Pasta Pomodoro

 140 Vintage Way
Novato, CA

consistent quality, service, and value.

“Pasta Pomodoro” will soon be known as “Pomodoro” as they do not just serve pasta any more. My wife and I have been dining there for over 10 times in the past 2 years, and as a food lover, I must say that the quality of various dishes are of excellent quality and value. Their pasta dishes are always cooked and served just right. Me and my wife enjoy the texture, temperature, and portion of the pasta, and they top it with just the right amount of fresh ingredients so that we could absolutely taste every item individually, just the way things should be. It seems to me that that have mastered the quality of the pasta dishes.

One item that keep me thinking about Pomodoro, it is their shrimp dishes. Their shrimp is always fresh and cooked just right, perhaps they have perfected that small window of opening for shrimp cooking as well. I highly recommend the special of the day, as I order them half of the time when I dine there and they were all consistently great.

Pomodoro features an open kitchen, an up to date and clean interior decor, excellent lighting, a friendly bar, and excellent service. I cannot speak the same for all the other Pomodoro restaurants, but never for once did I detected even the slightest hint that I was dining in a chain restaurant. This Pomodoro certainly has a lot of personality, a place that make customers feels alive, a credit to the current management team. Food servers are great as I never once saw the bottom of my diet Coke, and they do say thank you as my wife and I leave the restaurant on those nights when they were not too busy.

If you fancy a wonderful pasta dish in the Novato area without the guess work or breaking the bank, Pomodoro is definitely my highly recommmended spot.

Overall rating: 3.7 Stars.


Fujiyama Japanese Restaurant

 2130 4th St
San Rafael, CA

Sushi and sashimi simply doesn't get any better.

Looking for the best quality Japanese food in Marin County? Where else but Fujiyama in San Rafael near San Anselmo? Fujiyama is one of the few Japanese restaurants that still serve TRADITIONAL Japanese dishes upon request in the Bay Area, and once you try something with a twist, such as the oyster shooter during the oyster season, which I usually have at least 3 of those, you would hesitate to visit other Japanese restaurants in the area ever again. There is no hype about this location, Fujiyama is simply all about good food.

There are a few noteworthy Japanese restaurants in Marin County, but they are more into the fusion food scene which is getting rather 90’s to me. I do not enjoy dining with a bunch of people functioning in their “I dare you eat this” or “I dare you drink that” mode with no knowledge of the Japanese culture and the food. Many out of the world Japanese restaurants in Japan are simply a hole in the wall and they don’t come with a fancy space with an oversize store frontage.

Fujiyama is all about eating and drinking right. It is always important for me to know who I am getting my sushi from. There is only one way to find out, the right way: I spoke with the sushi chef Yoshi many times who is also the owner, he drives to Hayward almost every morning to select the best top grade fish personally, with such passion itself is almost a lost art in the restaurant industry. There is NO second grade sushi in Fujiyama ever. I would say that Fujiyama is at the very top of the Japanese food chain.

Personally I like to dine with my wife at the sushi bar, especially when everybody else is at the San Rafael Farmer’s Market. It is warm, cozy, friendly, and I get to view how the true sushi artist in graceful action. The sushi chef and owner Yoshi is a little on the shy side so please be polite and gentle with him. Sushi and sashimi simply doesn’t get any better than Fujiyama, which is on my highly recommended list for dining and certainly gets my highest recommendation for sushi spot in Marin County / North Bay.

5 Stars for quality of food, 5 Stars for quality of service, 5 Star for being clean, 4 Star for dinning experience, 3.5 Star for interior decor, Overall 4.5 Stars.


Hamilton Cafe

 502 S Palm Dr
Novato, CA

A honest little hidden gem without the hype.

“A nice little relaxing drive in and out of Hamilton Field, I always find myself leaving Hamilton Cafe happy.” is how I would described this restaurant. It is a nice, clean, and cozy little place, with an open kitchen and a large deck for outdoor dining, serving good honest food at a very reasonable price. I would describe their food as freshly prep up-to-date “comfort food”, and I enjoy their “slow cook” food the most.

As the size of their kitchen is pretty small, I am very impressed with the selection on the menu, and there was never a long wait from one course to another. The servers are always polite, helpful, and doing their job well. Most people might worry about what to order for their first visit, perhaps wondering if some dishes are better than the others, NOT with Hamilton Cafe. No matter whether it is a dish from the regular menu or from the daily special selection, I could randomly pick a dish and my dining experience would be just as good as being overly careful, as I always enjoy the tasting of my wife’s selection just as well as mine, but I cannot say the same about most of the other restaurants in Marin County. Hamilton Cafe is keeping things simple and consistent, and have earned my trust over a period of 2 years that my wife and I decided to dine there on Valentine’s Day 2 months ago. It was an excellent decision as all of our dining expectations were met impressively.

I do not normally give out my contact information to just any restaurant for promotional purposes, but I made an exception for Hamilton Cafe, because I have always been impressed by the quality of various dishes and the consistency over multiple visits, and it was worth my effort. This honest little hidden gem without the hype is my Novato recommended spot.


Kobe Sake Japanese Sushi

 312 El Camino Real
San Bruno, CA

For San Bruno or near SFO, Kobe Sake is my recommended spot.

I have seen a lot of restaurants coming and going over the years in the San Bruno neighborhood, with many Asian restaurants changing hands or simply disappeared. Kobe Sake has been at the current location for over 8 years and still proudly standing 7 nights a week with 5 business days lunches, they must be doing something right. The general atmosphere is warm and friendly at the sushi bar, making this restaurant one of my “visit once every week” dining experience. The service is excellent, but the service could become slow as the restaurant gets jam packed (usually late Friday and Saturday, so get there early). As for the sushi, this is one of the very few honest restaurants that you could ask “What is good today” without getting any outlet items, and “SO GOOD!” is exactly how I would describe the quality of their sushi. If you are by chance visiting this restaurant during the weekdays, you can really get to know the people in this restaurant well, and personally as a food lover, I prefer just that. I know there is this one guy always getting take-out order around the same time (6 PM) nearly everyday when I dine at Kobe Sake, such a “commitment” speak louder than words. I would rate Kobe Sake 4 stars but not a 5, as there is room for improvement, but knowing how difficult it is for the industry to survive day by day, I simply could not ask for more as a customer. Here is a surprising fact: Kobe Sake has returning international customers from Europe. Domestic cliental spread out all over from Marin County to Los Angeles. If you happen to be at San Bruno or near SFO, this is my recommended spot.

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