Where to Eat: San Rafael

San Rafael is Marin’s answer to urban. Sprawling, gritty, and gentrified, its dining activity centers mostly in the downtown grid and waterfront enclaves, with outliers trickling towards Miracle Mile and north to suburban Terra Linda. The options are as varied as the neighborhoods, with fast bites, ethnic eats, and music-bar venues rubbing shoulders with old time hole-in-the-wall favorites and sit-down dining.

Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria | Arizmendi Bakery | Boiadeirus Steak | Brazilian Breads | Caribbean Spices | Flatiron | Gaspare’s | Il Davide | Jackson Cafe | Johnny Doughnuts | La Toscana Ristorante & Bar | LaVier Cusine | Le Chalet Basque | Le Comptoir | Los Moles | Lotus Cuisine of India Restaurant | Magnolia Park KitchenMcInnis Park Golf Club Restaurant | Michael’s Sourdough| Mulberry Street Pizzeria | Panama Hotel Restaurant | Pho Viet | Pond Farm Brewing | RangeCafe | Revel & Roost | Rocket Roll | San Rafael Joe’s | Shangri-La Organic KitchenShiro Kuma | Sol Food | State Room | Sushi to DaiFor |Tam Commons Tap Room & KitchenTaj of Marin | Terrapin Crossroads | Theresa & Johnny’s Comfort FoodUchiwa Ramen | Urban Remedy | Vin Antico | VN Noodle & Grill | Whipper Snapper RestaurantYet Wah

 


 

Amici’s East Coast PizzeriaBest of Marin County 2017

COVID-19 update: Open for delivery, pickup, and contactless curbside daily, 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
Californian, 1242 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.455.9777

A wide array of thin-crust pizzas, freshly made pastas, and salads are the ticket here, along with flame-roasted lemon chicken wings, for dine-in, takeout, and delivery. Gluten-free pizza crust is available.

Arizmendi Bakery

COVID-19 update: Open for takeout, Thursday–Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Pre-order on website.
Californian, 1002 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.456.4093

A worker-owned bakery cafe, Arzimendi prides itself on high-quality local ingredients. Visit any time of day for coffee and pastries, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, and thin-crust artisan sourdough pizza.

Bogie’s Too

COVID-19 update: Open for takeout only, Wednesday–Sunday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
American, 1335 Fourth St, 415.492.1530

Relocated from the Civic Center to downtown San Rafael after 29 years, this second coming of Bogie’s highlights breakfast, brunch, and lunch. Free-range, organic eggs anchor a breakfast and lunch menu of omelets, sandwiches, and salads that Humphrey Bogart himself might recognize.

Boiadeirus Steak

COVID-19 update: Open for takeout daily, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and delivery through DoorDash or Uber Eats.
Brazilian, 925 Fourth St, San Rafael, 628.253.5854

The picanha is the signature cut at this Brazilian-style steakhouse where gauchos carrying grilled meats on long swords cruise the room, offering portions of up to 10 meats. A huge salad bar offers everything from feijoada and potato salad to yucca and deviled eggs.

Brazilian Breads

COVID-19 update: Open for takeout and delivery daily, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. See menu of prepared meals and pantry items here. Frozen cheese breads also available from Good Eggs. 
Brazilian, 20 Medway Rd, San Rafael, 510.647.8894 

Brazilian street eats and the country’s famed pao de quejo are on offer at this catering and baking hub and take-out shop in San Rafael’s Canal neighborhood. Naturally gluten-free cheesy bread and tapioca crepes pair well with Brazil’s native acai bowls, coffee and desserts or build your own sandwich with linguica or roasted eggplant. 

Caribbean Spices

COVID-19 update: Open for takeout, Tuesday-Sunday, 4-10 p.m.
Caribbean, 819 Fourth St, 415.299.2680

Jerk chicken with just the right amount of heat is a menu highlight at this brick-and-mortar San Rafael extension of chef-owner Frantz Felix’s food truck of the same name. Go for the Caribbean sangria and Haitian specialties like griot or goat curry and African American–inspired versions of creole snapper and seafood gumbo.  

