Photos by Albert Law.
After a six-week closure — which in construction terms is really a blink of an eye — Tiburon’s beloved waterfront Sam’s Anchor Cafe is back with a fresh look and menu to match. Reimagined by design studio ROY, the restaurant now boasts nautical-inspired touches like aged brass finishes and inlays, vintage metal pendant lighting, textured wood and an elegant deep navy blue and warm white color scheme throughout. None of this is an accident.
“Sam’s has such history and we’re honored to be part of an incredible rebrand of this classic restaurant and bar. The challenge was to retain the fun, inspiring history this place holds for the Bay Area while still bringing the restaurant into a new era where it will continue to be treasured by the community,” noted Hannah Collins, ROY’s co-founder and principal designer.
The history Collins is referring to is that of the original owner, Sam Vella. “It is clear from all that was written about him that he was a fun-loving, charismatic Maltin and we hope we captured his essence in our remodel of the restaurant,” says new owner Conor Flaherty.
The scope of the remodel also covers a huge floor-to-ceiling glass door that connects the main dining room with one of the restaurant’s biggest draws — the sweeping outdoor patio — which now has a heated wraparound bench, great for blustery evenings. Fun fact for when you’re ducking inside: take note of the bathroom. Inside you’ll find sailboat wallpaper inspired by original wallpaper uncovered during demolition.
Food wise, the menu features raw bar selections of poke or ceviche and local, seasonal oysters on the half shell; signature dishes include San Francisco sand dabs with mussels, potatoes, asparagus and sherry cream as well as a classic Maine lobster roll on a toasted bun with aioli and arugula.
Over on the drink side are sharable punch bowls for two or more and specialty craft cocktails like the Hermosa Picante (Peligroso Tequila, Cointreau, jalapeño, lime juice, agave nectar, cilantro and a salt rim) and the Ramos Gin Fizz (Tanqueray Gin, half-and-half, orange juice, sweet and sour orange flower water and egg white). Even with all the changes, the spirit of the restaurant remains — case in point: the popcorn machine is still there.
WHO Owners Conor Flaherty and James Tate
WHAT Tiburon’s quintessential waterfront restaurant gets a revamped look and menu
WHERE 27 Main Street, Tiburon, 415.435.4527, samscafe.com