Balboa Cafe - Mill Valley
Balboa Cafe - Mill Valley

Balboa Cafe - Mill Valley

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.balboacafe.com/
  • Phone: (415) 381-7321
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch: Tuesday - Friday: 11:30am - 3:00pm
    Brunch: Saturday and Sunday 11:00am - 3:00pm
    Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 4:00pm - 10:00pm
    Friday - Saturday: 4:00pm - 11:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: American, Californian
  • Executive Chef: Rick Edge
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: We offer catering services for off-site events throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Our experienced catering staff will work closely with you to create a memorable event for you and your guests whether in the comfort of your own home, the convenience of your office or staged in a specific venue. Services include: full service off-site catering, experienced catering staff, full service bar, event planning, rental coordination.
  • Private Party Facilities: Please contact the restaurant for more information.
  • Private Party Contact: Kara Mibach 4153817321x

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Sunnyside
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Parking Details: Street parking available.
A word from Balboa Cafe - Mill Valley
Located in the heart of Mill Valley, Balboa Cafe serves classic American bistro fare that is featured on our casual lunch, brunch and dinner menus prepared by Executive Chef Rick Edge. Diners can also choose from an extensive wine list and a terrific cocktail menu.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerGreat for Brunch
Balboa Cafe - Mill Valley reviews from OpenTable diners
1 review since July 30, 2014
Overall Rating4
  • Food4
    Service4
  • Ambiance4
    Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Fun and delicious
    foodieVIP
    Dined on 11/22/2014
    My best friend and I tried this restaurant for the first time and had a great time. Our waiter Mark was very entertaining, knowledgeable and had a great personality. We enjoyed having him serve us. We plan on coming back and asking for his section. The two dishes we ordered was the scallops and panko fish & chips......awesome! As was the sweet potatoes that came with it. Thanks again!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nice evening out
    Jennifer
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    My husband and I had a great evening out, the food was fabulous and the atmosphere perfect!
    Special Features:
    hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lunch out
    TibMVIP
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    This is the first time I've gone to balboa for lunch and it was delicious. The menu had several great salads that sounded good. It was fun to be there during the day.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Service Trumped All
    odette
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    The music started after we sat down and we were right next to it and slightly hard of hearing, the staff moved us quickly to a different location. One of us ordered one item but got another and they fixed that in record time AND didnt charge us for that entree. This excellent service more than made up for any mistakes!!!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Unfortunate
    FoodieFemVIP
    Dined on 10/12/2014
    We had to wait 1/2 hour to be seated. We told our waiter we had to order, eat and leave within the hour. We ordered immediately. He left out every other item we asked for, water, french fries, hot sauce. We had to get the maitre d' to help us. Our meal was good, but not worth the anxiety. Unfortunate.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • honestabe
    Dined on 10/8/2014
    It has a nice decor and the food was ok. The waiter was the main problem. I've had good service there before, but Mark was noisy and intrusive, broke a wine glass with a joke, and interrupted our conversation twice with a loud voice. He told us he lived nearby, but was late anyway, and was pretty immature with some silly jokes given the seemingly elegant decor. I couldn't tell if he'd been drinking, but he was certainly uninhibited. The burger was small and a bit overdone, with a huge mound of french fries. The dinner selection was pretty small, but with 2 burgers, one scallop entre, and a middle priced bottle of wine, the total was $135. I would eat there again for lunch but not dinner, and ask for a different waiter.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • xxxxxxxVIP
    Dined on 10/3/2014
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    Special Features:
    good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • TavyVIP
    Dined on 10/2/2014
    While the chef took the time to make a special dish for my wife who has an allergy and the server was initially attentive and helpful, after the food was served did he not come back to table. We needed to call over another waiter to ask additional items. Also, he did not appear at our table to inquire if everything was ok After our dishes were cleared we sat for nearly 10 minutes without the check. It was only when I stopped another waiter to ask if he would bring our check did we get it. We have been to Balboa before . Never did we experience this kind of service.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Orcasong
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014VIP
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    This is a fine neighborhood spot where I have been going for several years, and am always satisfied.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Nice neighborhood place
    JillVIP
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    We live in Mill Valley and it is really easy to go to the Balboa for a burger or a salad at lunch. There is some outdoor seating. We don't normally sit there but lots of people seem to enjoy it.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent!
