Winter's Here: Warm Up at These Marin County Comfort Food Hot Spots
By Joe Kukura
The northern California getaway hotspot of Marin County is a well-known feast for the eyes, with Pacific coasts, mountain views and the famed hiking trails of Muir Woods. But literal feasts are waiting for you at Marin County’s best restaurants, where heaping helpings of good old-fashioned homestyle comfort food will really put some meat on your bones.
Whether you’re hungry for burgers and fries, a deliciously decadent brunch or pub food to wash down with a cold one, Marin County serves comfort food with all the fixings. When you’re ready to take a cheat day from your diet or go on a gastronomic getaway, Marin County is full of outstanding diners, drive-ins and more to fill your belly.
American Food Classics
If you flip for a good burger, the American Food in Marin County offers some great chances to fill up. Meat and potatoes don’t get any better than at Larkspur’s Belcampo Meat Co., a farm, butcher shop and restaurant all in one, where the meats are certified organic, grass-fed and free-range.
The newest addition of California burger legend Gott’s Roadside is found in Greenbrae, where the 1950s roadside burger stand tradition lives along with chili cheese dogs, mini corn dogs andmicrobrews and wine on the menu. Or create one of more than 300,000 possible different burger combinations at Corte Madera’s The Counter, the ultimate build-your-own burger bar with an endless parade of toppings. And if you’re a fan of the cult-hit chain, yes, Marin County has an In-N-Out Burger in Novato.
Many Marin County Italian restaurants toss their own pizza, and slice out a distinctive and diverse array of pies. For fine dining-style pizza, Mill Valley’s Piazza D’Angelo Ristorante prepares all manner of Calabrian-inspired cuisine and some of the most renowned tiramisu in California. Also in Mill Valley, Frantoio Ristorante has been making “Best Italian Restaurant in the Bay Area” lists for years.
For the more traditional American-style pizza, Corte Madera’s Marin Pizza is an artisan, down-the-line restaurant where you’ll get your custom-made pizza in less than five minutes. At The Village in Corte Madera, Boca Pizzeria handcrafts their pizzas with house-made mozzarella cheese and imported Italian San Marzano tomatoes. Or surround yourself with Italian flair at the Tuscan-inspired shopping bazaar Strawberry Village in Mill Valley, where Pizza Antica mixes pizza with California cuisine and salads.
Bar and Pub Food
To wet your whistle while wolfing down a meal, Marin County bar food combines noshes and nightlife to raise your spirits. The Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh himself often pops in to perform at Terrapin Crossroads, where inspired items like Sriracha Deviled Eggs and Steak Kimchi Tacos will have your appetite truckin’. Novato’s HopMonk Tavern is another live music hot spot that also serves hot wood-fired pizza, ribs and more. In the town square of Nicasio, Rancho Nicasio Restaurant and Bar has a five-acre farm that offers beautiful views by day and live music at night.
The stunning, palatial Wildfox Restaurant in Novato is a must-see, and is stocked with a full bar, lengthy wine list, and wide array of microbrews. Larkspur’s Marin Brewing Company is a craft beer lover’s paradise, plus serves British-inspired pub favorites like Fish & Chips and Bangers & Mash. Seafood fans won’t want to miss the $1 oysters every Friday and Saturday at San Rafael’s Range Cafe at Peacock Gap, where wine and cocktails mix with an innovative seasonal menu.
Breakfast and Brunch
Early birds can raise a toast to breakfast and brunch in Marin County, where farm-to-table cuisines always start your morning or (afternoon!) right. There’s California cuisine every morning and all day long at Larkspur’s local legend Farmshop Marin, also famous for their Fried Chicken Mondays. Enjoy “Latin focused lusciousness” at Mexican and Latin American-inspired Marinitas in San Anselmo, where the Sunday brunch menu features a stacked Bloody Mary Buffet.
Oysters & Bubbly are on the breakfast menu six days a week at Station House Cafe in Point Reyes, with an impressive lineup of coffee and tea drinks. All-day breakfast is cracking at the whisk + skillet at the Strawberry Village in Mill Valley. And if you’re looking for places to stay in Marin County, the distinctive Panama Hotel Restaurant serves a high-end brunch every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For all you need to plan your Marin County vacation, visit the Marin Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website or Facebook page.