Choosing where to eat is tough. After all, you can’t eat more than one meal – your stomach can only hold so much and your taste buds can only enjoy so much! So if you’re visiting Sausalito for a short time and are trying to decide where to eat, you might need help choosing how to allocate that enjoyment and capacity. You might wonder: “what are the best restaurants in Sausalito?”
I know I’ve certainly googled “best restaurants in [insert city here]” many times, and scrolled through the results to make my pick. However, it’s always nice to have a friend who’s in the know – consider me that person. I’ve eaten at almost every spot in Sausalito and love to make recommendations for those who are visiting cities I love, like Sausalito.
While I know it’s hard to say that one restaurant is “better” than another or that there is a “best” list, I thought it was a worthwhile exercise if only to help you narrow down your choices among the nearly 50 food and drink establishments in Sausalito. You can – of course – go somewhere else that’s not on this list, and can have an incredible experience at any of the hospitality businesses in town. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed, stuck, or like you need to eat at that “best” spot, this list will help, and it’s based on both data and my own experiences.
Ready to see which restaurants to the list of the best restaurants in Sausalito? Here it is, updated for 2023!
Note: You might wonder – “why only 10 restaurants?” As of writing, there are roughly 50 restaurants and bars in Sausalito, so this list represents the top 20% of restaurants to choose from if you want the absolute best!
Sausalito is the traditional lands of the Graton Rancheria, Miwok, and Me-Wuk (Coast Miwok) peoples. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation to the past and present stewards of these lands. To learn more, I invite you to explore Native Land.
The Best Restaurants in Sausalito
Rather than rank all of the restaurants in Sausalito based on my own opinion, I’ve designed my own formula that takes into account three factors:
- public ratings (including my own, as I leave reviews on sites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook too)
- the restaurant’s popularity (total reviews)
- proximity to the Sausalito Ferry
These last two factors are “bonus” factors – they give you a sense of which restaurants are universally beloved and easy to reach if you’re visiting Sausalito.
When comparing all of the restaurants in Sausalito, each restaurant receives a score out of 10. The higher the score, the better – it means that a restaurant is popular, well-rated, and convenient to the Sausalito ferry. Here are the 10 best restaurants in Sausalito in 2022, based on my rating algorithm:
|1||Napa Valley Burger||9.19||↑1|
|2||Barrel House Tavern||9.05||↑1|
|3||Scoma’s of Sausalito||8.84||↓2|
|7||Taste of Rome||8.04||↑2|
|8||Salito’s Crab House & Prime Rib||7.87||–|
Ready to learn about each of these restaurants and choose your own favorite restaurant in Sausalito? Here’s the list in greater detail and some of my favorite things about each one.
1. Napa Valley Burger
Despite being closed for a while in the past few years, Napa Valley Burger is back and better than ever – it moved up to take the #1 spot on my list of the best restaurants in Sausalito (as well as to rank #1 for best restaurants near the ferry and best burgers in town).
Popular for serving classic American comfort food, Napa Valley Burger is an excellent burger joint to rest and re-energize as part of your time exploring Sausalito. The restaurant serves gourmet burgers that contain the highest-quality beef – smooth consistency, no gristle, and extreme tenderness. They also have a great selection of wines to pair with your burger.
Napa Valley Burger has its historic side, as it is in the oldest brick building in Sausalito (dating back to 1885). As the name suggests, the restaurant’s atmosphere nods to Napa style and architecture, with contemporary and rustic touches and red brick walls.
2. Barrel House Tavern
Known for being a burger paradise, Barrel House Tavern has the third spot on my list of the best restaurants in Sausalito. Barrel House Tavern sits in historic downtown Sausalito and has earned a place in the locals’ hearts (or should I say stomachs) for its delicious burgers. They are all prepared with locally sourced produce; their burgers have a contemporary spin – the beef is juicy and flavorful; it will definitely satiate your cravings!
Their drinks menu is nothing short of impressive, with options for every palate and age. To top things off, Barrel Tavern House has a privileged location overlooking the Bay. Try to snag a table outside to watch the sailboats go by as you sip on your favorite drink.
