Cafe Gibraltar, Half Moon Bay CA

If the seemingly long, wet winter we've had in Northern California inspired a good deal of comfort food and nights eating "in", then a few sunbreaks here and there have encouraged a mad-dash out. Out to enjoy the weather and for me, out to try a few new restaurants.

One of the most recent - and delicious - new places I have tried is Cafe Gibraltar in Half Moon Bay California. Tucked away on a street I would otherwise pass by, it was recommended by a friend who knows of my food obsession and fondness for Half Moon Bay.

Right after I booked my reservation on Open Table I received an email confirmation I was inclined to ignore . However, after a quick read and the notice to "call in advance if you want Moroccan-style seating" I decided to give a call and sure enough, they were able to accomodate my request. Turns out Morrocan-style seating means you sit on comfy pillows around a square table surrounded by long, private curtains. It's cozy, intimate and a nice way to kick back with friends and a bottle of wine.

Now, for the food. While amazing on a plate, my words will probably not do the entrees justice so, below is a small sampling of our orders...
  • Gambero con polenta. This is fresh American wild shrimp sauteed with garlic, tomatoes and a host of other ingredients and served atop White Pearl corn polenta. If you like polenta, you MUST order this dish!
  • Chipporones al ajillo. Quite possibly the most tender calamari I've tasted. Highly recommended.
  • Gnocchi di patata al tartufo. Beautifully presented, with large, tender gnocchi and flavorful mushrooms plus fresh goat cheese.
  • Pintada con Membrillo - pheasant stuffed with pancetta, sage and ginger mousse.
  • Aginares apo tyri - stuffed, baked local artichoke.
  • Gateau du crabe - local Dungeness crab cake served atop a potato-sunchoke onion melange. My friend ordered this and I thought it was one of the best items on the menu. YUM.
Whew - a lot of fancy words for just plain amazing food!

For dessert we opted to share two desserts: the maple pecan tart (my favorite) and the banana cream pie. Both were excellent.

Overall, a really fantastic meal with all the elements working together seamlessly. The service was leisurely paced but attentive, the server well-versed in the ingredients and food descriptions and the food itself unique and perfectly executed. I couldn't have been more pleasantly surprised.

Cafe Gibraltar 425 Ave Alhambra, Half Moon Bay CA 94019.
Reservations recommended.

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