Where to Eat: West Marin
West Marin is a bit of a drive, but well worth it – for both the scenery and the food. Separated from Marin by swaths of open space, the inland towns of Nicasio, Lagunitas, and Point Reyes and the stunning coastal venues of Marshall, Bolinas, and Stinson offer a bounty of farm fresh cuisine and markets, bakeries and cafés, and, of course, oyster bars. There’s no excuse not to make a day out of it.
Dillon Beach Coastal Kitchen | Due West at Olema House | Nick’s Cove | Ostreria Stellina | Parkside Cafe | Rancho Nicasio | Saltwater Oyster Depot | Sand Dollar | Side Street Kitchen | Sir & Star at the Olema | Station House Cafe | The Siren Canteen | Tony’s Seafood | William Tell House
California, 1 Beach Ave, Dillon Beach, (707) 878-3030
Inspired by Marin’s foodshed, business partners Brooke Gray and Mike Goebel opened this ocean view restaurant as part of Dillon Beach Resort, west of Tomales. Seasonal eats like local black cod dip and golden beet salad give way to mains like a green chickpea falafel plate and a burger with Stemple Creek beef.
Californian, 10005 Hwy 1, Olema, (415) 663-1264
The dark blue walls accented with recessed golden light give the refreshed restaurant-cum-saloon at Olema House a modern feel. The menu, including a burger, linguini and clams, and a chopped salad, skews all-day casual and speaks to the inn and restaurant’s crossroads locale.
American, 23240 Highway 1, Marshall, (415) 663-1033
This escape along Tomales Bay is famous for barbecued local oysters, Dungeness crab mac ’n’ cheese and cocktails incorporating homegrown ingredients. Large windows in the 120-seat restaurant provide picturesque views of Tomales Bay and Hog Island and a fireplace in the main dining room makes the most of fog-whipped and rainy days.
California, 11285 Highway 1, Point Reyes Station, (415) 663-9988
Whether it’s to cap off a day of hiking or celebrate a romantic anniversary, Osteria Stellina suits any occasion. The menu is Italian-inspired and features local organic ingredients. If you’re up for something unusual, try the goat shoulder, a hit with both tourists and locals.
American, 43 Arenal Ave, Stinson, (415) 868-1272
Perfect for a sit-down alfresco meal or for grabbing a burger to enjoy on the beach. Beautiful patio garden seating, ocean views, and private wood-fired dinners make this cafe a relaxing retreat. If you’re on the go, check out the market and bakery. Choose from an array of organic locally grown produce, artisan meats, and wild seafood.
American, 1 Old Rancheria Road, Nicasio, (415) 662-2219
Known for live music and an extensive menu featuring everything from crispy calamari to braised lamb shanks, Rancho Nicasio is open seven days a week, including brunch. Be sure to stop in for happy hour, 4 to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Seafood, 12781 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Inverness, (415) 669-1244
A seat at the room-length bar or on the patio at this snug spot on Tomales Bay’s west shore can be tough to snag on a busy summer weekend but oysters pulled straight from the bay moments before, served broiled and on the half shell, are worth the wait. Locally-sourced ingredients get equal billing in dishes like halibut crudo and a lamb burger.
American, 3458 Shoreline Highway, Stinson, (415) 868-0434
Originally built from three barges in Tiburon in 1921, the Sand Dollar Restaurant was floated to Stinson that same year. Enjoy live music along with barbecued local oysters and New England clam chowder. The sunny deck is great in the afternoon.
American, 60 Fourth St, Point Reyes Station, (415) 663-0303
Sheryl Cahill, owner of the Station House Cafe, opened her next venture a few blocks down in the former Pine Cone Diner. The fast-casual eatery led by chef Aaron Wright (formerly of Tavern at Lark Creek) serves favorites like rotisserie chicken, smoked oysters, and pork-belly BLTs as well as wholesome vegetarian fare. This is one of the few spots in West Marin that serves gluten-free beer.
California, 10000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Olema, (415) 663-1034
The historic inn has reopened as a roadhouse-style restaurant featuring rustic decor and a delicious yet affordable menu with just about everything sourced from Marin. Try the house-made bread and honey butter, the kale Caesar and the stuffed quail, then come back and work your way through the ever-changing menu.
American, 11180 Highway 1, Point Reyes Station, (415) 663-1515
American, 3201 Highway 1, Stinson, (415) 868-1777
Where in Northern California can you enjoy a taco at a restaurant nestled directly under a lifeguard tower? At The Siren Canteen, of course. Opened in the summer of 2014, this smart beach shack perched on the sandy shores of Stinson serves up burritos, burgers and creamy Meyer lemon milkshakes. Though the food is solid, we think the BYOW option with a $10 corkage fee and million-dollar views is reason enough to give this shack a shout-out.
Seafood, 18863 Shoreline Hwy, Marshall, (415) 663-1107
The crowds still come on sunny weekends for the barbecue oysters and amazing views of Tomales Bay but the recent purchase by the Hog Island Oyster Co team meant a refresh of the interior and a spiffed-up menu of salads and seafood pulled from the bay’s waters.
American, 26955 Highway 1, Tomales, (707) 879-2002
The oldest continuously operating saloon in Marin makes a mean apple brandy cocktail aptly named for the Swiss folk hero, William Tell (who famously shot an arrow off his son’s head), but the revamped restaurant strives to make its name around food with a seafood chowder made with local cod, a Cobb salad with applewood bacon, and a butcher’s cut of the day sourced from nearby Stemple Creek Ranch and grilled to order.