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May 17, 2007 12:21 PM

Dinner in Marin on Saturday night

Going to the Bob Newhart show on Saturday night at the Marin Veterans' Memorial Auditorium in San Rafael. Any suggestions for a good restaurant pre-show? Criteria would include: not too fancy, entertaining out of town guests, fun atmosphere, NON-chain restaurant, full bar (beer and wine would be acceptable if the place is REALLY spectacular), close to the theater or on the way.


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  1. Chalet Basque is about 10 minutes away. Not fancy, you can sit on outside patio, full bar.

    Le Chalet Basque Restaurant
    405 N San Pedro Rd
    San Rafael, CA 94903
    (415) 479-1070

    1. Another option very close to the Civic Center is Avance. It's a Spanish/tapas place also about 10 minutes away.

      Haven't been there in a while, it it used to have good food and a fun atmosphere - cool tiles, sometimes live music, etc.

      Avance Tapas Bar & Restaurant
      200 Merrydale Rd
      San Rafael, CA 94903

      (415) 472-7101

      2 Replies
      1. re: ducky

        Avance is now Gaspare's -- pizzas, pastas and more. An offshoot of the one on Geary/24th-ish in SF.

        1. re: Sarah

          Worst Italian food I've ever had, the price is not comparable with the food they serve.
          So many better Italian restaurants in Marin.

      2. Avance closed a while ago. Vin Antico at 881 Fourth Street in San Rafael is one of the younger places. Nice atmosphere and very good food. Rafters nearby is OK for pub grub. For an old style Italian dinner with a full bar available, try La Toscana on the Redwood frontage road across from the civic center. It is a pretty reliable neighborhood spot.

        1 Reply
        1. re: marian

          La Toscana is horrible and shouldn't be allowed to be called Italian food.

        2. Both Chalet Basque and LaToscana tend to fill up on nights when something's happening at the Auditorium or at the Jewish Community Center. Make sure you have reservations.

          1. As suggested, the near spots fill up on show nights, but Boca is not far away and meets your criteria. Timewise, Boca is about the same as Chalet Basque in time to drive and park.

            1 Reply
            1. re: OldTimer

              Not really. Boca is 5 miles away. Chalet Basque is one mile away.