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 DavideJohnny 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 | Sabor a Mexico | 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 | Viqtor Food | Vivalon’s Jackson Cafe | VN Noodle & Grill | Whipper Snapper RestaurantYet Wah

 


 

Amici’s East Coast PizzeriaBest of Marin County 2017

Californian, COVID-19 update: Open for delivery, pickup, and contactless curbside daily, 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.

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.

1242 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.455.9777

 

Arizmendi Bakery

Californian, COVID-19 update: Open for takeout, Thursday–Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Pre-order on website.

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.

1002 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.456.4093

Bogie’s Too

American, COVID-19 update: Open for takeout and sidewalk dining, Wednesday–Sunday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

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.

1335 Fourth St, 415.492.1530

 

Boiadeirus Steak

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

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.

925 Fourth St, San Rafael, 628.253.5854

 

Brazilian Breads

Brazilian, 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 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. 

20 Medway Rd, San Rafael, 510.647.8894

 

Caribbean Spices

Caribbean, COVID-19 update: Open for takeout (please call or stop in to order) and sidewalk dining, Tuesday-Sunday, 4-10 p.m.

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.  

819 Fourth St, 415.299.2680

 

Flatiron

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

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.

724 B St, San Rafael, 415.453.4318

 

Gaspare’s

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

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.

200 Merrydale Road, San Rafael, 415.472.7101

 

Il Davide

Italian, COVID-19 update: Open for curbside pick-up and delivery, Tuesday–Saturday, 3-7:30 p.m.

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.

901 A St, San Rafael, 415. 454.8080

 

Johnny Doughnuts

American, COVID-19 update: Takeout and delivery daily, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. via phone or here 

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.

1617 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.450.1866

 

La Toscana Ristorante & Bar

Italian, COVID-19 update: Open for outdoor dining and takeout, Tuesday–Saturday, 12 noon-8 p.m.

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 classics like gnocchi and carbonara and an ample selection of wine.

3751 Redwood Highway, San Rafael, 415.492.9100

 

LaVier CuisineBest of Marin County 2017

Latin American, COVID-19 update: Open for streetside patio dining and takeout, Monday–Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.. Delivery via DineIn Marin, DoorDash and UberEats.

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.

1025 C St, San Rafael, 415.295.7990

 

Le Chalet Basque

French, 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.

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.

405 North San Pedro Road, San Rafael, 415.479.1070

 

Le Comptoir

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

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.

1301 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.454.5454

 

Los Moles

Mexican, COVID-19 update: Open for sidewalk patio dining, takeout and delivery daily, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.  All you can eat Sunday buffet brunch with live music resumed as of September 12. 

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.

912 Lincoln Ave, San Rafael, 415.453.5850

 

Lotus Cuisine of India RestaurantBest of Marin County 2017

Indian, 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.

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.

704 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.456.5808

 

Magnolia Park Kitchen

American, COVID-19 update: Open for patio dining and takeout, Monday–Saturday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.  Delivery via DoorDash or GrubHub. 

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.

1016 Court St, San Rafael, 415.521.5591

 

McInnis Park Golf Club Restaurant

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

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.

McInnis Park, San Rafael, 415.491.5959


 

Michael’s Sourdough

American, COVID-19 update: Open for takeout only, Monday–Friday, 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

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.

999 Andersen Drive, Ste. 165, San Rafael, 415.485.0964

 

Mulberry Street PizzeriaBest of Marin County 2017

Italian, 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.

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.

101 Smith Ranch Road, San Rafael, 415.472.7272

 

Panama Hotel RestaurantBest of Marin County 2017

American, COVID-19 update: No information available at this time (early October).

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.

4 Bayview St, San Rafael, 415.457.3993


 

Pho Viet

Vietnamese, 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.

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.

555 E. Francisco Blvd, Ste. 22, San Rafael,  415.455.8063

 

Pond Farm Brewing

American, 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).

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.

1848 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.524.8709

 

RangeCafe

American, COVID-19 update: Open for patio dining, takeout and delivery daily, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Call or order online.

The cuisine from chef Stephen Simmons 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.

