One of the perks of staying at hostels is the fact that you have access to a kitchen where you can make your own meals – you get to save money and you’re more than likely to make a new friend or two while you cook. We also know though, that travelling is about the delicious experience of trying local foods and visiting quirky off-the-beaten-path spots, and we always like to share our favorites with the hungry and adventurous.
HI Point Montara Lighthouse hostel might be close to pretty beaches that call for fancy restaurants, but there are actually quite a few spots where you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy a treat with a view. From breakfasts to burritos, here’s where to eat in Half Moon Bay and Montara during your trip down the California coast.
3 Zero Café
You don’t have to be catching a flight at the Half Moon Bay airport to visit 3 Zero Café, though the restaurant is actually in an airplane terminal. The eatery serves breakfast fare like fried eggs with home-style potatoes and stacks of pancakes in a space decorated with old photos, newspaper clippings, and model airplanes flying from the ceiling. On sunny days you can sit outside and watch the tiny two-person planes land and take off on the runway (some folks fly in just for breakfast!), or strike up conversation with one of the locals.
Getting there: 3 Zero Café is just a three-minute drive from HI Point Montara, and makes for a great way to start your day trip down Highway 1.
Gherkins Sandwich Shop
On those days where you want to do nothing beyond hanging out next to the lighthouse or soaking in the sun from the beach by the hostel, there’s Gherkins Sandwich shop just a ten-minute walk from HI Point Montara. There are plenty of options, from meat-packed to vegetarian friendly, and they are all big enough to share. Pro tip: Make sure you order your sandwich with “everything.”
Getting there: Just walk north up Main Street, Montara for about 10 minutes and you’re there!
Set inside a historic train caboose right along Highway 1, Dad’s Luncheonette is the roadside diner of your California dreams. They’ve got sandwiches that are a riff off classic burgers, a killer herb salad, and everything served is either local or organic so you’re getting a real taste of the coast in a cool and casual atmosphere. When the weather is perfect out, locals like to bring their picnic blankets to enjoy their food out on the lawn in front of the caboose.
Getting there: Dad’s is a 13-minute drive away in Half Moon Bay, and not too far from the great Half Moon Bay state beach.
El Gran Amigo
When in California, it’s pretty much mandatory to have a burrito or a taco, and when you stay at HI Point Montara the go-to Mexican joint is El Gran Amigo in Moss Beach. With giant, filled-with-goodness burritos and an excellent array of tacos, this little taqueria will give you a bang for your buck if you’re looking for cheap and tasty eats. Seriously, the super burritos are enough for two to share, unless you’re hungry from exploring the nearby Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, in which case, get one all to yourself.
Getting there: El Gran Amigo is a fifteen-minute walk from HI Point Montara, and just a ten-minute walk from your tide-pool adventures at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve.
Cameron’s Pub & Restaurant
If you’re looking for a place with a fun atmosphere to spend a good couple of hours, Cameron’s Pub and Restaurant, a British-style bar, is your best bet. “It’s very cool, and it’s the first place I’d take a friend who was visiting!” Says Shannon at HI Point Montara’s front desk. Every corner is filled with some interesting trinket to look at, and you can choose pub snacks and fried seafood to go with your beer, or go for traditional British eats like bangers and mash. Be sure to check out the double decker bus parked out front.
Getting there: Cameron’s is a fifteen-minute drive from HI Point Montara, just on the other side Half Moon Bay.
HI USA Tip: Many of these spots make for great stops along your day trip adventures to these coastal towns near HI Point Montara.