Now I know why Pasta Moon in Half Moon Bay is my friend from San Francisco's favorite restaurant EVER – because their pasta, especially the Pappardelle Pancetta, really is out of this world with a different flavor in every bite.
I'm going to be honest. I was a little skeptical visiting Pasta Moon on our drive down from San Francisco – a weekend chock full of biting and pinting. Not because of its location off the beaten Highway 1 path, but because I'd never heard of it before. When I think of Half Moon Bay, The Ritz Carlton and Sam's Chowder House usually come to mind. But a restaurant recommendation coming from my fab friend Michael who lives in San Francisco and frequents Paris? Pass up I could not!
- super tender, never chewy, complete with clamshell Pasta Moon Clam Chowder with Pancetta
- i-died-and-went-to-heaven, never flavor ending Pappardelle Pancetta with Mushroom, Garlic, Tomato Cream, Mascarpone, Basil & Pine Nuts
- light 'n creamy Tagliatelle Bolognese with Ground Pancetta, Harris Natural Beef, Soffritto & Parmesan
Walking past the lovely outdoor patio, separate bar, shelves of fresh-baked bread in the kitchen, and a chef making butternut squash ravioli by hand, I immediately felt at home. (All pastas are housemade and hand cut.) The dining room has warm hues like sandy brown and orange walls and red leather chairs – and even though it has white linen table cloths, the restaurant isn't stuffy, one bit.
Our waiter was kind, patient, and always attentive. For Lunch, we decided to start with the Pasta Moon Clam Chowder ($9), since we were just passing through Half Moon Bay and only had time for one restaurant (sorry Sam's Chowder House, next time.) Our waiter kindly split it for us in two separate bowls. It looked stunning with an open Clamshell right in the center – and tasted just as good as it looked. The Manila Clams are ever-so tender, not tough or chewy, just how they should be in all chowders! (You can definitely tell Pasta Moon flies in fresh seafood from around the world.) The Broth is very light and fresh, not greasy, with small Chopped Mushrooms, Potatoes, Celery and smokey Pancetta that kicks it up a notch.
For my main course, I ordered the half-plate of the Pappardelle Pancetta ($12/21), while my hand model ordered a half-plate of the Tagliatelle Bolognese. I must say, for two serious Bolognese lovers and connoisseurs – we order it at every Italian restaurant in search of the best – the Pappardelle Pancetta blew our minds and may have turned us for good. The depth of flavor in this dish stretches for miles. It has a fresh creamy Tomato Sauce with a thick dollop of Mascarpone that you'll be dipping your perfectly Al Dente Hand Cut Handmade Pappardelle in with every bite. There's fresh Chopped Basil Strands, Pine Nuts, Thick Sliced Mushrooms & Chopped Pancetta that gives this Earthy dish an addictive Smokey Flavor. You will literally taste something different with every bite.
The Tagliatelle Bolognese ($12/18) – while not as complex or divine – still is delish with, again, perfectly Al Dente Pasta. This Bolognese Sauce uses Harris Natural Beef, Ground Pancetta, Parmesan & Soffrito (softly fried aromatic vegetables) and is very light and creamy, more like a tomato cream sauce. So if you're used to rich, meaty Bologneses like we are, you'll probably enjoy the richness of the Pappardelle better.
While we did not have room for Dessert, I couldn't resist snapping a picture of the Meyer Lemon Parfait ($9) at the table to our right. Looking more like a magnificent tower of taste, it has thick swirls of Lemon Curd, Italian Meringue, Passionfruit Caramel Sauce & Lemon Sorbetto – and the ladies next to us who ordered it were gushing over its fabulous flavors, yet confessed they probably should have split because it's so big.
I also didn't get to try my friend's favorite dish, since it was Dinner Menu only – Fresh Linguini Seared Ahi Tuna ($24) with Garlic, Capers, Oil Cured Olives, Anchovy & Red Pepper Flakes. But I will next time, 'cuz I'm definitely coming back for the Pappardelle Pancetta and Lemon Parfait!
So next time you're visiting San Francisco or the bay area, definitely take the scenic 30 mile drive to Half Moon Bay for an unforgettable pasta meal at Pasta Moon.