While Pacifica might only be a brief 6 mile stretch on the coast, packed with gorgeous beaches and rolling hills, it has quite a few culinary gems tucked away into the valleys. And unlike its friendly neighbor of Half Moon Bay, where the seafood is the norm and general theme, Pacifica has an array of diverse cuisines and menus to scratch off the lists. But trust me when I say that Pacifica is a no-fuss type of city, so here, for you, the best restaurants in Pacifica CA.
Always remember to double-check dates, opening times, and weather conditions before traveling.
You aren’t going to get fancy decor and upscale style in Pacifica. The place’s got a small-town feel with family-owned businesses and food that’s there for its people. Not for the Michelin stars.
Working from north to south are 16 local favorite restaurants to try when you visit the beautiful city of Pacifica. Broken down by their neighborhoods, as we tend to do.
top Restaurants in Pacifica CA
- Address: 101 Manor Dr, Pacifica, CA 94044
- Order at Mazzetti’s
Most known for their famous “Derby Cake”, a layered cake with fresh fruit and lightly sweetened whipped cream icing, Mazzetti’s has tons of sweet treats to offer anyone passing through. Pastries, doughnuts, cupcakes & cookies to name a few.
Just don’t be daunted if there’s a line out the door at random times of the day, it moves quickly. This place is popular with locals and bay area natives alike. Our personal favorite is to do a tasting box of 6-8 different treats for a birthday gift. And if you do want to try the Derby cake, order ahead. It’s the only way to get one, they’re that popular.
Camelot Fish & Chips
- Address: 70 W Manor Dr, Pacifica, CA 94044
- Order ahead at Camelot’s Fish & Chips
Ok, folks, this place is the real deal featuring some of the best food in Pacifica. Wrapped in paper and served to order this little pub-style nook serves some authentic fish & chips. They also have other fun stuff to try, like fried clams and oysters, and their chips (fries) are hand-cut just like you’d get in England.
Get there and grab a seat while your party orders, as the place is tiny and seats are limited. Order a few of the baskets to try and wash it down with a cold pub draft. Or try my favorite, a “Snake Bite” which is equal parts dark lager and cider. Whatever you choose, you’ll be happy with it.
A quick tip: Eat this quickly, it doesn’t travel as well as you’d like. We either eat there or walk down the block to take in the ocean view as we snack on lunch.
Paisano Trattoria and Pizzaria
- Address: 442 Manor Plaza, Pacifica, CA 94044
This cozy little dinner-only spot in the Manor plaza is an unsuspecting little gem that always delivers on its promise of good food and a friendly atmosphere. While the go-to is the pizza, their pasta’s are always delicious and plenty enough to share.
Be patient, as there might be a wait for a table in the tiny space, but they will make up for it as they welcome you with open arms and some great Italian food.
Fog City Eats
Right off the Hwy 1 Palmetto exit is this sweet little all-day Salvadorian breakfast and pupusa spot. Its limited menu is perfect for a quick bite and a break from the road.
While it’s suggested to call ahead as they are made to order, you can always grab a beer at Winters next door or take a quick walk down to the beach while you wait. Try the spinach pupusas, they’re amazing. This place is take-out only.
El Toro Loco Peruvian Cuisine
- Address: 1780 Francisco Blvd, Pacifica, CA 94044
- More details on El Toro Loco
With delicious staples and rotating daily specials, this place never disappoints on flavors or style. In fact, this place is one of the best Pacifica restaurants.
El Toro Loco recently moved to a new location to accommodate their crowds of diners who came here religiously for the Ceviche, Lomo Saltado, and Sangria.
Maybe that’s just our perfect meal. But seriously, we’ve never had something we didn’t like here. Hence the local crowds all the time.
Kitten and Pinky Vietnamese
- Address: 1715 Palmetto Ave, Pacifica, CA 94044
This small mom-and-pop type of place is one of the most delicious places to eat in Pacifica. Here, the decor is simple but the food is absolutely outstanding and very fresh. Legit banh-mi, spring rolls, and BBQ’d vermicelli dishes are all favorites. They even have vegan options as well.
Locals Tip: Grab a banh-mi and a Thai iced tea, then walk the two blocks down to the Pacifica pier and soak in the people watching as you scarf down your sandwich in the ocean breeze.
Perfect Pour Cafe
- Address: 188 Clarendon Rd, Pacifica, CA 94044
- Perfect Pour directions
If caffeine and a snack are what you’re looking for as you make your way down the Hwy then swing into Perfect Pour Cafe.
Easily located before the on-ramp back onto the highway, this yummy little coffee shop not only offers delicious unique coffee combos but also a great breakfast sandwich and creative melts and wraps. It can be the perfect pick me up from a long drive or just what you need before you get back on the road again.
- Address: 2125 Pacific Coast Hwy, Pacifica, CA 94044
A Pacifica staple is the Vallamar Station restaurant right off the side of Hwy 1. A historical building, this restaurant used to be- you guessed it, the major train station in Pacifica. Now it serves as an old-school style steakhouse.