    Bobsays
    Dined on 9/18/2014
    Very good experience on a busy night. Food was good, service was great. Noisy - but a lot of people like that.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, hot spot, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good place to take clients
    HardToPlease
    Dined on 8/24/2014
    Servers good looking and seemingly pro, service was friendly, but not super attentive (salad served- but no offer of bread; no offer of drinks or menu suggestions; a little bit too jokey and intimate with the clientelle- but this is Mill Valley. Food was just ok- really nothing special - and expensive for what it is. Ambiance nice, easy to have conversations, not too cramped and crowded so you can talk without yelling, and not worry about others listining to you- or having to over-hear others around you.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, romantic, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • My new go to spot!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    The food and service were both incredible. I highly recommend and will be going back soon!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Met our expectations
    tkmphoenix
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Had not been to the Mill Valley Balboa before. Went thinking it was a pretty high level bar scene and left feeling that was a good view. The food was very good without being distinguished. The ambiance was very nice traditional bar decor, with dark woods. Very busy and pretty noisy but not deafening. Downgraded service because it was overly attentive. Server came frequently and interrupted conversations, and left us feeling somewhat rushed.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Best burgers. Great service!
    JeanVIP
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    We are huge fans of the SF Balboa Cafe and thought we'd give the MV location a try. Our server was delightful and very helpful. My husband ventured into the specials and wasn't as pleased as he has been with the steaks, burgers, and chicken. I loved the scallops. We were there early and there was a slight disconnect between the kitchen and our server so things came out not as we ordered but our server was fantastic about getting things fixed. The enchilada special was very good - not traditional Mexican - but excellent, although so filling that it was a challenge to finish the ice cream sundae - perfection!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • It has gone down hill.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIP
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    Balboa Cafe is not what it used to be. Now they charge $6 for bubbly water that used to be free...the burger and fries which used to be spectacular are just okay and much more expensive. The waitress was politically correct but no real warmth or service. I won't be going back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • We go all the time.
    JillVIP
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    We live in Mill Valley and the Balboa is our number one choice for lunch or brunch on the weekends. Good burgers and breakfast items. Very casual and outdoor seating available for a nice day. A nice place to relax after a bike ride or a walk around downtown Mill Valley.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Casual Lunch
    jonathonstoneVIP
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    Lovely soup, and Cobb salad was very good. Very good server.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • lunch menu is very limited...
    OpenTable Diner Since 1999VIP
    Dined on 8/5/2014
    lunch menu is very limited, and therefore disappointing. the food itself was just okay... service was good.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great first impression
    FrugalFoodieVIP
    Dined on 7/24/2014
    I'm tempted to rave about Balboa Cafe but will have to visit a few more times to form a reliable opinion. But based on one visit and four appetizer plates, the outlooks is very positive. One dish stood out, the Frito Misto. The calamari was among the tenderest I've ever had; fresh, perfectly cooked, nicely flavored, and a good mix of sliced rounds and small heads. The Caesar salad was OK but could have used a bit more dressing and more flavor of anchovy. The fresh veggies were very fresh and well prepared. The prices were generally acceptable for this class of restaurant but the main courses were uncomfortably expensive as were the wines except for one half bottle of cab at $18.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Scrumptious!
    elfauro
    Dined on 7/20/2014
    The four of us were seated at a perfect table, tucked back in the corner. We ordered starters and beverages for our brunch along with entrees. The starters and beverages came to the table very promptly, but we waited over 45 minutes for the entrees. One of our guests had to ask the waiter what was holding things up, and we were told the kitchen had become backed up. The manager did the right thing by profusely apologizing and comping our starters and beverages. All the food was truly delicious and it was very nice that the management reacted accordingly to the delay we experienced.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Best fried chicken around
    JohnVIP
    Dined on 7/14/2014
    The Balboa is our neighborhood go to restaurant. We frequently go there on Monday night for their fried chicken special, which is to die for. The atmosphere is upscale sports bar, and it can get noisy, but that is rarely a problem. The food is usually very good, occasionally great (wish they'd bring back their fried green tomatoes), and occasionally a bit disappointing. The cheese plate is a meal in itself, and the "wedge" salad is a blue cheese and bacon lovers dream (it's not really a wedge). Obviously we like this place, but like about every place in southern Marin, it is over priced. But no worse than anywhere else.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • fillmore street in mill valley
    opentabler7VIP
    Dined on 7/13/2014
    An offshoot of the highly regarded Fillmore street location in the city, this captures the spirit of Mill Valley with warm caring service and great menu options for weekend brunch, and late night bar menu that balances out the generous lunch and dinner options. Very professional bar and drink service also. Very good wines by the glass. The 9 dollar daily changing omelet with greens and potatoes is the best deal in town.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Has been better....
    Davi13
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    We dine often at Balboa, and had a party of 7 on Saturday nite. Everything was just a little off...the service was slow, and food wasn't that good--especially the special risotto (but the person that didn't eat it, had it taken off the check, so that was in the restaurant's favor). The halibut special was overdone, as was the steak. The best thing, as always, was the burger. Go there for the burger and you will never be disappointed!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good, Worth A Second Chance
    JJP1VIP
    Dined on 7/8/2014
    We went on weekday night after 8pm and it was pretty crowded and loud. Sat in a booth but was difficult to carry on a conversation without talking loud. We had to wait at least ten minutes after being seated before we were waited on. Would have been nice if someone asked if we wanted a drink to start? The Ahi Tuna appetizer was very good, the chopped salad was a bit disappointing but they did split it for us and we didn't ask, so that was a nice touch. We shared the Salmon Special which was very good. Fortunately since we came in after 8pm, the crowd did start to die out and the noise level was much better. Our waiter did become much more attentive later in the meal. Good wine list! it's worth another try.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • worth trying once
    LeungVIP
    Dined on 6/26/2014
    I like the ahi tuna,pork chop and the ribeyed. A romantic environment.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Bad night?
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 6/19/2014
    Had to send a chopped salad back...completely tasteless and unappetizing in appearance. Burger was slightly overcooked...had ordered it medium rare and it came medium well. Didn't have the heart to send that back, too. Oh well...maybe we'll have better luck on another evening.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great spot in downtown Mill Valley
    donnasfVIP
    Dined on 6/17/2014
    I would definitely go back to the Balboa Cafe in Mill Valley. The food was very good and the service was great. Our waiter was cheerful and very helpful with my companion who is allergic to garlic. The waiter looked out for him in this regard! We will be back.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Restaurant with good atmosphere
    SFfoodie
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    Good food, although somewhat pricey. Bottomless mimosas and complimentary sparkling water were a nice touch, however, those were stopped and the drinks during brunch are somewhat expensive as well. Solid place for brunch (increase of options on the menu).
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Perfect!
    misscavegrrlVIP
    Dined on 5/25/2014
    We came to Balboa when another restaurant we had chosen was closed last Sunday evening. It was terrific!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2004VIP
    Dined on 5/25/2014
    Service was only given a "good" because they were packed and hadn't expected such a crowd on a holiday.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Remember, service is Everything
    BarbaraVIP
    Dined on 5/24/2014
    Went on Saturday night. I guess that management thought it was a,kW and cut servers early. Bad idea. Service as therefore, bad and slow and kind of wrecked the experience. I actually like this place a lot and the food is great. It is never good to have bad service and management needs to be wiser.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • jackVIP
    Dined on 5/21/2014
    Wonderful lunch with professional, friendly service!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 5/17/2014
    The salmon was amazing! It was cooked to perfection and the marinade was superb!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Terrific for a quick meal
    2foodies2gether
    Dined on 5/15/2014
    We had an hour for the whole meal so promptness was a factor in the grading. Prompt they were and very tasty, creative and helpful. We met our deadline and very much enjoyed our meal. We'd certainly go back at our leisure.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • great lunch in downtown mill valley
    msmo4sho
    Dined on 5/15/2014
    you would have to go every day of the month to try every great lunch option. I recommend the omelette of the day or the Cobb salad, but the burger gets raves from my friends.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • everything was great until......
    mvryan
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    The manager of this restaurant ruined my Mother's Day meal. When we arrived the hostess pulled up our reservation without issue. 10 min later the manager came by and abruptly asked us for the name on our reservation. We responded, then the manager asked for a first name. His tone was very accusatory, so my husband pulled up the Open Table confirmation on his phone and showed it to him. He didn't apologize for interrupting us, he walked away. Later he delivered our food and I thought for sure he would apologize at that time. Instead, he dropped off the food and said "by the way, we found your reservation" and left. Are you kidding me? He handled the situation extremely poorly. Too bad- everything else was great! :(
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • soso
    jennydoneit
    Dined on 5/6/2014
    We went here for diner after reading good enogh reviews - but it really disappointed in the food category. The staff was super friendly and great service. The salads we ordered as first courses were very small and poorly made - even missing ingredients listed on the menu! Wouldn't really recomend this place at the price points - there are better choices in the area.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Good salads
    foodie2
    Dined on 5/6/2014
    we enjoyed the salade nicoise and the caesar salad
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Surprisingly delicious
    BB17VIP
    Dined on 4/24/2014
    We had an extremely good dinner prior to a MTC production. The braised beef risotto was exceptionally good, as was the apple crostata. Service was professional, but friendly. The manager noticed our name and came to tell us he came from a town with the same name. The entire evening was quite enjoyable. We look forward to returning soon.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.