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Falafel Hut is an absolute delight, bang in the middle of downtown San rafael, this is an amazing place for Gyros, shawarma and kababs.
Favorite Dish: Chicken shawarma and Veg hummus with falafel. They have a spicy sauce at the tables that is to be used liberally till you have a runny nose for absolute pleasure.
Written Jul 23, 2011
Address: 1115 4th Street, San Rafael, CA 94901
Phone: (415) 259-0440
My family dragged me here after insisting I would have no problem finding vegetarian items on the menu. They were right!
This restaurant serves delicious barbecued foods, sizzling plates, and tempura. You will not leave hungry. For $8.95, you will get a huge plate of grilled meats or tofu, rice, and veggies. Even my 16 year old son couldn't clean his plate, and took the rest home and ate it for lunch. THAT is a lot of food!
The grilled tofu and veggies were fabulous! I will defintiely come back here!
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Address: 816 Fourth Street, Suite A
It seems as if I've been going to San Rafael Joe's for most of my life. My brother-in-law's friends worked part-time as waiters at Joe's when they were in high school, and when we were college students, we'd sit at the counter and watch the cooks at work.
As newlyweds, my husband and I ate there weekly because it was close to where we lived and was one of the few places that served late dinners, which was convenient after a late movie at the Rafael Theater.
I remember the place when it was dimly lit, had dark wood paneling everywhere, and on weekends you could hear Larry Vanucci at the organ.
The restaurant has since been transformed into a place of light, etched glass, and brass, but there's still live music -- guitar and vocals -- on weekend evenings. The stained glass scene of Venice behind the bar always makes me feel at home.
Favorite Dish: I like the Joe's Special with mushrooms: ground beef, spinach, and mushrooms scrambled together with egg. I'm also partial to the oysters, either in a garlic and butter sauce or deep-fried, and their cheese ravioli.
The portions are generous. I usually end up taking home half my meal.
Updated Jul 26, 2009
Address: 931 Fourth Street
I love the food at Thai Smile. It's a tiny place offering great, affordable Thai cuisine. When I worked in San Rafael, my colleagues and I went there for lunch when our spirits needed a boost, and Thai Smile always came through for us. In good weather you can sit outside at an umbrella table.
I'd advise parking on the street, as the lot behind the restaurant is small and hard to negotiate.
Favorite Dish: I like the curries, especially the green and yellow variety, but my favorite dish by far is the Khao Mok, which is a jasmine rice dish containing chicken, raisins, and almonds.
The Thai iced tea is almost a dessert -- creamy and comforting.
Written Oct 26, 2008
Address: 534 4th Street
Phone: (415) 454-2626
We dined at this restaurant one evening in August, 2008. Great atmosphere, friendly staff, fantastic food with great presentation. We paid about $42 USD for two entrees, one appetizer, Naan bread, and one beverage, not including tip.
A very unique feature to this restaurant is the roll back roof over the dining room, allowing for an open air and rather romantic feeling on pleasant evenings.
Favorite Dish: We enjoyed Vegetable Samosas appetizer, Vegetarian Biriyani, Prawn Vindalu, Naan bread, and Chai Black Tea. Everything was delicous.
Lunch Buffet available Monday-Saturday, $8.95.
Updated Aug 20, 2008
Address: 704 4th Street
Phone: 415 456 5508
West End Cafe is a fairly large cafe, restaurant, snack shop, bakery, deli, beer shop, and more, located in the heart of downtown San Rafael. We stopped in to the this sunny cafe on a Sunday morning and enjoy a breakfast of meat, egg, and cheese sandwiches on croissants with fried hash brown potatoes ($5 each) and coffee ($1.80 each). Maybe the service could have been a little better, but the food was tasty.
West End has been named best breakfast and best deli in San Rafael.
Written Jul 6, 2007
Address: 1131 Fourth Street, San Rafael, CA 94901
Eating at the Panama Hotel is like stepping back in time to a much calmer era. Located in a residential area not far from downtown San Rafael, it has a sultry, tropical ambience that reminds me of New Orleans. Service is courteous, the food is good, and on some evenings you can dine to live music.
The Panama Hotel is also a bed and breakfast with 14 rooms, reasonably priced and all different. See the website for photos and rates.
Favorite Dish: The last time I had lunch there, I had the grilled chicken panini and announced to my friends, "I now have a new favorite sandwich!" It was a grilled chicken and cheese sandwich with a mild green chili pesto -- garlicky with just a little heat. Delicious!
Updated Jun 9, 2007
Address: 4 Bayview Street
Phone: 415-457-3993 or 800-899-3993
House of Lee has received good reviews for its dim sum lunches, and deservedly so. For about $10 per person, you can nibble on savory tidbits like barbecued pork mini-buns, shrimp dumplings, foil-wrapped chicken, and miniature custard tarts. You can even order chicken feet, if you're so inclined.
There is also a full menu of soups, noodles, and rice dishes.
Written Sep 4, 2006
Address: 885 4th Street
Convenient location just off of Hwy 101 at Central San Rafael exit. Nice atmosphere with live Jazz in the lounge most evenings. Food is excellent and service is attentive.
Favorite Dish: My favorite meal is the New England Platter...Fried Fish, Prawns, Scallops, and Calimari. A nice portion size and one of the better fried platters I have enjoyed anywhere..Prices are comparable to most nicer seafood restaurants in the area with better sized servings than most.
Written Feb 17, 2006
Address: Hwy 101 north take Central San Rafael exit east
Ok, first of all, I'm a vegetarian, so I am NOT including this place in my recommendations because I eat here. So WHY, do you ask, am I featuring this?
Our local paper, the Marin Independent Journal, ran an article on the best hotdog joints in Marin County. (Bet you were expecting the best escargot joints, or maybe, the best caviar and champagne joints). But, no, it was the best hotdog joints.
Royal Frankfurter ranked Numero Uno. Of course, I immediately had to take my hot dog loving teenagers there. They ordered the plain and simple dogs, and said they were absolutely delicious. The dogs were great, but I think, what really did it for them, were the delicious and light buns. So light, they practically melted in your mouth.
Favorite Dish: We bought the standard hot dogs, but you can also buy bratwurst and other types of hot dogs. I'm sorry I can't list them. I'm a vegetarian, I don't pay attention to this stuff, ok? Trust me, there are several varieties, and you can put all kinds of different mustards on them.
Anyway, if my kids said they was great, they're great. They eat me out of house and home, but they are still my Persnickity Teens.
If it helps any, my son, an avid baseball fan, said, the hot dogs here are better than Dodger Dogs. That might mean something to you Southern Californians. No disrepect. I used to live there.
Updated Jun 12, 2005
Address: 811 4th Street, San Rafael
Four Points By Sheraton San Rafael San Rafael
2 Reviews and 237 Opinions We stayed at this hotel for one weekday night in August, 2008. We paid $91 USD total on a priceline...
2 Reviews and 239 Opinions I live in san Rafael. I know San Rafael quite well. This is the best hotel in San Rafael for...