Locals know to make reservations and be open to the exceptional experience of chef Taka’s omakase (chef’s choice) menu. Many come for the daily chirashi lunch which layers glistening pieces of chef’s choice sushi over a bowl of rice. A full menu of sushi classics like zuke sake and hon maguro as well as a few appetizers and miso ramen round out the menu in this bustling restaurant. A new patio offers outdoor seating, too.
Don’t miss: Chirashi lunch, Miso Ramen, Anything on the Specials Menu
The Italian menu leans into carbs with plentiful options for pizza and pasta and two kinds of lasagna. Should you be seeking veggies and protein, aim for the rollatini, mussels, or filet mignon with mushroom sauce – it’s on the specials menu but makes regular appearances. The cozy vibe – candles on the tables, strings of fairy lights and a fireplace – invites lingering.
Don’t miss: Lobster Ravioli with Cream Sauce, Torta di Cioccolato, Lasagna
Ok, ok, this is the Peruvian restaurant on the hilltop just outside downtown, but it's such a classic Novato location, we had to include it.
The cocktails, which arrive in Instagram-worthy glassware, lean into tequila, pisco and rum, the better to match fresh cups of ceviche – vegan or with catch of the day – dressed with avocado and leche de tigre. Whole branzino with creamy yellow chili or lomo saltado are classics, too. On sunny days, the doors may be pushed open to the breeze, the better to take in the views of Marin’s hilly landscape.
Don’t Miss: Tacu Tacu, Arroz con Mariscos, Pulpo Anticuchero
No Irish pub would be complete without corned beef and cabbage and a shepherd’s pie on the menu, but the real stars are the burgers and fish ‘n’ chips. This classic pub has wood tables and sports on the TV at the bar, and there’s mac ‘n cheese, Caesar salad, and Reuben rolls with sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing. And you won't want to miss the Eggs Benedict for weekend brunch. It can cure even the worst hangover.
The beer tap handles rotate but you can typically find one or two Irish beers– Guinness, Harp, Smithwick’s – on any given day.
Don’t Miss: Corned Beef Hash (at Sunday brunch), Reuben Sandwich, Burger + Beer special (during Monday Night Football)
It’s all about Southern-style barbecue with a little bit of Texas and Tex-Mex flavor thrown into the mix. Start with a bowl of queso and chips and some smoked chicken nachos before diving into a crispy fried chicken po’ boy sandwich, a plate or beef brisket, or baby back ribs and all the fixin’s. There’s plenty of options for vegetarians, too. If the jalapeño coleslaw is too spicy, get up and do a little Texas two-step. You’ll feel better in no time.
Bonus: they offer live music every weekend in their lively beer garden.
Don’t miss: Southwest Salad, Smoked Brisket Chili, BBQ Baby Back Ribs, Smoked Cauliflower Steaks
The menu of sandwiches and salads embraces big flavor in a range of regional styles. We will always queue up for Buffalo Fry, a fried chicken sandwich with ranch, buffalo sauce and a kale slaw that hits every part of your palate in just the right savory-spicy way. Others may go for the Spicy Tuna with wild ahi tartare or the Tostada with black beans and chipotle-agave dressing. The big back patio is popular with families.
Don’t miss: Buffalo Fry Sandwich, Thai Chicken Salad, and Tater Tots
The Breakfast Panini with ham and two kinds of cheese on focaccia had us at hello. A Quinoa Salad Bowl is packed to the hilt with veggies, greens, the crackers that launched the cafes, and an addictive miso ginger dressing. And we haven’t even waxed rhapsodic yet about the pastries and bread…
Don’t Miss: Lemon custard croissant, Ginger scones, Grilled Tuna Melt; Chop Salad
This no bones about it bakery is beloved for its always friendly service staff and fresh cakes like carrot cake or their famous princess cake. Their smoked salmon toast with a latte will sate morning cravings but many will choose the lunch and weekend brunch menus which feature a breakfast sandwich with Toma cheese and fermented chili aioli on the eggs, or spinach and feta quiche.
Don't Miss: Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Soup, Shortbread Cookies, Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese