For Five Star dining I expected at least a little stuffiness, but it just isn’t what The White Barn Inn is about. It’s definitely luxurious, but it’s like a celebrity interview that leaves you thinking, “you know, that George Clooney is just an everyday guy.”
Fish. Sausalito, CAMolly Notestine • August 16, 2014
Hypothetical: If I could only eat at one restaurant in the Bay Area for the next year it would be: Fish.
Yes, just Fish. Across the bay in Sausalito, this perhaps-too-cleverly-named restaurant is not exactly down the block. We have to jump on the expressway, cross the bridge, head down the 101, and fight crowds of the often tourist-packed town. It’s always worth it though and if it weren’t for rush-hour traffic, Matthew and I would be there at least once a week.
This is probably a good thing for our pocketbooks, since we’re talking about top-notch, local, fresh off the boat, sustainable seafood, not the $7.99 Fisherman’s Platter popcorn shrimp and fished-to-the-brink-of-extinction cod.
We’re all about highlighting local restaurants like Rustic Bakery that offer great value given the quality of the food served. We’re not suggesting our recommendations always represent bargain dining options, but we think these joints offer exceptional value compared to restaurants serving standard non-local, non-organic, not especially sustainable food.
Sustainability is a $3 difference we can get behind.
I can go to any bar & grill and get a burger for about $11. It’d be a decent burger I’m sure, but I wouldn’t know a thing about it and neither would the staff (truth be told, I’d rather not know about the life that steer had). At Fish, their burger is $14, but it’s organic, local, pasture-raised Prather Ranch beef, with local cheese, on a bun made in a local bakery. The folks at Fish could even tell you which local farms grew the organic lettuce, tomato, and onion.
At Fish. their specials change everyday, based on what the boats are pulling in.
In a daring bit of healthy eating during our last visit, Matthew had the special grilled albacore over borracho beans with peach salsa. He was asked how he wanted the tuna cooked and was happy with the perfect medium rare presented to him.
Each of their daily fish options have the name of the fishing vessel that caught it listed alongside. Last time, I’ll admit, I’d narrowed my selection down to a few options and chose my dinner based on the boat’s name: The Smeagol caught my black cod.
Fish has a standard menu too, which features some of our favorites: the ceviche, the crab roll, the fish n’ chips (we prefer the fat crispy potato wedges to the shoestring fries, but the choice is yours), the chowders, the fish tacos…all so delicious.
Easily a year’s worth of versatility
It wasn’t entirely obvious to me during our first few visits, but one of my favorite features of the menu is that you can order just about anything you want atop your choice of local bitter (in the best possible way) greens with a punchy vinaigrette, or pasta, or a crusty roll with lettuce and tomato. I usually go for the salad to save room for dessert, but often end up helping Matthew with his fries or chips n’ ceviche.
Go early, go often.
Fish has a great rotation of mostly regional brews and wines. They often sell out of their dinner and appetizer specials, so best to get there early if you want to keep all your options open. They take only cash or check. The line usually looks intimidatingly long, but it moves fairly fast. There’s more outdoor seating than in, and the view of the harbor is the perfect backdrop for any meal, but bring a jacket. No matter how warm it was at 3pm, this is Sausalito, and the wind, fog, and sunset can make for a 10+ degree drop in temperature in minutes.
Our dog Tula loves that the patio is dog-friendly.
Little Star Pizza is one of our favorites and not just for the pizza. The decor in the Albany location is cozy and rustic, the draft selection is always good, and the staff is the best.
Our only complaint about a lot of brewpubs is that the food coming out of their kitchen doesn’t match the quality of their beer. El Cerrito’s Elevation 66 is a BIG exception to the rule and we love it.