Where to Eat: West Marin

West Marin is a bit of a drive, but well worth it – for both the scenery and the food. Separated from “the other side of the hill” by swaths of open space, the inland towns of Nicasio, Lagunitas, and Point Reyes and the stunning coastal venues of Marshall, Bolinas, and Stinson offer a bounty of farm fresh cuisine and markets, bakeries and cafés, and, of course, oyster bars. There’s no excuse not to make a day out of it.

Be sure to check each restaurant’s website or social pages to confirm its most current hours of operation and services.

Cafe Reyes | Cowgirl Cantina | Dillon Beach Coastal Kitchen | Due West at Olema House | Nick’s Cove | Parkside Cafe | Point Reyes Roadhouse | Rancho Nicasio | Saltwater Oyster Depot | Side Street Kitchen | Sir & Star at the OlemaSmiley’s Saloon | Station House CafeThe Siren Canteen | Tony’s Seafood | William Tell House

 


 

Cafe Reyes

Pizza

Though there’s no oyster pizza on the menu, a short menu of bivalves and Neapolitan-style pies at this cozy spot means the brick oven is a hub of activity. Margherita with hand-crushed San Marzano tomatoes is a classic but the Farallon with crimini mushrooms and pepperoni is equally popular. 

11101 California One, Point Reyes Station, 415.663.9493

Cowgirl Cantina

American

The home of the original creamery for the Marin-based cheese brand includes a creamery, Barn shop and Cowgirl Studio (which will soon open for events) but the Cantina is where to get their iconic grilled cheese sandwiches like the Tam & Ham made with their flagship organic triple creme Mt. Tam on Red Bird Bakery sourdough roll, salads and sweet treats. A new picnic area for outdoor experiences is in the works.

80 Fourth St, Point Reyes Station, 415.663.9335

Dillon Beach Coastal Kitchen

Californian

Inspired by Marin’s foodshed, Dillon Beach Resort, located west of Tomales, offers seasonal coastal cuisine like local line-caught fish and chips, classic clam chowder and Stemple Creek burger. The accompanying Dillon Beach General Store also features Double 8 Dairy soft serve ice cream and a local selection of wines and beers to enjoy at one of the picnic tables facing the beach.

1 Beach Ave, Dillon Beach, 707.878.3030

Due West at Olema House

Californian

The dark blue walls accented with recessed golden light give the refreshed restaurant-cum-saloon at Olema House a modern feel. The menu, including a burger, linguini and clams, and a chopped salad, skews all-day casual and speaks to the inn and restaurant’s crossroads locale.

10005 Highway 1, Olema, 415.663.1264

Nick’s Cove

American

This escape along Tomales Bay is famous for barbecued local oysters, Dungeness crab mac ’n’ cheese and cocktails incorporating homegrown ingredients. Large windows in the 120-seat restaurant provide picturesque views of Tomales Bay, or enjoy a seat outside along the pier or in the waterfront lounge. The cozy bar and fireplace in the main dining room makes the most of fog-whipped and rainy days.

23240 Highway 1, Marshall, 415.663.1033

Parkside CafeBest of Marin County 2017

American

Perfect for a sit-down alfresco meal or for grabbing a burger to enjoy on the beach. Beautiful patio garden seating, ocean views, and private wood-fired dinners make this cafe a relaxing retreat. If you’re on the go, check out the market and bakery. Choose from an array of organic locally grown produce, artisan meats, and wild seafood.

43 Arenal Ave, Stinson, 415.868.1272

Point Reyes Roadhouse

American

Executive chef Christofer Gutierrez took over the space where Marin Sun Farms once sold meats on the edge of town in May. There are plans for a bakery program and a backyard beer garden but for now, look for California cuisine with Latin American flair for three meals a day (Heart’s Desire mussels, Chimney Rock ribeye) and lighter options (Miwok veggie hash, vegan udon, Olema halibut), wine and beer, while sitting on one of the cozy, sheepskin-draped chairs inside or at a picnic table out front.

