Monday, May 1, 2017

1 South: Pacifica, Rockaway Beach section


ROCKAWAY BEACH:

Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California
Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California
This self-contained section of Pacifica provides a village-like, walkable getaway.  Visitors can check in to a lodging or park their cars, and then walk everywhere from their room or parking space--to browse unique shops, dine at an assortment of restaurants (think fresh Dungeness crab and other local seafood), ride a Segway, take a hike along the Coastal Trail, watch surfers, or just relax on the sand at the small, scenic beach featuring plenty of waves and surfers and sometimes even sharks and whales. 

     Where To Stay and Eat
Best Western Lighthouse Hotel  105 Rockaway Beach Ave., (800) 832-4777, (650) 355-6300.  97 rooms; $$-$$$.  Heated pool (open year round); hot tub; sauna; fitness room.  Room service; restaurant.  Eight rooms here have a full-on ocean view, while the rest have a range of partial views.  Beach-front junior suites have a sliding door that opens to the sight and sound of the roaring ocean—no wimpy waves here.  It’s a thrill watching surfers while relaxing to nature’s stereo performance.  Time a visit well and luck might permit viewing passing whales, or maybe dolphins riding the waves like surfers, or even the great white shark that passes through twice a year.  Several trails lead by the hotel:  The Coastal Trail goes a mile north into the foothills, and the Linda Mar State Beach trail leads south to a popular surfing spot.

exterior of Best Western Lighthouse Hotel at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California
exterior of Best Western Lighthouse Hotel at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California
     Operating on the hotel’s second floor, the elegant and romantic Moonraker (650) 557-7025.  B-D daily, L Tu-Sat, SunBr.) is back with a surf-and-turf menu.  Stressing fresh seafood, menu highlights include oysters, cracked Dungeness crab, and a delicate filet of Petrale sole, but you might also find a delicious butternut squash soup, roasted Brussels sprouts from Half Moon Bay, and steak-frites.  Most tables have impressive oceanfront views, and sometimes you can even hear the surf.  Many comfortable half-moon booths are available.
Moonraker Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

bar at Moonraker in Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California
bar at Moonraker in Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California

cracked Dungeness crab at Moonraker in Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California
cracked Dungeness crab at Moonraker in Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California

Petrale sole at Moonraker at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California
Petrale sole at Moonraker at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California

Brussels sprouts and butternut squash soup at Moonraker at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California
Brussels sprouts and butternut squash soup at Moonraker at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California

steak frites at Moonraker at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California
steak frites at Moonraker at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California

blood orange sorbet at Moonraker at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California
blood orange sorbet at Moonraker at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California

Holiday Inn  519 Nick Gust Way, (650) 355-5000.  Buffet breakfast; afternoon cookies.  Some rooms have an ocean view, but others, like the one I stayed in, have a view of the busy highway or parking lot.  The best rooms here are ocean-views on an upper floor.  Guest rooms are comfortable, contemporary, and quiet.  Each has a Kuireg coffeemaker.  The complimentary buffet breakfast served in a room with an ocean view is expansive, with pancakes, muffins, eggs, toast, cereal, yogurt, and really good biscuits.  Hot drinks and juices are always available to guests.  A few big fish are kept in a small salt-water tank in the lobby. 

view from breakfast room at Holiday Inn Express at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California
view from breakfast room at Holiday Inn Express at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California

Seabreeze Motel  100 Rockaway Beach Ave., (650) 359-3903.  20 rooms; $.  Continental breakfast; restaurant.  No pets.  This is the place for a quick, inexpensive escape.  Rooms are simple, but the beach and roaring sea are just a few steps away.

exterior of Seabreeze Motel at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California
exterior of Seabreeze Motel at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California

    Nicks Sea Shore Dining ((650) 359-3900.  B-L-D daily; $$-$$$.  Reservations advised.) offers ’50s retro style with comfy booths and an ocean view.  Under the same ownership as the motel, this merry steak and seafood house began as a burger stand selling bait to fishermen.  Don’t miss the garlic bread or crab cakes.  Additional popular items include Oysters Rockefeller, marinated cracked crab made from grandma’s recipe, and Nick’s Famous Crab Sandwich on grilled sourdough.  For dessert, the sorbet bomb is da bomb--a delicious ball of passion fruit, mango, and raspberry sorbets encased in white chocolate.  An adjacent bar with dance floor books live music on weekends and serves up tasty cocktails at its immense horseshoe bar.
Nick's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

dining room at Nicks Sea Shore Dining at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California
dining room at Nicks Sea Shore Dining at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California

Oysters Rockefeller at Nicks Sea Shore Dining at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California
Oysters Rockefeller at Nicks Sea Shore Dining at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California

cracked crab at Nicks Sea Shore Dining at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California
cracked crab at Nicks Sea Shore Dining at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California

sorbet bomb at Nicks Sea Shore Dining at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California
sorbet bomb at Nicks Sea Shore Dining at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California

A Grape in the Fog  400 Old County Rd., (650) 735-5854.  Age 21+.  M-Thur 4-10, F 4-11, Sat 2-11.  Located at the quiet end of an already quiet back road, this small wine bar offers an impressive selection plus some tasty small bites--cheeses and charcuterie, hummus, and stuffed empanadas.  Seating is at high tables and a bar, and live music is scheduled on a small stage on Fridays and Saturdays from 7 to 10 p.m.  My group tried four tasty vintages:  an oaky, buttery, approachable Corkscrew Chardonnay; a fruity, smoky Stubbs Vineyard Pinot Noir; another good Kastania Pinot Noir with a sweet owl on the label; and the bold Mr. Beast Zin from Barber Cellar.  Several featured wine flights remove the decision making and let you relax. 
A Grape in the Fog Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

exterior of A Grape in the Fog at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California
exterior of A Grape in the Fog at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California

bar at A Grape in the Fog at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California
bar at A Grape in the Fog at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California

small bites at A Grape in the Fog at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California
small bites at A Grape in the Fog at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California

Uoyakutei Japanese Restaurant  4408 Coast Hwy., (650) 898-8183.  L-D daily.  This road house is an easy pull-off on Highway 1.  An extensive Japanese menu includes crispy tempura, all types of sushi and sashimi, and more.  


sushi bar at Uoyakutei Japanese Restaurant at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California
sushi bar at Uoyakutei Japanese Restaurant at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California


tempura at Uoyakutei Japanese Restaurant at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California
tempura at Uoyakutei Japanese Restaurant at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California

    And
Resurrected Boutique  450 Dondee Way #2, in Rockaway Beach Plaza, (650) 735-5503.  This cozy little spot purveys the work of local artisans as well as repurposed antiques, collectibles, and vintage items.  


merchandise at Resurrected Boutique at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California
merchandise at Resurrected Boutique at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California


More things to do in Pacifica.

Here are some travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways.
 

images c2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

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