Best Restaurants in Marin County 2018
Whether you're looking for a crunchy grilled cheese sandwich or a delicious green salad, Marin County's famous restaurants cover every mood. Here are our picks for the best food in Marin County.
Welcome! This year, once again, while deciding which local attractions most qualify for “Best of the County 2018,” we asked you, the reader, to weigh in online. And you did, casting more than 400 votes in categories like food, drink, and day and nighttime fun. In the following pages writer Calin Van Paris highlights our editors’ picks, also indicating the ones you thought were tops. Did we miss a real standout in the following pages? As always, let us know — we love feedback … and we love Marin.
These pizzas are a slice above the rest.
FARMSHOP Unique cheese-and-topping combinations with a crisped yet chewy crust define these exceptional pies (Larkspur).
LO COCO’S AUTHENTIC ITALIAN PIZZERIA Classic pies served in a welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere (San Rafael).
PIZZA ANTICA Shareable thin crusts with memorable fresh ingredients make Pizza Antica a Marin mainstay (Mill Valley).
PIZZA MOLINA The delicious toppings on these pies shift with the seasons (Mill Valley).
PIZZERIA PICCO A perfect place to indulge in a wood-fired pie — especially if you’re lucky enough to snag a seat at the incredibly popular counter (Larkspur).
POGGIO Poggio’s cultivated selection ups the ante on any pizza meal — particularly when topped with a farm egg (Sausalito).
TAMALPIE PIZZERIA With pies named for Mount Tam trails and ample outdoor seating, Tamalpie is primo for a locals-only party (Mill Valley, Corte Madera).
Burgers ‘N’ Beer
Whether you take yours with cheese or sans meat, Marin’s patties go great with a beer. Here’s what the creative minds behind your best-loved burgers suggest.
Buckeye Roadhouse Roadhouse Cheeseburger “I would pair it with Mt. Tam Pale Ale or — if you are super lucky — Pliny the Elder double IPA. We only get three cases a week.” – Robert Price, executive chef (Mill Valley).
Gott’s Roadside California Burger “We have Ballast Point Sculpin IPA on draft, which pairs especially well with our California Burger. It’s a medium-bodied IPA with bright flavors that isn’t too hoppy — it really balances out the richness of the burger but doesn’t overpower it.” – Clay Walker, president (Greenbrae).
L’Appart Resto Le Burger “I like to recommend La Parisienne Blonde, a tasty beer from Paris.” – Olivier Criado, general manager (San Anselmo).
The Counter Impossible Burger “The spiciness of the hops in Samuel Adams’ Sam ’76 complements the garlic aioli in The Impossible Burger — the flavor of the ale is as innovative as a hamburger made entirely from plants.” – April Fogle, vice president of restaurant operations (Corte Madera).
Make it Cheesy
Nothing says simply savory quite like the crusty crunch and gooey center of a grilled cheese sandwich. These local versions may tweak the classic recipe, but they’re worthy representatives.
M.H. BREAD AND BUTTER Open-Faced Cheese Toast “Our kitchen was designed for the previous owners, so all we have to work with on the line is a big pizza oven. A traditional grilled cheese was out of the question, so what’s the next best thing? Open-faced! But Shelburne Farms’ 2-Year Cheddar is what truly sets the toast apart.” – Arielle Giusto, former chef and current menu consultant (San Anselmo).
RUSTIC BAKERY The Marin Melt “My idea was to combine two iconic cheeses from Marin County: Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam and Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company’s Toma. With our Honey Whole Wheat bread and melted Straus Family Dairy unsalted organic butter, it is a grilled cheese celebrating all things Marin.” – Carol Levalley, co-founder (Larkspur, Novato).
THE JOINERY Grilled Cheese Sandwich “Our grilled cheese has a few unique elements — it satisfies the classic requirements of salty and buttery, but with additional interest from the funky Gruyère, blended with sharp white cheddar. We also spread a layer of onion jam for a sweet note.” – Yella Catalana, co-owner (Sausalito).
Slurp or Sip
On the bay’s more blustery days, nothing tops a steaming bowl of soup. Travel between the West Marin coast and Sausalito’s sailboats to find the county’s best bowls.
Avatar’s Kala’s Dahl (Sausalito).
Tony’s Seafood Hog Island Oyster Co. Manila Clam Chowder (Marshall).
Kitti’s Place Seafood Noodle Soup (Sausalito).
Pho Viet Brisket and Beef Pho (San Rafael).
Playa Chicken Tortilla Soup (Mill Valley).
Saltwater Oyster Depot Oyster Stew (Inverness).
Get Your Greens
For Marinites, a salad does not equate to a sacrifice. Graze on one of these favorites for a truly fresh perspective.
BESO BISTRO AND WINE BAR Blackened Salmon Salad (Novato).
CAFE DEL SOUL Sunshine Salad (Mill Valley, San Rafael).
COMFORTS Chinese Chicken Salad (San Anselmo).
HARMONY RESTAURANT Chinese Chicken Salad (Mill Valley). 415.381.5300.
JOE’S TACO LOUNGE Tofu Tostada (Mill Valley).
WORLD WRAPPS Tahini Tofu Salad (Corte Madera).
From generous diner plates to Mexican-style to bites on the go, Marin’s favorite breakfasts are all over the map but always big on taste.
FRED’S PLACE (Sausalito). 415.332.4575.
PARKSIDE CAFE (Stinson Beach).
PONSFORD’S PLACE (San Rafael). 117 Shaver St, San Rafael, CA 94901.
SHORELINE COFFEE SHOP (Mill Valley).
THERESA AND JOHNNY’S COMFORT FOOD (San Rafael).
This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine’s print edition with the headline: Best of Marin County: Food.