Sam's Chowder House

4.5
5201 Reviews
$30 and under
Seafood
Open for indoor and outdoor dining, and takeout. Reservations Monday-Friday for indoor dining only - walk-ins also welcome. Walk-ins on weekends. Serving lunch through dinner, last seating at 8pm. Face coverings required unless seated eating. Award-winning, fresh New England style seafood, in a casual coastal setting overlooking the ocean. Live Maine lobster, fish and chips, fried calamari, delicious clam chowder, award-winning lobster rolls, farm fresh salads, cioppino and more!

Featured on NBC’s The Today Show, named “Best Outdoor Dining in the Bay Area” by SF Magazine, and “Best Seafood Restaurant in San Mateo County” by San Jose Magazine.

We are following all State and County Health Dept. guidelines. After checking in, please wait in your car or on the beach until your table, or takeout order is available. Visit our website for more details on the precautions we are taking to keep you and our team safe.

We look forward to seeing you!
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Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
  • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
  • Sealed or wrapped utensils used
Physical Distancing
  • Limited number of seated diners
  • Distancing maintained in common areas
  • Extra space between tables
Protective Equipment
  • Waitstaff wear masks
  • Diners must wear masks unless eating or drinking
Screening
  • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
What 5201 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.5
service
4.5
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
89% of people would recommend it to a friend
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LP
LesleighP
Kansas City
4 reviews
Dined a day ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Highly recommended blue crab stuffed prawns at Sam's Chowder House, Half Moon Bay . Wrapped in smoked bacon, and served with Italian chard, garlic
potato purée and horseradish cream sauce. Literally to die for.
Everything we've ever had, has always been delicious. Make a reservation as soon as you know you're going, they only take reservations Monday through Thursday and they fill up fast! It's walk-in only on the weekends.

📷 From the internet, was too dim for a good shot.

DE
DawnE
San Francisco
1 review
Dined a day ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The lobster roll and chocolate martinis are great!

MJ
MJClubb
Tallahassee
18 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We arrived a little early for our reservation and was immediately seated. Caitlyn was our server and she was excellent! We had spicy shrimp appetizer, clam chowder and Ceasar salad with grilled shrimp. All was cooked to perfection!! The view was beautiful even though there was heavy clouds . So peaceful watching nature and the boats!! Love this place!!! I’ve never been disappointed!

SF
SFFoodieCouple
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall3food3service2ambience5

Crab cakes and clam chowder were very good. Before we were even finished with our appetizers our lobster rolls were delivered. They looked good loaded with meat however they tasted meh. Very dry, the lobster was not fresh and not enough sauce mixed in. Neither of us finished, not because we were full, but because it didn’t taste good. All our dirty dishes were still on our table when the server came for us to pay. Didn’t like that she stood right there as we decided what to leave for a tip. I left the minimum 15% as she wasn’t very pleasant and I felt like she rushed us through dinner, never asked how we liked our meals. Unfortunately, we won’t be back.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Tahoe
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Great menu selection. New England Clam Chowder is really really good! Had Cioppino and was delicious!

JC
JohnC
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall4food4service3ambience5

Service was fair. Our server who was not wearing a mask was always busy. We had to wave down her down as other staff walked by.

LA
LeslieA
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Love going to Sam’s—a place we always take our out of town visitors! In fact going again on Friday night! Good food, good service, and love the festive vibe—we are always festive when we go there! Looking forward to going on Friday (lucky—twice in one week,!

WJ
WalterJ
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall3food3service5ambience3

We dined at "Sam's Chowder House" three months ago for my wife's birthday. And to me the food was okay but my wife really enjoyed the Lobster sandwich. On our recent trip this last Friday, July 23, 2021 for our anniversary. We made "Sam's" our first choice for that "ah" moment. Needless to say it was not. This has always been our go to restaurant but after a couple of days in Half Moon Bay we have discovered other options.

