Need a break from the commercial coffee franchises? Marin has a bevy of independently owned shops – from the century-old blacksmith’s shop of Dr. Insomnia’s in Novato to the urban-chic Cibo in Sausalito. The following is an offering of Marin’s finest local coffeehouses.
Named after an Italian word for food, Cibo is located in a renovated historic brick building that once housed train parts. Its four seating areas – three inside and a large outdoor patio – are ideal for meeting friends. The majority of the food’s ingredients is purchased fresh from the Farmer’s Market every week. The poached egg dishes, prepared with locally sourced eggs, are especially popular for their fresh taste. The coffee is brewed with freshly ground beans and organic milk. They do not offer wifi, preferring customers to focus on the carefully prepared food and social environment.
1201 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965
This authentic Italian café was named after the owner’s hometown in southern Italy. Caffe Acri was founded on the traditional Italian café values of investing personal care into the preparation of its coffee and satisfaction of its customers. The owners hand pick the coffee beans from Africa and South America and prepare the food every morning with fresh ingredients. The soups and proscuitto sandwiches are a menu favorite. On Thursday evenings from 5:30 to 7:00, Caffe Acri offers Italian wine tasting and appetizers for $10. Free wifi is available.
1 Main Street, Belvedere Tiburon, CA 94920
A family-owned and operated business, The Depot Café & Bookstore is located in an historic train depot in the center of downtown Mill Valley. The sunny Lytton Plaza is a popular afternoon spot to munch on pastries and light meals made in-house with locally sourced ingredients or sip on beverages from the full espresso and wine bar. Indoor seating is also available, along with a monthly exhibit of local artists’ work. The bookstore offers a handpicked selection of books and international magazines. Free wifi is available.
87 Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941
Aroma Café’s casual ambience caters to a wide customer base. Its many tables are ideal for working singles and groups in business meeting and the comfortable couch area in back is great for friendly gatherings. The broad menu offers something for everyone, from the healthy salads topped with homemade dressings to mini pizzas. Beverages include Graffeo espresso drinks, beer and wine – a treat for the late-night moviegoers from the Christopher B. Smith Film Center next door. One hour of garage parking will be validated between 2:00pm and 4:00pm and wifi is available after a minimum purchase of $5.
1122 4th Street, San Rafael, CA 94901
A hub for weekend bicyclists, Marin Coffee Roasters is located a short distance from Phoenix Lake in the heart of San Anselmo. In addition to celebrating local bicyclists with dedicated customers’ bike jerseys and original art on its walls, Marin Coffee Roasters is known for its hometown feel. The coffee beans are roasted and food prepared in-house, including the breakfast burritos, popular orders during the morning rush. Free wifi is available.
546 San Anselmo Avenue, San Anselmo, CA 94960
Once a master baker’s apprentice in Milan and Torino, owner Gary Rulli brings his renowned skills to the authentically Italian treats served at Emporio Rulli. Choose from three indoor seating areas – the Emporio with an expansive selection of wine imported from Italy, the bakery with bite-sized pastries made from scratch and the café that offers light meals – or sit on the outdoor patio. Many of the food’s ingredients are imported from Europe, including the jam, chocolate and candied fruit. The espresso blend is roasted with beans from around the world, some of which are 100% organic. No wifi is available.
464 Magnolia Avenue, Larkspur, CA 94939
Built in 1870, this coffeehouse’s structure was once a blacksmith’s shop that sold metal tools to farmers all over the valley. In the 1960s, Don Wishman received an historic grant to renovate and it became Dr. Insomnia’s. Though small inside, the original framing and redwood pillars are still in place and there is a large outside patio situated beneath redwood trees. Dr. Insomnia’s most celebrated baked good is the scuffin – a cross between a muffin and a scone. The scuffins, along with all other baked goods, are made fresh and served straight out of the oven. They also offer breakfast burritos made from scratch, sandwiches with 5-star quality ham and homemade chocolate used in mochas and hot chocolate. The coffee is made with the highest rated coffee beans that produce hearty, rich coffee. Free wifi is available.
800 Grant Avenue, Novato, CA 94945