San Anselmo Favorites

Guest editor Tanya Henry shares the best places to wine, dine and have a good time in this charming town.

Our Top Picks

Recommendation  #1

Now in its 27th year, this San Anselmo institution continues to deliver quality Mediterranean-inspired favorites from its famed Fattoush Salad to its Yogurt Marinated Grilled Chicken. Dinner at Insalatas is an elevated experience—guests can choose between the welcoming and expansive dining room with white tablecloths, or the more intimate outdoor leafy patio with professional waitstaff who consistently provide the kind of pampered dining experience that has become ever more elusive. Menu choices include tapas, grilled lamb, beef, and fish options along with pastas, greens and their highly sought after mezze options. The inspired wine list offers interesting European (Italy, France, Spain) and California choices both by the bottle and glass. Lucky for locals, the popular restaurant does a brisk take-out service from its deli counter and updates its website daily with specials and an ever-changing soup of the day. The next generation of Krahling’s (owners) has stepped into a co-management role and the beloved restaurant continues to attract its longtime fans with its consistent and always enjoyable dining experiences.

Don’t Miss: Fattoush Salad, Mezze Plate and Yogurt Marinated Chicken

Monday - Sunday: 11:30am - 2:30pm (lunch); Sunday - Thursday: 5pm - 8:30pm; Friday - Sunday: 5pm - 9pm
Recommendation #2
Cucina SA

When Cucina secured a liquor license and expanded the restaurant to include a wine bar (in the onetime Bloomworks space), outdoor seating in both the front of the restaurant and the adjoining bridge—the longtime restaurant attracted diners in droves. Owner Donna Seymour has kept the Italian spot running along and folks visit regularly to enjoy Cucina’s carpaccio di zucchini, a selection of pastas, and wood-fired pizzas including the Bianco (a favorite with the younger set) and especially the impressive wine and cocktail list. The prime location in the middle of downtown San Anselmo makes for an always festive vibe—especially the al fresco dining and drinking options. Happy Hour and newly added Brunch provide even more ways to enjoy the casual trattoria.

Don’t Miss: Carpaccio di Zucchini, Meatballs, and Wood-fired Pizzas

Tuesday - Friday: 11:30am - 9pm; Saturday - Sunday: 5pm - 9pm; Sunday Brunch: 10:30am - 3pm
Recommendation #3
Creekside Pizza & Taproom

No one worked harder than owner Pat Townsley to get this pizzeria off the ground. From the looks of it now—with lines out the door and the indoor space always packed; his tireless efforts have clearly paid off. Even though the large outdoor area has been reduced to the sidewalk, and a parklet, there are still plenty of seating options. Along with Creekside’s well-made pies, there are also over 30 craft beers on tap. While the list is heavy on IPA’s (my favorites) there are also plenty of intriguing lighter options and most are sourced from the Bay Area. The list of over 15 pizzas boasts names of local landmarks like Sleeping Lady, Geronimo, and Bald Hill and all come in one 12” size. One of our favorites is The Heart of Marin prepared with a pesto sauce, creamy ricotta cheese piled high with artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives and tomatoes. It’s hard to imagine San Anselmo without Creekside—pretty much everyone has found a good reason to support this local gem, and of course, takeout is also a popular option.

Don’t Miss: Heart of Marin pizza, great selection of IPA’s.

Open Daily: 11am - 9pm. Happy Hour: 4pm - 5pm
Recommendation #4

your frozen treat just that much more fun.

Tuesday - Thursday: 5:30pm - 8:30pm; Friday & Saturday: 5:30pm - 9pm
Recommendation #5
Valenti & Co.

Duilio Valenti, the longtime chef at Frantoio in Mill Valley brought his refined Northern Italian cooking to his eponymously named Valenti & Co. to San Anselmo in 2014. The family-owned restaurant (that is attached to the San Anselmo Inn) boasts a menu of consistently prepared favorites including a marinated wild white anchovy salad served with arugula and orange slices;

potato and spinach gnocchi and pan roasted Liberty duck with grilled peaches—just to name a few. The servers couldn’t be friendlier or more professional and even Valenti’s daughter Bianca works as a server when she’s not surfing gigantic waves and winning the Best Female Surfer Mavericks 2022 title. The six-seat bar just inside the door is well-stocked with both red and white Italian wine favorites and the bartender will happily offer you a taste before ordering. For locals and travelers, this spot serves up the best San Anselmo has to offer.

