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 | Hilltop 1892 | Hopmonk Tavern | Jennie Low’s | Marvin’s Restaurant | Michael’s Sourdough | Rustic Bakery | The Speakeasy | Toast | Wildfox Restaurant
California, 502 S Palm Drive, Novato, (415) 883-6700
This Hamiton 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.
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.
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.
Italian, 7416 Redwood Highway, Novato, (415) 878-0314
California, 850 Lamont Ave, Novato, (415) 893-1892
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.
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.
American, 1112 Grant Ave, Novato, (415) 892-4482
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 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,
California, 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.
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.
American, 5800 Nave Drive, Novato, (415) 382-1144
American, 225 Alameda Del Prado, Novato, (415) 833-9125
Serving Novato for two decades, with dishes like prime rib, French onion soup and pecan-crusted goat cheese flatbread. Bottomless mimosas for Sunday brunch and half-off select wine bottles on Monday are other treats. On the patio, enjoy live music by the fire Thursday and Friday nights.