Located just 20 miles from San Francisco lies an incredible property that is perched on a rugged oceanside bluff. As one of the few hotel properties located directly on the coast, the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay has become an icon in the hospitality industry. The ambiance is inspired by the coasts of Scotland – lush green grass rolls along the knolls of the Ritz Carlton golf course with pristine views of the Pacific Ocean.
Recently we dined at the newly renovated restaurant of the property, the Conservatory. The restaurant has a contemporary American beach house feel to it with plush furniture, clear blue glasses and a minimalist chandelier that hangs overhead. A tall white ceiling with wooden beams adds to the light airy ambiance of the space. While guests dine, they can admire fantastic views of the Ritz Carlton golf course and the deep blue color of the Pacific Ocean. An ideal time to dine at the restaurant is sunset when the skies change to a mixture of magentas and orange.
The cuisine of the restaurant is contemporary American with fresh farm to table ingredients. Enjoy a menu crafted by Executive Chef Xavier Saloman as well as draft cocktails with an innovative spin on the classics. Nearly all ingredients come from an array of local farmers in the region.
We started our meal with the cresenza toast. Bacon furikake, black mission figs and acme batard tops an incredible cheese crafted from East Fresian sheeps milk. The combination with the crunch of the thinly toasted bread created an explosion of flavors.
Next, we ventured onto the fire roasted corn with oaxaca cheese and tahine cilantro lime. This dish showed Mexican influences with the combination of the spice of the paprika with citrus flavor of the lime.
Brussel sprouts were served with dry cherries and sauteed red garlic.
The menu has an array of diverse dishes for starters including Daylight Farms pumpkin soup, littleneck clam chowder, hamachi crudo and even the Pitman Farm’s chicken wings.
The Neopolitan pappardelle ragu is served with Berkshire port & beef, wild mushrooms and Bellwether Farms Ricotta. The flat white pasta is handmade and has hints of sweet flavors. The pasta is thin and delicate with a light doughy texture.
The Mt. Lassen Trout is served on a bed of quinoa with roasted sunchokes, cauliflower, bulgur wheat, and cranberry puree.
The Heritage Pork Chop is served with roasted Tokyo turnips, blood orange, marcona almonds, Chipotle mustard and citrus jus. It is quite an impressive cut of meat and combines sRweet and savory flavors. The meat on the bone was absolutely divine as it went into our mouths.
For any foodie, the experience is mesmerizing and you will be seduced by the service, cuisine, wine…you name it. Add that special sunset view where you can’t find anywhere else in the world and you will be on cloud nine.
For dessert, we had the 1987 Bodegas Toro Albala Don PX Gran Reserva, a dessert wine. This rich and complex wine is known for its long ageing in oak barrels. After filing and sealing, these barrels are left for decades in their single-vintage state. It’s during this slow maturation that the wines undertake their delicious, savory, rancio transformation (through controlled exposure to oxygen) which brings a kind of nutty, iodine character that infinitely complexes the sweet, fruit cakey wine but also gives it added freshness.
For more information, visit the Conservatory.