24 Best Restaurants in San Rafael, CA

This article was written by local contributor Lilliana Fowler & edited by the Travel Lens team.

Best Restaurants in San Rafael, CA

Over the years, I've had the pleasure of experiencing the diverse and mouth-watering culinary scene it has to offer.

From cozy cafes to fine dining, here are the best restaurants in San Rafael, California, for every palate.

So, if you ever find yourself visiting my lovely neck of the woods, get ready to embark on a gastronomic adventure!

Lou's Takeaway

I've recently discovered Lou's Takeaway.

I wish I had found it sooner!

This place is a hidden gem that serves some of the most unique and delicious food I've ever tasted.

In fact, every dish I've tried there has been perfectly seasoned and incredibly authentic.

One of my favorites is the pork belly with a mix of vegetables and crab papaya salad – it's so fresh, and the spicy sauce adds just the right amount of kick.

I even got to try some of Lou's dad's homemade plum jam, which was a delightful surprise.

Not only is the food outstanding, but the experience itself is something special.

Lou's Takeaway is a small shack that you can either call for pickup or order at the window.

It's like a literal hole-in-the-wall place with just a few people serving up some amazing dishes.

You can find more information and their location on their website.

Lou’s Takeaway · 621A Del Ganado Rd, San Rafael, CA 94903, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Caribbean Spices Restaurant

Last weekend, my friends and I decided to try out Caribbean Spices Restaurant for dinner, and we were blown away by their amazing food and service!

As soon as we sat down, we were served a complimentary salad with a mandarin dressing that was simply divine.

I ordered the oxtails while my partner had the jerk chicken.

Both dishes were full of flavor, and we couldn't have been happier with our choices.

Another friend tried the goat curry, which was incredibly succulent, and she couldn't stop raving about it.

The jerk chicken had the perfect crispy skin, which added a delightful crunch to each bite.

Apart from the delicious food, the atmosphere at Caribbean Spices was warm and welcoming.

This place is definitely worth the drive from the east bay, and I can't wait to go back for another amazing meal!

Caribbean Spices Restaurant · 819 4th St, San Rafael, CA 94901, United States
★★★★★ · Caribbean restaurant

Il Davide

I absolutely love going to Il Davide whenever I crave some authentic Italian food.

This Italian restaurant serves the most delicious and refined Tuscan fare, with a lively atmosphere that makes every visit enjoyable.

Their lunch specials are always a treat, and the menu has so many amazing options that it's hard to decide what to order!

The quality and ingredients used in their dishes are simply impeccable, making every meal a memorable one.

I remember going to a friend's wedding where Il Davide catered, and the Truffle Ravioli was such a huge hit that it was dubbed the best wedding food by many guests.

One of the best things about Il Davide is their outdoor patio.

Sitting there on a cool Marin summer night is just perfect.

The service is always amazing, even when they're very busy.

Among my favorite dishes to order is the Cacio E Pepé, and I never miss out on the Peanut Butter Gelato with a Gavottes Fan Wafer for dessert.

Il Davide · 901 A St, San Rafael, CA 94901, United States
★★★★★ · Italian restaurant

Banh Mi Zon Vietnamese Gourmet

I've been exploring different food spots around the city, and I recently came across Banh Mi Zon Vietnamese Gourmet.

I must say, I was totally impressed by their offerings.

From the moment I took my first bite, it was clear that the ingredients used were top-notch.

On my visit, I decided to order six banh mi sandwiches.

I was delighted by the freshness and taste of the sandwiches, and I also enjoyed their boba and iced coffee.

The eatery has a cute spot with outdoor sitting and side parking, making it a perfect place to return for more delicious food.

Banh Mi Zon Vietnamese Gourmet · 76 San Pablo Ave, San Rafael, CA 94903, United States
★★★★★ · Vietnamese restaurant

New Delhi Indian Cuisine

I recently dined at New Delhi Indian Cuisine and was immediately impressed by the warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Their genuine kindness made me feel right at home.

I decided to try the buffet, and I couldn't believe the variety of options available.

There were plenty of choices for both vegetarians and meat-eaters, and I appreciated how they kept the meat and vegetarian dishes separate.

Every dish I tried was fresh, hot, flavorful, and incredibly tasty - this place really knows how to maintain a high level of quality for their buffet!

