5 Fine Dining Options in Marin and Beyond, Perfect for Holiday Season Family Gatherings

These days, an elegant eating experience often stresses safety over a white tablecloth, but dining well this holiday season offers opportunities to find luxury in other aspects of the experience, too.

Madcap

Madcap

The sleek aesthetic — cool gray concrete walls, dark woods and plush banquettes — remains the same for the 2021 Michelin one star restaurant, but chef Ron Siegel and wife Kimberly Siegel, who runs the front of the house, have streamlined the menu of Japanese-inflected dishes. That means a single tasting menu that hews to the seasons and understated, ever-present service.

198 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, San Anselmo; 415.453.9898

Marche aux Fleurs

March Aux Fleurs

A strong sense of community is part of the je ne sais quoi that makes Holly and Dan Baker’s restaurant feel like home. Dan cooks, but Holly makes the bread and cookies before managing the restaurant. Both are certified sommeliers, making wine selections a breeze, and the staff is seasoned, greeting many guests by name, à la Norm on “Cheers.” These small details make a casual dinner feel downright fancy, indeed.

23 Ross Common, Ross; 415.925.9200

Poggio

Poggio

While the deep burgundy banquettes are right-sized for small groups, the large dining room becomes a décor extravaganza during the holidays with candles in every nook and with every column wrapped in garlands. White tablecloths are back, too, just in time for November’s annual truffle dinners, perfect with a bottle of Barolo. A Tony Negroni cocktail at the wide bar, however, is eternal.

777 Bridgeway, Sausalito; 415.332.7771

Left Bank

left bank
Photo by Eugene Marchuk.

The beauty of Left Bank’s ski chalet-like parklets is their innate, small-party feel. Fully weatherproof with heaters and shutters to ward off the chill, each “chalet” holds up to 12 people and is designed as a tribute to Larkspur. Sitting by a fire roaring in the main dining room’s massive fireplace, however, remains a definitive holiday experience.

507 Magnolia Ave, Larkspur; 415. 927.3331

The Palace

the palace hotel

Built at the height of the Beaux Arts movement, the Garden Court at this downtown hotel sets a high bar for 20th-century luxury. Glass chandeliers seem to cascade from the arched glass dome, itself supported by Ionic marble columns. Afternoon tea service lasts for the duration of the holiday season, and the artful sandwiches, tarts and sweets are a decadent reminder that indulgence can come in small packages.

2 New Montgomery St, San Francisco; 415.546.5089


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Christina MuellerChristina Mueller is a long-time Bay Area food writer. She hails from the East Coast and has spent way too much time in South America and Europe. She discovered her talent as a wordsmith in college and her love of all things epicurean in grad school. She has written for Condé Nast Contract Publishing, Sunset, and the Marin Independent Journal, among others. She volunteers with California State Parks and at her child’s school, and supports the Marin Audubon Society, PEN America, and Planned Parenthood. When she is not drinking wine by a fire, she is known to spend time with her extended family.