Bistro GinoLina
Bistro GinoLina

Bistro GinoLina

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.ginolina.com/
  • Phone: (415) 258-8590
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:30AM - Dinner:Monday- Saturday: 4:30PM - closing Closed -Sunday
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
  • Executive Chef: Gino La Motta
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Entertainment, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Personal wines welcome, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Private Party Facilities: Please contact us for further details
  • Private Party Contact: Lina 4152588590
  • Entertainment: Solo Guitarist Thursday and Saturday nights. Accompanied by "Opera Singer Monti Zanetti"

Getting there

  • Cross Street: 3rd Street
  • Parking: Public Lot
A word from Bistro GinoLina
Bistro Ginolina Full Bar, Full kitchen including wood burning pizza oven. All organic produce and hormone free meats. Italian owners, Italian Chef and Italian products. "Bistro Ginolina is like taking a trip to Rome and eating your way south to the Amalfi Coast. Flavors here are bold". Robin Collins-Patch Magazine
Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Bistro GinoLina reviews from OpenTable diners
16 reviews since July 29, 2014
Overall Rating3.8
  • Food3.5
    Service3.9
  • Ambiance3.9
    Noise LevelModerate
70% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (10)fit for foodies (5)special occasion (5)romantic (5)good for groups (3)vibrant bar scene (2)late-night find (2)kid-friendly (1)notable wine list (1)great for lunch (1)Show More
  • Goodmarinfood1
    Dined on 11/12/2014
    Wonderful food and service. The quality is always consistent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Hoag
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    Love the place but it's wine list is meager. More choices are needed for this to become a regular "go to" place for me.
    Special Features:
    late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Tasty Italian
    twojpsVIP
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    We tried it twice, since we forgot the certificate. The service is attentive and professional. The small Bistro is set beautifully. The short menu has some excellent dishes. Close to NYC style. We had fun.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • overpriced and bad food
    Gillie
    Dined on 11/6/2014
    The restaurant web site was awesome, but did not reflect the true nature of the quality and preparation of the food. My wife and I started with a split of a caesar salad. The serving was minuscule. The house Cabernet was good but at $12.00 a glass, way to expensive. I ordered the Salmon which the waiter informed was of the wild variety. What was served was a dried out small fillet that most likely came from their freezer. The salmon was thin and hard with one side darkened with the remains of the fish skin that was not fully removed. On the plate there were a few vegetables and some very burnt chunks of potatoes. The chicken in the dish my wife ordered was less than tender. Also, the service was extremely slow.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Enjoyed our meal
    Kathy
    Dined on 10/31/2014
    We had a delicious meal at Bistro GinoLina. They served very large portions so took half my dinner home. I had Veal Piccata which was wonderful and My husband had the Seafood with pasta which he loved and was piled high with seafood. We split a salad. The restaurant is a bit on the noisy side and people hang at the bar. All in alll was great and would go back for sure.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • San Rafael Italian
    ApplejacksVIP
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    The people here are what make it such a wonderful. Love the kindness they exude. Felt like Italy from that perspective. The food is very good among all the myriad of choices in San Rafael.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great Find in Marin
    kg11VIP
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    So glad we tried this quaint little bistro. After passing it by many times, thought it was time to try. We met friends at the bar and were served excellent cocktails to begin our evening. At our lovely table, we ordered a pizza to start. It was perfectly flavored, just enough cheese and sauce without overwhelming the crust. Very tasty. Each of us had a different dish. All of us enjoyed ours. Chicken milanese w/capalinni, Tortolinni stuffed with cheese and asparagus, lamb chops, and a veal scallopini. Bottom line...They know what they're doing!!! and they were very pleasant. We will return.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 9 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 29, 2014
    • Overall Rating3.4
    • Food3.3
    • Ambiance3.7
    • Service3.8
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 72 reviews are from the Bistro GinoLina reviews archive.
  • Authentic Italian in San Rafael
    luvsbc
    Dined on 6/14/2014
    Great, authentic Italian food in downtown SR. Great for World Cup watching as well
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, romantic, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Easy on the up-selling!
    mmmmVIP
    Dined on 5/23/2014
    Food was good, but waiter made us feels though we should be having MORE. If I need to feel guilt - I'll go to my mother's for dinner!!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Hidden in plain view gem
    MDL1234VIP
    Dined on 4/25/2014
    We eat out 3 -4 nights a week and find there are few really good restaurants in Marin. We stumbled on Ginolinda a year ago and have been back 5 times w friends since. I don't write reviews often because if I can't say something positive it's not worth the effort. This restaurant had delivered....simply consistent great Italian food and service. One of Marin's top 5 restaurants and not overly expensive.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Good for Groups, Romantic, special occasion, Great for Lunch, Late-Night Find, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Restaurant situated in an
    TruthTellerVIP
    Dined on 3/27/2014
    Restaurant situated in an old building so architecture inside restaurant is quaint and surroundings pleasant. Food was generally good, except for the pizza, which was, in a word, inept. I get far tastier pizza at Whole Foods. This restaurant really needs to do something about their pizza, like get a new pizza recipe or new pizza chef. Also, the owner, although apparently trying to be a good host, talks too long at the tables, which interfered with the conversation I was trying to have with my dining companion. Overall, it's pretty good here if you can avoid the pizza and the owner.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Hit and Miss
    3jsssVIP
    Dined on 2/27/2014
    I had the crab ravioli in lemon cream sauce, it was delicious. My husband had the penne with shrimp in a vodka sauce, which he was not happy with. It was dry and rather bland. We shared the cauliflower salad, and were disappointed. The chairs have no cushions, and the service was good but overbearing. Since the restaurant was not crowded in the least, we felt rushed. We had to turn the waiter away three times just so we could relax, have our drinks, and look over the menu. I had the impression the restaurant wanted to turn tables as quickly as possible, lingering was not encouraged. The wine list was very limited.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Ginolina review
    charlene
    Dined on 2/15/2014
    We have been to Ginollilna about a year ago. The food is excellent. Although the service of food delivery was good, the server did not act as though he really what we thought about the food or if everything was ok. A little more personable would be nice. We have a wonderful conversation with Lina who is at the bar and Gino was a warm friendly person. We pan on going back
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Real Italian in San Rafael
    NativegalVIP
    Dined on 2/5/2014
    I had driven by many times and decided to try it earlier this week. Very interesting Kale Caesar, which they offered to serve in a small portion. Nice creamy fettucine carbonara. Warm and welcoming staff, attentive without hovering. It has a nice bar and what seems to be a local following. It is a little on the pricey side, especially for the location, I would try it again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Birthday dinner party
    GinoVIP
    Dined on 1/20/2014
    We had a birthday party for 10 people and Gino took great care of us with a get table and delicious food!! Everyone had a great time and loved the food!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, notable wine list, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • molto originale
    jhur
    Dined on 11/9/2013
    Very good paglia e fieno with lobster and artichoke, calamari steak, great wines, too generous desserts. There are plenty of Italian restaurants in San Rafael. This one stands out for being small and intimate with very friendly service, not as loud as the bigger places.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Gino Lino has delicious food
    GinoVIP
    Dined on 10/25/2013
    Gino Lino has delicious food and has a nice bar. It is a neighborhood gem and consistently offers specials and excellent service. Gino is always there treating his customers with a big smile and makes them feel special. This is a most try if you have never dined there!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • My party of 5 arrived at this
    TiGeRVIP
    Dined on 10/25/2013
    My party of 5 arrived at this lovely restaurant after moving all day. It was much nicer than we were prepared for. They didn't miss a beat. We had a delicious meal served well! Thank you
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Food okay, but music is deafening
    getsnarkyVIP
    Dined on 9/27/2013
    I can't recommend. They have live music and it's just WAY too loud. I couldn't hear the waiter, couldn't hear my friends and during a break heard the table next to me hoping aloud that the concertina player would not return from their break. The service was good - but the food was disappointing. The kale caesar was excellent as were a couple of the veggie starters; however, the entrees were poor across the board. I had the special osso bucco and it not only looked unappetizing - a pile of meat in a sea of watery risotto - but it was very, very, very bland. No meat taste - no taste at all, and for the first time in memory I had to liberally salt and pepper a dish but it was unsalvagable. Should have sent it back. Next time, Davide.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Mediocre At Best
    Dipsea99VIP
    Dined on 9/12/2013
    The food was mediocre at best. We ordered the pasta of the day as shown on the daily menu insert, but at 6:30 PM it was "not ready". So eggplant parmesan was nicely done, but the pasta bolognese was nothing special. We also ordered a vegetable appetizer from the daily menu and the vegetables weren't fresh and tasted like they were out of a can. Service was prompt, but we never saw the guitar player that was advertised on the website.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • We were pampered from the
    SonomalocalVIP
    Dined on 9/9/2013
    We were pampered from the time we arrived. We had a couple of special requests that were taken care of quickly and graciously. We ordered mostly from the specials of the day and all 5 of us were pleased with our dishes. We'll look forward to ordering from their extensive menu and trying additional tastes on our next visit.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A little taste of Italy.
    GinoVIP
    Dined on 8/30/2013
    This place is always consistent with delicious food and great service. It is in downtown San Rafael and parking is easy to find. Try it out and you won't be disappointed. Gino is there every night and will take care of you!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A Hidden Jewel in Marin
    MaseratiVIP
    Dined on 8/12/2013
    Gino is an amazing host!! The perfect host! Gracious, welcoming, energetic and friendly! He is the life of the restaurant!. Always making you feel at home! The food is delicious and consistent!! The service is outstanding; attentive and not overbearing!! The prices are reasonable!! I will recommend GinoLina without any hesitation!!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 8/2/2013
    We went to this restaurant with friends. They had someone playing the guitar, which was very nice. The waiter was wonderful, the service was great and the food was fresh and delicious. I highly recommend this restaurant to everyone.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Saturday Night Date
    Anthonyr
    Dined on 7/27/2013
    Their food was very good and the service was awesome. I would highly recommend Gino's.
