ISO Recs for W Marin area...Inverness, etc.
We're escaping from the inland area next weekend (June 14-17) and are looking for restaurant recs in the area. We plan to do some judicious oyster tasting (and thanks to all of you, I know to take my own condiments and knives!), but while Man can live by oysters alone, I'm not so sure WOman can! We aren't picky about variety...good is a must though. Please no "on a good night, but..." I can do that! And have, ever so many times! We'll be wending our way west the evening of 6/14 and will need a place to dine on the way in as well. I think we're coming 5 to 505, to 80, and after that, I'm still puzzled! I ran searches on Inverness, Point Reyes, Tomales Bay, and West Marin... Thanks so much in advance!
For the best bang for your buck, I'd highly recommend the Coast Cafe in Bolinas. I lived out in the area until recently and would often venture out to Olema, Nicasio, Marshall, Pt Reyes, etc. when I just didn't feel like hitting the Coast again for the 1000th time...and always regretted it. There just isn't a place in that area that is as consistently good and reasonably priced. You can always count on excellent fish specials, and their outside seating area is a nice place to spend a lazy afternoon downing oysters and beer.
The Olema Inn is very good, with fresh, local ingredients served in a gracious setting - but it's also quite expensive and ultimately, not really on par with restaurants in its price range in the city. Definitely avoid the Farmhouse in Olema. Everything tastes like it came out of a Sysco truck.
If you happen to hit the Station House in Point Reyes, do be aware that the menu is pretty inconsistent. Excellent crab cakes and clam linguine on one end of the spectrum, absolutely awful spare ribs on the other with a fair smattering of acceptable to good dishes in between. As a general rule, the simpler the dish, the better it's likely to be.
If you are passing through Fairfax, the ice cream at the Fairfax Scoop is not to be missed. It's a tiny little shop on the main drag near the B of A that makes homemade ice cream from local, organic ingredients. Vanilla honey lavender is just phenomenal. Also in Fairfax, avoid the food at Cafe Amsterdam and the Iron Springs brewpub like the plague - both have a fringe of the usual "local ingredients" on their menu to try to distract you from the mediocrity of what just has to be pre-prepared crap from a supplier. It's mind-boggling that any restaurant in such a rich agricultural area could have the audacity to serve such middling, unsatisfying food.
Have to second the Tony's oysters rec. I would stick with the simpler seafood dishes b/c that is what really shines there. Just straight up oysters, clams or fish
without any of their not-so-great pasta sauce or any of that.
Best food in West Marin is at the Olema Inn, and it's not a hit-or-miss thing. Emphasis on local ingredients. www.olemainn.com)
Tomales Bay Foods in Point Reyes Station is excellent for lunch.
If you want to cook your own, Marin Sun Farms in Point Reyes Station (right on the hwy) is a butcher shop for local, grass-fed meats. www.marinsunfarms.com
If you go to the park, the beach at Drakes Bay has an great little cafe that uses local ingredients (including beef from the surrounding hills). www.drakesbeachcafe.com
Tony's in Marshall is fun for bbq oysters.
Tomales Bakery, on Main Street, has yummy pastries and bread.
Also, one vote for getting oysters at Drakes Bay. They are longtime locals whose ranch and oyster farm has been there longer than the park itself, but now they're struggling with the NPS to keep it. They can use all the support they can get. (drakesbayfamilyfarms.com/visitors
Last, the Point Reyes farmers market happens every Saturday morning, but it doesn't open until the following weekend (I think).