Don’t Miss: Anchovy Salad, Gnocchi and Duck dishes.

Wednesday - Sunday: 5pm - 9pm
Recommendation #6

It doesn’t take long to learn about Comforts' legendary Chinese Chicken Salad that’s chock-full of shredded lettuce, roasted chicken breast, almonds, scallions, crispy noodles, and a secret tangy rice vinegar dressing that makes the entire salad irresistible. And even though it’s rarely a seamless experience purchasing one due to the incomprehensible ordering system, it’s always worth it. This bustling and cheery establishment runs a brisk full-service catering business, a sit-down restaurant, and always boasts a steady stream of diners lined up for Comfort’s well-made, high quality take-out offerings. Chicken Okasan is the other highly addictive and sought after offering from Comforts—especially with kids. Crispy, panko crusted chicken breast, flash

fried in a teriyaki and orange sauce is sold by the pound and the amount prepared daily would likely make our heads spin.

Don’t Miss: Chinese Chicken Salad, Chicken Okasan, and Stuffed Pecan-Crusted French Toast

Take-out: Monday - Friday (8am - 5pm) and Saturday - Sunday (8am - 3pm). Café hours: Wednesday - Sunday (8am - 2:30pm)
Recommendation #7
Kientz Hall

It’s safe to say this attractive restaurant that was previously home to the Royal Sweet Bakery has hit its stride. The wholly reimagined space boasts a large downstairs atrium-like dining room featuring attractive hanging plant fixtures and pale pastel walls, but the most coveted spots are the upstairs outdoor rooftop seating with views of Mt. Tam. Seasonal items here are especially good—a recent chilled corn soup and a grilled watermelon on panzanella with early girl tomatoes, burrata and nectarines are both superb. The grain bowl with farro, chickpeas, pickled onions, spinach, olives, and feta has been on the menu from day one and is consistently delicious. 

A handful of refreshing cocktails are available and well-selected wines by the glass are also offered--even Marin’s own Sean Thackrey’s Pleiades XXIX was recently available by the glass. This restaurant is part of the new wave of downtown upgrades that has added some shine to our beloved little hamlet that is no longer one of Marin’s best kept secrets.

Don’t Miss: Seasonal specials, Grain Bowl and Lamb Burger

Tuesday - Thursday: 11:30am - 8pm. Friday - Saturday: 11:30am - 9pm. Sunday: 11:30am - 8pm.
Recommendation #8
Taco Jane's

Owner Matteo Boussina who named his restaurant for his mom is celebrating 25 years in the same two-story red building on leafy Tamalpais Avenue where he opened in 1998. This stalwart

eatery still offers dependably good and affordable Mexican food with comfortable outdoor seating. Perhaps its one-block off the main drag location has allowed it to hold onto its original, old time San Anselmo vibe. Taco Jane’s is known for its fish tacos, and it’s addictive Black Gold salsa but any option from the taco bar will not disappoint. A local favorite is the chile relleno prepared with roasted passila peppers stuffed with chicken, cheddar and jack cheese and topped with a tomatillo sauce. Along with sitting outside and enjoying the relaxed environs, a Family Taco Bar is available to-go that serves approximately eight tacos and comes with choices of Red Snapper, slow cooked pork, steak, chicken breast, mixed vegetables all served with Jane's tangy salad, Spanish rice, and black beans. Salsa, chips, and tortillas are also included. 

Matteo has recently added a pop-up Baja Bar to his offerings and can be currently spotted on San Anselmo Avenue on Friday and Saturday nights, but the moving margarita bar

can also be rented for private events. Soon ceviches and tacos will be added to the festive portable bar options.

Don’t Miss: Black Gold Salsa, Chile Rellenos and Fish Tacos

Monday - Thursday: 11:30am - 3pm; 5pm - 8:30pm. Friday: 11:30am - 3pm; 5pm - 9pm. Saturday: 11:30am - 9pm. Sunday: 11:30am - 8:30pm