Locally-sourced food, incomparable ambiance and creative seasonal dishes — these are all qualities that the top North Bay dining experiences have to offer. Our restaurant picks fall somewhere on the spectrum of romantic date night restaurants to hip eateries for meeting up with friends and other loved ones (including kiddos). So let’s get to it.
These are our North Bay Best Breakfast winners for 2023, selected by our editors — look for our readers’ choice winner, selected by our audience.
Featured Photo: Farmhouse Inn
North Bay Dinner Map
Marin’s OG steakhouse with lodge-style dining room and bustling bar boasts a smoker out back that turns out epic chicken wings and barbecue baby back ribs in equal measure. A classic wedge salad is the perfect entree to a 12-ounce rib eye or filet mignon but some return just for the sesame-crusted ahi tuna salad. Lunch hours are 12pm to 4pm Saturday and Sunday, dinner hours are 4pm to 8:30pm daily. buckeyeroadhouse.com
Michael Mina landed his first restaurant in Marin, with a bar-lounge upstairs and seated restaurant downstairs and the same views of San Francisco from both decks. Favorites like Mina’s ahi tuna tartare and lobster pot pie pair nicely with an aptly named City Lights cocktail, shot of tequila or zero-proof Forget Me Not with cucumber and tonic. Brunch hours are 11am to 2:30pm Saturday and Sunday, dinner hours are 5pm to 10pm daily. bungalowkitchen.com
Known far and wide for their wood-fired brick oven breads, Cafe Beaujolais provides a complimentary breadbasket that is anything but an afterthought — and should not be skipped. Elegant yet relaxed, this California French culinary destination serves simple yet innovative dishes including lamb barbacoa quesadillas with tomatillo salsa, customizable Beaujolais bowls, garlicky kale pizza (all pizzas are available until 5pm, for an early dinner), smash burgers and plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. Due to Covid, dinner is take-out only, but their garden out back is available for those who want to nestle into a quiet, sun-soaked spot to enjoy their meal. Hours are Wednesday through Saturday 11:30am to 7pm. Closed Monday and Tuesday. cafebeaujolais.com
Families flock here for the fresh pastas (bombolotti al sugo, gnocchi a la bava) and pizzas. But the wide bar and upstairs lounge makes it easier than ever to share a plate of carpaccio di zucchini or petrale sole served piccata style. Lunch hours are 11:30am to 3pm Tuesday through Sunday, dinner hours are 5pm to 8:30pm Tuesday through Thursday, 5pm to 9pm Friday and Saturday. cucina-sa.com
Dillon Beach Coastal Kitchen
Highlighting the extensive bounty of the North Bay’s local food shed, Coastal Kitchen at Dillon Beach Resort serves up a curated menu ranging from fish and chips with tarragon remoulade to pulled pork sandwiches with cabbage-fennel slaw, seasonal veggie plates with tzatziki and hummus, and perfectly crispy fries. They also have a kids menu featuring items that coax “the magic word” from anyone’s lips — read: the “Mac and Cheese Please” dish. Located on a mile-long private beach, the restaurant has nearly panoramic views of sand dunes and waves. Fair warning: a pre- or post-dinner walk may be in order. Hours are Friday through Sunday 12pm to 7pm. dillonbeachresort.com
The Baan Thai Cuisine
A perennial go-to for locals since it opened in 2013, The Baan Thai Cuisine serves all the curries, stir-fried noodles, and spicy soups and salads you would expect at a traditional Thai restaurant, but the elevated execution, beautiful presentation and excellent service sets it apart. Among the fan favorites are the crispy, sweet corn cakes; Thai samosas filled with taro, sweet potato, pumpkin and corn; spicy drunken noodles; and yellow curry. Make sure to try their in-house specialty tom yum and tom kha wheat beers. Dinner hours are Tuesday through Sunday 4:30pm to 9pm. Lunch hours are Tuesday through Friday 11:30am to 2:30pm and Saturday through Sunday noon to 3pm. thebaanthaicuisine.com
The Junction Beer Garden / Pizzahacker
Thirty taps pull a rotating assortment of mostly Californian, small batch beer, kombucha and cider, perfect for pairing with a classic margarita pizza or a Romeo pizza with grass-fed meatballs. Take your brew to the expansive back garden to enjoy at a picnic table but bring a jacket for those chilly afternoons by the bay. Hours are 11:30am to 9pm Monday through Thursday, 11:30am to 10pm Friday, 11am to 10pm Saturday, 10am to 8pm Sunday. thejunc.com, sites.google.com/site/pizzahacker
The one-Michelin rating earned by the restaurant is reflected in each dish on the 11-course tasting menu that reflects chef Ron Siegel’s passion for Japanese flavors. Once seated in the small dining room, sit back and enjoy treats like Santa Barbara sea urchin with white ponzu, somen with shrimp hasami or duck breast with black truffle and caramelized sunchokes. Hours are 5:30pm to 8:30pm Tuesday through Thursday, 5:30pm to 9pm Friday through Saturday. madcapmarin.com
Looking for a real getaway? Here you will enter a world so far removed that you immediately breathe deeper. Your phone may not get service, but you won’t care. While you’re taking in the rich, Tomales Bay air, you may get a whiff of their paella, cioppino or beloved cast iron macaroni and cheese (made even better with Dungeness crab) — all of which feature seafood from nearby waters. Aphrodisiacs are also abundant: Local oysters are served raw, BBQ’d or dipped in a Thai green curry sauce. Walk the pier at sunset and end your visit by relaxing into a nightcap or a flourless chocolate torte by candlelight. Hours are 11am to 7pm daily. nickscove.com
Deep and tufted red banquettes frame a room that opens on one side to a streetside patio where locals and tourists flock for a la minute Italian cuisine and great people-watching. Grab a Negroni from Tony at the bar while seated on a cushy stool, then shift to a table for a plate of vitello tonnato or a mista salad with fresh herbs sourced from the hillside garden. The pappardelle with braised lamb and pork ragu and the in-season seafood are musts. Breakfast hours are 6:30am to 11:30am daily, lunch and dinner hours are 12pm to 9pm Monday through Thursday, and 12pm to 9:30pm Friday through Sunday. poggiotrattoria.com
Now with its own heated parklet and open-air back patio strung with market lights, Stillwater provides an upscale atmosphere filled with warm, rustic tones. The music always creates a good vibe and the menu matches their eclectic taste. You’ll find items like fish (or roasted sweet potato) tacos with pineapple salsa, a fried chicken sandwich on a poppyseed bun, a cheeseburger 3.0, and a little gems and avocado salad with a sweet and sour vinaigrette that puts other leafy meals to shame. Also of note — in an otherwise dated bar scene (hello, hippy Fairfax), this little restaurant serves up craft beer, specialty cocktails — their “No Voodoo” drink with mezcal, green chartreuse, fernet, lime and lemongrass hits all the flavor profiles — and has a walk-up wine window. Hours are Tuesday through Friday 4pm to 9pm, Saturday and Sunday 12pm to 9pm. Closed Monday. stillwaterfairfax.com
No one wants to say goodbye to a favorite haunt, but the transformation at Cavallo Point’s new signature restaurant Sula is turning heads. Long known as Murray Circle, Executive Chef Michael Garcia remains at the helm of Sula; standout menu items include Lobster Velouté, Wagyu Filet of Beef, and Pan Seared Scallops. Try to save room for dessert — the Sticky Toffee topped with orange zest ice cream is a winner. It’s big enough to share, but that doesn’t mean you’ll want to. Hours are Thursday through Saturday, 5pm to 10pm. dineatsula.com
More Local Favorites in the North Bay
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Meet our always-hungry team of foodies who compiled this list.
Please let us know if we’ve missed your favorite firstname.lastname@example.org.