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Apr 24, 2012 07:06 PM

north bay food recs: marin sonom and napa counties

after living in marin for almost two years i am still struggling to find favorite restaurants, markets, etc etc. i have a few favorites here and there but feel like i must be missing out on some things as well...would love to know people's off the beaten path favorites in marin, sonoma and napa counties (ie not things like fancy wine country restaurants - not that there is anything wrong with those).


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  1. Perhaps you could narrow this down a bit. What are your few favorites so far? What are some general preferences? Lunch? Dinner? Breakfast? Cuisine? Where have you been that you don't care for?

    11 Replies
    1. re: gumbolox

      good questions. a few places i like: shoreline coffee shop (great cochinita pibil), el molino central, tony tutto pizza, marshall general store, el huarache loco, taco bar at mi puebla food market. that's a lot of mexican but i like all cuisines. also like the fremont diner very much.


      1. re: lexvegas

        Wild Flour, Freestone.
        Bovine Bakery, Point Reyes Station.
        Crane Melon Barn, Santa Rosa.
        Bud's Custom Meats, Penngrove.
        Roy's Chicago Doggery, Petaluma.

        1. re: lexvegas

          thanks for the reminder about Shoreline Coffee Shop; I live very close to it and haven't been for many years. I love cochinita pibil.

          New in Mill Valley is the new incarnation of Sweetwater. Check it out.

          Water Street Bistro in Petaluma. A cross between a deli and cafe, owned and run by a credentialed chef. I take all visitors there. Lunch. No dinner; their breakfasts aren't interesting enough to me.

          1. re: lexvegas

            Like your list so far, lexvegas. Looking forward to trying the new regime at Shoreline next time I'm out in Tennessee Valley. We are taking friends to El Huarache Loco today for lunch!
            A few other Mexican recommendations:
            The taqueria in Lolita's Market and Carneceria on Lakeville Hwy in Petaluma. One of my favorites anywhere, and on the weekends there is often a lady selling outstanding tamales outside of the store.
            Las Camelias in San Rafael is a perennial favorite (
            Family owned and operated, high quality ingredients, original and traditional recipes and great ceramic art from co-owner Carol Feregoso.
            Mateo's Cocina Latina in Healdsburg is worth a visit. I have had Mateo's food at pop ups and farmer's Markets, and it has always been excellent.
            Kitti's Place in Sausalito ( serves my favorite Southeast Asian food in Marin. The menu is eclectic but the family who own and opperate Kitti's are Thai, and there are always Thai and Vietnamese items on the regular menu and usually some Southeast Asian specials. The non Asian food is very good , too. Often slammed for lunch, we usually go at off hours. Closes at 8 on weekdays. Lunch only on Sat.
            Table Cafe in Larkspur wraps local, seasonal ingredients in Indian dosas and also makes a great plate of fried oysters. Everything here house made and delicious ( Also closes early.
            Also not traditional Indian, but very good is Avatar's Punjabi Burritos in Mill Valley
            ( Haven't been to the other locations. I particularly like the lamb and mustard greens combo.
            For traditional Indian I like Arti Indian Cafe in Lagunitas ( A good stop when traveling to West Marin.
            Also in West Marin, the Cantina in the Cowgirl Creamery has excellent salads, soups, and sandwiches and a very pleasant outside area for consuming them.
            Comfort's in San Anselmo is another favorite for lunch ( I prefer the restaurant to the deli. The iconic Chinese Chicken Salad is always good and the daily specials are worth checking out.
            Shopping: For fresh, local produce I like to go to Green String Farm in Petaluma when I can (
            )Organic prices, but often less expensive than our local farmers markets. Excellent pastured eggs, too, when they have them.
            If you have a need for great Oaxacan pasta de Mole Negro to reconstitute at home, it's available at Karina's Mexican Bakery in Petaluma. Ask for the one without a label. Good tamales here, too.
            I do like to get fish from Mission Fish and eggs from Tully Dolci (they sell out early) at the Thursday San Rafael Farmer's Market. I also buy meat from Prather Ranch there.

            I could go on

            1. re: lexvegas

              >shoreline coffee shop (great cochinita pibil)<

              I went there today and had the Yucatan Cocninita Pork sandwich. It was very good, sort of pulled pork with an attitude. Avocado slices and pickled onions in the sandwich and a house-pickled pepper on the side.

              Was that the cochinita pibil you mentioned? I didn't see any other type of cochinita on the menu.

              1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                Thanks for the additional details and positive report. Any other Latino-ish things on the menu that look interesting?

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  I didn't really look at the rest of the menu after seeing the Yucatan Cocninita Pork sandwich, but the cook (owner?) is from Mexico.

                  1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                    Right, that's why I asked.

                    And, duck tacos mentioned by lexvegas would be another draw.

                2. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                  yup - that's it. also just saw on their facebook page that they now have duck tacos. supposedly they are starting to serve dinner on fridays soon and plan to have some outdoor seating for the summer...

                  1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                    The Yucatan Cochinita Pork sandwich has changed a bit, but it's still very good. it's cooked on a grill like a burger, and the avocado slices have been replaced with an avocado sauce. The red pickled onions are still there. It's now accompanied by a choice of sides, and I chose the quinoa salad. Wow, the quinoa salad was not only large, but a real winner in flavor and texture. I'd come here just for that salad. Everyone working there is friendly, with very good service overall.

                    Shoreline Coffee Shop
                    221 Shoreline Hwy (at Tam Junction, hidden behind Walgreens)
                    Mill Valley

                    1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                      Another thumbs up for the Yucatan Cochinita Pork sandwich. It was even better this time; less burger-like and more pulled-pork-like. Same very good quinoa salad and friendly service. I just can't get past this item on the menu when I go there.

              2. cheap and good house made sausages at Yanni's in Penngrove. very good pizza and Cali-italian fare with local ingredients, casual setting, Diavolo in Geyserville. (they have the best Tuscan style tripe we've found since Firenze, where it's a street food specialty).

                2 Replies
                1. re: moto

                  I give a big second for Diavolo in Geyserville, My wife and I both found our food to be excellent in the categories you mention, plus the dessert was outstanding. It featured Meyer lemon from our server’s own tree.

                  1. re: BN1

                    Nice! I had some of the best pasta of my life there with pork cheek ragu - insanely delicious.

                2. That is a pretty broad request! But I'll chime inand recommend some of my favorite small restaruants: for Bear Korean in Cotati, Sizzling Tandoor in Jenner, boon eat+drink in Guerneville, and my absolute favorite Mexican place, La Palapa in Santa Rosa. For shopping: Oliver's Market in Cotati (that's the one I usually go to, but I've also been to the one on Stony Point in Santa Rosa and it's good too) and Andy's Produce in Sebastopol. Oh yea, and Screamin' Mimi's ice cream in Sebastopol.

                  1. Thanks folks! This is good stuff.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: lexvegas

                      For good old diner food, check out Bayside Cafe in Marin City/Saus and its next door neighbor Davey Jones Deli for soup, sandwiches and wraps.

                    2. Breakfast and lunch don't get any better than what they serve at LeCroissant on Bellam in san Rafael. It can get a bit cramped inside, but there's outside seating for fair weather.