Last updated on December 1, 2022 by Wandering our World
California’s Bay Area is dotted with many charming cities, and one of these picturesque places is the city of Mill Valley. While there’s much to explore here, we’re here to talk about Mill Valley’s thriving food scene. Home to dozens of fine dining restaurants and casual cafes, there’s a plethora of cuisines and world-class food to discover here.
So we’ve rounded up the top eight restaurants in Mill Valley, CA – places you must visit if you’re on a culinary expedition, or are simply looking for a good meal while in the city.
Experience excellent service, aesthetic settings, and of course, some memorable food at these local eateries. Bon appetit!
Our Top Eight Picks for the Best Mill Valley Restaurants, CA
1. Bungalow 44
New American fare in an elegant environment with a spacious and charming outdoor seating arrangement .
Casual meals meet an elegant atmosphere at Bungalow 44, where you can kick back over some fantastic drinks and flavorful food.
Sit inside the gorgeous interior here, where you’ll find tastefully decorated walls and flattering lights, along with a bar and even a fireplace in one of the dining rooms. Yet, the atmosphere is laid-back and casual, so you can walk in after a day out and relax at this stunning place.
As for the outdoor seating situation, it’s one of the best among Mill Valley restaurants, complete with a transparent tent enclosure with twinkling lights, lots of plants, space heaters, and plenty of tables. Super cozy and very relaxing!
The menu here revolves around New American dishes, such as the delectable oysters and fall-off-the-bone pork chops with a tamarind glaze and grilled stone fruit to kick it up a notch.
Another favorite is the beer braised short ribs with a unique gochujang chili glaze, served with a salad and polenta spring roll. Vegetarian options include a vibrant and intensely flavored red curry with coconut sauce, garbanzo, mushrooms, and some quinoa. Or just go old school and easy with their Kickin’ fried chicken, served with cornbread, Yukon mashed potatoes, and a slaw. Don’t miss out on the happy hour from Monday to Thursday, 5-6 pm for some of the best oysters in town!
Pair your meals with their expertly-made craft cocktails or wines by the glass, and you’ll be swooning with delight! Bungalow 44 is open every day of the week from 5 pm onwards, but we recommend reservations for the weekends.
Address: 44 E Blithedale Ave, Mill Valley, CA
Locavore restaurant serving upscale dishes in a historical and rustic setting with outdoor seating and occasional live music.
Inside the converted sawmill at the historical Lumber Yard is Watershed, one of the most popular Mill Valley Restaurants.
Enjoy elevated fare inside the rustic yet contemporary wood-paneled interior that includes a small bar and a few tables surrounding it (available with reservations only).
But if you wish to dine alfresco, there’s no better place than the relaxing outdoor seating here that has chairs around fire pits, charming string lights, and a breathtaking view of Mount Tam. Top that with the live music they often have going on, and you’ve got yourself a sweet and memorable dining experience!
Adhering to a locavore policy, they’ve got an eclectic menu that changes every now and then based on the availability of ingredients. Some of the delectables stick around, though, such as the juicy Stemple Creek cheeseburger served on a brioche bun, or the Flannery hanger steak that’s typically served with grilled veggies and a creative sauce.
They tend to always have fresh seafood mains on the menu too, so expect something classy and refreshing like sea bass or trout served with cumin creme fraiche, veggies, and green lentils.
No matter what you order, you’ll always witness striking combinations of flavors and a very chef-y presentation style (go ahead and Instagram it – these pretty plates of vibrant food are worth it!)
Wash all that good stuff down with a beer or house cocktail, and go stroll along Lumber Yard for some post-meal retail therapy. Watershed is open on weekdays from 11.30 am onwards and on weekends from 10.30 am onwards.
Address: 129 Miller Ave, Mill Valley, CA
Upmarket Italian restaurant featuring housemade pasta and a deck with a view of Richardson Bay.
Located just off the Redwood Highway is Piatti – one of the classier Mill Valley restaurants. What began as a small establishment in 1987 has now expanded over several locations, quickly becoming Marin residents’ favorite Italian restaurant. Everything from their freshly made pasta and rustic mains tastes authentically Italian and leaves you feeling warm and satisfied.
To match their undeniably good food, they’ve got an equally delightful ambiance. The indoor dining area is simple yet elegant, packed with tables with a view of the open kitchen that creates that intimate, trattoria vibe. Meanwhile, their outdoor deck overlooks Richardson Bay, and also has heaters so you don’t have to miss out on the gleaming water views during winter!
Their menus top at about 12 mains in total, but there’s not a weak link among them. Lunch features their famous, freshly-made pasta such as the artfully presented squid ink casarecce with clams in a white wine broth. Their paninis are also worth trying, as they’re made with freshly-baked bread and the finest of ingredients.
Dinner boasts more decadent offerings, such as the vegetarian lasagna or the balsamic-glazed short ribs served over creamy mascarpone polenta. The libations and wines from across the globe don’t hurt either, especially if you choose to sip on them with a view of the sunset.
Finish off the evening with an Affogato or some Tiramisu for a memorable end to your meal, and don’t forget to buy some of their fine, housemade ingredients to take home.
Piatta is open every day from 11.30 am onwards, but do consider making a reservation – the place pulls quite a crowd!
Address: 625 Redwood Hwy, Mill Valley, CA
Traditional Japanese restaurant serving an assortment of sushi and seafood entrees in a casual atmosphere.
Feel like having a sushi dinner? Head straight towards Samurai on Miller Ave – don’t even look left and right!
Low key and quaint as it may be, this is hands down one of the best Mill Valley restaurants for sushi and Japanese food in general, as hard-working, creative chefs work tirelessly behind the bar to serve hungry patrons.
Thanks to the traditional Japanese decor, snug tables, and an informal bar, Samurai offer a casual dining experience with food that’s no less than five stars.
Their menu is seemingly endless, with lots of fan favorites like the spicy tuna roll or the ‘Lion King’ – baked crab and avocado topped with salmon and a sweet and spicy sauce. They also do delicately-rolled temaki and vibrant sashimi, along with entrees like the creative Hamachi Crunch, served with a ponzu dressing, steamed spinach, and rice crackers.
Get the 425 maki if you’re willing to try daring combinations of flavors, or just go easy with a good ol’ crispy California roll. No matter what you get, expect everything to be fresh, in good portions, and artistically presented! Oh and, vegetarians are welcome too, as they can devour various makis and a special spicy fried tofu roll.
Don’t forget to order some sweet and cloudy Sake to accompany your meals.
Samurai is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 5 to 9.30 pm and remains jam-packed, so we highly recommend a reservation if you’re going to come with a hungry stomach!
Address: 425 Miller Ave, Mill Valley, CA
A modern twist on classic Mexican cuisine offered in a chic interior with outdoor seating and occasional live music.
Elevated Mexican fare in a classy ambiance is what Playa is all about. Being one of the most iconic restaurants in Mill Valley, this place offers a casual yet sophisticated dining experience inside its bright and sunny dining room.
Plenty of tables are surrounded by large floor-to-ceiling windows and blue tiling, along with a full bar offering some of the best cocktails you can get your hands on (sangrias, anyone?).
Their outdoor seating is very aesthetic too – shaded yet sunny, heated for the winter, and with well-spaced picnic tables surrounded by greenery. Oh and, they often have live Mexican music – could there be a finer setting for tacos and margaritas?
With a modern take on classic Mexican dishes, anything you order here is a treat for the palette. Favorites from the appetizers include Ahi Tostadas which have gooseberries, chipotle aioli, and veggies along with lemon oil for a refreshing zing or the vibrant ceviche made from the catch of the day. The Al Pastor tacos are also a hit, with roasted pork and grilled pineapple salsa, as are the creative veggie tacos for the meat-averse crowd.
From the larger plates, standouts include the surf n turf burrito, or the Carne Asada sirloin steak served with a flavorful salsa, roasted marble potatoes, and all the usual trimmings. Don’t forget to order their guac that has a spicy kick to it – it’s worth the splurge and will make you chow down bowl after bowl of chips! No wonder they’re crowned as the best Mexican restaurant in Marin, huh?
On weekends, you can join in for a short brunch menu, which includes a decadent Mexican Egg Benedict with chipotle hollandaise for that ‘oomph’ factor, and of course, loaded plates of cheesy Huevos Rancheros.
So drop by and say Hola between Tuesday to Thursday 5 – 9 pm for dinner, and Friday to Sunday 11.30 am onwards.
Address: 41 Throckmorton Ave, Mill Valley, CA
6. Prabh Indian Kitchen
North Indian cuisine served in a cozy dining room with traditional Indian decor and a lively patio.
Bringing the raging flavors of Indian cuisine to California, Prabh Indian Kitchen offers an experience that’s unlike any other of the restaurants in Mill Valley. Indulge in masala-drenched meat cuts, intensely flavored curries, and other authentic North Indian favorites at this tastefully decorated eatery.
