Novato lies on the northern edge of Marin, with the advantage of being two steps to Sonoma County. Its many small-town communities and surrounding countryside gives this expansive town with a very large mall a local feeling. Dining options include small cafes and wine bars, along with Marin favorites such as Hopmonk Tavern, Boca Pizzeria and Finnegan’s.
Be sure to check each restaurant’s website or social pages to confirm its most current hours of operation and services.
Active Culture Cafe | Ayawaska | Beso Bistro and Wine Bar | Boca Pizzeria | Chianti Cucina | Cocina Antigua | Crave | Finnegan’s Marin | Ghiringhelli’s Novato Vino | Hopmonk Tavern | Jennie Low’s | Jerrys Delicatessen & BBQ | Marvin’s Restaurant | Michael’s Sourdough | Rustic Bakery | The Speakeasy | Toast
An all-day café serves up plant-forward fare like a lentil burger with slaw and barbecue beet sauce or wholesome bowls of quinoa and veggies and a breakfast burrito stuffed with eggs, potatoes and cheese. All menu items can be customized to suit dietary needs–just be sure to state your preference when ordering at the counter.
464 Ignacio Blvd, Novato; 415.475.1128
An outpost of the Petaluma original fittingly fills the landmark space that once housed Hilltop 1892. A tight opening menu of regional classics includes lomo saltado and the country’s famous ceviches (try the a la Huancaina with the catch of the day) that will expand with the rollout of lunch service. Huge glass-paned doors in the front room slide open to reveal the view, and a beer garden out back is also planned.
850 Lamont Ave, Novato; 415.944.2066
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 are available. The patio is naturally shaded by local oaks.
502 S Palm Drive, 415.883.6700
Enjoy authentic pizza prepared with house-pulled mozzarella 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.
454 Ignacio Blvd, 415.883.2302
This cozy eatery offers an array of Italian and American dishes, including a long list of pastas; try the house-made ravioli cooked up by chef Edgar DeLon. It’s all available for takeout and drive-through via their app.
7416 Redwood Hwy, 415.878.0314
With a sign that is hard to see from South Novato Boulevard, a family-style Central American restaurant and market serves meals that represent the Mayan culture and family meals of owners Mayra Ordoñez and Juan Cutz. Look for spices, beans and fresh produce at the market and the region’s famous dishes – pupusas, tacos chapines and hilachas – as some of the daily offerings.
1559 South Novato Blvd., Suite J, Novato; 415.895.5960
Executive chef Christian Pulido serves up seasonally-driven California cuisine on the shaded terrace and in a modern dining room, replete with George Nelson bubble lamps. Char siu octopus and a soba noodle salad push the flavor boundary while a CAB burger and halibut with corn pudding are instantly familiar.
340 Ignacio Blvd, 415.883.0901
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. They taste just as good on the new, heated outdoor patio.
877 Grant Ave, 415.899.1516
The Ghiringhelli family, life-long Marin residents who own Trattoria Ghiringhelli in Novato, FairFix Cafe, Ghiringhelli Pizzeria and Deer Park Villa in Fairfax, added a wine shop and tasting room adjacent to their Novato trattoria. Unique and hard to find wines by the bottle or taste, light bites of cheese boards and flatbreads and in-depth dinner menus are available to go or enjoy onsite.
1535 South Novato Blvd, Novato, 415.878.4915
224 Vintage Way, 415.892.6200
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.
120 Vintage Way, 415.892.8838
Southern flavors and plenty of smoked meats are highlights of an all-day menu that includes a classic BLT updated with house smoked salmon or a BBQ Plate with tri-tip and chicken. Brunch is available on the weekends (breakfast sandwich, Swedish pancake stack) and there is picnic-style shaded seating outside, too.
7380 Redwood Blvd, 415.895.5592
This place, known for “Best Breakfast in Novato,” also serves up generous portions for lunch. The corned beef hash, Benedicts, and superb service draw a consistent crowd year-round.
1112 Grant Ave, 415.892.4482
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.
42 Digital Dr, #8, 415.883.5110
Organic pastries, breads, salads, and sandwiches are on the menu at this location downtown, 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. It’s even better on the patio.
1407 Grant Ave, 415.878.4952
There’s nothing like the comfort of a solid burger and beer when you’re kicking back and watching the game. In addition to the 10 beers on tap, cocktails range from the 1920’s to the 2020’s. A new menu includes buffalo chicken lollipops and mini street tacos to savor on the patio. Please note: this restaurant is temporarily closed for a remodel and transition to The Boardroom. Planned reopen date is May 2.
504 Alameda del Prado, 415.883.7793
With outdoor dining and spacious inside seating at Hamilton Marketplace, large parties, families and everyone else dives in on comfort food favorites.