Take a sneak peak into some of Marin’s finest hidden gems

Emma Ingledew

Whether it’s a day out, a spontaneous excursion or a change in plans, people are constantly looking for something new. It might be clothing stores, restaurants, or concert venues, but for me, it’s the continuous search for food. It’s tempting to stick to the same old favorites when going for a bite to eat, but luckily, Marin has an abundance of lesser-known restaurants and cafes that are  full of character and delicious.  


Foodniks ★★★★☆

Sitting right off of Tiburon Boulevard across from Nugget Market and tucked away under the umbrellas in the Cove Shopping Center, is Foodniks. This restaurant has been a long-standing dining area, but I had never taken time out of my day to try their comfort food, specializing in sandwiches, cold salads and brunch items. Foodniks completely revamped its appearance and style in 2015, going from a dark and worn-down deli to a modern comforting cafe. With seating indoors, outdoors and at the high top chairs, the cafe brings a much more ‘eating for here’ feel. Not only has the interior of Foodniks improved, but the variety and quality of their food has as well. The menu has expanded and the options are endless, ranging from brunch items such as eggs, breakfast sandwiches and pastries, to American-style sandwiches and salads for a reasonable price. I wasn’t expecting the amount of options that the menu provided, as Foodniks focused heavily on sandwiches before the remodel. I recommend their pesto pasta salad, charged by the pound. Even though it’s a simple pasta salad, it complements the breaded grilled chicken nicely as a side dish. 

Ever since Foodniks has remodeled the interior on their cafe, dining within the restaurant has become more popular.

It’s safe to say that the “Frambled Eggs” breakfast panini is a well spent eight dollars. It’s served in a sourdough bun with melted cheese and scrambled eggs i

nside; as simple as it sounds, this sandwich is sure to satisfy.


Theresa & Johnny’s Comfort Food ★★★☆☆

At Theresa and Johnny’s, they serve American diner classics on Fourth Street in San Rafael. Well-known for “Fred’s World Famous French Toast,” this dining venue is a fairly inexpensive breakfast and lunch restaurant with a wide array of options. Having tried quite a few items from here, my personal favorites are the “Giant Breakfast Burrito” at nine dollars and 75 cents and the French Toast, at only five dollars and 95 cents. The combination of large portion sizes and low prices provides the ideal brunch location for a large group of friends. The friendly waiters and one-of-a-kind, vintage knick-knacks decorating the walls make Theresa & Johnny’s a welcoming and unique place to eat.  

My two suggestions for future Theresa and Johnny’s customers is to think ahead in regards to parking and payment. It’s a cash only restaurant and while there is street parking along the road, it can get busy and it may be difficult to find an open spot. Luckily, San Rafael is full of parking garages that aren’t too expensive.


Farm House Local (FHL) ★★★★★

Not a long walk from campus is Farm House Local (FHL). Located in downtown Larkspur, FHL showcases fresh food that is locally grown in the Bay Area. Owner and chef David Monson prides his restaurant for being a farm-to-table venue.  

While most of the items on the menu range from nine dollars to 15 dollars, the food is seasonal, and customers know exactly where it comes from. While others may not care, having a selection of freshly-grown food on my plate is comforting, along with its support for local farms rather than large corporations.

Not only does Farm House Local Feature produce from Bay Area farms, but they also provide a comfortable environment to eat in.

As for items on the menu, the Glaum Farm fresh eggs and the homemade buttermilk pancakes are perfect if you’re looking for a filling breakfast. When I’m going for something a little lighter, I order the oatmeal, which costs eight dollars and 50 cents. As bland as it may sound, the oatmeal at FHL always has the perfect consistency and is topped with brown sugar to make it a little more sweet. 

If I’m heading there a little closer to lunchtime, I typically buy a soup or salad. My go-tos are either the Chinese chicken salad or a classic Caesar salad. The lunch items are a little pricier, ranging from 10 dollars to 14 dollars. Other lunch items include paninis, risotto and salmon, however these dishes vary depending on the season.

Farm House Local specializes in coffee drinks and other beverages, such as this iced chai latte.

Hopefully, exploring local restaurants will inspire students to discover more of the hidden gems that are sprinkled throughout Marin. Doing something a little out of the ordinary reminds me to switch up my routine every once in a while and expand my food palate. While it’s easy to receive food recommendations through friends, social media or the internet, the only way to truly find a hidden gem is to go and try it out yourself.