Munchin’ and crunchin’ on Marin’s greatest grilled cheese

Amanda Trusheim

Who doesn’t love a good grilled cheese? The Bark embarked on a mission to find the best grilled cheese in Marin County, and what we found was exciting. We went from restaurant to restaurant, reviewing Blue Barn, Rustic Bakery, Boudin and The Cheesecake Factory based on taste, cheese-to-bread ratio, greasiness, experience and affordability.  


Blue Barn (4/5)

Photo by Amanda Trusheim
Photo by Amanda Trusheim

Conveniently located at Town Center mall, Blue Barn is an ideal lunch destination. Their fresh menu had an entire section dedicated to trendy takes on grilled cheese, which include additions to the standard sandwich such as fig jam and spicy mustard. The Burrata sandwich, priced at $10.25, was a refreshing twist on the classic favorite. The gooey, rich burrata melted in your mouth at first bite and the flakey crust of the bread nicely contrasted the savory cheese. The bread to cheese ratio was fantastic and left us feeling content with every bite.


Boudin (5/5)

Boudin is famous all over the country for its mouthwatering sandwiches and soups, and its grilled cheese was no exception. The Great Grilled Cheese had the perfect bread to cheese ratio, and there was just enough oil on it so that it did not feel dry or flaky. At first, the sandwich’s appearance was mildly off-putting due to the excess grease, but as soon as we took that first bite, all doubts washed away. Unlike its predecessors, The Great Grilled Cheese had the ideal ciabatta bread. The crunch complemented the smooth cheese perfectly and had the perfect density. At $8.60, this grilled cheese is well worth the price.  


Rustic Bakery (3/5)

Photo by Allison Fobes
Photo by Allison Fobes

At a restaurant where the main focus is coffee and pastries, the grilled cheese at Rustic Bakery was a surprisingly excellent dish. The sandwich was tasty as a whole, but the amount of dense bread masked the decadent cheese from Cowgirl Creamery. Although the service wasn’t the fastest, the tasty appearance of the melted cheese dripping off the bread made up for it.  At $12.95, the Marin Melt was overpriced for the overall lack in quality.  

The Cheesecake Factory (1/5)

We were assuming that because of the well known name of The Cheesecake Factory, this would be the best sandwich yet. Sadly, as soon as our waiter brought us our $10.30 grilled cheese, we began to feel a sense of disappointment. The appearance of the sandwich gave the impression that it was made by simply plopping two pieces of white bread in a toaster with a few slices of fake cheese in between. Also, we constantly had to put down the sandwich to blot our hands with the napkins because of the amount of oil on the sandwich. By the end of the meal, we had piles of cheese left on the plate as well as half of the sandwich because we couldn’t bring ourselves to finish it.