fresh and delicious. Clam chowder, fish and chips, lobster roll, and smoked salmon salad all get two thumbs up from me. Definitely stop by if you're in the area."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "If you order linguini with clams at most restaurants you get a lot of pasta and a few clams. Here you get some linguini with your clams, I must have had 2 dozen served to me, seriously and very fresh and delicious. Loved the prawn cocktail too. Nothing like fresh fish at the coast, didn't wait more than 5 minutes on July 4th, packed house, with our open table reservation, it was great - and great service! :)"
    Dined on 7/4/2014
  • "A good friend from out of town came to visit, so I thought this would be the perfect spot to bring her. We arrived early before our reservation but they seated us right away. We were seated at the window overlooking the ocean. The service was fast and the food was great - good portions. The bowl of soup was actually very large. Delicious crabcakes. We got the special appetizer, which was basically a caprese salad with peaches - nothing too special. The bill was $76 for three people with two drinks."
    Dined on 7/2/2014