Best Food Destinations In The North Bay Locals Love

November 2, 2013 5:00 AM

The North Bay is well known for the California Wine Country, world-class restaurants and luxurious accommodations. But it’s also known for its magnificent redwoods, breathtaking views and smaller crowds compared to the Golden Gate’s south end. While the Napa Valley gathers much of the world’s attention for food and dining, other parts of the North Bay also feature a rich diversity of moderately priced and critically acclaimed restaurants favored by local residents. For perhaps a new and entertaining dining experience, the following are five of the best food destinations the locals love in the North Bay.
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908 4th St.
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 257-8822

Independently owned and operated, Crepevine describes itself as a gathering place for families, friends, professionals and students. Due to its success, there are now 10 Bay Area locations, including the North Bay cities of Santa Rosa and San Rafael. Among the most raved about dishes from San Rafael customers are the Petaluma scramble with chicken apple sausage, California crepes and a fabulously decadent hazelnut chocolate ice cream crepe. All locations are open every day beginning at 7:30 a.m.

Related: Best Kids Restaurants in the North Bay

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50 E. Washington St.
Petaluma, CA 94952
(707) 765-9694

Sonoma County’s oldest brewery has been a popular local hangout and eatery for more than 20 years. Known for its outstanding food, fine selections of beer and friendly service, Dempsey’s features riverfront seating along the Petaluma River in downtown Petaluma. Menu selections feature everything from snacks and starters to tasty burgers and moderately priced entrees such as roasted chicken and hanger steak. As a testament to its local popularity, Dempsey’s won two Best of Petaluma awards this year from a reader’s poll, for Best Outdoor Dining Venue and Best Burger.

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Lighthouse Café
1311 Bridgeway Ave.
Sausalito, CA 94965
(415) 331-3034

For more than 20 years, owners Annette and Gerner Andresen have been serving delicious dishes from their native Denmark and American classics from their Lighthouse Café. Once described by VIA Magazine as “where locals eat,” Lighthouse Café isn’t a big place, with just five booths and nine stools at the counter. But this Sausalito favorite located next to the harbor is distinguished for outstanding food and its wooden “lighthouse” perched upon the roof, well worth a visit. Lighthouse Café is open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week, beginning at 6:30 a.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. on weekends. The Andresens also have a popular restaurant, Lighthouse Diner, in nearby San Rafael.

Russian River Brewing Company
724 4th St.
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
(707) 545-2337

Established in 1997 by the world renowned Korbel Champagne Cellars of Guerneville, Russian River Brewing Company was originally the famous winery’s entry into brewing beer. Now a family-run business, the always lively brewing company in downtown Santa Rosa has been a popular destination for locals to enjoy its award-winning beers. Since its inception, the brewery has won several awards, including Large Brewpub Champion Brewery/Brewmaster from the World Beer Cup in 2004 and 2006. Russian River Brewing Company is open daily with lunch beginning at 11 a.m. The menu features a variety of “munchies,” chicken wings, sandwiches, salads, pizzas, calzones and desserts.

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Sam’s Anchor Café
27 Main St.
Tiburon, CA 94920
(415) 435-4527

Nicely tucked away in the bayfront community of Tiburon is Sam’s Café, once honored as the “Bay Area’s Best Outdoor Restaurant” by the San Francisco Chronicle. This popular local favorite is well known for some of the Bay Area’s best seafood and glorious views of San Francisco Bay from its spacious outdoor patio. Open seven days a week, Sam’s Café serves lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. Featuring delectable seafood dishes such as Boston clam chowder, sautéed prawns and fresh Dungeness crab, the restaurant also has a variety of sandwiches, burgers, salads and soups.

Related: Best Sushi Restaurants in the North Bay

Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on

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