Travel Guide: Dining with a View in Marin County
In our post All of the Interesting Ideas Happen on the Edge we talked about Marin’s geography, specifically that w'e’re surrounded on three sides by water. If you want to read about hikes with ocean views in Marin County, for sure read that post.
If you’re looking for good restaurants with water views in Marin, stay right here. We’ve lined up a few of our favorite bayside dining destinations where the food is as good as the view (okay except for one, but the view is really good). We’ll start with a spot under the Golden Gate Bridge and end in West Marin for Bay-to-Table experiences on Tomales Bay. Combine one of those ocean view hikes with bayside dining, and you pretty much have the perfect Marin County day!
Best Golden Gate Bridge View. Presidio Yacht Club is all you need to know for the best view of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin. This is not Buffy’s yacht club. It’s casual. Very. There’s a full bar, counter service, pub-style food, and sometimes music. It’s not always open, but when it is, a WOW view of the bridge —probably the best in the Bay Area—is waiting for you. Is the view better than the food? For sure. Does it matter? No. Check the calendar before you go. We have now given you one of our best kept Marin secrets, please use wisely.
Best Up Close & Personal Views. With just over 4 miles of coastline along the San Francisco Bay, it stands to reason there are a few excellent, non-touristy dining experiences in Sausalito tucked into intimate nooks and crannies of the bay.
Our favorite bayside restaurants for the “we are sitting on a dock of the bay” feeling are Joinery (hello roast chicken in the photo at the top of this post!), Le Garage (hello french bistro vibe!), Bar Bocce (hello pizza!), and Fish (hello any fresh daily special!). All are casual and fun with excellent food and only-in-Sausalito bayside seating.
Joinery and Fish offer counter service & indoor and outdoor picnic tables; at Le Garage you will be served by flirty French waiters while dining on French Bistro food in a former garage situated in a marina. On nice evenings, the garage door is raised for a perfect indoor-outdoor feeling. Bar Bocce has a bayside bocce ball court and fun, easy outdoor atmosphere.
We also love Barrel House Tavern for dinner — around sunset if you can swing it. Linger over a cocktail as you watch the day slip away on the San Francisco Bay. Their cocktail program is stellar; worthy of the “Cocktail Program” designation. And the view is worthy of a linger.
Best San Francisco Views. If it’s views, good food, and a fun atmosphere you want, you can’t beat Sam's Anchor Cafe. Sam’s is known for their huge deck with views of the San Francisco skyline, fresh seafood, cocktails, and a lively atmosphere. After a warm welcome and a cold drink, you’ll see why Sam’s is usually voted the best outdoor restaurant in the Bay Area. Note: as of this writing Sam’s is undergoing renovations, check their site for updates.
Creekside With Music. At Terrapin Crossroads head outdoors for farm-to-table food, musical performances, a playground, and fireside sing-alongs. The outdoor area is situated along San Rafael Creek, where you’ll see boats putting around and sometimes stopping in for the fun at Terrapin. Check the calendar to coordinate your visit with your favorite music.
Bay-To-Table on Tomales Bay. Now let’s head out West. These three restaurants — all specializing in oysters — are so close to the the Tomales Bay we’re going to tell you to watch your step!
Hog Island Oyster Company. Plan ahead to spend a few hours at this very popular oyster destination in Marshall, where reservations are required. Reserve a picnic table for a Shuck-Your-Own picnic or a seat in the Boat Oyster Bar where they’ll do the shucking and cooking for you.
The Marshall Store. It’s first come, first served at this totally informal roadside destination, so plan to arrive at opening time for the best seating along Tomales Bay. They serve oysters many ways — raw and cooked — but don’t stop there; get the Dungeness crab in the winter and the garlic bread anytime.
Tony’s Seafood. Recently re-opened under the Hog Island label, Tony’s Seafood adds a few non-oyster items to the mix: fish and chips, linguine and clams, a burger. And fries. Is there anything better than cold oysters and hot salty fries?
Nick’s Cove. Every table has a view in this cozy, warm, comfortable restaurant. Oysters of course, but also prawn enchiladas and mac-n-cheese. Take a walk on the long dock out to the little boathouse. It’s magical!
Bon Apetit + See you out there!