No-fuss plates of surf n turf, prime rib, clam chowder, and fried chicken. There is a “step back in time” feel to the place and it’s family-friendly in its style. Vallamar Station
BBQ is a very personal thing to people, but there is no denying the popularity of this “pit-stop” (hehe, see what I did there?). This Texas-style dry-rubbed bbq joint is among the best places to eat in Pacifica. It only opens on the weekends and will almost always have a 30-45 minute wait. And when it’s gone, it’s gone.
The sauce is more of a tangy style rather than sweet and the meats have a nice smoke ring to them. The menu is always changing due to availability but come hungry and order a few things to share and try.
Tip: Grab a coffee from P-Town next door for the wait. It’ll keep you warm if the fog rolls in.
An absolute local favorite coffee spot is the P-Town Coffee caboose located right off of Highway 1 and Reina Del Mar Ave. You honestly can’t miss the bright red caboose calling out to you.
They do have bagels and such, but this place is all about the coffee and drinks. It’s easy to get in and out quickly, the staff is super friendly and the coffee is strong. Great for some energy after a long hike or a sip while waiting for some BBQ at Gorillas.
Due to its proximity to most of the hotels in Pacifica, Rockaway has many of the more “formal” restaurants to try in the city. But I use “formal” loosely. This surfer town has a sense of casualness in even its finer setting. But if you’re looking for a nicer evening out, there are a few to try.
- Address: 105 Rockaway Beach Ave, Pacifica, CA 94044
- Reservations at Moonrakers
With stunning panoramic views of the ocean right below you, this is one of the best Pacifica restaurants with a view. And it’s a top spot for a more upscale dining experience in Pacifica. Located within the Pacifica Lighthouse by Wyndham hotel, the trick is to make reservations for window seating if possible.
They always have delicious cocktails and make a great steak as well. We like to order a few appetizers and a drink for a quiet date night. They occasionally have live music, but honestly, just the sound of crashing waves below is enough of an ambiance along with your meal.
Nick’s Seashore Restaurant
- Address: 100 Rockaway Beach Ave, Pacifica, CA 94044
- Reservations at Nick’s.
A funky seafood restaurant cozied up next to the ocean, this place has a little something for everyone. Most known for the simple yet insanely delicious Crab Sandwich, you can always get something your craving here.
And while the views are outstanding, the entertainment can be a blast as well. With live music and dancing on the weekends, this is a great spot to get the hankering for seafood out of the way and stay for the fun.
A Grape In the Fog
- Address: 400 Old County Rd, Pacifica, CA 94044
- Reservations at A Grape in the Fog
A perfect way to relax after a long day of driving down the coast is to unwind at A Grape In the Fog. With small bites and an ever-changing wine list, this tasting bar has everything you want in a wine bar.
Friendly and informative staff, outdoor seating, and live music on occasion. If you’re staying nearby and just want an easy glass of wine, some good conversation, and a nibble, this is your spot.
- Address: 4627 CA-1, Pacifica, CA 94044
- Reservations at Pacifica Brewery
As mentioned in our Activities Post, this new and upcoming brewery is serving up some killer beers and elevated gastro pub food. With a chill and relaxed vibe, it’s easy to catch up with friends over a pitcher of beer and share some of the ever-changing seasonal menus. It is also very dog-friendly.
Tables and seating is separated enough that even when it’s busy, it doesn’t have that crazy busy feeling. And if you don’t feel like going home yet, walk next door and go bowling for a nostalgic night of fun.
Puerto 27 Peruvian Kitchen & Pisco Bar
- Address: 525 Crespi Dr, Pacifica, CA 94044
So here’s the tricky thing about this place. The food is amazing. Fresh, legit Peruvian food, plated beautifully and always delicious. But I think I might say the cocktails are my favorite. There is just so much creativity, thought and love put into them. And they do pair perfectly with the food.
With a gorgeous view of Linda Mar Beach and no bad seats in the house, this is a great location to invite a few friends and order one of everything. Or as close to that as you can. The Branzino with seafood stuffing is a personal favorite, but you cannot go wrong with a tasting menu of the ceviches either.
No matter what you try, pair it with a cocktail and have fun at this lively restaurant overlooking the pacific ocean.
The Taco Bell by the Sea
- Address: 5200 CA-1, Pacifica, CA 94044
You really can’t mention Linda Mar without talking about the most beautiful Taco Bell, in well, really the world. It’s a stunning piece of property that is literally on the beach. I don’t feel like I have to go into detail about the food here, but this place is all about the location. As mentioned in a previous post, it is not uncommon to see whales frolicking in the waves in front of you as you munch on a taco supreme. It is honestly a little surreal.
Don’t like Taco Bell? That’s ok. As this location is also a cantina. You can grab a beer or frozen cocktail and sip away as you wind down from a stroll on the beach or watch the surfers ride their waves.
- Address: 5430 CA-1, Pacifica, CA 94044
If a good old-fashioned burger is more your speed then opt for one at Burger-Board. With a good selection of signature burgers, chili, wings, and fries, you’ll be hard-pressed to not find something for everyone there. The decor is a funky surfer atmosphere and plenty of room for the whole family.
And if you where wondering where to eat in Pacifica, there you have it. A locals list of favorite restaurants in Pacifica. Most are right off Highway 1 for easy access.
Did I miss one? Have a personal favorite or place you’d like to mention? Please let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear your favorite spots to eat in our little town.