    Special Features:
    romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • not a great place for a family
    Buster
    Dined on 6/13/2013
    We dined on a Thursday night. The live music was too loud, and we asked several times for the volume to be turned down so we could talk. No adjustment was possible according to the wait staff. We did not order a lot of food and every time the server asked, he would say "Jez" or sigh. My husband and I ordered the saffron seafood soup, and the mussels overwhelmed the flavor, not to mention tasted bad. When asked how everything tasted, I was honest and said the mussels were off. The response was, " oh, they just came in today".
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • GinoLina: Great Food, Great Service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 6/8/2013
    GinoLina has a fantastic array of Italian dishes, with an emphasis on high quality locally sourced ingredients. What stands out for me, however, is their amazing Tutu Mare - which is baked in parchment paper. It just explodes with flavors. Gino and Lina are always very welcoming; as are their staff. The wine list is an eclectic range of Italian reds and whites, and includes some really good options at reasonable prices. They also carry a good range of Californian wines.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A bad night?
    PflowerVIP
    Dined on 10/5/2012
    Having been to Bistro Ginolina many times we looked forward to our last visit. I hope it was just a bad night but the food and service were just horrible. My piccata was soggy and bland and my husbands fish was dry. With all the wonderful Italian restaurants in the county we will not be back any time soon. This all makes me sad as we have liked this restaurant for so long and have, in the past, recommended it to friends.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Weekday lunches were nice,
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 9/15/2012
    Weekday lunches were nice, but on crowded evenings (esp. Saturday night,) the noise level of the restaurant makes table conversation very difficult. The tables are too close together. However, the cuisine is excellent. Service is friendly, but seemed a bit short staffed for the weekend crowd.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Skip It
    OpenTable Diner Since 2003
    Dined on 9/14/2012
    Overwhelmed wait staff...slow service...soggy pizza...terse and unwelcoming owner...bland food. The bottle of wine saved the evening...but we could have gotten it at Costco.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • My past visits were much better.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 7/31/2012
    My past visits were much better. Our first course of fried tomatoes was good, but the prawn Caesar salad was tasteless and the prawns were overcooked and tasted a bit past their prime. I'll go again, but won't rush back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The food was very good and
    SRJohn
    Dined on 7/14/2012
    The food was very good and the service was very personable right down to the handshake and thank-you on the way out the door. Felt it was a bit on the expensive side, but no regrets.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Date Night
    Dhsid
    Dined on 6/23/2012
    A good experience and wonderful place to take a date on. Food was very good and was moderately priced.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The restaurant was about to
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009VIP
    Dined on 6/7/2012
    The restaurant was about to close and was unable to keep my reservation, but well beyond the call of duty, gave me a carton of pasta with cream sauce, cheese, peas and bacon, a favorite. A nice surprise. Open Table, please get your act together. This happened twice the same night where your listed reservation times didn't match the restaurant's schedule.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • They outdid themselves. We
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 6/2/2012
    They outdid themselves. We have eaten all over the world but all 6 of us agreed the food equaled Michelin Star levels.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • First time visit. The food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 5/26/2012
    First time visit. The food was great as was the service!Will be dining at Ginolina again!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food was just so so. Pork
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 5/25/2012
    Food was just so so. Pork chop kind of dry and calamari was rubbery. Pesto pizza was okay but a bit bland. Kale caesar salad was pretty interesting though. Service was good but my dog got most of my pork chop when I got home!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • good food, but service ....?
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 5/12/2012
    My family went for a special occasion and booked in advance for a Saturday night ( I thought it was necessary). When we arrived right on time we still had to wait ten for our table to be set up, and it was awkward because there isn't exactly a waiting area. Noise travels on this little restaurant so if you plan on a lit of laughing joking (even crude jokes) go to another restaurant (kids eat here for goodness sake). It's Italian, but our waitress didn't know any of the words so we pointed to our menus. We were at the restaurant for nearly two hours because it took nearly an hour finger our orders brought out. I only recommend this place because the food is indeed delicious and breathtaking, and the decor is beautiful and romantic.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The food is always exceptional
    sedonaVIP
    Dined on 2/14/2012
    The food is always exceptional at Bistro Ginolina. The pasta is my favorite, but so is everything else!! It is our favorite place to go - especially for a special occasion.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • We were there on a Monday
    OpenTable Diner Since 2000VIP
    Dined on 2/6/2012
    We were there on a Monday night and the owner was doing most of the serving. There were four or five tables in use, so the service was slower than I would have expected. He was a good host, however, and the food was quite good. We will go back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate