This is the Bay Area town with the dock by the Bay, the one for sitting by. Otis Redding’s famous relationship to the Mediterranean-esque Sausalito is well-known — more talked about than the pirates who took the law to task through their houseboat coalition — but perhaps less-discussed is the coastal enclave’s primo seafood and dining fare. There is an abundance of options for a city whose name means “small willow grove,” ranging from Italian pastries to coffee shops to Thai food. For the last stop of that coastal drive through Marin before heading into San Francisco, try these 16 restaurants in Sausalito.Read More
Where to Eat and Drink in Sausalito
A vetted guide to dining and drinking in this bayside town
Lisa is serving and her mother is in the kitchen at this homey place where loyal locals are on a first-name basis. For more than two decades, home-cooked traditional Thai food and Asian- influenced dishes have earned accolades from admirers. Tucked away in a strip mall at the northern end of town, friendly customer service means a warm greeting from Lisa’s father, Kitti, and a complimentary bowl of soup while you wait.
If you live in Sausalito, you already know about family-run Avatar’s, “Purveyors of ethnic confusions since 1989.” The tagline refers to the fact that the food is evenly split between Mexican and Indian, meaning enchiladas and samosas get equal billing, and you can avoid family fights about which cuisine will win for dinner tonight. Just save room for Avatar’s Dream, a specialty dessert of almond gelato cake with chocolate, pistachios, mango, and rose petal sauce.
Fish. is a little off the beaten ferry path, but getting there is worth the effort. It's all about sustainable seafood, including a raw seafood market for locals. Check the chalkboard for the daily catch, order at the counter, and sit at an outdoor picnic table beside the harbor to enjoy a generous portion of whatever’s fresh. In season, the Dungeness crab roll should catch your attention.
This former garage with indoor-outdoor seating is Sausalito with a French accent. It's off the beaten path, so you'll work up an appetite finding the place. But once you're there, you'll find a panorama of sailboats on Sausalito Bay with French-influenced dishes like croque monsieur, French toast, moules, and pommes frites.
Fred's Coffee Shop
A local stalwart since 1966, Fred's Coffee Shop will make you feel like a Sausalito insider. The millionaire’s bacon keeps everybody coming back, and you can get yours with eggs benedict, scrambled eggs and toast, lemon ricotta pancakes, or deep fried french toast, and bottomless mimosas.
The Joinery has been a hit with Sausalito locals and tourists who just biked over the bridge since it opened in early 2017. Fans can’t stop talking about the fried chicken sandwich, although hearty salads including a radicchio Caesar and heaping bowls of Brussels sprouts are sleeper hits. Order in the front, take a number, and grab a seat — the views of the bay from the dock out back will make you whistle.
Salito's Crab House & Prime Rib
The (free) parking lot in front belies a beautiful marina view out back. On a sunny afternoon, dip your housemade kettle bread into top-drawer crab chowder while lingering on the large deck and consider yourself clever for finding this spot away from the downtown crowds. Just be sure to stick to shellfish-themed small plates over seafood feasts.
The Lighthouse Café
You can’t miss this cozy 30-seat breakfast and lunch diner, named for its landmark silhouette. Opened in 1992 by a Danish family, you’ll still find Scandinavian classics like Danish meatballs, and Norwegian salmon on the menu alongside an open-face Copenhagen burger, off one of the best Niman Ranch burger menus around.
Make your choice from a dozen thin crust sourdough pizza toppings (pepperoni, prosciutto, pork sausage, seasonal pear, more) to enjoy at an outdoor table where a small Richardson Bay beach and a bocce court add atmosphere. Order the signature sangria to accompany starters such as meatballs and chicken wings while a winning pizza is fired up. Note the date night magnet, a fire pit.
Seafood Peddler Restaurant & Fish Market
Seafood Peddler's name is an apt description for its offerings. Lobster, various oysters, and clams hail from Maine, Chesapeake Bay, Narragansett, and Canadian waters, or check out the Dungeness crab live tank for the local variety. An old-world fishing boat theme comes through loud and clear, but marina views have a parking lot in the foreground.
Charms of Sausalito aside, this tiny, top-rated sushi restaurant is reason enough for a trip. Save on airfare and jet lag, as much of the fish is imported from Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji market. Alternatively, go with locally sourced favorites, such as a silky, buttery miso-glazed black cod with bloomsdale spinach and glass noodles, one of the reasons owner Yoshi Tome has received international acclaim for 30 years.
Visible on the ferry approach to Sausalito, this old school spot doesn’t need to advertise its fabulous views, which is good, since this grande dame restaurant is a bit stuck in the 20th century. However, a simple Caesar salad and clam chowder by sunset is a show, as San Francisco skyscrapers light up in the sun’s reflection.
Northern Italian comfort food meets comfy old world interiors at this well-loved trattoria on Sausalito’s main drag. The owner’s spring-fed organic garden contributes freshness and a wood-fired rotisserie provides market specialties to an extensive daily changing menu with plenty of pasta and antipasti.
Copita Tequileria y Comida
Life is full of tough choices, and Copita’s 100 brands of premium tequila doesn’t make it any easier. Co-owner Joanne Weir wrote the book (literally) on tequila, which chef Daniel Tellez pairs with favorites from his native Mexico City, all 100% gluten-free. Go for chips and salsa to start, fried pork belly tacos served on housemade corn tortillas, and wood-roasted chicken served at an outdoor table in the sun.
Hitting this local staple is clutch: be it for the pastry bar, open most mornings and doling out apple and pecan pies, or the sit-down restaurant, serving pizza and focaccia at night. Tuck into Spanish octopus for $22, or snag a galette in the morning for $5.50.
The Trident's 19th century pedigree as a former yacht club explains its enviable waterfront position enhanced by great city views. More famous for its ‘60s and ‘70s musical legacy than for its food, The Trident was a spirited hangout for rock stars like Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Jerry Garcia, and The Rolling Stones. Clam chowder, fish tacos and hearty cioppino reign.