Patrick Guyer of One Ocean Seafood holds a freshly caught crab at the Portola Valley Farmers Market on Dec. 1, 2016. (Photo by Michelle Le)
By Kate Bradshaw
For seafood fans, one of the special perks of living on the West Coast is Dungeness crab season, which this year runs through June 30, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The season officially opened Dec. 31 but had a slow start due to regulations intended to protect migrating whales. Additional restrictions were lifted on Jan. 14 and 15.
These invertebrate critters generate more meat per unit than any other crab and are native to the cold Pacific waters between the Aleutian Islands and Southern California. And their purple shells can grow up to 10 inches across, according to the Ocean Conservancy.
We checked in with restaurants and grocers throughout the Peninsula to find out where you can get your local Dungeness crab fix. These offerings are likely to change – for instance, an employee at Rustic House in San Carlos said that it's still early in the season and they're looking to buy some Dungeness crab soon.
The Crabline, Pillar Point Harbor
The most direct way to pick up Dungeness crab is from fishermen at Pillar Point Harbor. They have a fish and crab hotline (crabline) at 650-726-8724 x 3 and a website, according to the San Mateo County Harbor District.
Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, Half Moon Bay
Pick up whole Dungeness crab or Dungeness crab cioppino from Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. alongside new beers on draft. The whole Dungeness crab special comes cooked in garlic, butter, cajun and Old Bay seasoning and is served with garlic bread and a side of drawn butter. The Dungeness crab cioppino is made with half of a Dungeness crab, shrimp, calamari, linguica, clams, mussels, tomato, red and green onions, fennel and a housemade tomato base.
Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, 390 Capistrano Road, Half Moon Bay; 650-728-2739, Instagram: @hmbbrewingco.
Sam's Chowder House, Half Moon Bay
Catch the whole Dungeness crab special at Sam's Chowder House. The crab comes either steamed or roasted with chili garlic. Sam's is also offering cioppino with Dungeness crab, rockfish, clams, mussels and prawns.
Sam's Chowder House, 4210 N. Cabrillo Highway, Half Moon Bay; 650-712-0245, Instagram: @samschowderhouse.
New England Lobster Market & Eatery, Burlingame
Head to New England Lobster for its Crab Lover Thursdays special for $5 off a plate of fresh Dungeness crab – a whole cooked, cracked and cleaned crab.
New England Lobster Market and Eatery, 824 Cowan Road, Burlingame; 650-443-1559, Instagram: @newenglandlobster.
Draeger's Market, San Mateo, Menlo Park, Los Altos
Draeger's Market is offering Dungenes crab at its grocery stores in San Mateo, Menlo Park and Los Altos. Prices are subject to fluctuation and people should check with the grocer for availability.
Draeger's Market, multiple locations, Instagram: @draegersmarket.
Camper, Menlo Park
Menlo Park's Camper restaurant offers fresh Dungeness crab prepared with pasta. The menu offers charcoal-stained spaghetti with Dungeness crab "Fra Diavolo" – a spicy tomato sauce, parsley, Meyer lemon and potatoes.
Camper, 898 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park, 650-321-8980; Instagram: @campermp.
PPQ Dungeness Island, Millbrae
PPQ Dungeness Island in Millbrae offers Dungeness crab with a wide variety of flavors, according to co-owner Tin Chang. They've got roasted crab with a buttery garlic sauce, peppercorn crab with toasted garlic, salt and pepper, and salted egg yolk crab. They also serve crab with chili oil, garlic and peppers; a coconut curry sauce; and cajun flavoring. And their House Special crab comes sauteed with a mild jalapeño onion sauce. They've also got a crab dinner for two with imperial rolls, chicken cabbage salad, roasted crab and garlic noodles and meal offerings for crab dinners for up to 10.
PPQ Dungeness Island - Millbrae, 195 El Camino Real, Millbrae; 650-686-6126, Instagram: @ppqcrab_millbrae.
The Village Bakery, Woodside
Try out Dungeness crab in pot pie form at The Village Bakery. Each pie comes with Dungeness crab, leeks, potatoes, and other vegetables topped with a flaky and peppery pastry crust.
The Village Bakery, 3052 Woodside Road, Woodside; 650-851-5555, Instagram: @thevillagebake.
The Sea by Alexander's Steakhouse, Palo Alto
The Sea by Alexander's Steakhouse is offering an appetizer of popcorn crab made with Dungeness crab.
The Sea by Alexander's Steakhouse, 4269 W El Camino Real, Palo Alto; 650-213-1111, Instagram: @theseabyash.
Fattoria e Mare, Half Moon Bay
Fattoria e Mare is offering a traditional cioppino with local Dungeness crab, plus calamari, snapper, mussels, clams and prawns.
Fattoria e Mare, 315 Main St., Half Moon Bay; 650-342-4922, Instagram: @fattoriaemare.