Top Bakeries, Sandwiches and Pizza According to Marin Magazine’s 2012 Best of the County

Peace, Loaves and Happiness

No one can deny there’s lots of dough in Marin — as in fresh baked. Our relatively small population supports an impressively large number of bakeries and restaurants making their own breads. Here are a few we most crave — probably way too often (pictured from top to bottom).

51) Onion Dill Gluten- Free Flatbread: Sans (San Rafael), sans

52) Fig, Fennel, Pecan Bread: Sweet Life Bakery and Cafe (San Anselmo),

53) Panmarino: Il Fornaio (Corte Madera),

54) Panettone: Emporio Rulli (Larkspur),

55) Sourdough Polenta: Rustic Bakery (Larkspur, Novato),

SandwichSuperior Sandwiches

So much can happen between the bread. Our favorite Marin combinations:

56) The Saigon Salmon Sandwich, Fish: Grilled marinated wild salmon (pictured) with a blend of fresh carrot, jalapeño, cilantro and house-made Vietnamese ginger-scallion sauce, served on a fresh roll with choice of chili-lime coleslaw, green salad or shoestring fries. Located in Sausalito.

57) Pork Banh Mi, Boo Koo: Vietamese-style sandwich with marinated carrot and daikon radish, cilantro, jalapeño, chili aioli and hoisin pork on a crunchy French baguette. Eat it in the Mill Valley restaurant or take it home.

58) Panini, Cibo: Any of the fresh daily paninis — avocado and skirt steak, tuna melt, vegetables — served with a side salad hits the spot. Located in Sausalito.

59) Tuna Sandwich, Rustic Bakery: They bake their own bread for this sandwich, and the tuna-lettuce combo is a standout. Located in Larkspur and Novato.

Eats and Drinks

Whether it’s to watch the game or nosh without committing to a full meal, many Marinites like dining elbow-to-elbow, toes not quite touching the ground. Here are our favorite spots to belly up to the bar.

60) Left Bank: Mike the bartender is said to make a great martini; savor it with a salade niçoise big enough to be called dinner and you’ve got a weekly reason to visit this Larkspur joint.

61) Piatti Ristorante and Bar: From noon on, this light-filled Mill Valley hangout is buzzing with pretty people enjoying the view, infused cocktails or beer-on-tap, and a meal or happy hour snack. When there’s a ball game every seat at the U-shaped bar and community table will be taken.

62) Tiburon Tavern: With new outdoor seating options, a new chef and a new name, the Tiburon Tavern (formerly Tiburon Grill) is more fun to graze in than ever. Happy hour is now 4 to 6 p.m., so get there early.

New Pie in Town

Lucky us to live in a county where pizza standards are high and solarpowered, gluten-free and vegan versions are not uncommon. Not only can we find a variety of pies, but most of the ingredients come from a chef’s garden. Hats off to these three relatively new spots.

63) Tamalpie Pizzeria: We couldn’t wait for this new restaurant to open in Mill Valley. Rustic decor, outside seating and the pizza is most excellent too.

64) Boca Pizzeria: Sister restaurant to Boca in Novato, this Corte Madera eatery featuring Neapolitan-style pies made with local ingredients has created a buzz. If you have to wait, the full cocktail bar will ease the pain.

65) Pizza Orgasmica: This San Rafael outpost of the San Francisco–based pie-maker didn’t need a bright yellow exterior to get our attention; the pizza speaks for itself. See if you think it lives up to its name.

Eat Out

We live in Marin because there’s a good chance we can dine outside in the summer without a sweater. While that’s mostly doable north of Larkspur, all of us luck out once in a while, especially in Indian summer. Here are some favorite places to dine alfresco.

66) Bar Bocce: While we were sad to see red-shingled Northpoint Coffee Company close a couple of years ago, Sausalito’s Bar Bocce (pictured) is more than we could have asked for as a replacement. It doesn’t get much better than a waterfront restaurant with a bocce ball court, wine on tap and a kitchen run by chef Robert Price.

67) Le Garage: Steamed mussels, croque-monsieur, pommes frites and the sound of lanyards slapping aluminum masts … Côte d’Azur? No, Le Garage at Schoonmaker Marina in Sausalito.

68) Sand Dollar Restaurant: One of the best places to be on a warm summer afternoon is the expansive deck of the Sand Dollar in Stinson Beach as pedestrians and cars creep past along Highway 1. If you’re lucky you’ll catch some live music to go with your clams or crab cakes.


It’s a Toss Up

Is there a better locale on the planet for salads? We doubt it. Not only are most of the ingredients grown within a shot-put throw, but the ingredients are cuttingedge creative. These four fresh renditions keep us coming back for more.

69) Seasonal Chopped, Pizza Antica: As the seasons change, so does the recipe: From beets to persimmons to bacon-lettuce-tomato, the offerings in the chopped salad at this popular Strawberry spot (pictured) will not disappoint.

70) The Wedge, Buckeye Roadhouse: How good can chilled iceberg topped with fresh bacon, blue cheese dressing and chives be? Served up in a favorite booth at the Buckeye in Mill Valley, really good.

71) Mixed Greens with Warm Chicken, Bacon and Avocado, Sweetwater Cafe: While the name says it all, Gordon Drysdale’s magic touch makes for a plate of heaven right in Mill Valley.

72) Calamari Salad, Thep Lela: A Paleo dieter’s dream, this high-protein dish of lightly sautéed (not fried) calamari and crisp lettuce can become addictive. Located in Mill Valley.