Carting around the narrow bends of Highway 1 in a 1984 Westfalia van with thick mists of gray rising from the sea below is no mere fantasy for those who live in coastal Marin and Sonoma counties. Somedays, that just describes going to the grocery store. For everyone else it’s more of a special occasion to make a foray to the beach for a picnic with loved ones or to visit the source of one’s favorite oyster. The important thing to know is that there’s more than just chilly fog in the North Bay. Bakeries with high class croissants, legendary crab shacks, and even food trucks are all in the mix. Whether it be to surf those curly waves at the Bolinas Jetty or to traverse Mount Tamalpais, these 15 restaurants will make any jaunt to the coast worth the drive.Read More
15 Coastal Restaurants and Bars in Marin and Sonoma Counties
From Stinson Beach to Bodega Bay, stop here for stunning vistas and worthy food
The Casino Bar
The ultimate stealth dining paradise is found inside the funky Casino bar, where chef Mark Malicki produces ever-changing menus exactly based on what he can source most freshly that day. Working on a hamburger griddle with just a dishwasher and a server to support him, Malicki consistently turns out dishes that amaze and delight; follow him on Facebook to discover each day's menu. When the math is right, ordering Malicki's entire menu makes a sumptuous dinner for two for just under $100. BYOB or purchase a bottle of local Balleto Pinot Noir from the barkeep for less than the grocery store.
Terrapin Creek Cafe
One of the best restaurants in Sonoma County, the Michelin-starred Terrapin Creek is tucked away in a small strip mall, content to quietly produce excellent dishes in an informal setting. Look for seafood as well as housemade pastas, Japanese-inflected main courses, and a gorgeous reimagining of European traditions.
Spud Point Crab Company
Located down by the working boats of Bodega Bay, Spud Point is famous for its chowder but also rightfully known for fresh crab cooked right on the spot. Plan to sit outside in the chill at picnic tables and gorge when the Dungeness is in season. BYOB.
Rocker Oysterfeller's Kitchen + Saloon
With a Nawlins take on California food, Rockers is one of the sweetest bars on this stretch of coast, and that's saying a lot. Try hot oysters four different ways or slurp them down chilled, knowing that this is also the place to get gumbo or blackened shrimp with grits skillfully prepared by chef co-owner Brandon Gunther. Situated in an old hotel, Rocker's has rooms to let and also hosts an annual hootenanny, Oysterpalooza, with live Bay Area bands and plenty of oysters each year at the end of May. Mark your calendars for next year.
Route One Bakery & Kitchen
Though Tomales Bakery is sorely missed, the team behind the local favorite reopened under a new banner and are baking and cooking better than ever. Since its opening in February 2020 this powerhouse has gained much-deserved clout for its pizza, bread, and desserts.
Nick's Cove & Cottages
Swing by this reimagined seafood shack with resort cabins, a separate oyster bar, seating out over Tomales Bay, and an adorably dilapidated vibe (though just renovated in February 2022). With any luck this historic restaurant should be around for a long time, dishing up views and seafood until the cows come home.
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The Marshall Store
Recommended only for the hardy, the Marshall Store primarily offers customers seats at high wooden tables placed exactly along Highway One, making for a precarious perch. Order fresh oysters, creamy chowder, Dungeness crab, bottles of chilled wine and local microbrews inside, then take your place looking over Tomales Bay, with the highway roaring impotently at your back, and let the sun shine down as you shuck and slurp and sip.
Tony's Seafood Restaurant
Tony's has enjoyed its prime spot over Tomales Bay since 1948. Purchased by the Hog Island Oyster Farm folks in 2017, Tony's old-school charm is now matched by the freshness of its fare. And: the view.
Saltwater Oyster Depot
An oyster depot, a breakfast joint, and a white-cloth bistro all in two adjacent store fronts. Expect berries in season, an excellent wine list daily, and line-caught sustainably harvested seafood so fresh it might flop off the plate. Always plan to have oysters. And dessert. And more wine.
Station House Cafe
This longtime Pt. Reyes Station stalwart is a reliable place to get breakfast, a burger, and a feta cheese-dressed salad with garlicky carrots and a side of eccentric popovers. The well-established outdoor garden is a splendor in good weather and the bar a true refuge in poor. Open all day, with live music on the weekends.
Smileys Schooner Saloon and Hotel
With no food beyond the odd bag of chips, this is a great old (est. 1851) salty dog bar with pool tables and live music on weekend nights. There are comfy upstairs rooms, should you drink yourself into a surprise coastal overnight stay.
Casual and healthy with an emphasis on vegetables, seafood, and sustainably raised meats, this is pretty much the only eatery in town, so thank goodness it's really just a fine place to eat. Set adjacent to the Bolinas Museum — a hidden treasure with a great exhibition roster and a shabby chic vibe that Martha would envy — this cheerful spot is perfect for a simple lunch or dinner and a lazy brunch.
Breakers is all about breakfast and lunch with an emphasis on Mexican-style entrees that involve corn-wrapped fish with cheese. Ordering at the counter offers an informal experience. The deck makes it an acceptable alternative to the Parkside, though it keeps less regular winter hours.
It should come as no surprise that California Kahve founder Molly Welton is still making money moves. Her vintage coffee caravan is a delight — when it was parked at its original home of Ocean Beach and at its new home off of Highway 1 — doling out New Zealand-inspired desserts and custom lattes. Load up for that rare sunny day at Stinson Beach.
Fresh, local, and excellent, this venerable old school beach restaurant has kept up with the times and offers good brewed coffee, killer fresh baked bread and pastries, substantial breakfasts, light lunches, and real dinners — often with live musicians on hand and a fire on the roar. The snack bar window offers a great back-to-the-beach alternative for the sandy set.