Flatiron

COVID-19 update: Open for takeout, Thursday–Saturday, 4-8 p.m. Please call to order. Delivery via Grub Hub.
American, 724 B St, San Rafael, 415.453.4318

The remodeled Flatiron is where refined American bar food lives happily in its ideal environment — with a bevy of craft beers. Owned by the Strickers, a husband-and-wife duo, this polished sports bar serves noshes like chili lime cauliflower, classic sandwiches, and truffle and waffle fries in a space that also features classic arcade games.

Gaspare’s

COVID-19 update: San Rafael location open for patio dining and takeout daily, 4:30-8:30 p.m. Delivery via online or call. 
Italian, 200 Merrydale Road, San Rafael, 415.472.7101

Carved Moroccan-style plasterworks grace the foyer at this boisterous, two-room spot. The room to the left hosts a busy bar where an Italian Cosmo cocktail is topped with Prosecco but anyplace is fine to try homemade gnocchi, veal scaloppini or a Sicilian style pizza with eggplant and feta.

Il Davide

COVID-19 update: Open for curbside pick-up and delivery, Tuesday–Saturday, 3-7:30 p.m.
Italian, 901 A St, San Rafael, 415. 454.8080

The large selection of innovative and classic Tuscan dishes and house-made pasta has kept locals coming back for years. Ingredients are organic and locally sourced where possible, and there’s a vast selection of both Italian and California wines by the glass. A private party dining room accommodates up to 45.

Jackson Cafe at Whistlestop

COVID-19 update: Take out meals only, Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
American, 930 Tamalpais Ave, San Rafael, 415.456.9062

The menu changes weekly to reflect the seasons so today’s panko crusted crab cake with potato salad and coleslaw will give way to tomorrow’s bacon and tomato mac ’n’ cheese with Caesar salad at this spot near the San Rafael Transit Center. Daily soup and sandwich choices and the hamburger are also available. 

Johnny Doughnuts

COVID-19 update: Curbside pickup and delivery daily, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. via phone or here 
American, 1617 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.450.1866

The fresh doughnuts are handmade in small batches with local dairy products in the dough and fillings. Stop by the shop in the West End or have the food truck come to you.

La Toscana Ristorante & Bar

COVID-19 update: Open for outdoor dining and takeout, Tuesday–Saturday, 12 noon-8 p.m.
Italian, 3751 Redwood Highway, San Rafael, 415.492.9100

Family owned and operated since 1985, La Toscana has completed an extensive interior and exterior renovation, transforming an already popular San Rafael gathering spot into a place for any occasion. The menu features classics like gnocchi and carbonara and an ample selection of wine.

LaVier CusineBest of Marin County 2017

COVID-19 update: Open daily, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Please call for curbside pickup.
Mexican, 1025 C St, San Rafael, 415.295.7990

Free-range meat and fresh seafood are the focus at this all-organic Latin fusion eatery run by Gabriela and her husband Guillermo, who hails from Yucatán. Try the popular puffy fish tacos with slaw and black beans. Brunch is served on weekends until 2 p.m.

Le Chalet Basque

COVID-19 update: Open for patio dining, takeout, and delivery, Wednesday–Sunday, 4-8:30 p.m. Order by phone, through Dine-In Marin, or with DoorDash.
French, 405 North San Pedro Road, San Rafael, 415.479.1070

This family-style place features dishes inspired by the Basque regions of France and Spain, like frog legs in a garlic butter and lemon sauce, a veal calf liver sauté and sweetbreads with port wine sauce and mushrooms. On a warm night, enjoy alfresco dining on the patio.

Le Comptoir

COVID-19 update: Take out meals and Epicerie Shop are open daily, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Curbside pickup available.
French, 1301 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.454.5454

The owners of San Francisco’s Gamine have opened their second restaurant, this time in the heart of San Rafael. The bistro serves up traditional French favorites like beef cheeks bourguignon and onion soup gratinée in a chic and cozy setting. If you’re planning to go, call ahead.

Los Moles

COVID-19 update: Open for takeout and delivery daily, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. 
Mexican, 912 Lincoln Ave, San Rafael, 415.453.5850

Nestled centrally on Lincoln Avenue, Los Moles offers traditional pueblo Mexican cuisine, with — you guessed it — a variety of different moles to enhance your dish. Offering brunch, lunch, dinner and party options, Los Moles’ menu includes enmoladas, tacos, pollo al horno, carne asada, flan and much more. Don’t miss Taco Tuesday night for all-you-can-eat tacos.

Lotus Cuisine of India RestaurantBest of Marin County 2017

COVID-19 update: Open for lunch, Monday–Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., and dinner daily, 5-8:30 p.m. Takeout and curbside service available; delivery via Dine In Marin, GrubHub or DoorDash.
Indian, 704 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.456.5808

A “Best of Marin” poll winner since 1999, family-owned and -operated Lotus serves up organic North Indian cuisine with many vegan and vegetarian options. It is a certified green business with an energy-efficient kitchen and features a retractable rooftop and exotic interior decor. The reasonably priced dishes are made with local, non-GMO and gluten-free ingredients.

Magnolia Park Kitchen

COVID-19 update: Open for takeout, Monday–Saturday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Place orders for pick-up via the website and for delivery via DoorDash or GrubHub. 
American, 1016 Court St, San Rafael, 415.521.5591

This American bistro features lots of farm-fresh salads and sandwiches to choose from. The outdoor patio is well suited to sipping a glass of wine or enjoying a signature fried chicken bomb sandwich.

McInnis Park Golf Club Restaurant

COVID-19 update: Open for patio dining, takeout and delivery daily, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
American, McInnis Park, San Rafael, 415.491.5959

Grab a meal prepared by chef Chris Harman before or after hitting the driving range (or even without picking up a club). Outdoor seating is popular, as is the full bar, with a selection of premium Scotches, small-batch bourbons and more than 50 wines from California vineyards.

Michael’s Sourdough

COVID-19 update: Open for takeout only, Monday–Friday, 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
American, 999 Andersen Drive, Ste. 165, San Rafael, 415.485.0964

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 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.

Mulberry Street PizzeriaBest of Marin County 2017

COVID-19 update: Open for takeout and delivery, Monday–Fridays, 11:15 a.m.-8:15 p.m.; Saturday, 12:30-9:15 p.m.; Sunday, 1:30-8:15 p.m.
Italian, 101 Smith Ranch Road, San Rafael, 415.472.7272

Chef Ted Rowe won first place in the Food Network Television Pizza Challenge, Season 5 with his For the Love of Mushroom pizza —sautéed mushrooms in a creamy garlic sauce and a red wine reduction atop a fresh crust. Be sure to try other unique pies, like the spicy Three Beer pizza.

Panama Hotel RestaurantBest of Marin County 2017

COVID-19 update: No information available at this time (mid-July).
American, 4 Bayview St, San Rafael, 415.457.3993

The dinner menu has a large selection — tortilla soup to pumpkin and ricotta ravioli — but it’s the Sunday brunch that will please the kids. Try the Panama Waffle with Grand Marnier–infused strawberries, topped with mascarpone, plus a pitcher of “make-your-own” mimosas for the adults. The tropical garden is a prime spot for people-watching.

Pho Viet

COVID-19 update: Open for takeout only, Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4:30-9 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Vietnamese, 555 E. Francisco Blvd, Ste. 22, San Rafael,  415.455.8063

Of course you come for the namesake bowl of hearty soup with clear broth, beef, noodles and vegetables at this Best of the County winner. But the family-style favorite tucked behind a carpet store on an industrial stretch of Francisco Boulevard beckons with beautiful plates of pork chops with broken steamed rice and fried eggs as well as the fresh spring and imperial rolls.

Pond Farm Brewing

COVID-19 update: Open for patio seating (table service) and pick-up, Thursday–Friday, 3-9 p.m.; Saturday, 12 noon-9 p.m.; Sunday, 12 noon-6 p.m.  Open Wednesday, 2-7 p.m open for to-go beer pickup only (place order online).
American, 1848 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.524.8709

The new microbrewery in the West End from husband and wife team Trevor and Stephanie Martens has a rotating list of beers on tap from brewer Trevor, pop-up food from local businesses in the beer garden, and snacks at the bar. Stein parking is available.

RangeCafe

COVID-19 update: Open for patio dining (reservations recommended–please call to reserve a table), takeout and delivery daily, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Call or order online.
American, 333 Biscayne Drive, San Rafael, 415.454.6450

The cuisine is local, seasonal, made with naturally raised ingredients and served in a casual, comfortable and refined setting, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the grand Peacock Gap lawns. An inviting cafe at lunch with ice-cold lemonade and refreshing chardonnays makes a great dinner spot once the sun sets.

Revel & Roost

COVID-19 update: Outdoor dining available Wednesday–Sunday, 4-8 p.m.  Pickup and delivery available, Sunday and Wednesday– Friday, 4-8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 12 noon- 8:30 p.m.
Californian, 901 B St, San Rafael, 415.870.9946.

The sunflower-bedecked tables hint at the Spanish and French flavors to come from the seasonally driven, locally sourced menu at this corner spot in downtown San Rafael. Artichoke salad with grilled radicchio casts an eye to Italy while a diver scallop with red curry and Thai basil looks far beyond the Mediterranean.

Rocket Roll

COVID-19 update: Open for takeout, Monday–Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
Japanese, 1109 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.866.0537

There are plenty of fusion restaurants around, but not many that blend Mexican and Japanese. Rocket Roll offers everything from a spicy tuna rice bowl to yellowfin or salmon sashimi “sushi burritos.” Smoothies like the avocado fresher round out the menu.

San Rafael Joe’s

COVID-19 update: Open for takeout and curbside pickup only, Monday–Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. 
Italian, 931 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.456.2425

A Marin institution famous for sophisticated yet casual Italian fare since 1947. The dining room, with a friendly atmosphere and seating for 240, is great for large parties, and the roast sirloin of beef and Fettuccine Joe’s are sure to please.

Shangri-La Organic Kitchen

COVID-19 update: Open for takeout, Wednesday–Monday, 3-8 p.m. Delivery via UberEats, DoorDash, Postmates, GrubHub and their website.
Indian/Himalayan, 869 Fourth St, 415.459.3315

The cute Nepalese dumplings known as momos come in vegetarian, vegan and sweet versions and spinach pakoras are just one of many gluten-free options on the menu. Other dishes, like a bento box with chicken or paneer tikka, New York–style pizzas, and Shangri-La veg thali, bridge the Indian diaspora. A small bar at the front of the slim space serves beer, wine and sake.

Shiro Kuma

COVID-19 update: Open for takeout daily, 4:30-9 p.m. Delivery by Uber Eats or DoorDash.
Japanese, 1518 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.295.7464

Shiro Kuma, which means polar bear, takes its inspiration from chef Yasuo Shigeyoshi’s childhood in a small rural town in the south of Japan and offers traditional-style sushi and wagyu A5 and Kobe beef to cook over ishiyaki grilling stones. Popular weekly specials include hamachi jalapeño and the omakase (chef’s choice) dinner.

Sol FoodBest of Marin County 2017

COVID-19 update: Open for takeout daily, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
Puerto Rican, 901 Lincoln Ave, San Rafael, 415.451.4765

Fast becoming a Marin legend, Sol Food whips up traditional Puerto Rican dishes just like the ones owner Sol Hernandez grew up eating. Favorites include the bistec sandwich, mofongo and other fried plantain dishes, but anything tastes good with a dash of the signature hot sauce, also for sale by the bottle (as is the lemon-garlic salad dressing).

State Room

COVID-19 update: Open for patio dining, Friday–Sunday, 4-8 p.m.; takeout, Wednesday–Sunday, 4-8 p.m.
American, 1132 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.295.7929

Formerly the Broken Drum, State Room Brewery has ditched the diner vibe in favor of a modern gastropub. All draft beers are made on-site and are available in sizes from half-pints to take-home growlers; beer flights are also available. The menu, created by Alex Stricker and Andrew Toy, changes seasonally and includes a burrata cheese BLT and sashimi-grade tuna poke.

Sushi to Dai ForBest of Marin County 2017

COVID-19 update: Open for takeout, Monday–Saturday, 12 noon-3 p.m.  and 4:30-8 p.m.
Japanese, 816 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.721.0392

Snagging a seat in this popular Fourth Street spot can be a challenge, but patience is rewarded with fresh sashimi and unique sushi rolls.

Taj of Marin

COVID-19 update: Takeout via phone or online, Tuesday–Thursday, 12 noon-7 p.m.; Friday–Saturday, 12 noon-8 p.m.; Sunday 12 noon-7 p.m. Delivery via GrubHub, Caviar, DoorDash, Uber eats, or EatStreet. 
Indian, 909 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.459.9555

Both North and South Indian cuisine are offered here, with lunch specials and dinners that include goat curry, spinach, lentils and tandoori.

Tam Commons Tap Room & Kitchen

COVID-19 update: Outdoor dining and takeout available Sunday–Wednesday, 12 noon-8 p.m; Thursday–Saturday, 12 noon-9 p.m.
American, 1300 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.521.5770

Pub grub like karaage “popcorn” chicken, French bread pizza, and big meaty plates of ribs and tri-tip with all the fixin’s define the menu from chef Chris Lyon at this brewpub in a National Historic Landmark building in downtown San Rafael. A pull from one of the 34 taps yields a hand-crafted beer, cider or kombucha from local and global breweries.

Terrapin CrossroadsBest of Marin County 2017

COVID-19 update: Temporarily closed. Expected reopening date of August 1, 2020.
American, 100 Yacht Club Drive, San Rafael, 415.524.2773

This waterfront restaurant and music venue presents fresh food and local talent and was opened by former Grateful Dead member Phil Lesh. The menu offers salads, savory dishes, and wood-fired pizzas plus a wide selection of beer, wine, and cocktails. Come for the food, stay for the music.

Theresa & Johnny’s Comfort Food Best of Marin County 2018Best of Marin County 2017

COVID-19 update: To-go and curbside pick-up available daily, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
American, 817 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.259.0182

A favorite with both the kids and the foodie set, this charming eatery serves food like Mom used to make. Drop by for eggs Benedict, tuna melts, coffee and some of the best milkshakes around.

Uchiwa Ramen

COVID-19 update: Open for takeout or curbside delivery, Monday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5:30-8:30 p.m. Delivery via Dine-In Marin (Grubhub), Caviar, DoorDash and Uber Eats.
Japanese, 821 B St, San Rafael, 415.991.3693

When owners Benson Yang and Kevin Fong decided to open Marin’s first ramen shop in 2014, they weren’t sure what to expect. Five years later, Uchiwa remains beloved by ramen enthusiasts for its rich broths, fresh noodles, and a wide assortment of appetizers. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available.

Urban Remedy

COVID-19 update: Open for take out and delivery daily, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.  order via their app in the Apple store or here.
American, 1904 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.786.8011

Now serving delicious organic, non-GMO cold-pressed juices, smoothies, snacks and bowls, including plenty of gluten-free, grain-free and low-glycemic-index choices, this place opened in 2013 as the first of many Bay Area locations. Raw desserts round things out. Try the vegan Caesar or give the cashew milk with cinnamon and vanilla a shot to see what Urban Remedy is all about.

Vin Antico

COVID-19 update: Open for takeout and curbside pickup, Tuesday–Saturday, 4:30-8 pm.
American, 881 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.721.0600

Vin Antico, “where passion meets the plate,” serves seasonal market-inspired cuisine like stone-oven-baked flatbreads, handmade pastas and organic salads, all innovatively prepared. The kitchen is open to the dining room and there’s a full bar with artisan cocktails.

VN Noodle & Grill

COVID-19 update: Open for takeout daily, 11:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Order online.
Vietnamese, 421 Third St, San Rafael, 415.306.4299

Located in Montecito Plaza, the restaurant has a robust menu of standard Vietnamese fare, including a wide selection of rice plates, pho, and of course, iced coffee.

Whipper Snapper Restaurant

COVID-19 update: Open for takeout or contactless curbside, Tuesday–Sunday, 4:30-8 p.m.
Caribbean, 1613 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.256.1818

Owner/chef Bill Higgins serves tapas, sangria and reasonably priced organic dishes. The California-Caribbean lunch and dinner cuisine blends local farm-fresh ingredients with Latin flavors. Be sure to try the popular fish tacos, Cuban “cigars” and chocolate bread pudding. Available for parties and special gatherings, plus a back patio for alfresco dining.

Yet Wah

COVID-19 update: Open for take out and delivery daily, 11:30 am- 10 pm.
Chinese, 1238 Fourth St, San Rafael, (415) 460-9883

Named for the founder’s wife (“Yet” refers to the moon, “Wah” to brightness), this beloved mainstay has a traditional Chinese menu and daily dim sum. Expect live music in the Kung Fu Lounge.

Dining Keyt