San Rafael’s Best Food And Drink Spots: Businesses Of The Year

SAN RAFAEL, CA — Friendly staff, quality food and top-notch service are among the reasons why San Rafael Patch readers love these local hot spots nominated as Local Businesses of the Year.

Here are the businesses in San Rafael and across Marin County that rose to the top, according to Patch readers:

Arizmendi Bakery

Location: 1002 Fourth St., San Rafael

Phone: 415-456-4093

From the nominator: “Their customer service is always friendly and they are happy to offer suggestions. Their bakery items are delicious! I love their whole wheat English muffins and their chocolate mint cookies. Their pizzas are unique and you can check out the daily specials online. There are great tables outside to enjoy breakfast or lunch! They offer special items at different times of the year which are always fun to try. You can also order online.”

Bacon Restaurant

Location: 1500 Grant Ave., Suite 1400, Novato

Phone: 415-892-9900

From the nominators: “Tien Lam is the owner of this restaurant. When businesses were forced to close due to the pandemic in early March, Tien did something extraordinary. Instead of furloughing his staff and disposing of his inventory, Tien rallied his team and created hundreds of take-away meals for first responders and frontline workers. He continued this work through the pandemic, and to this day is donating meals to those on the front lines, and to those who would otherwise go without a meal.”

“They have been very generous to the community and have given to those who have greater need. They have, at their own expense, provided homemade masks and given those free. They have given great service, with a smile, and done their best to weather the storm of the pandemic. They are certainly an asset to the community.”

“They go out of their way to provide excellent customer service.”

“Great food at reasonable prices. Staff is very attentive and always pleasant with a smile.”

Biscuits and Buns

Location: 641 Del Ganado Road, San Rafael

Phone: 415-634-5560

From the nominator: “It is a tiny business in a tiny space that opened in the pandemic. Just a mom working all the time to put out a product she came up with and believes in. It seems like a David and Goliath story that this tiny store is, hopefully, succeeding against all the odds.”

Bogie’s Too

Location: 1335 4th St., San Rafael

Phone: 415-492-1530

From the nominator: “They were one of only a few restaurants that provided three meal food service and delivery to at-risk for COVID-19 seniors through the Great Plates Program. This was really good restaurant quality food that many low-income and disabled seniors hadn’t had the opportunity to experience in years, when they were working productive tax paying citizens of our society.”

Bungalow 44

Location: 44 E. Blithedale Ave., Mill Valley

Phone: 415-381-2500

From the nominator: “Great food, service and ambiance. Has pivoted during the pandemic.”

Creekside Bakery

Location: 1719 Grant Ave., Novato

Phone: 415-892-7655

From the nominators: “Creekside Bakery has delicious baked goods, sandwiches and soups. The staff is always pleasant, prompt and accurate in their orders, and the ambiance is warm and inviting. I’ve ordered birthday cakes, and pre-COVID, had many wonderful lunches at the bakery.”

“Danny and his team hit the ground running in 2020 with special menus. Mother’s Day brunch pick up in the car was a very special treat and everyone there was so positive and efficient, as well as the food being outstanding.”

Creekside Pizza & Taproom

Location: 638 San Anselmo Ave., San Anselmo

Phone: 415-785-4450

From the nominators: “Committed to the community. Engaged with nonprofits, schools, churches, minority programs, environmental-forward products. Serving with purpose, engaging personal-touch staff, and open every day, 365. Proactive leaders in food handling and COVID safety.”

“Great food (Geronimo Pizza), beer selection and service.”

“Best food, beer, workers and hard work!”

“Janet is the best chef ever.”

“Food is great, staff wonderful and the owner does so much for the town.”

Cucina SA

Location: 510 San Anselmo Ave., San Anselmo

Phone: 415-454-2942

From the nominator: “Amazing restaurant that responded very quickly at the start of the pandemic and started delivering locally. Always accommodating special requests, and once things opened a bit more, offered a very safe opportunity to dine outdoors while also making me feel very welcome.”

D.G. Café

Location: 411 San Anselmo Ave., Suite 102, San Anselmo

Phone: 415-295-7500

From the nominator: “In this time, during the pandemic, this family-run business wants and needs to let the local community know that they are open and excited to serve some great deli sandwiches and salads. They have some really delicious and uniquely named signature menu items such as the Tamalpais Tuna and the Red Hill Roast Beef or you can design your own sandwich. Their salads also call out the local landmarks like the Golden Gate Greens. Their staff greet you with a smile, and of course, you can grab a locally-sourced espresso drink from San Rafael’s Addictive Coffee and a pastry from Panorama Bakery — made fresh daily in San Francisco, as well.”