3. Scoma’s of Sausalito
Scoma’s is a landmark of the gastronomic scene, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that it sits among the to three spots on this best Sausalito restaurants list.
The success lies in an intimate ambiance, decadent food, and exceptional service. The setting is spectacular, with spraying views of the bay. Waiters are attentive and knowledgeable about the dishes and wine. The menu boasts all Mediterranean dishes, with a special emphasis on Sicilian seafood.
Believe me; it will only take one visit to Scoma’s to have you returning time after time.
You can’t go wrong with any of the dishes. A few must-tries are the fish tacos, tortilla soup, and tacos al pastor. Their chef also prepares a creative version of the Peruvian staple; ceviche with Gulf shrimp, pickled red onion, cucumber, radish, red Fresno peppers, cilantro, stone fruit, avocado, Roma tomato, chile de árbol, and citrus marinade.
Don’t forget to order their spicy margarita rimmed with elote seasoning has become a staple to set the mood.
5. The Spinnaker
If old-school dining is more your thing, The Spinnaker is the place to go. The Spinnaker has been delighting the palates of locals and tourists for over 61 years. Though they mainly serve Californian seafood, the venue has a good selection of Italian dishes for Mediterranean food lovers.
As seems to be the case with all the best restaurants in Sausalito, The Spinnaker also has excellent views of the bay, Alcatraz, and San Francisco.
6. Poggio Trattoria
When it comes to Italian fare, Poggio Trattoria is one of the big names in Sausalito. Their menu serves all the iconic Italian dishes: pizza, Sformatino, Pappardelle, Gnudi, Crema di Limone… and the list goes on.
The restaurant’s best selling point, besides the food, is the traditional atmosphere. Poggio Trattoria has done an excellent job reproducing the European dining concept, with tiny tables along the sidewalk. The interior is also very classic, with lots of dark wood and warm colors.
7. Taste of Rome
Taste of Rome is another fantastic alternative for those craving authentic Italian food. This iconic venue serves all the Italian staples: pizzas, paninis, gelato, calamari, coffees, and pasta.
As for standouts, we have their pizzas, with the menu having over eight types of wood fire pizza. Their Capellini al Pomodoro, delicate Alla Bolognese, and garlicky Tortellini al Pesto are pasta dishes you’ll definitely want to consider on your visit. A Taste of Rome also honors the Italian coffee culture with an espresso bar that offers every type of coffee imaginable.
8. Salito’s Crab House & Prime Rib
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a dish that Salito’s Crab House & Prime Rib can’t do well. Their crab dishes are the main reason people book a table in Salito’s. Don’t confine your decision to crab cakes or chowder. Try their prime rib, which melts in your mouth, or the New York steak that is perfectly charred and grilled.
Pasta lovers can indulge in a hefty portion of spicy shrimp fettuccine or seafood pasta. Kids can enjoy delicious fettuccine Alfredo or fish and chips. A word of warning, everything looks so delicious that you’ll likely end up ordering more than you can finish.
9. Bar Bocce
Last but not least, we have Bar Bocce, a waterfront restaurant that quickly became a favorite for its gourmet sourdough-crust pizza. Bar Bocce and the chef have put all their effort and creativity into creating a diverse pizza menu, boasting over ten different pizzas – which only get better year after year.
They have the strangest yet most delicious combinations of flavors. Margherita, pork sausage, and mushrooms are some of their staples. However, if you want your taste buds to experience a feast of flavor, go for the Kale Pizza.
10. Sushi Ran
It’s truly, truly rare to find a sushi restaurant that goes above and beyond in a metropolitan area. However, ask locals for a good place to eat sushi in Sausalito, and you’ll repeatedly hear Sushi Ran as the answer. Located on Caledonia Street, Sushi Ran is one of those restaurants that just gets all the little details right.
The restaurant is famous for its authentic Japanese atmosphere and delicious variety of sushi rolls, nigiri, and sashimi. Oh, and the restaurant’s namesake roll, the Sushi Ran, is a mouthwatering combination of shrimp, fish, avocado, and cucumber. To be honest, it doesn’t matter what you order; everything will be delicious.
Which of these great Sausalito restaurants will you be visiting? Feel free to share your pick – or your commentary on my list – in the comments below!