Where to Eat: San Rafael

San Rafael restaurants

San Rafael is Marin’s answer to urban. Equal parts sprawling, gritty, and gentrified, its dining activity centers mostly in the downtown and West End grid with Terra Linda emerging as a dining destination (Lou’s Takeaway, Monk’s Kettle, Lo Coco) and outliers along Miracle Mile and the industrial stretch along 580 into the Canal neighborhood. The options are as varied as the neighborhoods, with fast bites and ethnic eats alongside hole-in-the-wall favorites and sit-down dining.

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

Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria | Arizmendi Bakery | Big Rock Deli | Bruno’sCafe Del Soul | California Gold | Caribbean Spices | Casa Mañana | ChonmageFlatiron | Gaspare’s | Il Davide | Johnny Doughnuts | The Kitchen Table | La Toscana Ristorante & Bar | LaVier Cusine | Le Chalet Basque | Le Comptoir | Los Moles | Lotus Cuisine of India Restaurant | Lou’s Takeaway | Magnolia Park Kitchen | Masala Kitchen | McInnis Park Golf Club Restaurant | Menya Shono | Michael’s Sourdough | Monk’s KettleMulberry Street Pizzeria | Ounces Outdoors | Pho Viet Harbor | Pond Farm Brewing | RangeCafe | | Rocket Roll | Sabor a Mexico | San Rafael Joe’sShiro Kuma | Sol Food | State Room | Sushi to Dai For | Tam Commons Tap Room & KitchenTaj of Marin | Uchiwa Ramen | Urban Remedy | Vin Antico | Viqtor Food | Vivalon’s Jackson Cafe | VN Noodle & Grill | Whipper Snapper RestaurantYet Wah

Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria


A wide array of thin-crust pizzas pulled from a traditional brick oven, freshly made pastas (don’t miss the four cheese lasagna), and salads are the ticket here, along with flame-roasted lemon chicken wings (mild, spicy, or atomic). Dairy-free cheese and gluten-free crusts are available.

Grab ‘n Go | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20
1242 Fourth St, 415.455.9777

Arizmendi Bakery


A worker-owned bakery cafe, Arzimendi prides itself on high-quality local ingredients. Visit Wednesday–Sunday for coffee and pastries, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, and artisan sourdough pizza. If you don’t want to wait in line, order online for next day pick-up.

Dogs Welcome | Grab ‘n Go | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating
1002 Fourth St, 415.456.4093

Big Rock Deli


One part deli, one part Mexican restaurant and one part roadside joint, an all-day neighborhood favorite in Lucas Valley serves up big plates of St. Louis cut ribs with pinto beans and cole slaw, chorizo breakfast burritos and Philly cheesesteak sandwiches in equal measure. The covered patio wraps around the building and a small stage often hosts bands on weekends and holidays.

Dogs Welcome | Grab ‘n Go | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating
1500 Lucas Valley Rd, 415.491.0547

Bogie’s Too


Brunch | Dogs Welcome | Full Bar | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating

Relocated from the Civic Center to downtown San Rafael after 29 years, this second coming of Bogie’s highlights breakfast, brunch, and lunch. Organic eggs anchor a breakfast and lunch menu of omelets, sandwiches, and salads that Humphrey Bogart himself might recognize. They are famous for the eggs Benedict and a full spirits menu, a la “Rick’s Cafe”.

1335 Fourth St, 415.492.1530



One part market, two parts deli and cafe just off the downtown strip features all things Italian. Sandwiches, salads and entrees – Il Padrino (aka The Godfather), Mamma’s Meatballs – and a range of imported Italian packaged goods, wines and coffee/espresso are available. Don’t miss the house made cannoli.

Dogs Welcome | Grab ‘n Go | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating
1304 Second St, San Rafael; 415.785.7487

Cafe Del Soul


Marin Best of the County Vegetarian

Meet the Team

Healthy options become addictive at this eatery that now has locations in both Tam Junction and San Rafael. Once you stop in for the deliciously fresh quinoa wrap, you’ll want to return to try the chipotle rice bowl. A casual lunch spot and great for takeout, Cafe del Soul also serves smoothies and pressed juices.

Grab ‘n Go  |  Kid-friendly  |  Meal Under $20 
247 Shoreline Hwy, 415.388.1852

California Gold


Death Proof, a “lethal” blend of dark rum, Calvados, orange, and aromatic bitters, is just one of the pre-Tiki, handmade drinks that highlight the cocktail menu in the slickly comfortable space, decked out in a style befitting the Roaring Twenties. The drinks range from California beer styles on the 12 taps to globally-sourced wines. Fresh cocktails, like the Tropical, Smash and Thunderbolt, feature produce sourced from the San Rafael farmers’ markets. Enjoy them at an outdoor table.

Date Spot | Full Bar | Happy Hour | Outdoor Seating | Worth the Hype
848 B  St, 707.337.6159

Caribbean Spices


Jerk chicken and shrimp with just the right amount of heat and soft tostones are menu highlights 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, then savor your meal at a heated sidewalk table.

Dogs Welcome | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating
819 Fourth St, 415.299.2680

Casa Mañana


Owner Margarita Almenderes has been running the original Casa Mañana since 1979 in an off-the-beaten track San Rafael locale that locals adored for its ample patio seating and “home made everything” approach. Her newer spot downtown draws new audiences for the all-day breakfast menu (those huevos Cubanos aren’t going to eat themselves), burritos and mole enchiladas.

Grab ‘n Go | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating | Watch the Game
711 D St, San Rafael; 415.456.7345 



Yuthana (Oy San) Sitiprawet runs this downtown ramen joint with his wife, Manee Jenkins, turning out Japanese-style ramen with local flair. Housemade, walnut-based miso amplifies the spicy miso ramen and garlic ramen turns heads, but the curry ramen continues to inspire a vocal following. The blended tonkatsu and chicken broths are infused with curry and topped with karaage (fried chicken) and french fries, making it the ultimate multi-culti mashup.

Dogs Welcome | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating
1020 Court St, San Rafael; 415.419.5919

Forrest Fire BBQ


Marin Best BBQ
Forrest BBQ

Forrest Murray, Jr. of San Rafael’s Forrest Fire BBQ designed the perfect tribute to his father: Saint Louis-style pork ribs, chicken, and beef tri-tip, cooked low and slow before he pulls them from a wood-stoked barbecue. These are the signature meals he prepares on his Southern Pride Smoker outside Marinwood Market in San Rafael on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, with his mobile catering business and soon at United Markets, San Rafael and Gold Gate Market, Sausalito. Inside a cast iron pan logo of his business rests an outline of the state of Alabama stamped with “928” to reflect Murray’s roots and the date of his dad’s birthday.

Grab ‘n Go | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating



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.

Date Spot | Full Bar | Happy Hour | Outdoor Seating | Watch the Game
724 B St, 415.453.4318



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.

Date Spot | Full Bar | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20
200 Merrydale Road, 415.472.7101

Il Davide


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. Heated outdoor dining and curbside pickup are available and a private party dining room accommodates up to 45.

Date Spot | Dogs Welcome | Full Bar | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating | Private Party Room | Round Tables
901 A St, 415.454.8080

Johnny Doughnuts


The fresh doughnuts are handmade in small batches each morning with all local, organic ingredients. Options include vegan (made from sweet potatoes) and wheat-free doughnuts for the gluten-sensitive, with local dairy products in the dough and fillings. Stop by the shop in the West End, which has wide benches for on-the-spot noshing, or have the food truck come to you.

Dogs Welcome | Grab ‘n Go | Kid-friendly | Outdoor Seating
1617 Fourth St, 415.450.1866



Marin Best BBQ

The go-to dish at owner Ali Mobasser’s Persian barbecue restaurant is the koobideh. Seasoned with grated onion and seven spices, including turmeric, saffron, sumac and white pepper, the meat is “koobidehed” (meaning, beaten with the spices) before grilling. While the outside is charred, the beef’s skewering allows for even internal heat and easy turning during cooking, locking in flavor. “It keeps the juices from spilling out,” says Mobasser.

Grab ‘n Go | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating
555 E. Francisco Blvd, 415.256.9878

The Kitchen Table


Chef Alexander Alioto adheres to the Italian cooking mantra of fresh, seasonal, approachable food at his West End restaurant, creating dishes with layers of flavor such as raviolo uovo with truffle butter and pappardelle with oxtail and espelette pepper. This may be the only restaurant in Marin serving sweetbreads – do give them a try.

Date Spot | Dogs Welcome | Outdoor Seating
1574 Fourth St, 415.521.5568

La Toscana Ristorante & Bar


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

Date Spot | Outdoor Seating | Private Party Room | Worth the Hype
3751 Redwood Hwy, 415.492.9100

LaVier Cuisine

Latin American

Free-range chicken and sustainable seafood plus vegan and vegetarian dishes are the focus at this all-organic Latin fusion eatery run by Mexico City native, Gabriela and her husband Guillermo, who hails from Yucatán. Try the top selling pescado asado, puffy fish tacos with slaw and black beans, or chile rellenos. The colorful streetside dining patio, bedecked with palms, feels downright tropical.

Date Spot | Dogs Welcome | Kid-friendly | Outdoor Seating
1025 C St, 415.295.7990

Le Chalet Basque


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.

Date Spot | Dogs Welcome | Full Bar | Outdoor Seating | Private Party Room | Round Tables | Worth the Hype
405 North San Pedro Rd, 415.479.1070

Le Comptoir


In the heart of San Rafael, the bistro, complete with bright red chairs and a small adjoining grocery, serves up traditional French favorites like beef cheeks bourguignon and onion soup gratinée in a chic and cozy setting.

Date Spot | Grab ‘n Go | Outdoor Seating | Private Party Room
1301 Fourth St, 415.454.5454

Los Moles


Centrally located on Lincoln Avenue, Los Moles offers traditional pueblo Mexican cuisine, with — you guessed it — a variety of different moles to enhance your dish. The menu includes enmoladas, tacos, pollo al horno, carne asada, flan and more. Stop in on Taco Tuesday when the special is quesabirria tacos or for the special Sunday buffet brunch with fresh cafe de la olla served from a clay urn and live music on the streetside patio.

Brunch | Date Spot | Dogs Welcome | Happy Hour | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating
912 Lincoln Ave, 415.453.5850

Lotus Cuisine of India Restaurant


Marin Best BBQ

Best Indian

Take comfort in award-winning Indian cuisine from a long-running, family-run, certified green business with an energy-efficient kitchen and eco-friendly appliances. There is an abundance of organic vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, not to mention their famous all-you-can-eat, every day lunch buffet, wine and beer.  A pet-friendly patio fronts 4th while the family’s adjacent Lotus Market Indian Grocery on 5th means free parking in the back.

Date Spot | Dogs Welcome | Grab ‘n Go | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating
812 Fourth St, 415.456.5808

Lou’s Takeaway


Bicyclists returning from a ride along San Rafael’s Lucas Valley Road are in on the not-so-secret eats from Anthony (Lou) Rizzi’s petite restaurant. Though the menu changes frequently, look for favorites like chilled chicken noodles with roasted peanuts and pickled long beans, spicy honey-glazed fried chicken, and pork belly with black vinegar caramel sauce. Enjoy everything outside on the deck or to go–there is no indoor seating.

Dogs Welcome | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating
621A Del Ganado Rd, San Rafael; 415.226.7994

Magnolia Park Kitchen


Marin Best Brunch

This downtown American bistro features lots of farm-fresh salads (quinoa with cranberry and carrot) and sandwiches (Cubano, Reuben) to choose from. The heated, partially-covered outdoor patio is well suited to sipping a glass of wine or enjoying a burger or a signature fried chicken bomb sandwich with firecracker aioli and serrano pickle slaw. The house made potato chips are most excellent.

Brunch | Dogs Welcome | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating
1016 Court St, 415.521.5591

Masala Kitchen Indian Cuisine


In a quiet corner of Montecito Plaza, co-owner and chef Timothy Maharjan and co-owner and manager Atit Subba serve up the varied cuisines and techniques of the Indian diaspora. Newer menu items from the duo’s home country of Nepal include  Himalayan Dumplings ( momos), Chowmein noodles and chicken chilly. A tandoor oven turns out chicken, shrimp, and lamb kebabs and an extensive selection of naan, roti and other breads. Chicken Tikka Masala and Masala Chai Tea are already local favorites, also served on the petite, covered patio.

Date Spot | Dogs Welcome | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating
227 Third St, San Rafael, 415.526.3161

McInnis Park Golf Club Restaurant


Marin Best Brunch

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.

Full Bar | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating | Private Party Room | Round Tables | Watch the Game
McInnis Park, 415.491.5959

Menya Shono


Noodles from ramen master Tomoharu Shono who has multiple restaurants in Tokyo and San Francisco are made in-house, the flour ground on a Japanese stonemill in the kitchen. Designed exclusively for the downtown San Rafael location, toripaitan uses chicken broth instead of the traditional pork and is designed for every day eating but traditionalists can still get Shono’s Marin-influenced version of shoyu and matcha ramen, too. A small patio is shielded from the marine layer’s breezes.

Date Spot | Dogs Welcome | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating
908 Fourth St, 415.295.7112

Michael’s Sourdough


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 perennial 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.

Grab ‘n Go | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20
999 Andersen Dr, Ste. 165, 415.485.0964

Monk’s Kettle


Marin Best Brunch

Like the original in San Francisco, Christian Albertson’s restaurant in the shopping center kitty-corner from the Terra Linda Pool serves quaffable beers (like Pliny the Elder on tap), burgers, and pub grub to match the suds. The Mission Fried Chicken has an ardent following but there are plenty of veg-forward offerings, too, all to be enjoyed on the shaded patio.

Brunch | Date Spot | Dogs Welcome | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating | Private Party Room | Watch the Game
655 Del Ganado Rd, San Rafael

Mulberry Street Pizzeria


Search out the pizzas in a building hidden behind a doctor’s office in Smith Ranch. Why? 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, too. A gluten-free crust is available.

Dogs Welcome | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating
101 Smith Ranch Rd, 415.472.7272

Ounces Outdoors


Enjoy a small-batch, locally brewed beer or cider at an all-outdoor, dog-friendly beer garden with fire pits and bocce courts. Grab a seat at a picnic table before digging into a chile verde pork or steak and mushroom savory pie, a warm pretzel with mustard, or a caramelized onion grilled cheese sandwich.

Date Spot | Dogs Welcome | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating | Watch the Game
5800 Northgate Dr, 877.747.0383

Phyllis’ Giant Burgers


Niman Ranch beef (or choose veggie, turkey or Impossible), Bordenaves brioche bun, plus all your favorite toppings equals a spot in the winner’s circle for this classic Marin eatery.

Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating

2202 4TH St, 415.456.0866

Pho Viet Harbor


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.

Date Spot | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20
555 E. Francisco Blvd, Ste. 22, 415.455.8063

Pond Farm Brewing


BOC Brewery

The 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.

Date Spot | Dogs Welcome | Grab ‘n Go | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating
1848 Fourth St, 415.524.8709



Marin Best Brunch

The cuisine from chef John Evans is local, seasonal, made with naturally raised ingredients and served in a casual, comfortable and refined setting, with floor-to-ceiling windows, interior and expansive outdoor seating 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.

Date Spot | Dogs Welcome | Full Bar | Happy Hour | Kid-friendly | Outdoor Seating | Private Party Room | Watch the Game
333 Biscayne Dr, 415.454.6450

Sabor a Mexico


Fresh margaritas know no border, while salmon fish tacos are topped with chopped onion and cilantro a la Distrito Federal and a pambazo, a sandwich stuffed with chorizo and potato, is done up with a Jaliscan style sauce. A six table patio offers outdoor seating.

Date Spot | Dogs Welcome | Full Bar | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating | Watch the Game
1559 Fourth St, 415.306.9404

San Rafael Joe’s


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.

Brunch | Date Spot | Full Bar | Grab ‘n Go | Happy Hour | Kid-friendly | Outdoor Seating | Round Tables | Worth the Hype
931 Fourth St, 415.456.2425

Shiro Kuma


Despite its location in San Rafael’s West End, 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.

