With so many restaurants, delis and breakfast spots in Marin, there is plenty of dining competition. Here we spotlight dishes and experiences that keep us coming back for more.


Restaurant lines are not created equal — some are markers of quality, while others symbolize ephemeral hype. One of the most relentless lines that’s worth it, however, is the one at Fish. Whether it’s Sausalito locals stopping by for some ceviche and fries or those traveling across bridges to nab a crab roll and show their visitors a not-to-be-missed Marin experience, the hordes are not deterred by the patrons pouring out the door. If you’ve been, you understand. If you haven’t, bring cash, wear comfortable shoes and strike up a conversation.


If you crave a slice of New York City–style pizza, head to Manhattan, but don’t forget the antacid. If you don’t want to travel to the East Coast (or the drugstore), head to Larkspur for the ultimate thin-crust pizza, made from locally sourced organic ingredients and baked in a wood-burning oven. At Pizzeria Picco, diners choose from more than a dozen different pizzas or build their own. Patrons have the option of bellying up to the bar or dining alfresco while getting cozy under a heat lamp. Alternatively, pick up an assortment of flash-frozen pizzas and cook your favorite pie at home. Should you decide to pass it off as homemade, well, that’s your choice.


jack wolford

Fred's Place.

If you can’t marry up, eat up with two slices of Millionaire’s Bacon at Fred’s Place in Sausalito. This recipe is borrowed from sister restaurant Sweet Maple in San Francisco. To be clear, they didn’t create the concept of bacon made better, aka Million Dollar Bacon, but they did improve on it. Most joints use presliced hunks that yield 12 pieces per pound; here, each pound yields five super-thick slices, which are then baked in a convection oven for more than three hours with a secret sauce that combines sweet and heat. You could try to make it at home, but why bother? 415.332.4575


If we told you that there was a spot in West Marin that featured food prepared by an Iron Chef champion, tasty barbecue, outdoor seating and live music, would you believe us? Well, there definitely is. That place is Rancho Nicasio, that chef is Ron Siegel and the music is from favorites like Kronos Quartet, Zydeco Flames, Danny Click and Tommy Castro. Come for any and all of it, but stay for the locally sourced, farmfresh dishes that the Michelin-starred chef is serving up.


Two runners raising money to open a bakery might sound like the plot to a goofy romantic comedy, but that’s the real story at husband-and-wife-owned M.H. Bread and Butter (pictured below) in San Anselmo. Considering the bakery sells upwards of 200 loaves daily, it’s safe to say they are doing something right. Why is the food so popular? It likely has to do with Nathan Yanko’s eight-year tenure at Tartine or Devon Yanko’s specialty croissants and rolls, or maybe it’s the iced coffee made with coffee ice cubes. The origin of the bakery’s name, however, is not so mysterious. It pays homage to Nathan’s great-grandfather.


Lucky for Fairfax, the beloved former Sushi Ran chef Scott Whitman and a group of talented Marin-based restaurateur partners opened Village Sake, an izakaya (a Japanesestyle community pub) on Bolinas Street. Not so lucky are the folks trying to get one of the 12 tables any time after 6 p.m. Here’s the hack: show up at 5 p.m., give your cellphone number, get a drink somewhere in town and they’ll text you when your table is ready.


Farmshop — which was started in Santa Monica — has been bringing the farm-totable movement and all its trappings to Larkspur’s Marin Country Mart since 2013. And sure, the avocado hummus, crispy artichokes and crispier pizza have people coming back again and again, but the atmosphere might just be the real attraction. If you’ve been to Farmshop on a weekend evening, enjoying drinks on the patio while a band plays in the courtyard, you know what we mean; if not, we know what you are doing next weekend.

It's a Wrap

Off Highway 101’s Sausalito exit, an unassuming strip mall hides one of Marin’s best-kept foodie secrets. Served at Davey Jones Deli — a modest sandwich and salad counter inside the New Bait Shop — the Vulcan Wrap offers a kaleidoscope of color rolled into a spinach tortilla for your consuming pleasure. Packed with hummus, almonds, avocado, quinoa, and the “Twerks” (spinach, arugula, cucumber, carrots, radish, beets, bean sprouts, toasted sesame salt and garlic), this creation is understandably a best seller, and it’s easy to see why it’s named as it is. Live long and prosper.

Toast the Toast

For those late to the avocado toast trend, the good news is that it has been perfected at Shoreline Coffee Shop in Mill Valley in the form of Tennessee Valley Toast. Served on bread made up the street at Green Gulch Farms, topped with eggs laid down the street at Woolly Egg Ranch and finished with organic kale and avocado sprinkled with chile flakes, this is one top toast.

Salad Addiction

The Chinese chicken salad, when done right, is a crunchy, light and slightly sweet treat/meal that becomes a craving. Fun fact: the origins of this popular dish can be traced to Marin’s Cecilia Chiang, who opened the Mandarin restaurant in San Francisco in 1961. For a perfected version of the dish, ask anyone and you’ll find Comforts in San Anselmo tops the list. And for those in the southern part of the county, Kitti’s Place in Sausalito serves up a just-as-tasty option.,

A Parisian Patty

How does a French bistro in San Anselmo get the award for something as American as a cheeseburger? It’s all about the accoutrements. L’Appart Resto serves up its one-third-pound organic grass-fed burgers with carefully selected ingredients like caramelized onions, butter lettuce, tomato and Morbier cheese. All this deliciousness gets wedged inside a ciabatta bun slathered with aioli. Bon appétit.

Debra tarrant (shoreline and salad)