Sam's Chowder House
Sam's Chowder House

Sam's Chowder House

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://samschowderhouse.com/
  • Phone: 6507120245
  • 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: 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
See all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerGreat for Lunch
  • Diners' Choice WinnerKid Friendly
  • Diners' Choice WinnerOutdoor Dining
Sam's Chowder House reviews from OpenTable diners
254 reviews since June 23, 2014
Overall Rating4.1
  • Food4
    Service4.1
  • Ambiance4.1
    Noise LevelModerate
89% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
scenic view (214)great for outdoor dining (183)great for lunch (140)kid-friendly (100)good for groups (86)special occasion (77)neighborhood gem (74)great for brunch (63)romantic (59)fit for foodies (57)hot spot (48)vibrant bar scene (37)notable wine list (9)late-night find (7)Show More
  • Mediocre in Every Respect
    Milton
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Had reservations for wife's birthday dinner. Showed up early, went to the bar. The drink and hors d'oeuvres were served 20 minutes apart by an indifferent staff. After 40 minutes, checked with the hostess who pointed to four tables and said one of them was being cleared for us. We watched while the staff seated four other couples at the tables. Then we were ushered to the back of the restaurant to a crowed and noisy corner, not appropriate for our occasion. A huffy waiter told us that every effort had been made to accommodate us (after we had been there an hour) and would we like to speak to an assistant manager. I didn't want a scene on my wife's birthday, so we left. We had a nice dinner at another restaurant down the road.
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great service, views, and food
    bfukumoto
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Our first time to Sam's was several years ago to try their world-famous crab cake sandwich which at the time was underwhelming. In our recent visit, we had the paella, shrimp scampi pasta and my 9 year-old daughter had the fish & chips. The food was all very good, piping hot and well prepared. We started with the mussels which were large, fresh and tasty. Parking can be a problem, but we walked from The Beach House hotel which is right next door.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great place for Seafood
    KKPulliamVIP
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    We pulled into the parking lot and there was barely any space left for parking. After we parked, we approached to the front desk and saw a long line of people waiting for tables. We thought we would be waiting for a while too since the restaurant was full (despite we had a reservation). Upon checking in, we were seated immediately!!! That was great! We ordered the famous lobster sandwich, New England Clam Chowder, grilled salmon (kid's menu) Crab cake and Tomato based muscles. The crab cake, lobster roll, muscles (gotta try this one) were great. The kid's grilled salmon was quite bad - overcooked and very very dry. Clam chowder was on the thin side (I prefer the thicker texture ones). But over all it's pretty good.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, late-night find, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great views with descent food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    This was my first time at Sam ' Chowder House and based on the mixed reviews, I thought I would try anyway. Great ambiance, fun, live music, and scenic views. The food was only average. I ordered the gumbo which wasn't that great and my GF had the clam chowder. Her first comment was how thin the soup was. She then ordered the shrimp and crab louie salad and she said it was delicious. I ordered the appetizer crab cake and it was tasty also. Unfortunately due to the reviews we avoided the lobster roll, however, IF we return we decided to try it next time. Overall, our experience was very pleasant due to the views, but the food and service were a little less memorable.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nightingale
    nightingale
    Dined on 10/17/2014
    Food was very spicy . Even the French fries!!! We went in with a party of six and only one person liked their food. Three couples voted not to return. Not very good huh
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Delicious lobster rolls
    debbiemVIP
    Dined on 10/15/2014
    We had lobster rolls which were the best we've ever had. Window seating our patio seating have very scenic views.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Overrated
    Steaklover
    Dined on 10/13/2014
    Don't believe the hype. Food, service, "view" not notable. I don't know why reviews are so glowing.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good food and great service!
    VL9458
    Dined on 10/12/2014
    Great food and great service! The only thing I recommend is make reservations unless you don't mind waiting.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, kid-friendly, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Beautiful View
    Fun2Dine
    Dined on 10/12/2014
    Gorgeous day on the coast and beautiful view while dining!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Busy Friday night dinner
    scfoodieVIP
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    It was difficult to park and also the service was not what we have experienced before. Took quite a while for our drinks and then follow up. Food was good and overall a nice evening.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Tammy
    TammyVIP
    Dined on 10/5/2014
    First time at Sam's and we'll definantly be back! Chowder is delicious and great Mai Tai's! Also, had the Lobster Roll and Fish & Chips, both are yummy. Band playing outside. Beautiful view and great service. Only complaint would be the notice level. So, go with a group that don't want a quiet conversation...just a good time!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Best seafoodin Half Moon Bay
    HMBlocalVIP
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    We are local HMB'ers and have eaten in all the local restaurants. Sam's is by far the best seafood along this coast and has the best view - especially during a sunset. We typically eat the ahi poke appetizer and then salmon and seafood rissotto - both always great. With king salmon in season, they have a special, which my wife said was excellent. One thing we love about this place is consistency. The food, service, ambiance and view are always top notch, never an "off" day as we find in nearly all other restaurants along the coast. There is also something for everyone - bar with TVs to watch sports, large tables for groups, two person tables along the window for romantic dinner and outdoor dining with heat lamps. Absolutely great!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, romantic, scenic view, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Anniversary getaway weekend
    bogox2
    Dined on 10/1/2014
    Arrived early for patio seating for viewing the sunset. We advised our waiter we were there for the evening and planned on slowly ordering our way through appetizers, soup, entree and dessert. He checked in w/us w/out being pushy throughout our evening. For starters the crab cake was very good & chili prawns were exceptional. The waiter offered add'l bread for the leftover sauce from the prawns. The chowder, though plentiful in cup size, was ok I've had better. My salmon entree w/butternut squash in a pomegranate reduction sauce was delicious. My husband had the lobster roll which he liked but thought it was a poor bread choice. The key lime pie is the best I've ever had. Great ambiance, excellent wait staff, would definitely go back.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • sugarpie
    Dined on 10/1/2014
    Beautiful setting. The food was good with plenty of menu selections. Service was outstanding. We would go back if in the area.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointed
    Texasbob88
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    The service was great. The veggies were good and the key lime pie was terrific but the halibut was dry and tasteless. We had friends with us and were really looking forward to a good seafood dinner.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Lobster Roll Like No Other
    FSThree
    Dined on 9/28/2014
    They are known for their Lobster Roll. Go for their Lobster Roll. It's a bit pricey, but the quality and quantity is, in my opinion, worth it. That's not to say their other food is good -- my wife got the clam chowder cup (which is actually a bowl portion), and it was good. However, their signature dish is the former. For first timers, go for their signature dish.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Whaaaaaaa
    Dined on 9/28/2014
    My seafood platter was over cooked...calamari was so small I felt like it was remnants of what was calamari. My prawns were over cooked....you cannot over cook prawns. I saw you on the food channel and took my sister/brother in law for brunch. The lobster roll did not look like what was on the food channel somehow it shrunk and the bread was not fresh. The clam chowder could be thicker. The waitress was great. The crab cake was a disappointment. I do not want to spend that kind of money again for what I had to eat. I have learned not to believe what I see on TV any more.
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Food Lover
    iolavolaVIP
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    Sam's is always very good and the view is wonderful. I've been there many times and the menu is varied enough for anyone to go there, even if they are not a fish lover. Their clam chowder soup is soooooo good and so filling. I would suggest you make a reservation because it is always so crowded, especially in the summer. Try to get a window seat.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fantastic food!
    Hawkeye
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    Everything was wonderful at Sam's Chowderhouse! Had a table with a great view of the harbor. Service was excellent and the food was superb. Would highly recommend Sam's to anyone. This is our 'go-to' spot when friends and family come to town. The chowder rocks!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • FAVE
    FLM59
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    This is one of our favorite places to dine. The scenery is the crowning touch to the fabulous food and wonderful service !
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Special Night Out
    DandCfromSV
    Dined on 9/25/2014
    We had a wonderful dinner on our anniversary. We were quickly seated at a nice window table and staff was quite good, prompt and friendly. The paella we ordered was exceptional and the menu reasonably priced. It was worth the drive from Scotts Valley. We will be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, late-night find, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Lobstalicious
    PBLocalVIP
    Dined on 9/22/2014
    Best lobster roll outside of Maine. California style roll done with melted butter instead of mayo. I like it better this way!
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Yummy lobster roll
    PeggyVIP
    Dined on 9/21/2014
    My friend and I are originally from Mass. so it is a treat to have a Maine lobster roll. Sam's provides a very ample portion of lobster in its roll (prepared warm in melted butter)--perfect. We also had ahi tuna appetizer which was very good. Desserts are always good here too. It's located along the Bay so nice scenic view. Popular spot and always crowded on weekends. We had a 2 pm reservation which gave us time to linger and chat since the restaurant slowed down after 3 pm before the dinner crowd.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great View
    ginger
    Dined on 9/21/2014
    Great spot to take out of town guests. Food was good, view was amazing. Service was just OK.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, kid-friendly, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • PeteS
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    A very pleasant surprise. Our first time at Sam's Chowder House. The restaurant seem to have a great atmosphere even though being large,sprawling and a little noisy. The service was excellent , seated almost immediately (recommend booking before) and our server was prompt and attentive (young tall surfer dude with a beard) The food was an even bigger surprise with quality ingredients well cooked and presented. Most certainly will going again.
