Ross and San Anselmo may appear a bit way out of the way on the map, but for those in the know, they’re just the right size, offering plenty of options for dining out. The town has a few heavy-hitters, such as Iron Chef winner Ron Siegel’s one star Michelin Madcap and Heidi Krahling’s Insalata’s, a Michelin Bib Gourmand winner. A plethora of restaurants, bakeries, and cafes make this spot more than trek-worthy for those seeking a dining destination deep in central Marin, and provides tempting incentives to never stray beyond the borders for the local residents.
Be sure to check restaurants’ websites and social channels for their most current operating hours and formats.
The Baan Thai Cuisine | Bistro Viz | Center Depot Street Food & Cafe | Comforts Cafe | Creekside Pizza & Tap Room | Crown & Crumpet | Cucina Sa | D.G. Cafe | Flour Craft Bakery | The Hub | Insalata’s | Jillie’s Wine Bar | Kientz Hall | Madcap | Marinitas | M.H. Bread and Butter | Marche Aux Fleurs | Pizzalina | Sushi 69 | Tony Tutto’s | Taco Jane’s | Valenti & Co.
Known for its mango sticky rice, crispy corn cakes and The Baan Thai salad, this restaurant reopened in 2020 with a new owner, a new menu and a new heated outdoor seating area. Warm up with new menu items like fresh spring rolls and steamed dumplings, or old favorites such as the tom kha soup. The commitment to serving fresh, local and seasonal food is unchanged.
726 San Anselmo Ave, San Anselmo, 415.457.9470
After a two year hiatus, owner-chef Soo Young Kim brought back this petite restaurant with bistro favorites and a focus on local. Though ingredients often change with the seasons, squash blossoms stuffed with makrut lime and Thai curry-infused wild salmon, vegetarian fritto misto and halibut with romesco and garlic lemon yogurt inspire return visits. The light-bedecked patio is cozy, even with fog or rain’s chill.
115 San Anselmo Ave, San Anselmo, 415.902.9084
From a vintage camper, a tiny café sports a menu of macchiatos and espressos pulled from an authentic Italian espresso machine, but the sweet and savory bubble waffles (from a Hong Kong trend) and doughnuts are not to be missed.
1119 San Anselmo Ave, San Anselmo; 415.450.1100
Established in 1986, Comforts has a cozy sit-down patio and serves breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch. A large takeout section offers a wide selection of house-made bakery items, seasonal salads, soups, sandwiches and entrees for dinner at home. Besides the famous Chinese chicken salad, other winners are the stuffed pecan-crusted French toast, chicken Okasan (nicknamed “Crack Chicken” by fans) and roast chicken enchiladas.
335 San Anselmo Ave, San Anselmo, 415.454.9840
A perennial Best of the County winner known for their artisan pizzas, hearty sandwiches, and flavorful pastas and salads, Creekside offers plentiful gluten-free and vegan options, too. Their copper, 40 handle selection of craft beer makes a beloved local pizza joint a destination for fresh beer in equal measure. There’s even gluten-free beer and kombucha pulled straight from the tap.
638 San Anselmo Ave, San Anselmo, 415.785.4450
A tidy back patio shaded by roses and cascading pear trees is ideally suited for sipping a pot of loose leaf tea, cup of pour-over coffee or a hot chocolate at this outpost of the Japantown original. Savory croissants and crumpets are just part of the breakfast menu and a traditional sausage roll and chicken pot pie are highlights at lunch. A signature Afternoon Tea service is available on weekends.
22 Ross Common, Ross, 415.771.4252
Open for lunch Wednesday–Saturday and six nights a week for dinner, takeout or delivery. Homemade pastas, seasonal salads, and wood-fired pizzas strike a balance between southern Italy and northern California. Full bar and cocktails are available to go or enjoy a tipple on premise at the new heated parklet or inside.
510 San Anselmo Ave, San Anselmo, 415.454.2942
Serving the community he loves was the idea that eventually became D.G. Cafe. But when Covid hit, owner and San Anselmo resident Clive Nisse turned the idea into reality, defying gravity (get it?) to open this sliver of a restaurant. Sandwiches are named for local landmarks (Mt. Baldy, Creek Park), salads are customizable and the picnic packages are, yes, designed for eating outside. A new takeout window makes takeout a snap.
411 San Anselmo Ave, San Anselmo, 415.295.7500
Along with artisan gluten-free and an assortment of vegan pastries, breads, and special-occasion cakes, this petite cafe serves a lunch menu of so-called fancy toast (avocado, ricotta) and big green salads with seasonal flair. Customer favorites include oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, decadent cinnamon rolls, flourless hazelnut brownies, and the bakery’s signature granola.
702 San Anselmo Ave, San Anselmo, 415.453.3100
Craveable grass fed burgers and hand cut fries, like the #1 Hub Burger with white cheddar and special sauce, are at the heart of this order-at-the-counter spot in Red Hill Shopping Center. While the #4 Chicken Burger with melted Swiss, crispy onion strings and house-made sriracha chili mayo is not to be missed, big salads and tap beer and cider are also available to be enjoyed on the sunny patio.
Red Hill Shopping Center, 882 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, San Anselmo, 415.785.4802
Award-winning chef Heidi Krahling’s downtown restaurant features soulful Mediterranean fare for 25+ years. Dinner favorites include cataplana with mussels and chorizo, Middle Eastern-inspired vegetarian platter, Moroccan lamb flatbread, house made pastas and of course, the fattoush salad. An expansive takeout counter offers a wide range of selections for family meals, celebrations or a quick lunch option.
120 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, San Anselmo, 415.457.7700
A rotating list of more than 20 globally-sourced and Californian wines and a few beers are on tap at owner Jill Cordova-Holt’s eponymously named bar and retail shop in the Red Hill Shopping Center. Savor small bites like a cheese and charcuterie board or black truffle potato chips while sipping at one of the outdoor tables until indoor dining is permitted once again.
906 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, San Anselmo, 415.521.5500
Chef Gary Faulkner (Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges, the Pebble Beach Company), helms a kitchen where live fire cooking is the focus. Rotisserie chicken with caper salsa verde can be paired with roasted eggplant with harissa and olives or carrots with spiced tahini yogurt and dill. The lamb burger is not to be missed. Sit inside the sunny atrium, at one of the sidewalk tables, or enjoy the views of Mt. Tam from the rooftop terrace.
625 San Anselmo Avenue, San Anselmo; 415.991.1502
Chef Ron Siegel’s contemporary art-filled space is known for its urban edge. The vegetable-centric menu, available as a tasting menu, incorporates seafood and Japanese techniques in colorful dishes like trout with baby bok choi, purple daikon and dashi that are bold, balanced and bright. The restaurant earned a Michelin one-star rating in 2019 and again in 2021.
198 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, San Anselmo, 415.453.9898
This sister restaurant of Insalata’s continues to flourish as a bastion of creative Mexican and Central and South American cuisine. Not your typical south-of-the-border spot, they serve up top-notch margaritas and Latin lusciousness.
218 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, San Anselmo, 415.454.8900
A one-stop shop for everything from coffee and pastries to artisan bread, with a seasonal brunch menu. High-quality ingredients and a comfortable atmosphere make MH worth checking out. A “front porch” patio bustles during the morning hours.
101 San Anselmo Ave, San Anselmo, 415.755.4575
As of August, 2022, currently closed for a kitchen remodel. A local favorite known for its seasonal cuisine and extensive marketplace showcasing locally farmed produce, wild and fresh seafood and free-range meats prepared with an artisan’s touch, accompanied by a lengthy wine and beer list. Thursday night is hamburger night; requesting your burger with your reservation is recommended (quantities are limited), available on the patio, too.
23 Ross Common, Ross, 415.925.9200
New owners (as of mid-2021) Michael and Jacquelyn Baker have no intention of changing the Neapolitan pizza made with farm-sourced and house made ingredients. Their dream come true includes seasonal specials like hand-rolled garganelli pasta with ragu Bolognese (that’s meaty) and a porchetta sandwich at lunch layered with Fontina and chopped broccolini.
914 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, San Anselmo, 415.256.9780
Opened in 2007, Sushi 69 has been a favorite for locals looking to get their fill of no-frills sushi. The owner hails from Japan and has created an extensive menu featuring traditional tempura and the popular Hiro’s roll (spicy tuna with avocado, salmon and ponzu sauce wrapped in sushi rice).
69 Center Blvd, San Anselmo, 415.459.6969
The full bar features plentiful tequila and mezcal selections and its regional Mexican cuisine includes Oaxacan mole, fish tacos and vegetarian options. Black Gold salsa arrives with complimentary chips and is created using charred blackened tomatoes and roasted chilis.\ Enclosed patio seating is available year round.
21 Tamalpais Ave, San Anselmo, 415.454.6562
After nine years in Mill Valley, owner Greg DiGiovine relocated to Ross, bringing his familiar farm-to-table pies and kid- and dog-friendly vibe to downtown. The vegan pies are still here and a gluten-free crust is available.
16 Ross Common, Ross, 415.383.8646
The bright yet cozy indoor space and warmly lit back patio are ideal environments for authentic Italian dishes made with local ingredients. The menu changes daily but look for the carpaccio of beef, the pan-seared Pekin duck and chef Valenti’s famous tower of triple chocolate love at dessert. A seat at the chef’s table gives a prime view of the open kitchen.