Marin has no shortage of fireside dining. Here are spots with holiday specials worth checking out this season. Did we miss your favorite? Let us know.
This popular Marshall destination has many fireside seating options, each with a distinct vibe. But whether you’re bundled up in the boat shack or next to the hearth or the wood-burning stove, the menu choices will warm you up even more. New chef Kua Speer’s cooking makes ample use of winter veggies from Nick’s on-site garden called the Croft, including beets, chicories, broccoli, kale and turnips. The bar offers classic hot buttered rum and eggnog along with creations like the Forbidden Fruit: house-made Granny Smith apple puree, egg whites, walnut bitters, St. George pear eau-de-vie brandy, and lemon and cinnamon.
“Hilltop prides itself on our fortunate position in the world,” says owner Erick Hendricks, who takes full advantage of bounty from local fisheries, creameries, wineries, ranches and farms to create the historic Novato restaurant’s California country menu. “I enjoy telling people no one is as lucky as our chefs and customers to have these products right out our back door — neither Manhattan nor Paris have it better than the Marinites.” No argument there. Taste what Hendricks is talking about in everything from filet mignon with wild mushrooms to the signature Snowball in Hell dessert.
The river-rock fireplace at this Mill Valley perennial favorite is larger than life, towering over guests; its orange glow beckons to all. That hospitable backdrop works well for both families and date nights — you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better place for a night by the fire.
In operation for a quarter of a century now, this Parisian-style brasserie in Larkspur, opened by James Beard Award–winning chef Roland Passot, continues to deliver. A simple, seasonally changing elegant menu exudes the sensibility of the Rive Gauche and is best enjoyed around the massive fireplace. Holiday dishes are featured for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, including filet mignon, lobster tail, duck and the restaurant’s traditional Yule Log dessert.
Kasia Pawlowska loves words. A native of Poland, Kasia moved to the States when she was seven. The San Francisco State University creative writing graduate went on to write for publications like the San Francisco Bay Guardian and KQED Arts among others prior to joining the Marin Magazine staff. Topics Kasia has covered include travel, trends, mushroom hunting, an award-winning series on social media addiction and loads of other random things. When she’s not busy blogging or researching and writing articles, she’s either at home writing postcards and reading or going to shows. Recently, Kasia has been trying to branch out and diversify, ie: use different emojis. Her quest for the perfect chip is never-ending.