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Oct 24, 2012 10:01 PM

AQ or Commonwealth and dinner in Marin County

I haven't been in SF for many years but will be back in town for a day soon. I was recommended to have dinner at AQ or Commonwealth and was wondering what the better choice would be. Or are there even better recommendations with similar food/environment?

Also we will be spending one night on San Anselmo and was wondering if there are any recommendable restaurants in that area.


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  1. I am a HUGE fan of Buckeye in Marin. the oyster bingo or casino or whatever they are are so good, I never share. I love their ribs and the smores pie. however everything is good. Its my go to spot, and anytime I am driving thru marin, i stop

    3 Replies
    1. re: smatbrat

      You might consider Nopa or Dixie in SF. Full disclosure I know Joe at Dixie. It's Bay Area w/ slight touch of southern ingredients. Nopa is more than 5 years old now, I think, and a really great scene for simple, unpretensious but delicious food. *AQ is probably the best choice tho*. If you are adventurous maybe Incanto for awesome offal.

      Huge fan of buckeye, will drop everything to go and *eat in the bar not the dining room*. Wait for bar seating.... the atmosphere is better. 100% agreed on the Bingo. It's INSANE.

      Their sister restaurant is as convivial as the bar, and just as enjoyable... in Mill Valley, it's Bungalow 44. Only thing is that they aren't 100% consistent on their meats... steaks often overcooked. Just order rare if you like medium rare.

      Le Garage is good but a bit over-celebrated. Fish is very low key and fresh sustainable seafood, delicious, but cash only and overpriced. Le Garage's sister Restaurant L'apart Resto.... it's where you are in San Anselmo, and *I would suggest that's your move*.

      Murray Circle (full disclosure I helped build and open Cavallo Point where it's located) has come way down in fine dining experience and is more similar to Buckeye now, since Joe Humphrey left. That might work if you want a stellar view and location, it's under the Golden Gate.

      Picco comes highly suggested, but I haven't dined there yet.

      For Italian, I used to like Don Antonio in Tiburon, but it's come down a bit - so Piatti is quite nice. Sushi Ran in Sausalito is fancy, expensive sushi (I think a wee bit overpriced), but for a no frills but affordable and okay sushi experience I would do Robata in Strawberry/MV.

      SO, after my ramble...

      I say AQ, and L'Apart. Yup. That's what I'd say, and now I am jealous. =)

      1. re: smatbrat

        Buckeye Roadhouse is great. I usually go there for brunch but everything I've had on their menu is really good.

        1. re: calumin

          OH WOW. So funny.... I had no idea they do brunch. Thank you. I must say that Piatti in Mill Valley has an EXCEPTIONAL traditional brunch with great bloody mary's, great menu, great service. But I will definitely poke the wife awake early some AM and head over. She's hard to wake up, but a 10.30am Oysters Bingo is disgustingly compelling. =)

      2. This was fully debated in a somewhat recent post:

        Commonwealth - quieter, cerebral, no liquor/cocktails
        AQ - more bustling, lively vibe, cocktails

        They both experiment on the adventurous side of interesting combos/flavor profiles

        1 Reply
        1. re: goldangl95

          lovely "elevator pitch" contrasting the restaurants. Cheers!

        2. I would highly recommend Commonwealth. Two notes: I have had better experiences with the tasting menu than a la carte and the tables are a little close together for my taste. They do have a bar that is a pleasure to sit at if your party is 1-2 ppl. I would also recommend El Paseo in Mill Valley, Tyler Florence's Restaurant. I have even seen him wandering around....

          1 Reply
          1. re: Ashley12

            We eneded up having the tasting menu at Commonwealth. We sat at the bar and had an amazing experience. Not only was the food outstanding but the service was very attentative, personal and friendly. Overall a great experience. Hightly reccommend it to anyone.