Marin Blog · Dining in Marin Collection

Foodie Guide to Novato

Posted in Blogging Marin on Sunday, December 4, 2022 by MCVB Staff

By Megan Eileen McDonough


Located 30 miles north of San Francisco in Marin County, Novato is a picturesque city that boasts an impressive culinary scene. Besides a stunning year-round landscape, the city is quickly becoming a foodie destination, with a clear focus on seasonal fare. Sourcing organic ingredients is a top priority for local chefs, which means that menus change every few months.

From quirky decor to inventive recipes, there’s always an element of surprise when you step into one of Novato’s most beloved restaurants. Here are six of our top picks (plus two bonus spots!) to get you started on your culinary adventure.


For Fresh Beer and Live Music: Hopmonk Tavern

There’s no better remedy for a busy day at work than a night of live music and cold brews. Hopmonk Tavern’s outdoor beer garden is a hit with locals, thanks to Novato’s great year-round weather. The food menu is fairly extensive, especially their shared plates like crispy calamari, sausage bites, tacos and sliders. There are currently 20 fresh draft beers, including the home favorites, the Hopmonk Tavern Ale and Hopmonk Dunkelweizen.


For Fine Dining: Perry's Novato

Don’t leave town without splurging on a decadent meal at Perry's Novato. Serving everything from fresh mesquite-grilled steaks and smoked chops to rotisserie meats and wood-fired pizzas, there’s something for every taste and temperament here. For lunch, try one of their homemade soups or split a few of their shared plates. Come dinner, their pan-seared salmon steak is a safe bet, as well as their bistro steak frites.


Where Old Chicago Meets Marin

Located in Novato, The Boardroom is a captivating destination that pays homage to the Old Chicago Restaurants, where locals gather to indulge in fine dining, delightful drinks, and vibrant socializing. With its charming atmosphere and warm hospitality, our restaurant invites you to embark on a culinary journey that will awaken your senses.

Join us today and experience the perfect blend of nostalgia and innovation. Our attentive staff is dedicated to ensuring your visit to The Boardroom is nothing short of extraordinary. As you savor our delectable fare and savor your favorite libations, you'll find yourself immersed in the vibrant energy of our lively establishment.


For Gluten-Free Treats: Flour Chylde Bakery

Don't let celiac disease get in the way of enjoying your favorite sweet treats. Flour Chylde Bakery specializes in gluten-free cakes, pastries, bread and tortes. Everything is made from scratch and sold fresh. Choose among a selection of delicious desserts or opt for some savory baked goods. Come lunchtime, the place is a popular spot to grab a sandwich, organic salad or frittatas. It’s a perfect pit stop for the busy traveler.


For Hot Drinks: Dr. Insomniac's Coffee & Tea

With a name like Dr. Insomniac's, it's no surprise that this joint specializes in caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee. In fact, it's been voted the best coffee shop in Marin for four years running. Naturally, mornings can be pretty hectic, with the line stretching out the door. Whether in the mood for a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee or a healthy fitness shake or fruit smoothie, there's a drink for every craving.


For Italian Fare: Chiante Cucina

Conveniently located downtown Novato, Chianti Cucina serves only the best Italian food in a casual and friendly atmosphere that will make you feel like you are eating in Italy. They pride themselves on serving authentic Italian dishes using fresh ingredients, time honored recipes and a commitment to excellence. 


Bonus Round!

Here are two extra ways to make the most of your Novato foodie adventure.

Mushroom Foraging

For travelers seeking an interactive experience in Novato, consider embarking on a mushroom foraging excursion. Winter is the best season to hunt for mushrooms because of the wet weather conditions. San Francisco-based company ForageSF offers expeditions that take participants into West Marin and the Sonoma Coast. The day tour includes a leisurely hike through nature with an expert guide.


Wine & Beer Tastings

Northern California is home to some great-tasting wines, and next to Napa, Novato comes in a close second. Start your day at Trek Winery, a family-owned tasting room located in the Old Town. A mix of modern decor and earthy accents like bar tables and an outdoor patio (it's heated in the winter!) make for a cozy retreat. 


For all you need to plan your Marin County vacation, visit the Marin Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website or Facebook page.

More information on featured attractions:

blog image

HopMonk Tavern

Sun-filled tavern that opens up onto a large beergarden under vintage oak trees, home to our seasonal Cookout Concert Series (May-October) and our indoor live music venue,...[Learn More]

blog image

Trek Winery

Trek Winery began as a family owned and operated winery in 2007 after years of amateur winemaking and wine business experiences.  Opening its first public tasting room in...[Learn More]