The ambiance of the restaurant was also quite charming, with its boutique-style, cozy, and intimate feel.

New Delhi Indian Cuisine · 704 4th St On the corner of Tamalpias Ave, 704 4th St, San Rafael, CA 94901, United States
★★★★★ · Indian restaurant

Lo Coco's Authentic Italian Pizzeria

I recently decided to surprise my family with a fun night out at Lo Coco's Authentic Italian Pizzeria, a gem in our neighborhood that has been serving amazing Neapolitan-style pizzas since 1971.

It was my stepmom's birthday, and she had fond memories of their pizza from her younger days.

I can happily say nothing has changed!

While I'm no stranger to indulging in pizza, I must admit that Lo Coco's pies are some of the best, most fresh tasting, and authentic I've ever had.

We ordered three different pizzas - a pepperoni and sausage, a Margherita, and a Pesto - and each one was absolutely delicious.

What I particularly love about Lo Coco's is their amazing crust, sauce, and cheese.

You can tell they put a lot of care and effort into making each pizza taste fantastic.

My personal favorite is their Arlecchino pizza, which has a delightful variety of toppings like pepperoni, salami, and sausage.

Lo Coco’s Authentic Italian Pizzeria · 631 Del Ganado Rd, San Rafael, CA 94903, United States
★★★★★ · Pizza restaurant

Magnolia Park Kitchen

I'm always on the hunt for new spots to grab a tasty lunch, and Magnolia Park Kitchen has quickly become one of my favorites in San Rafael.

I first stumbled upon their website and decided to give it a shot.

Their burgers are fantastic - juicy and flavorful, and the fries are always perfectly crispy.

The service is consistently great, too, which is always a plus.

One time, I went there with my family, and we were all starving.

I remember how my kids devoured their Burger and Turkey Sandwich in no time, and I didn't even have a chance to snap a picture!

On that visit, I ordered the Reuben, and it was just as delicious as I hoped it would be.

My favorite part about eating here, though, is watching the head cook work his magic in the open kitchen.

It's such a thrill!

Another thing I love about Magnolia Park Kitchen is their house-made BBQ chips - seriously, they're so good, they make me want to slap someone!

I've also tried their tortilla soup and grilled salmon sandwich, both of which were absolutely amazing in their own right.

As a local, I feel lucky to have such a great spot nearby.

Magnolia Park Kitchen · 1016 Court St, San Rafael, CA 94901, United States
★★★★★ · American restaurant

LaVier Latin Fusion Restaurant

I always love going to LaVier Latin Fusion Restaurant for a delicious meal in a vibrant and unique setting.

I recently dined outside with friends, and despite the chilly night, the two heat lamps next to our table kept us warm and comfortable.

As a group, we tried a variety of dishes.

The vegetarian queso fondue-like dish with tortillas was yummy, and the mole enchiladas and vegetarian chile rellenos were also very good.

We were all full by the end of the meal, so we skipped dessert.

I have brought out-of-town guests here before, and they all love the delicious variety of dishes and the unique, funky decoration.

Plus, there are many gluten-free options available.

On a previous visit, I had the pan-seared salmon with vegetables and polenta, while my partner tried the three enchiladas, each with a different sauce.

The meals were fantastic, and LaVier truly excels at the fusion of different flavors, creating an amazing and satisfying dining experience.

LaVier Latin Fusion Restaurant · 1025 C St, San Rafael, CA 94901, United States
★★★★★ · Fusion restaurant

Sonora Market & Taqueria

Recently, I came across Sonora Market & Taqueria, and I decided to give it a try.

I ordered the super carne asada burrito for $10, and let me tell you, it was worth every penny.

The burrito was served with tortilla chips and both red and green salsa.

Be warned, the red salsa is quite spicy, but the green salsa was just right for my taste buds.

The dining area was surprisingly spacious, with high ceilings that made it feel even more roomy.

My burrito was ready in no time at all.

I'm thrilled to have found this gem, and it has quickly become my new favorite burrito spot in town.

I've also heard great things about their super steak burrito, so I'll definitely be trying that on my next visit.

I couldn't help but notice other customers raving about the quality of the ingredients and the absence of shredded iceberg lettuce, which is a huge plus.

Sonora Market & Taqueria · 649 Del Ganado Rd, San Rafael, CA 94903, United States
★★★★★ · Mexican restaurant

Arizmendi Bakery & Café

Just the other day, I decided to treat myself to a morning at Arizmendi Bakery & Café in San Rafael, and let me tell you - it was worth every minute.

I arrived a bit early, as I wanted to beat the rush and really enjoy my time there.

As soon as I walked in, I was greeted with the heavenly smell of freshly baked goods.

I couldn't resist picking up a few items to share with my friends later, so I grabbed a blueberry scone, a corn-dried cherry scone, and a few shortbread cookies.

Next up, I had to try their famous thin-crust veggie pizza.

I went for the cheese pizza and the slice of the day, which had carrots, zucchini, and roasted peanuts on it.

Both were absolutely delicious, with a buttery, crispy, and crunchy crust that's hands down the best I've had in the Bay Area.

I decided to sit outside, as they have a lovely seating area with a view of the central city square by the Bank of America.

I sipped on a seasonal latte, which was smooth and not too sweet - just the way I like it - and enjoyed my delicious and crunchy scone.

The service was fast, and a bit strict, but still polite, which I appreciated.

Arizmendi Bakery & Café · 1002 4th St, San Rafael, CA 94901, United States
★★★★★ · Bakery

Redwood Cafe

One of my favorite spots for breakfast has to be the Redwood Cafe.

The Caribbean Breakfast is a must-try; it comes with a huge plate of well-seasoned potatoes, fresh veggies, and generous hand-cut chunks of real ham.

The coffee is top-notch.

It's no wonder that even the local Fire Department and Police come here for their meals.

When I'm driving around town, Redwood Cafe is always a convenient stop for lunch as well.

One time, I was driving back from Clearlake and decided to grab a bite here.

I simply called in my order, and they were kind enough to bring it out to my van.

The burger I had that day was incredibly tasty, and it made my drive back to Larkspur all the more enjoyable.

Redwood Cafe · 175 Paul Dr., San Rafael, CA 94903, United States
★★★★★ · American restaurant

Bogie's Too

I absolutely love going to Bogie's Too for brunch!

Their claim to have Marin's best Eggs Benedict is not an exaggeration.

I've tried many different places in the area, and nothing compares to their rich and flavorful dish.

The next time I have a special occasion, like a birthday brunch, I know I'll be heading to Bogie's Too with my friends and family.

Bogie’s Too - Home of Marin’s Best Eggs Benedict · 1335 4th St, San Rafael, CA 94901, United States
★★★★★ · American restaurant

Julie's Hummus Bar & Grill

I recently visited Julie's Hummus Bar & Grill, craving some Mediterranean food, and it did not disappoint.

The best part was the flavorful skewers and the oh-so-delicious chicken shawarma.

While enjoying my meal, I noticed they also serve beer and wine.

Sitting outdoors was a pleasant experience, especially while savoring those amazing falafels and perfectly cooked chicken, lamb, and beef.

The variety of sauces added an extra layer of flavor to an already fantastic meal.

One thing that I must mention is the baklava – it was the best I've ever had!

The wait was well worth it, as the Mediterranean dishes were beautifully plated, and the portions were generous.

I couldn't even finish my meal and had to take the leftovers home for dinner.

Julie’s Hummus Bar & Grill · 1026 Court St, San Rafael, CA 94901, United States
★★★★★ · Mediterranean restaurant

Chonmage Japanese Restaurant

Oh, what a night it was when I decided to visit the Chonmage Japanese Restaurant for the first time!

I was initially on my way to get some Mediterranean food when I stumbled upon their inviting atmosphere and decided to give it a shot.

As soon as I entered, I was impressed by the variety of ramen options and specials on their menu.

Being a frequent traveler to Japan, I appreciated the authenticity of their offerings.

I decided to order one of their specials, the pork rib ramen, which turned out to be a delicious choice with great flavors and substance.

While I enjoyed a hot sake and a cold beer, I was entertained by some fantastic live music.

Chonmage Japanese Restaurant · 1020 Court St, San Rafael, CA 94901, United States
★★★★★ · Japanese restaurant

Miracle Mile Cafe

I can't believe it took me so long to find this gem right in my neighborhood!

Miracle Mile Cafe has quickly become one of my go-to spots for brunch.

As a family-owned American-Peruvian restaurant, they serve breakfast and lunch with a unique twist.

I'm always impressed by their extensive menu that caters to all dietary preferences, including gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options.

What really keeps me coming back are their cinnamon roll pancakes.

Trust me when I say these pancakes are life-changing.

They have that perfect balance of sweetness and richness without being too heavy or overpowering.

The combination of the fluffy pancake and the sweet cinnamon swirls is simply heavenly.

Another favorite of mine is their Marin avocado toast.

The crunchy bread and fresh avocado are a perfect base for the oozing over-easy egg on top.

It's like having a deconstructed eggs benedict but with a healthier twist.

I also appreciate the friendly and attentive service at Miracle Mile Cafe.

Plus, the clean and cozy atmosphere makes it a perfect spot to catch up with friends or enjoy a solo meal.

Miracle Mile Cafe · 2130 4th St, San Rafael, CA 94901, United States
★★★★★ · American restaurant

Theresa and Johnnys Cafe

One of my favorite spots to grab a hearty breakfast in town has always been Theresa and Johnnys Cafe.

As a regular customer, I've always enjoyed their all-day homestyle breakfast options, along with their delicious sandwiches and soups.

The diner-style ambiance adds to the overall cozy experience.

During my last visit, I decided to order the San Rafael omelet; I must say, it had a bit too many onions, which I actually liked.

The coffee is also divine!

Theresa and Johnnys Cafe · 817 4th St, San Rafael, CA 94901, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Sabor A México

I can honestly say that finding good Mexican food in Marin can be quite a challenge.

That's why I was absolutely thrilled when I discovered Sabor A México during a casual stroll last week

I decided to give it a try, and boy, was I in for a treat!

Their warm welcome set the tone for the rest of my dining experience.

I found out that their recipes are actually handed down from their family, which adds a lovely touch of tradition and culture to their dishes.

I must say that the quality of the food was simply incredible.

I was impressed not only by the taste but also by the presentation - even my carne asada came with a slice of cactus!

The menu is reasonably priced, considering the quality and the service is decent, although they can be a little forgetful at times.

Sabor A México · 1559 4th St, San Rafael, CA 94901, United States
★★★★★ · Mexican restaurant

Garden Cafe

You wouldn't believe how amazing this little gem of a cafe is!

I've been going to Garden Cafe for a while now, and it never disappoints.

The food is always delicious, and the portions are quite generous.

I'm absolutely in love with their 5hr Robert’s slow-cook corn beef - it's just ridiculously good!

The outdoor seating area is very comfortable and warm, even during the cold and wet Bay Area winters.

I personally adore Alexis, who always welcomes customers with a smile and even remembers my usual order.

What sets Garden Cafe apart from other breakfast joints is their ability to accommodate different diets, including vegetarians.

They make tofu taste amazing and have a fantastic variety of healthy and affordable options.

I also can't forget to mention their delightful parfaits and the pineapple mimosa, which becomes even more delicious when you mix it with berry-based juice.

Garden Cafe · 718 B St, San Rafael, CA 94901, United States
★★★★★ · American restaurant

Royal Thai Restaurant

Last weekend, I decided to have dinner at Royal Thai Restaurant after quite a long time.

I must say, it was one of the best decisions I've made lately!

The moment I stepped into this charming, converted old house filled with memories of three decades, I knew I was in for a treat.

What really caught my attention was their fried tilapia, which turned out to be my new favorite dish.

The perfect blend of crispy and spicy, served with soft jasmine rice, made each bite truly unforgettable.

In addition to the fried tilapia, I tried their red curry with chicken, Thai basil with tofu, and pad Thai with shrimp.

All of the dishes were incredibly flavorful, but the red curry genuinely stood out.

Royal Thai Restaurant · 610 3rd St, San Rafael, CA 94901, United States
★★★★★ · Thai restaurant

Sol Food

I've been visiting Sol Food for quite some time now, and I must say, it never disappoints.

This casual eatery serves traditional Puerto Rican fare in a contemporary, plant-filled space which just adds to the overall dining experience.

The food is amazing, with everything from the combo plates to the sandwiches and the drinks being absolutely delicious.

I particularly love their plantain-crusted prawns, which are perfectly seasoned and crunchy on the outside.

One thing that sets Sol Food apart is their friendly service and cozy atmosphere.

My favorite meal to order at Sol Food is their combination plate with salad, rice, beans, sweet plantains, and smashed garlic green plantains.

The option to have the plantain-crusted shrimp over salad greens and avocado is a nice touch, and the tangy house dressing perfectly complements the flavors.

To top it all off, I always order a Coco Rico naturally-flavored coconut soda, which is a refreshing treat that I really enjoy.

Sol Food · 903 Lincoln Ave, San Rafael, CA 94901, United States
★★★★★ · Puerto Rican restaurant

Lundy's Home Cooking

One of my favorite spots to grab breakfast in the neighborhood is definitely Lundy's Home Cooking.

I love the cozy atmosphere and the fact that it's a small establishment, which makes it feel more intimate and unique.

The kitchen equipment seems original, which I think adds to the flavor of the food.

I usually go there on weekends, and I've noticed that it can get quite packed, so I try to be there early.

I've had a few different dishes at Lundy's, but my absolute favorite is their corned beef hash.

It's cooked perfectly and simply melts in your mouth.

Once, I tried their biscuits and gravy, which was also really good, but the corned beef hash keeps me coming back.

They also serve some of the best diner coffee I've ever had.

I recently found out that even visitors from out of town, like one from Seattle, had a great experience at Lundy's.

They tried the chorizo huevos rancheros and loved it too.

Lundy’s Home Cooking · 1143 4th St, San Rafael, CA 94901, United States
★★★★★ · American restaurant

Whipper Snapper Restaurant

Just last weekend, I decided to treat myself to a night out in the town, and I chose to dine at the Whipper Snapper Restaurant.

I had heard great things about their Caribbean dishes, and I was not disappointed.

The atmosphere was lively, with a vibrant sangria bar and a lovely patio for outdoor seating.

Before my meal, I ordered their unique Brussels sprouts as a starter, and I couldn't believe how delicious they were.

For my main course, I went with the zarzuela, a fish stew that outshined any I've had before.

The flavors were just incredible, and I could tell they used local ingredients.

During my dinner, I enjoyed some fantastic live music and even sat outside on 4th Street to take in the ambiance.

Whipper Snapper Restaurant · 1613 4th St, San Rafael, CA 94901, United States
★★★★★ · Caribbean restaurant

Saigon Village Restaurant

I have to admit, I've driven past Saigon Village restaurant countless times without giving it a second glance.

But one day, curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to finally check it out.

And boy, am I glad I did!

Stepping inside, I was instantly charmed by the cozy and inviting atmosphere of this small Vietnamese eatery.

Their menu is extensive and even includes vegetarian options, which is a big plus for me.

You can check out their menu on their website.

The food, however, is the real star of the show.

I ordered the Bahnmi, and it was hands-down the best I've ever had!

The Pho and Vermicelli salad were equally delightful, and their Taro bubble tea shake was a refreshing treat on a hot day.

The portions were generous, particularly for the small Pho, leaving me thoroughly satisfied.

What really impressed me was how quickly the food arrived at my table, despite the place being quite busy.

Saigon Village restaurant · 720 B St, San Rafael, CA 94901, United States
★★★★★ · Vietnamese restaurant

Panchitos Restaurant

I absolutely love going to Panchitos Restaurant for their amazing Tex-Mex dishes and unique margaritas.

It's always a great time whenever I decide to have lunch or dinner at this festive spot.

Their warm hospitality and lively atmosphere make this neighborhood gem my go-to spot for Mexican cuisine in Marin County.

The food at Panchitos Restaurant is simply amazing, with a wide range of choices.

My personal favorites are their Sopa - a delicious soup with chicken, rice, and avocado - and the rich, flavorful Chili Colorado.

The fajitas are also a must-try, served piping hot on an iron platter with ample sides.

I can't forget to mention their delicious salsa served with chips, which tastes homemade to me.

I have a strong feeling that their flour tortillas are freshly made too!

Panchitos Restaurant · 667 Del Ganado Rd, San Rafael, CA 94903, United States
★★★★★ · Mexican restaurant

Final Thoughts

San Rafael has truly offered a culinary delight to me.

The diverse range of restaurants in the area, from Caribbean to Vietnamese, Italian, and Latin fusion, always provides new and exciting flavors to experience.

As a regular visitor to many of these establishments, I can confidently say that they consistently deliver delicious food and friendly service.

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