Novato lies on the northern edge of Marin, with the advantage of being two steps to Sonoma County. Its small-town vibe and surrounding countryside keep it cozy and local. Dining options include small cafes, wine bars, and a smattering of dine-in or -out options, along with Marin institutions such as Hilltop 1892 and Hopmonk Tavern.
Beso Bistro and Wine Bar | Boca Pizzeria | Boca Tavern | Chianti Cucina | Finnegan’s | Hilltop 1892 | Hopmonk Tavern | Jennie Low’s | Marvin’s Restaurant | Michael’s Sourdough | Rustic Bakery | The Speakeasy | Toast
COVID-19 update: Open for patio dining and takeout, Tuesday–Friday, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5:30-9 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday, 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Reservations recommended.
Californian, 502 S Palm Drive, Novato, 415.883.6700
This Hamilton Field bistro highlights locally sourced organic produce, fresh sustainable seafood, and pasture-raised and free-range meat. Wine lovers can embrace their inner Dionysus — Beso offers more than 20 selections by the glass and more than 50 by the bottle.
COVID-19 update: Open for outdoor dining and takeout, daily 12 noon-9 p.m. Delivery via DoorDash.
Italian, 454 Ignacio Blvd, Novato, 415.883.2302
Enjoy authentic pizza prepared with fresh mozzarella made in house and tomatoes imported from Italy, or go for a grilled rosemary chicken sandwich or the braised beef short rib pappardelle. Weekly specials include half off all wines by the bottle on Wednesdays and half off draft beers on Thursdays.
COVID-19 update: Open for patio dining and takeout daily, 12 noon-9 p.m. Delivery via GrubHub.
American, 40 Ignacio Blvd, Novato, 415.883.0901
Bring a date here or celebrate a special event. Favorites at this classic restaurant include bigeye tuna poke, Dungeness crab cakes, mac ’n’ cheese croquettes, and duck-fat fries. From the wood-burning grill, there’s fresh fish, shrimp, and dry-aged ribeye. On Tuesdays, wine is half off.
COVID-19 update: Takeout available, Sunday–Thursday, 4:30-7:30 p.m. and Friday–Saturday, 4:30-8 p.m. Order via phone or Drive-Thru app.
Italian, 7416 Redwood Highway, Novato, 415.878.0314
COVID-19 update: Open for patio dining, takeout, and contactless curbside, Wednesday–Sunday, 11:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. Please call to order. Delivery via DoorDash.
American, 877 Grant Ave, Novato, 415.899.1516
The dark wood paneled booths and high backs on bar stools mean it is easy to linger over Irish-inspired meals like corned beef and cabbage or nachos made with waffle fries instead of corn chips.
COVID-19 update: Temporarily closed.
Californian, 850 Lamont Ave, Novato, 415.893.1892
COVID-19 update: Open for patio dining, takeout and delivery, Sunday–Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
American, 224 Vintage Way, Novato, 415.892.6200
The beer garden-style outdoor patio and live music keep fans coming back to this Novato brewhouse. Weekly events include country line dancing and open mic nights with an ample selection of beers on tap.
COVID-19 update: Open for takeout, Monday–Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday–Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Sunday, 3:30-9 p.m.
Chinese, 120 Vintage Way, Novato, 415.892.8838
Choose from Cantonese, Mandarin, Szechuan and Hunan cuisines, and if you don’t see your favorite, let the restaurant know; whenever possible, they’re happy to try and prepare dishes off-menu. The potstickers are the best around.
COVID-19 update: Open for takeout and delivery, daily 6 a.m.-2 p.m.
American, 1112 Grant Ave, Novato, 415.892.4482
COVID-19 update: Open for takeout only, Monday–Friday, 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
American, 999 Andersen Drive, Ste. 165, San Rafael, 415.485.0964
The bread is made on site and is said to have magical qualities. It better as it is the only holder for the overstuffed wonders served at this Best of the County 2019 winner. Fans return over and over to the San Rafael and Novato locations for their faves, ordered by number, then swoon over the huge sandos piled with meat, cheese and enough shredded lettuce to ooze out the sides and onto your lap.
COVID-19 update: Open daily, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. for counter orders to-go or curbside delivery via phone or ChowNow. Delivery via Caviar and DoorDash. Catering via ezCater.
Californian, 1407 Grant Ave, Novato, 415.878.4952
Organic pastries, breads, salads, and sandwiches are on the menu here, including daily seasonal specials. Try the Marin Melt — Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam and Point Reyes Toma cheeses grilled on honey whole wheat, served with dressed baby greens and crisp apple slices.
COVID-19 update: Temporarily closed. Sister restaurant, Rickey’s, is open for patio dining, takeout and delivery. Call 415.870.2990 to order.
American, 504 Alameda del Prado, Novato, 415.883.7793
There’s nothing like the comfort of a solid burger and beer when you’re kicking back and watching the game, and the Speakeasy provides. In addition to the 10 beers on tap, you can go beyond traditional pub grub with treats like a deconstructed salmon salad.