Copper accents, fancy light fixtures, mahogany tables, and instrumental Indian music in the background make this place feel enchanting, yet the overall cozy aesthetic makes dining here a relaxed experience. Outdoor seats are placed under colorful garlands and umbrellas, as the smell of spices wafts towards you from the inside.
Their menu is pretty comprehensive, with lots of options for vegetarians and carnivores alike.
Start with some of their samosa chat – garbanzos topped with samosa pieces, sauces, red onions, sev, and cilantro – or the mildly spiced lentil soup that has a hint of curry leaves and ginger.
Move on to tantalizing entrees like the butter chicken, cooked in a creamy, buttery tomato sauce, or their vegetarian specialties like Saag Paneer (cottage cheese cubes in a creamy spinach sauce). The fish tikka masala and the Rogan Josh (lamb cooked in a spicy sauce) are also fan favorites here.
But if you’re just dipping your toes into this cuisine, get their Thali where you can taste a bit of everything from rice, lentils, meat, veggies, and a sweet dish.
And you can always request the staff to adjust the spice level – they’re super accommodating about that! Get wines by the glass and finish off your meal with some kheer – a traditional Indian rice pudding.
Prabh is open every day of the week from 11.30 am onwards.
Address: 24 Sunnyside Ave, Mill Valley, CA
7. Cafe Del Soul
Long-running vegetarian-friendly cafe with vegan and gluten-free picks served in a casual environment with outdoor seating.
Been out hiking? Need some nutritious yet delicious food? Well, the award-winning Cafe Del Soul has got you covered with an extensive vegetarian menu littered with organic, healthy, and enticing picks.
It’s a counter-service, casual little cafe that has been around since 2004, where you can find lots of vegan and gluten-free options. The atmosphere here is chill and cozy, as the place is small and dotted with homey decor items, along with outdoor tables on the sidewalk where you can soak in the Californian sun.
Start with their gluten-free nachos, such as the quinoa nachos that are topped with feta and cheddar, organic quinoa and veggies, and a house-made chipotle sauce.
Mains include brown rice bowls and quinoa dishes, along with some quinoa-based quesadillas that are irresistibly gooey and cheesy. There are plenty of wraps available too, and one of the favorites is the Yummus Hummus, which is filled to the brim with veggies, a house-made ginger vinaigrette, and creamy hummus inside a spinach tortilla. Simply delish!
Add organic tofu or some GMO-free chicken to anything, or request for almost any dish to be made completely vegan. Whatever you get, don’t forget to order a side of their creamy, Notorious dip.
They also do smoothies and organic teas brewed in-house every day. And in case you find the place to be too busy, you can always get your stuff delivered or to-go (in biodegradable ware, of course). So drop by any day from 11 am onwards for a guilt-free meal!
Address: 247 Shoreline Hwy, Mill Valley, CA
8. Gravity Tavern
An upscale restaurant serving innovative classics in a modernistic setting and a spacious patio.
Executive chef Jessette showcases her skills at Gravity Tavern, where artfully presented plates of elevated American classics never fail to delight the guests.
This buzzy venue is almost always packed and is designed with a modern approach in mind. Sit at the posh bar, where there’s a large TV for a casual and friendly meal, or settle in one of the comfy couches or at the marble top tables for a more formal and quiet dining experience.
Better yet, try getting a seat at their gorgeous and spacious patio, covered by string lights and surrounded by heaters (you might have to make reservations for this, though).
Lunch features gourmet handhelds like the lobster and red Argentinian shrimp roll with tarragon aioli and slaw or the Baja fish tacos that come with a mango pineapple salsa.
But dinner is where the real excitement begins, when the menu truly shines to display what this place has to offer. House-baked popovers for appetizers and red wine braised short ribs or the salmon served in an orange tarragon chili butter emulsion make for excellent choices.
Sundays are prime rib nights here, where you can indulge in a three-course pre-fixe meal. Oh and, weekend brunch offerings (12 – 4.30 pm) include decadent Benedicts and prime rib n eggs!
And in case you want to experience their five star vibe without shelling out too many bucks, drop by their happy hours on any weekday, between 3 to 6 pm. They’re open from Wednesday to Sunday, noon onwards.
Address: 38 Miller Ave Suite 1, Mill Valley, CA
The Best Mill Valley Restaurants: Our Final Thoughts
Mill Valley is lined with top-class restaurants and cafes, so it can get hard to decide on one. Save yourself the hassle and try one of our favorite Mill Valley restaurants – we guarantee you’ll leave impressed!