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Holiday dinner in Marin?

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My friends and I have December birthdays and have gotten into the tradition of going out for a special dinner during this month. We're teachers, so don't want to break the bank, but we like someplace festive with great cocktails and food. We've done Trader Vic's (the original location in Emeryville), Fork in San Anselmo, and a couple times, The Buckeye Roadhouse. We'd like to try someplace new this year, preferably within 15 minutes or so of San Rafael (doesn't have to BE in San Rafael). Any suggestions? Must have good cocktails, no beer and wine only (we're teachers, remember?)! Thanks!

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  1. Picco in Larkspur fits the bill. They also have a full liquor license.

    1. Marin Joe's and Joe's in San Rafael do cocktails, and offer a convivial environment.

      Another good place is Izzy's in Corte Madera, right next to the Book Passage bookstore. Izzy's has a nice bar, and features steaks, chops, etc.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Sharuf

        I believe Marin Joe's has a piano bar, if teachers like that sort of thing...

      2. How about Chalet Basque in Santa Venetia near the Civic Center on North San Pedro Road? I've never had cocktails there but food is decent and plentiful considering the price, good variety of entrees, very casual, can accomodate large groups, and they have a full bar.

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        Chalet Basque
        405 N San Pedro Rd, San Rafael, CA 94903

        1 Reply
        1. re: peacemeal

          We live down the road from Chalet Basque. The thing I love about going there is the atmosphere -- warm greeting at the door (usually by the owner), friendly servers, lots of regulars, good food -- a place where you feel comfortable lingering over dinner and after. We always feel like we've had a great dinner at a friend's home.

        2. So where did you go and how was it?