    Special Features:
    hot spot, neighborhood gem, scenic view, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Seaside charm New England Seafood
    IslandHopperVIP
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    Ocean side dining south great seafood lunch or dinner - casual and right on Half Moon Bay. A must when in the area !
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Disappointed in Dinner
    seafoodfan2
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    Restaurant was not that busy, but it took about 15 minutes for our waitress to show up. The waitress poured our wine glasses 3/4 full, which was very annoying. We ordered food at the same time as our drinks. After a long wait, my husband got a huge bowl of clam chowder when he wanted a cup, and the server glared at him for a long time when he asked for a smaller portion. They must not have stirred the lemon ginger dressing on my salad, because it was just oil and no flavor. I've had it before and it was much better. Another long wait and both our entrees were also bland. Salmon was overcooked and dry. Even the basil aioli did not have a lot of flavor. Could not taste any artichokes in potato/artichoke cake. For the price, I expect better.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fantastic Seafood
    MaryFVIP
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    Went to Sam's Chowder house on a lovely sunny afternoon for lunch. We had a reservation and were promptly seated. Our waitress was cheerful, attentive and service was prompt. No long waits between courses and our beverages were refilled without our asking. The food was great. We started with clam chowder and the steamed mussels. Their lobster roll and fish & chips were delicious. We were too full to even attempt dessert. I like going to this restaurant, even in the fog and rain, the food is always very good.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Love this place
    neff
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    We booked the reservation online, didn't wait for our table at all and service was fast. We also had a window seat so the view was awesome!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great family dinner
    mikek6mkf
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    We were six for dinner Sunday, and my eldest daughter was visiting from out of state. We were seated promptly at a table with a great view. Each of us ordered a different meal, and the food was very good indeed! We left feeling well-fed and very well taken care of. This is a nice place for a special family dinner.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great food and great service!
    Fun2Dine
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    Food was delicious and great presentation. The service staff were very attentive. Definitely plan on going back!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Review of Sam's Chowder House
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    GREAT place. It was a lovely day to spend on our sixth anniversary. We even got a free dessert! If you like alcoholic beverages, the Ginger Limeade is a MUST. Our server was fabulous too. We even saw a wedding on the beach while enjoying our lunch. I am glad we made reservations because the place does get busy fast. We will be coming back for more.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • They Had Me at the Chowder!
    ROBOTMEISTERVIP
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    Large, bustling Half Moon Bay icon on the ocean, famous for their seafood menu and especially their New England Chowder not thickened with gluten! My wife loved her lobster roll, overflowing with lobster on a special toasted roll. I happily dived into a huge bowl of the chowder and a Louie crab salad. Note: reservations needed for indoor seating but outside is first come, first served. People were lined up at the 11:30 AM opening on a Friday afternoon!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great ocean view and outdoor dining
    WatersignsVIP
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    I ordered their lobster roll because it was their signature dish. It was served with fries and cole slaw. The roll for the sandwich was fantastic but the dressing and seasoning for the lobster was bland and unremarkable. The cole slaw was a little wilted. I would not order this dish again. However, we also tried the shrimp scampi fettuccini and it was delicious. We were fortunate to have a sunny day and the view was spectacular. It's a great place to eat for lunch.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • yummy
    yumyumyum
    Dined on 9/7/2014
    so good... food is delicious and service was great. little noisy due to large parties but the outside seating looked amazing... we will reserve outside next time.. they also have live music so check the website.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • mmm!
    geminigirl67
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    Tasty lobster rolls! I want more! Beautiful view! Excellent service.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not as hoped
    NotTheBest
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Booking months in advance, they insisted on 6:15 dinner reservation time. A few of the party arrived first, and the Manager told us they had no reservation for us (after 3 check-ins that week alone!) The place was empty at that time and we could have come later. We changed to a party of 7 last minute so they put us in outdoor patio; no ambiance or music. Shrimp salad was not crisp and 7.95 cup of chowder not as good as Barbara's down the street. Go somewhere else!
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • fun for groups
    Swany1019
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    We had 7 in our group and we were fully accommodated by the staff. Food came out quickly and tasted great.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Always a great place for seafood
    funkydow
    Dined on 9/2/2014
    Sam's Chowder House is our favorite getaway. When we can we drive over the hills to Half Moon Bay to enjoy fresh seafood and the sweeping view of the bay. Wonderful service, comfortable spacing and noise level (not quiet!) as long as it's off hours.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Beautiful view & great fresh fish
    Robert
    Dined on 9/2/2014
    A must do for an easy lunch out south of the city. And easy drive and excellent view. Exquisite food simply prepared.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate