The top San Rafael picks for Editors' Choice 2014.
EAT. Downtown San Rafael is a United Nations of food. Yummy mu shu pork at Chrysanthemum, juicy Cubanos at Sol Food, spicy veggie curry at My Thai, picante dried chilies at Azteca No. 2, tajine of lamb at Odalisque. When eat local meets globalization, this is what you get.
1. AZTECA MARKET NO. 2 (pictured)
802 Fourth St, 415.457.2518
2214 Fourth St, 415.456.6926, chrysanthemumfood.com
3. MY THAI
1230 Fourth St, 415.456.4455, mythai.com
4. ODALISQUE CAFE
1335 Fourth St, 415.460.1335, odalisquecafe.com
5. SOL FOOD
811 Fourth St, 415.451.4765, solfoodrestaurant.com
PLAY. Marin is known for live music. There is no doubt among musicians and those who love listening to them that San Rafael is at the heart of the local scene. These four venues prove that when it’s time to go out, San Rafael is the place to go.
A classy supper club with a sassy quarter-million-dollar sound system, Fenix can sate with its California-Southern menu, satisfy with its in-house blues band, and serve you right from Fourth Street with its new pocket-size to-go counter. fenixlive.com
7. GEORGE’S NIGHTCLUB
A true nightclub, with bars front and back, plenty of room to dance and a quick-food menu to refresh you between sets. George’s playlist runs from Tom Petty cover bands to regular R&B nights to a weekly salsa party. georgesnightclub.com
8. STUDIO 55 MARIN
This venue calls itself a listening room, and rightly so. No bar, no dinner, just a fantastic sound system and great sight lines that make this intimate space (150 people) ideal for appreciating the traditional music played there. studio55marin.com
9. TERRAPIN CROSSROADS (pictured)
Music hall, bar, restaurant and living shrine to the Grateful Dead, bassist Phil Lesh’s waterfront venue (on a canal) is the perfect place to eat, drink and chill even for those who might sacrilegiously ask, Jerry who? terrapincrossroads.net
10. URBAN SUBURBAN: Downtown San Rafael Farmers' Market
A stroll through this evening street market is a distinctly Marin version of a vibrant urban experience. Operating Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m., April through September, the Downtown San Rafael Farmers’ Market occupies Fourth Street between Lincoln and B streets. Filled with families of all types, the market is part roadside farm stand, part international bazaar, part music fair and part food festival. Visitors can purchase organic strawberries, indulge in a Thai massage, listen to Afro-funk, and partake in street food — garnachas from Mexico, pupusas from El Salvador and/or barbecue from the U.S. of A. sanrafaelmarket.org