With its marina ferrying folks to Angel Island and the City, expect many tourist-friendly restaurants in downtown Tiburon. For a surprisingly good Italian meal, head for Servino (9 Main St., Tiburon, 415/435-2676, www.bestservino.com, $13–25) on the waterfront. A huge outdoor patio offers diners stunning views of the Bay, Angel Island, and the San Francisco cityscape. It can get chilly in the evening, though, so if you hate the cold, get a table inside instead.
Service is as warm and friendly as the classic Italian cuisine. A full bar caters to locals and visitors alike. The menu runs to hearty, somewhat Americanized Italian dishes. You can eat yourself senseless by trying all the courses, or choose just an entrée or a “primi” to keep your meal a bit lighter. The full bar makes a great place to sit should you need to wait for a table, and Servino’s hosts live music on Thursday and Friday nights.
Rooney’s (38 Main St., Tiburon, 415/435-1911, lunch Mon.–Thurs. 11:30 a.m.– 3:30 p.m., Fri.–Sun. 11:30 a.m.–4 p.m., dinner Wed.–Thurs. and Sun. 5:30–9 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 5:30–9:30 p.m.) is a local favorite, serving French bistro fare in a semi-casual, semi-subterranean dining room. While the food is universally admired at Rooney’s, unfortunately it seems that good service is a privilege reserved exclusively for locals. Don’t expect much in the way of promptness or friendliness here. Though the overgrown outdoor patio is pretty, it can attract flies and other unwelcome visitors to your table. Reservations are recommended, especially for weekend dinners.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition