Nick's Cove

Frankie Frankeny

Nick's Cove

By Anne Zimmerman

You go to Nick’s Cove, located on the Eastern shore of Tomales Bay, for the fresh air, the salty smell, and the gorgeous views of blue water. But the fact that the food in this wood-paneled 1930s roadhouse is truly farm-and-sea-to-table makes the drive entirely worth it. Pack your appetite, the menu here is distinctly California cuisine, with ingredients sourced from local (like just down the road) farms and dairies. “These oysters are pulled directly from the Bay,” the waitress says, motioning towards the cool waters that host the bivalve. You know what they say: Everything taste better with a little (sea) salt.

Start with oysters. We like the local Preston Points raw, with house mignonette spiked with lime, cilantro, and a touch of jalapeno. No fan of the half shell? Order the bigger Drake's Bay oysters from the BBQ, brushed with house-made sauce and garlic-parsley butter. The Little Gems Salad, with mixed greens, local goat cheese, and and an avocado vinaigrette, is virtuous preparation for what comes next – Decadent Dungeness crab mac and cheese. We could have ordered the roasted Petaluma chicken, too. But one look at those dark waters and we flagged the waitress. We slurped another round of oysters instead.

the crowd

Fresh air is a great rejuvenator. Everyone here looks natural and pretty in that “I spend lots of time outdoors” sort of way.

... on the side

sweet seats
Nearly every table is blessed with a view of Tomales Bay. We recommend showing up right around sunset.

on the stereo
Tuesday is Locals Night. If you’re in the hood, pop in for the live music. On a recent visit, the folksy Django Reinhart inspired tunes made us feel very cozy indeed.

insider's tip
Nick’s Cove is a destination for city daytrippers and vacationers but lots of locals come here too. If you’re thirsty for a yarn, order a beer and get to talking to the guy with the white beard in the fisherman’s sweater. He’s got stories to tell.

Low-Medium, depending on if it’s a live music night.


Dinner nightly 5PM–9 PM

price range

$2.75 (local oysters) to $29 (Liberty Farms Duck Breast)