Gaspare’s Pizzeria Ristorante & Bar

Location: 200 Merrydale Road, San Rafael

Phone: 415-472-7101

From the nominators: “Gaspare’s has been a local favorite for years. It is a family-friendly restaurant that welcomes everyone. During the pandemic, they have worked so hard to keep serving their customers safely. They have been able to provide spacious outdoor dining. With the changing weather, they have adapted and invested in outdoor coverings to give people an option to still safely dine outdoors. Gaspare’s is trying to keep their doors open to serve their customers and keep their employees employed.”

“Gaspare’s has done their best to appeal to their customers during this pandemic with outdoor seating, movie nights, etc. Customer service is always top notch and the food is delicious!”

“Family-friendly and they have really showed they cared about the customers through this pandemic.”

“Amazing food, great staff. The strides they made to create a safe outdoor dining experience during COVID are commendable.”

Gravity Tavern

Location: 38 Miller Ave., Mill Valley

Phone: 415-888-2108

From the nominator: “Great food. Great COVID protocols. Awesome staff. Their customer service is perfect. They do not miss a beat. If a mistake is made, they remedy it immediately and make your order even better.”

Il Davide Restaurant

Location: 901 A St. San Rafael

Phone: 415-454-8080

From the nominators: “Il Davide’s food is outstanding and their staff is incredibly dedicated to the highest level of customer service. Throughout this pandemic, they have done everything they could to make us feel special. Be it takeout, sidewalk tables or safely-distanced indoor dining, Il Davide remains a beloved refuge in Marin County. As long as we have you, we know we can make it through this challenging time.”

“Il Davide has done a fabulous job opening safely and creating an inviting atmosphere for outdoor dining.”

Lou’s Takeaway

Location: 621A Del Ganado Road, San Rafael

Phone: 415-226-7994

From the nominator: “The food is always amazing. He has never shut down during COVID, and I felt safe even during the first part of COVID with him as he made sure to always sanitize our hands.”

Madcap

Location: 198 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo

Phone: 415-453-9898

From the nominator: “Madcap is the only Michelin star restaurant in the county. This is rare, rare jewel and we must support them so we do not lose them.”

Marin Joe’s Restaurant

Location: 585 Casa Buena Drive, Corte Madera

Phone: 415-924-1500

From the nominator: “Best food. Best service.”

Ming Yen

Location: 1628 Grant Ave., Novato

Phone: 415-897-5800

From the nominator: “So tasty, great customer service, and fast local service.”

Moonlight Deli

Location: 1815 4th St., Suite 5, San Rafael

Phone: 415-459-2835

From the nominator: “Fresh, hot sandwiches. Friendly.”

Pearl

Location: 942 Diablo Ave., Novato

Phone: 415-761-9469

From the nominator: “Great food, friendly staff, clean atmosphere. During the pandemic, this business was so helpful to the community. They delivered food to those in need, had toilet paper for people to come grab, and were just willing to help whoever was in need — even at their own expense.”

Perry’s Delicatessen No. 3

Location: 1916 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Fairfax

Phone: 415-456-3580

From the nominator: “Biggest sandwich for your buck! Friendly staff.”

San Rafael Joe’s

Location: 931 Fourth St., San Rafael

Phone: 415-456-2425

From the nominator: “This is one of the best long-time restaurants in San Rafael. They have great Italian and American food. Their specials are always tasty and different. We have been going there for a long time and it is our go-to place.”

Star Restaurant

Location: 1700 Novato Blvd., Novato

Phone: 415-897-1970

From the nominator: “They have kept going with outside seating when needed and have had takeout orders all through this crises — even offered to deliver food for those who are elderly and can not get out.”

Taco Jane’s

Location: 21 Tamalpais Ave., San Anselmo

Phone: 415-454-6562

From the nominator: “Their food is so fresh and the flavors are wonderful!”

Tamalpie Pizzeria

Location: 477 Miller Ave., Mill Valley

Phone: 415-388-7437

From the nominator: “Flexibility to put customers first during COVID, consistent great food and service.”

The Lodge

Location: 1573 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Fairfax

Phone: 415-991-5625

From the nominator: “Excellent service, MTB gear and food. The staff is always friendly and willing to help. They have some of the best salad options in Fairfax and now with outdoor dining areas it’s one of the best spots to re-fuel after a ride in Marin. Extremely knowledgeable staff and first-class technicians for minor and major services on bikes.”

Vasco Restaurant

Location: 106 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley

Phone: 415-381-3343

From the nominators: “Always warm and welcoming. Always treated like family. Always wonderful food. Always just the right place!”

“Determination through this challenging year to keep serving his customers and make us feel at home.”


Which other Marin County food and drink spots do you love? Tell us in the comments!