10905 State Route One, Point Reyes Station

Rancho NicasioBest of Marin County 2016

American

Known for live music and an extensive menu featuring everything from crispy calamari to braised lamb shanks, Rancho Nicasio is open seven days a week, including brunch. Whatever you choose, a newly reconfigured outdoor space welcomes all with plenty of shade and space between tables.

1 Old Rancheria Road, Nicasio, 415.662.2219

Saltwater Oyster DepotBest of Marin County 2015

Seafood

A seat at the room-length bar or on the patio at this snug spot on Tomales Bay’s west shore can be tough to snag on a busy summer weekend but oysters pulled straight from the bay moments before, served broiled and on the half shell, are worth the wait. Locally-sourced ingredients get equal billing in dishes like halibut crudo and a lamb burger.

12781 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Inverness, 415.669.1244

Side Street Kitchen

American

The fast-casual eatery led by chef Aaron Wright (formerly of Tavern at Lark Creek and Canlis) serves favorites like rotisserie chicken, smoked oysters, and pork-belly BLTs as well as wholesome vegetarian fare. This is one of the few spots in West Marin that serves gluten-free beer. The cozy patio is dog-friendly. A weekend brunch program is a local favorite.

60 Fourth St, Point Reyes Station, 415.663.0303

Sir & Star at the Olema

Californian

The historic inn is now a roadhouse-style restaurant featuring rustic decor and a menu with just about everything sourced from Marin. Try the house-made bread and honey butter, the kale Caesar and the stuffed quail, then come back and work your way through the ever-changing menu. As of mid-August, this restaurant has re-opened with new owners for private events only.

10000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Olema, 415.663.1034

Smiley’s Saloon

American

The self-proclaimed oldest saloon on the West Coast and best party in town reopened in 2020 after a lengthy remodel to improve everything from the deck to the sewer system. The new menu at Smiley’s Cantina leans Mexican-American with dishes like local catch mezcal ceviche, vegan tortilla soup and a rotating menu of family style plates and a kids’ menu. Yes, the house margaritas are still here.

41 Wharf Rd, Bolinas, 415.663.0303

Station House Cafe

American

Known for their house made popovers which chef Aaron Wright makes available at every meal, this cozy cafe is also recognized for fresh oysters, grass-fed burgers, and an “everything fresh, local and homegrown” ethos. Dining in the garden is as popular on weekdays as on the weekends.

11180 Highway 1, Point Reyes Station, 415.663.1515

The Siren CanteenBest of Marin County 2017

American, temporarily closed. Expected reopening date: Summer 2023. Check the website for information on weekend pop-ups.

One of the few places in Northern California to enjoy a taco at a restaurant nestled directly under a lifeguard tower, this smart beach shack perched on the sandy shores of Stinson serves up burritos, burgers and creamy Meyer lemon milkshakes. Though the food is solid, we think the BYOW option with a $10 corkage fee and million-dollar views is reason enough to give this shack a shout-out.

3201 Highway 1, Stinson, 415.868.1777

Tony’s SeafoodBest of Marin County 2018

Seafood

The crowds still come on sunny weekends for the barbecue oysters and amazing views of Tomales Bay but the restaurant’s purchase by the Hog Island Oyster Co team meant a refresh of the interior and a spiffed-up menu of salads and seafood pulled from the bay’s waters.

18863 Shoreline Hwy, Marshall, 415.663.1107

William Tell House

American

The oldest continuously operating saloon in Marin makes a mean apple brandy cocktail aptly named for the Swiss folk hero, William Tell (who famously shot an arrow off his son’s head), but the revamped restaurant strives to make its name around food with a seafood chowder made with local cod, a Cobb salad with applewood bacon, and a butcher’s cut of the day sourced from nearby Stemple Creek Ranch and grilled to order.

26955 Highway 1, Tomales, 707.879.2002

 


 

Dining Keyt