Some (most) people give the Marina a bad rap. Is it a place that you might get run over by a stampede of toddlers or berated by a drunk dude wearing Ferragamo loafers and Chubbies? Yes. But it’s also flat, picturesque, generally sunny, and full of good, if not wildly trendy restaurants and bars.
So if you find yourself in the neighborhood, which you inevitably will, here are all the places to go that aren’t Tipsy Pig or Blackwood. Some Chubby Noodle pork tacos will have you looking at Chestnut Street real estate real quick.
We always keep The Plant in rotation for a healthy lunch or quick casual dinner (go ahead, have a beer with your tempeh). Not the coziest spot around, but for healthy food, everything is definitely above average. The Asian-y stir fry entrees are an unexpectedly good move.
Toma is our favorite taco spot in the neighborhood because their meats, tortillas, and salsas are next level. It’s definitely a grab-and-go situation, or on a sunny day of fighting hangovers, a good place to scarf a breakfast burrito at the sidewalk tables.
Despite some internal debate about Tacolicious’ merits, half of Team Infatuation is strongly behind this spot. The kale salad is great, the chips and guac are great, the short ribs tacos are SO GREAT, and this spot is a good time. Drink across the street at Horseshoe Tavern while you wait.
A relative newcomer to the Marina, Bonita falls between Toma and Tacolicious on the fanciness scale. The dressing on the campesina ensalada is ridiculously good (add the fresh rotisserie chicken), and the carnitas are spot on too. The margaritas are also great for an ‘order at the counter’ spot. On a sunny, non-windy afternoon, the front tables in the window are where you want to sit.
Right in the heart of it all, the outdoor tables at Delarosa are the ideal spot to watch the fine people of the Marina strut the ‘Nut (Chestnut Street, that is). Excellent burrata and small plates and decent pizzas round out the food situation. But let’s be real, you’re here for live-action Tinder.
If spending $14 on the healthiest smoothie of all time is something you’d consider, then begin to throw money at Seed + Salt. The bright, sunny spot makes shockingly good vegan food that, while pricey, is straight up delicious.
A 16 is a place we deeply, deeply love. From the perfect pizza out of the woodfired oven to the stellar wine list to the twinkly lights of the back garden window to the ridiculously good ragu, A 16 has Feel Good Factor(™) to the max. And best of all, you can usually pop in and sit down without a decades-long wait.
Looking for a more refined Mexican experience? Mamacita has excellent food, and a slightly more grown up feel than the rest of the neighborhood taco spots. The outdoor heaters are frighteningly strong, but sometimes you need to singe your hair in exchange for crazy good goat tacos.
We aspire to know the minds of the braintrust behind Chubby, because they play kickass, albeit occasionally deafening music (sorry, we’re old), serve awesome Asian fusion food and generally seem like people you want to party with. We celebrate gluten here frequently.
Borderline Marina since it’s technically in the Presidio, we are all about the small plates and beers at this recently-opened spot. The fries are otherworldly and the ice cream sandwich makes us feel all the feelings.
Here’s all you need to know: there is a takeout window. You can stumble up to it from 10pm to 1am and get yourself an immensely satisfying bowl of rice and meats.
From the outside, this looks like a tiny Italian market. From the inside, you can see that it is in fact that, as well as a sandwich temple. Old school and delicious, the Porchetta and Caprese (with prosciutto) are the way to go. Pro tip: You can order online and skip the line.
Unless you’ve been living in the tunnels under Alcatraz, you’ve probably heard that the burger at Causwells is the sh*t. We readily confirm that and endorse this place for brunch, lunch or afternoon cocktails. Dinner is pretty good, but the daytime is when Causwells really shines.
Straying from the major Marina food groups of pizza, tacos and salads, Mezes is a neighborhood spot run by super friendly people. The ideal night here involves posting up at the bar, drinking some Greek wine, and consuming an excessive amount of zucchini pancakes and saganaki.
Best Chinese take-out around, and eating inside actually doesn’t feel like a den of sadness either. Garlic Eggplant, Lemongrass Chicken, and Moo Shu Pork should all be on your order.
The best Japanese in the area. While a little pricey, Chotto has some kickass skewers, solid ramen, and most importantly, bacon wrapped mochi.
Izzy’s is a serious local, old-school operation throwing down hearty meats, creamed spinach, and more of the usual steakhouse standbys. A family favorite for Dads who love L.L. Bean sweaters and their new lawnmower.
Welcome to the hood, Dorian. Taking over the corner space Circa occupied for too long, The Dorian is bringing us oysters, cocktails, and a pretty good burger.
Shuffleboard in the back, cougars and assorted businessmen in the front. Reed & Greenough is the randomest gathering of humans around – maybe that’s why the drinks are so strong. We love it either way, plus the happy hour deals are solid.
This space has been the Marina Lounge since 1967, and a bar of some sort or another since 1936. If the “Hark Cocktails!” sign didn’t tip you off, this is a spot for serious drinkers, and Sully the bartender will gladly get you a beer or a shot, no matter what time of day it is. Shoutout to the guy who drinks coffee and reads the paper there every morning. Heads up, cash only.
This spot across the street from Tacolicious is a divey wonderland for Giants fans. Two fun facts: it’s owned by an ex-Yankees pitcher (if you count one game thrown), and the coasters look great in any apartment (ours included). One of more chill, less ‘Marina’ bars, and we approve.
This place thinks it’s in LA in 1999 and that putting things that aren’t beef & broccoli into Chinese takeout containers is a good idea. If you can get past that, the salads are delicious and full of toppings, and the sandwiches, especially the Kickin’ Chicken and Ragin’ Cajun, are awesome. There will be a line. Deal with it.