K
Kiki
Sacramento
5 reviews
Dined on July 22, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I had such a nice experience in April that I thought I’d bring a couple of my friends from Sacramento to have lunch. They loved it!

m
mbpear
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on July 19, 2021
Overall2food2service2ambience3

Food was very basic. Clam chowder white and tasteless until salted and peppered. Crab cakes totally devoid of any seasoning, very bland. Husband had crab stuffed prawns which were good mostly thanks to the bacon wrapped around them. I think the dining does not match the hype.

PG
PapaG
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on July 16, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience4

After a week in Sonoma touring vineyards, we wanted to treat ourselves to a nice relaxed meal in a beautiful setting. Swinging by Half Moon Bay and eating at Sam's Chowder House was the perfect way to end our vacation. The food was delicious but unpretentious, the service was excellent (I changed my reservation time by calling at the last minute and they found a way to accommodate me), and the views and setting were perfect (though it was a bit chilly and cloudy that day). Prices are "reasonable" for the San Francisco area, but be prepared to pay $28 for an excellent lobster roll that might cost less in a different metro area. Would recommend this, especially for family / groups.

AK
AngieK
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 16, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always our favorite restaurant for awesome view and amazing foods - almost everything are delicious

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 16, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My husband and I had a wonderful and relaxing dining experience at Sam’s Chowder House to celebrate my birthday. The food was delicious and the service was excellent.

M
Maryd
San Francisco
34 reviews
Dined on July 15, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

A birthday Luncheon. The celebrant selected Sam’s We were seated early by a lovely hostess at a perfect outside table. Out waitperson Ashley was fantastic. Reminded me of your corkage fee before she opened the bottle of wine I brought, very thoughtful. She was perfectly attentive without being overly so, Out orders came promptly,, were absolutely wonderful, she handled the two take out orders for that we gave hare. Couldn’t have asked for better service. We will absolutely be back. Thank you.

CP
CitypeekPatti
Baltimore
6 reviews
Dined on July 12, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience4

First off, my server Kennedy was attentive polite and excellent.
Overall a perfect choice for a meal out.
I think to charge $4 or $4.50 for an oyster (I had both) at a casual establishment is a bit excessive. The Manhattan clam chowder was excellent and, the Oyster’s came with more fixings that I could even ask for.
Perhaps add some beach music overhead for ambiance.
I highly recommend during your visit at half Moon Bay.

CM
ClementM
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on July 12, 2021
Overall3food3service4ambience4

Both New England and Manhattan clam chowders were great. I ordered the tuna melt sandwich which included the potato chips. The chips were exceedingly salty not to mention not healthy. The sandwich was way overpriced for canned tuna on ordinary sliced toast with a layer of melted cheese. My wife ordered fried shrimp that included French fried potatoes. These were "good" but nothing to support a $34 price tag. I would not recommend SAM's lunch menu to friends. Definitely not worth $90 which included an 18% tip.

BA
BarbaraA
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on July 12, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My boyfriend and i were visiting family in San Francisco. We met a friend at Sam's Chowder House at her suggestion. What a stroke of luck! Best Manhattan Clam Chowder and Lobster Roll ever. We'll definitely return for more. The service was exceptional!

TT
TimothyT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 9, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My server Jesus was a great, very professional and detail-oriented. Big shout to him:)

DP
vipDP11
Central Coast
41 reviews
Dined on July 9, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience2

A great lobster roll. Horrible traffic and really poor parking.

CH
CathyH
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on July 9, 2021
Overall5food4service4ambience5

Always a great time.

DU
vipDonaU
San Francisco
63 reviews
Dined on July 8, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Awesome food and service ever time!!

SF
vipSFDinerette
San Francisco
19 reviews
Dined on July 8, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Great views of the bay. Delicious cioppino. Gracious reception.

M
Monique
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2021
Overall3food4service2ambience3

Enjoyed the setting and most of the food, service was a little confused, but pleasant, maybe the young lady was just learning and she was quiet busy!
The food was good, except the rice pudding was pretty tasteless, the key lime pie so was delicious!

D
Denise
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on July 6, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Oysters Rockefeller were delicious! Lobster sandwich, great as usual!

T
Tara
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on July 5, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Good place to eat and love the beach. Prices went up but portion on lobster roll got smaller would be my only complaint. Please keep portions the same at least especially if prices go up by a few dollars.

S
Seediemvee
1 review
Dined on July 5, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The young hostess was kind and was able to accommodate a change in our reservation from 4 to 5 people at the last second. Overall, we had a great experience with service and food.

TC
TracyC
1 review
Dined on July 2, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I really love going to Sam’s Chowder. Delicious food, great service, and the scenery was so beautiful! Highly recommended. Maine Lobster Ceviche is so good!

KO
KatieO
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 2, 2021
Overall3food3service1ambience3

Over-rated. Poor service - mediocre lobster 🦞 roll.

G
Geri
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 30, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Good was very good overall. Octopus should have been more tender. Service always pleasant and top notch.

WG
vipWanderinGourmet
San Francisco
50 reviews
Dined on June 30, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience3

The menu is more limited than it was prior to the pandemic. The food was excellent and the service was amazing! Hats off to Chandra for her excellent customer service.

N
vipNlquilter
Denver
6 reviews
Dined on June 30, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Everyone was friendly and efficient. We enjoyed our time.

SL
SLOnurse14
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our table was right by the window and they got us in early. Kaylen, our server with very friendly and gave us great recommendations. The clam chowder was delicious!We really enjoyed our lunch!!

CS
vipColleenS
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience3

Casual dining by the ocean. Great view. Walkable beach and staircase on site. Excellent fresh seafood. Enjoyed a surprisingly loaded lobster roll and tasty Bloody Mary.

D
Dinner
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on June 28, 2021
Overall3food4service4ambience3

Food was well-prepared, came out quickly, and was very satisfying to us both.
The only negative was the temparature inside the restaurant. The doors are kept open and we both had to wear coats to endure the cold.

PN
PrestonN
1 review
Dined on June 28, 2021
Overall1food2service1ambience3

Our meal included 4 dishes and totaled $120 before tip. The service was lackluster at best—our plates were not cleared, and sharing utensils were not provided with each dish.

r
viprajmaster
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on June 28, 2021
Overall3food3service4ambience3

I had high expectations but food was just ok.

BB
BillB
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on June 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Not only is the food excellent, but our server, Tima, made our anniversary dinner very personal and special! She was so sweet, so competent, and an absolutely lovely person.

m
me22
Denver
14 reviews
Dined on June 24, 2021
Overall2food2service4ambience4

Nice location and good service. The food was mediocre you are paying for the view.

l
viplovegreatfood
Cincinnati
171 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2021
Overall4food4service3ambience4

This is a fun place to go if you are in Half Moon Bay. The lobster roll is excellent! The service is just ok for as busy as they are. We felt invisible for a long while when first seated and had to ask several times for water and hot sauce. But that’s ok - I will cut them some slack because of the crazy times. I would still go back for the lobster roll and the cool atmosphere.

E
Elizabeth
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had the most amazing meal and experience at Sam’s yesterday for our anniversary. We were seated outside on the lower level with an unobstructed view of the ocean. There were patio heaters throughout the area, but we didn’t need them. Our waiter (Chandra) was fabulous. Attentive and personable. All the serving staff were wonderful. We enjoyed cocktails, oysters, salads, and main courses. The King Salmon was exquisite! I am celiac and need to eat gluten free, and there were lots of options. Everything was delicious. We were not rushed and felt so relaxed. It was like we were on vacation, even though we live an hour away! Sam’s will always be my go-to place. Especially on a beautiful day.

FAQs

Sam's Chowder House offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (650) 712-0245 ext. 1.

Sam's Chowder House is rated 4.5 stars by 5201 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.