333 Biscayne Drive, San Rafael, 415.454.6450

 

Revel & Roost

Californian, COVID-19 update: Open for takeout, curbside pickup and outdoor dining, Wednesday–Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; 4-8:30 p.m.  

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.

901 B St, San Rafael, 415.870.9946.

 

Rocket Roll

Japanese, COVID-19 update: Open for takeout, Monday–Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m.

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.

1109 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.866.0537

Sabor a Mexico

Mexican, COVID-19 update: Opened June, 2020 for takeout and sidewalk dining, daily, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

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.

1559 Fourth St, 415.306.9404

San Rafael Joe’s

Italian, COVID-19 update: Open for takeout and curbside pickup only, Monday–Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. 

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.

931 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.456.2425

 

Shangri-La Organic Kitchen

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

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.

869 Fourth St, 415.459.3315

 

Shiro Kuma

Japanese, COVID-19 update: Open for takeout daily, 4:30-9 p.m. Delivery by Uber Eats or DoorDash.

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.

1518 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.295.7464

 

Sol FoodBest of Marin County 2017

Puerto Rican, COVID-19 update: Open for takeout daily, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.

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).

901 Lincoln Ave, San Rafael, 415.451.4765

 

State Room

American, COVID-19 update: Open for patio dining, Friday–Sunday, 4-8 p.m.; takeout, Wednesday–Sunday, 4-8 p.m.

State Room Brewery has ditched its former 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.

1132 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.295.7929

 

Sushi to Dai ForBest of Marin County 2017

Japanese, COVID-19 update: Open for takeout, Monday–Saturday, 12 noon-3 p.m.  and 4:30-8 p.m.

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

816 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.721.0392

 

Taj of Marin

Indian, 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. 

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

909 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.459.9555

 

Tam Commons Tap Room & Kitchen

American, COVID-19 update: Outdoor dining and takeout available Sunday–Wednesday, 12-8 p.m; Thursday–Saturday, 12-9 p.m.

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.

1300 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.521.5770

 

Terrapin CrossroadsBest of Marin County 2017

American, COVID-19 update: Temporarily closed. Expected reopening date unknown.

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.

100 Yacht Club Drive, San Rafael, 415.524.2773

 

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

American, COVID-19 update: To-go and curbside pick-up available daily, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

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.

817 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.259.0182

 

Uchiwa Ramen

Japanese, 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.

When owners Benson Yang and Kevin Fong decided to open Marin’s first ramen shop in 2014, they weren’t sure what to expect. Six 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.

821 B St, San Rafael, 415.991.3693

 

Urban Remedy

American, 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.

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.

1904 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.786.8011

 

Vin Antico

American, COVID-19 update: Open for takeout and curbside pickup, Tuesday–Saturday, 4:30-8 pm.

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.

881 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.721.0600

 

Viqtor Food

Puerto Rican, COVID-19 update: Opened September, 2020. Open for takeout only, 11 a.m.-8 p.m., daily.

The latest spin-off of the Puerto Rican food empire owned by Victor Cielo and Sol Hernandez operates in the dining space of the San Rafael original and is takeout only. Family-friendly fare (spaghetti with garlicky shrimp, tacos with red sauce) and a pork rib sandwich cradled by the original restaurant’s famous tostones incorporate the broader flavors of the Caribbean.

902 Lincoln Ave, San Rafael, 415.737.0655

 

Vivalon’s Jackson Cafe (formerly known as Jackson Cafe at Whistlestop)

American, COVID-19 update: Take out meals only, Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

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. 

930 Tamalpais Ave, San Rafael, 415.456.9062

 

VN Noodle & Grill

Vietnamese, COVID-19 update: Open for takeout daily, 11:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Order online.

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.

421 Third St, San Rafael, 415.306.4299

 

Whipper Snapper Restaurant

Caribbean, COVID-19 update: Open for patio dining, takeout or contactless curbside, Tuesday–Sunday, 5-8 p.m.

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.

1613 Fourth St, San Rafael, 415.256.1818

 

Yet Wah

Chinese, COVID-19 update: Open for takeout and delivery daily, 11:30 a.m.- 10 p.m.

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.

1238 Fourth St, San Rafael, (415) 460-9883


Dining Keyt