Navio Restaurant is part of the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay, where luxury, the Pacific ocean, fabulous views and exquisite dining meet. The property is surrounded by spectacular sunsets in the evenings and skies during the day and after you walk the grounds and take it all in, Navio is the perfect place to dine at the end of your day if you’re a serious foodie. And, the service is top notch.
Meat options include a prime brandt beef grilled steak served with a yukon gold potato puree, cipolini onions, horseradish onion marmalade, and a port wine sauce, a 48-hour braised short rib which is served with charred onion soubise, brussels sprouts, pearl onions and a bordelaise sauce. They also boast an apple brined berkshire pork chop, which is served with polenta, lollipop kale, sierra beauty apples and pork jus.
What Navio is truly known for however is their seafood. Appetizers include mussels served with shallots, garlic, sauvignon blanc, creme fraiche, parsley and rustic bread, a celery root soup (yum!) served with steelhead trout roe, the house made truffle fettucini, which is to die for, and served with black periogord truffles and parmesan sherry cream sauce.
They have some scrumptious flat breads for starters as well as herb marinated salt cod, tomato sauce, watercress, lemon creme fraiche and espelette. They also do a black cod which they broil and serve with fennel marmalade, cinnamon oil (scrumptious), saffron potatoes and braised escarole.
The black sea bass is also to die for and is served pan roasted in a beet mousse with cumin roasted cauliflower, toasted pinenut and scallion and Agro Dolce. OR, there’s the sea scallops, which are pan seared with a crispy pork belly, sunchoke puree and oven roasted grapes with a chimichurri relish. The chef uses unusual combinations that come together beautifully and have just the right blend to leave your mouth inspired and begging for more.
They rave about the octopus salad which they prepare with fennel, frisee, watercress, picholine olives, roasted red peppers and red wine vinaigrette, however my favorites were the ahi tuni sashimi appetizer served with breakfast radish, pomelo avocado and quince relish and watercress and the smoked red kuri squash ravioli, which can be served as both an appetizer and a main course.
The ravioli is served in a Thai Shrimp curry sauce, with toasted cashews, parmesan and basil oil. Warning: it’s very rich, hence the reason we ordered the dish as a starter and not a main. What’s so special about it is its perfect “smokiness,” which almost makes you think the dish has bacon in it even when it doesn’t. (we confirmed).
Other favorites included the following dishes which we tried in order of how they were delivered to the table:
- Hawaiian Butterfish: the dish is broiled with saffron potatoes, braised escarole, fennel marmalade and cinnamon oil.
- Mero Sea Bass: the fish is pan roasted with a scrumptious beet mousse, cumin roasted cauliflower, toasted pine nuts, golden raisins and scallion agro dolce.
- Veal Cheeks: they served the cheecks with charred onion, brussel sprout chips (they prepare them in a dehydrator), and horseradish.
If you want to be a little more adventurous, they also have a whole branzino on the menu from the Greek Island of Samos. The fish is oven roasted with black rice, ginger broccolini and a cucumber relish. Or, if you want to be more traditional, go for the loch duart salmon which is grilled and served with roasted sweet potato and wild mushroom ragout, pecan butternut squash and a cocoa relish.
The chef Xavier Salomon is no doubt creative and bold and it pays off. He is known to be only second in The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company to earn the title Maître Cuisinier de France (French Master Chef), Xavier is a fifth-generation restaurateur with a passion for food that began at his family’s kitchen table in Savoie, France. In addition to Navio, he also oversees the cuisine at The Conservatory Lounge, The Library, and 17,000-square-feet of banquet and wedding suites and ballrooms. Important to their beliefs at the hotel and restaurant, they try to source local ingredients from local farmers as much as possible.
Below, the dining room during the day – note the view of the ocean outside the windows.
For dessert, we tried the pistachio ice cream with double chocolate and the upside pumpkin cake served with candied orange ice cream. Let’s just say that we happily waddled up to our rooms after pairing them with coffee and an aged port. Ahhh yes, a major two thumbs up…we will return!!
Also be sure to see our write-up on the spa and the hotel.
Disclosure: we were hosted by the hotel and restaurant however all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.