Date Spot | Worth the Hype
1518 Fourth St, 415.295.7464

Sol Food

Puerto Rican

Marin Dog Friendly Restaurants

Fast becoming a Marin legend, Sol Food whips up traditional Puerto Rican dishes with fresh ingredients, just like the ones owner Sol Hernandez grew up eating. All day favorites include the bistec sandwich, mofongo and other fried plantain dishes, but anything tastes good with a dash of “pique” their signature hot peppersauce, also for sale by the bottle (as is the lemon-garlic salad dressing). They also have a special menu from “Victor’s Crispy Tacos.”

Dogs Welcome | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating | Worth the Hype
901 Lincoln Ave, 415.451.4765

State Room


Marin Dog Friendly Restaurants

The modern gastropub vibe suits its downtown San Rafael locale, where 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.

Date Spot | Dogs Welcome | Full Bar | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating | Watch the Game
1132 Fourth St, 415.295.7929

Sushi to Dai For


Snagging a seat in this popular Fourth Street spot can be a challenge, but patience is rewarded with fresh sashimi and unique sushi rolls. Look for bento box specials at lunch and udon soup and a few types of ramen in addition to teriyaki and donburi.

Date Spot | Meal Under $20
816 Fourth St, 415.721.0392

Taj of Marin


Both North and South Indian cuisine are offered here, with plentiful vegetarian options and unsweetened chai.  The crowds come for the well-priced lunch specials or stop by at dinner for their well-regarded goat curry, spinach, lentils and tandoori.

Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20
909 Fourth St, 415.459.9555

Tam Commons Tap Room & Kitchen


The home of the “Tam Good Burger” also offers favorites like a fried chicken sandwich, gourmet hot dogs and a selection of starters and salads. Located in a National Historic Landmark building in downtown San Rafael, the large space has a full bar serving craft cocktails, a carefully curated wine list and 34 rotating taps of unique and hard to find beers alongside regional favorites. Look for live music and trivia games or enjoy sports on the large screen TV’s visible from the covered outdoor patio.

Dogs Welcome | Full Bar | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating | Watch the Game
1300 Fourth St, 415.521.5770

Uchiwa Ramen


Marin Best Ramen

Marin’s OG ramen shop in downtown San Rafael has found a spot in the hearts of ramen lovers for its rich broths, fresh noodles and assortment of small plates. While the tonkatsu and gluten-free options remain popular, newer items such as pan-fried ramen, vegan miso ramen and rice dishes meet a variety of needs. A petite patio offers outdoor seating.

Date Spot | Dogs Welcome | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating
821 B St, 415.524.2727

Urban Remedy


Serving 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.

Grab ‘n Go | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20
1904 Fourth St, 415.786.8011

Vin Antico


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. Black sesame-crusted tuna is classic, even better with an Il Capo negroni.

Brunch | Date Spot | Dogs Welcome | Full Bar
881 Fourth St, 415.721.0600

Viqtor Food

Puerto Rican

The latest spin-off of the Puerto Rican and Caribbean food empire owned by Victor Cielo and Sol Hernandez incorporates the broader flavors of the Caribbean. Look for family-friendly fare (porky burrito, crispy tacos, Sol bowl) and spicy coconut stew with mahi mahi or prawns served with tostones. 

Grab ‘n Go | Meal Under $20
902 Lincoln Ave, 415.737.0655

Vivalon’s Jackson Cafe


Vivalon’s Jackson Café menu changes weekly to reflect seasonal offerings, including daily meat and veggie entrée options, along with fresh salads, daily soups, sandwich choices, and desserts. The Jackson Café is located near the San Rafael Transit Center and is open for lunch Monday – Friday, 11:30 am-1:30 pm. Entrée options are $8 for Vivalon members and $12 for non-members.

Date Spot | Meal Under $20 | Round Tables
930 Tamalpais Ave, 415.456.9062

VN Noodle & Grill


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.

Date Spot | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating
421 Third St, 415.306.4299

Whipper Snapper Restaurant


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.

Dogs Welcome | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20 | Outdoor Seating
1613 Fourth St, 415.256.1818

Yet Wah


Named for the founder’s wife (“Yet” refers to the moon, “Wah” to brightness), this beloved downtown mainstay has a traditional Chinese menu and daily dim sum. Live music is sometimes on offer in the Kung Fu Lounge and a gluten-free menu is available.

Date Spot | Kid-friendly | Meal Under $20
1238 Fourth St, 415.460.9883

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