Marin may be one of the more expensive counties in the Bay Area, but that doesn't mean there aren't mouth-watering eats to be enjoyed without breaking the bank.
Don't be alarmed by the decor at Joe's, where fairy lights, religious iconography, kitschy Mexican tchotchkes, and flashy hot sauce bottles compete for your attention. Since 1992, this local joint is always buzzing with those who come hungry for a tasty selection of Mexican dishes including marinated, grilled fish tacos, super nachos, grilled corn-on-the-cob with chipotle lime butter, chicken tortilla soup, and loaded burritos. Wash it down with an imported Mexican beer. // 382 Miller Ave, Mill Valley, joestacolounge.com
(Photo courtesy of Roots Rated)
This Puerto Rican eatery has a fun and lively ambience, with food that will make your taste buds scream out “Yum!” Come hungry and load up on ensaladas, platanos, sandwiches, and generous combination plates consisting of your choice of meat or seafood (with a vegetarian option available), rice, beans, organic salad, and fried plantains. And come early, locals aren't afraid to line up around the block for the restaurant's amazing coconut latte or decadent desserts. // Locations: Mill Valley and San Rafael, solfoodrestaurant.com
Avatars restaurant, a local favorite, has kept loyal diners happy with exotic and delicious Indian-fusion dishes for 26 years running. In fact, Avatars is such a hit in Marin that it has four convenient locations: Sausalito, Mill Valley, Larkspur and Fairfax. Opt for the signature Punjabi burrito with fresh curried garbanzo beans, basmati rice, fresh herb salsa, seasonal fruit chutney, pickled carrot, yogurt and tamarind sauce. A tasty addition is the curried pumpkin with curried lamb. They also offer basmati rice plates for those of you who are gluten-free, with the option of substituting rice with organic quinoa! Don’t miss out on a side order of crispy papadums and a refreshing mango lassi to wash it all down. // Locations: Sausalito, Mill Valley, Larkspur and Fairfax, enjoyavatars.com
(Photo courtesy of Burmatown.com)
You're guaranteed to find a full house on any night of the week at this cozy mother-daughter run restaurant, so it's always best to get there early to snag a table (they don't accept reservations). Order up and try the tea leaf salad and Burmatown baos to start, followed by the coconut chicken curry with squash and the beef short rib curry with potato, and the delectable chili garlic green beans as a side. Honestly, you can’t go wrong when it comes to this perfectly curated menu. // 60 Corte Madera Ave, Corte Madera, burmatown.com
Who doesn’t love a good pad Thai or Thai curry? Start off with some fresh spring rolls with homemade peanut dipping sauce, then opt for the green curry loaded with mostly-local and organic veggies, sweet basil, and free-range chicken (extra eggplant is a must). Most dishes are gluten- and dairy-free, so feel free to invite even your most picky friend. // 721 E. Blithedale Avenue, Suite B, Mill Valley millvalleythailand.com
(Photo via Blogspot)
Tired of spending the week’s paycheck on a hyped-up sushi joint? Amberjack, located in the heart of Mill Valley, is the local favorite for well-priced fresh fish. Amberjack is a tiny restaurant with only a few tables (expect a line), but they also offer a brisk take-out service if you're in a hurry. Menu options include: seaweed salad, miso eggplant appetizer (Yaki Nasu), as well as the classic sashimi, nigiri sushi, and a variety of tasty sushi rolls or hand rolls. // 72 E Blithedale Ave, Mill Valley,
(Photo courtesy of DJ's Chinese Cuisine)
DJ’s Chinese Cuisine is the real deal when it comes to authentic Chinese food. Menu favorites range from tender Mongolian beef sautéed with green onions and hot peppers to spring rolls, fried rice, chow mein, won ton soup, and a selection of vegetable dishes. Enjoy your meal while sipping on a complimentary pot of tea served with the warmest hospitality. DJ’s is also a popular destination for those seeking take out, and don’t forget to crack open that fortune cookie, you never know what your future may bring. // 435 Magnolia Ave, Larkspur, djchinesecuisine.com
Sarah Hawthorne is the founder of My Balance & Wellness.