Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.11mi
  2. Distance: 0.37mi
  3. Distance: 0.43mi
  4. Distance: 0.43mi
  1. Distance: 0.11mi
  2. Distance: 0.37mi
  3. Distance: 0.43mi
  4. Distance: 0.43mi

Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.11mi
  2. Distance: 0.37mi
  3. Distance: 0.43mi
  4. Distance: 0.43mi
  1. Distance: 0.11mi
  2. Distance: 0.37mi
  3. Distance: 0.43mi
  4. Distance: 0.43mi

About 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. Diners can also choose from an extensive wine list and a terrific cocktail menu.

38 Miller Avenue
Mill Valley, CA 94941
View Larger Map

Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
American, Californian

Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Tuesday - Friday: 11:30am - 3:00pm
Brunch: Saturday and Sunday 11:00am - 3:00pm
Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm
Friday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm

Cross Street:
Sunnyside

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(415) 381-7321

Website:
http://www.balboacafe.com/

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.

Parking Details:
Street parking available.

Private Party Facilities:
Please contact the restaurant for more information.

Private Party Contact:
Kara Mibach: (415) 381-7321

Additional:
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Balboa Cafe - Mill Valley Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.4

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.2

service

4.2

ambience

4.2

value

4.0

Noise

Moderate

84% would recommend it to a friend

Neighborhood Gem (10)
Casual (9)
Bar Seating (8)
See All
Good for a Date (7)
Comfort Food (6)
Fun (6)
Great for Lunch (6)
Special Occasion (6)
Good for Birthdays (6)
Authentic (5)
Great for Brunch (4)
Business Meals (4)
Cozy (4)
Fit for Foodies (4)
Local Ingredients (4)
Good for Anniversaries (3)
Creative Cuisine (3)
Handcrafted Cocktails (3)
Healthy (3)
Hot Spot (3)
Live Sports (3)
Notable Wine List (3)
Pre/post Theatre (3)
Quiet Conversation (3)
Vibrant Bar Scene (3)
Worth the Drive (3)
Kid-friendly (2)
Organic (2)
Quick Bite (2)
Seasonal (2)
Good Vegetarian Options (2)
Happy Hour (2)
Disabled Access (1)
Sunday Lunch (1)
Good for Groups (1)
Late-night Find (1)
Great for Outdoor Dining (1)
Paleo Friendly (1)
Romantic (1)
Gluten Free Options (1)
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920 reviews
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 (San Francisco)·Dined 3 days ago

I like the roomy booths and and friendly service. I had Cobb salad, which was a little dry, but the highly accommodating waiter quickly brought more dressing. My friend had a cheeseburger. I sampled his French fries, which were terrific.

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food3
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 3, 2017

The food was somewhat disappointing. I had a salmon dish and my husband had a pork chop. My salmon was on a bed of green beans and both the salmon and the beans were floating in a gravy like sauce. Too rich for the dish. The beans were overcooked. My husband's dish had the same issue; pork chop on a bed of Brussel sprouts , both covered in a sauce. Enough with the sauces! Simple dishes would be more appealing , at least to our tastes.
It's a nice restaurant, but it feels as if the chef is trying too hard.

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food2
ambience4
service4
value3

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on October 29, 2017

First time in and glad we came. Terrific food with very reasonable prices for the Bay Area. Will be back for sure.

Tags: Hot Spot, Casual, Quick Bite
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 17, 2017

Time and again, the Balboa Cafe has delicious food, unique but not quirky. The prices are quite reasonable, the service excellent. This is really a gem, worthy of many returns.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Authentic, Comfort Food, Quiet Conversation
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on October 16, 2017

How can you mess up a burger and French fries? Fries hard, bread hard, burger hard. Oh well, the ice tea was nice.

Tags: Casual
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food3
ambience5
service3
value3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 9, 2017

My risotto was over cooked, the rise was like a mash potatoes.

Antonella

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food2
ambience3
service4
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 8, 2017

One of my go-to places in Mill Valley, in fact, my fave!

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Comfort Food
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 2, 2017

Food was okay - not great by any means - it was good just nothing to write home about. The service was probably the most disappointing - waited 10 mins before wait service staff acknowledged our table, water was hastily placed on the table and spilled because the poor maitre d' looked overwhelmed with seating guests and getting water on the tables. it definitely felt as if they were short staffed for a fairly busy Sunday evening. our cocktails took over 10 mins to get to us after ordering - the excuse was that the bar printer didn't print out our order. in all, 35 mins passed before a drink even showed up. So no.. overall i wasn't impressed by the restaurant which is unfortunate because i'm still trying to find an excellent meal in Mill Valley.

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food3
ambience3
service2
value2

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 2, 2017

Win a few loose a few. We go to the Balboa frequently and love their fried chicken special on Monday. But we are 0 for 2 on Sunday prime rib. Last night's prime rib was overcooked and dry. The kitchen must have been having a bad night because my the mozzarella for my caprice was dry and old. We did get a $20 credit (which did not even cover the full cost of our two glasses of wine), but would have much preferred if our server had warned us about the prime rib ahead of time. Overall we like the Balboa, some dishes are great, but inconsistency is a problem as is their high wine prices.

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food2
ambience3
service2
value1

 
·Dined on October 1, 2017

Great food, great service, but the noise level was just a little too loud for us. Other than that, I’d recommend it & go back next time I’m in town.

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food4
ambience3
service4
value3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 15, 2017

Our reservations were early (5:30 pm) so we were the first table seated, although there were several people at the bar. The receptionist saw us quickly and came over, she offered the table of our choice. Water and bread were brought to our tale quickly and our waiter came to the table within a few minutes of us being seated. We received our food in a timely manner and it tasted fine.
However; we were frustrated with our waiter, who just didn't listen to us and seemed bored. I order a bottle of sparking water, requesting that it have no ice and no lemon, lime or other fruit. He brought the sparking water with an empty glass that had a wedge of lime on it. I asked him to bring me an empty glass without a lime. I ordered a cheeseburger without the lettuce, pickles and tomato. My husband ordered the NY steak. Our waiter told him that the steak came with mashed potatoes, sauteed green beans and a sauce on the side. When my plate arrived the cheeseburger was resting on top of a dozen pickles, of course the roll was soaked with the pickle juice. I cut off the portion of the roll that was soaked in the juice. My husband's steak came and the mashed potatoes had horseradish in them (which the waiter never mentioned) and the sauce was on top of the steak (not on the side as the waiter stated). Our waiter was oblivious to his mistakes or just didn't care. Clearly he didn't listen. When we were done we requested 3 small boxes. Our waiter brought us 2 boxes and we had to send him back to get another box. If we do go back I will ask for a different waiter if he comes to our table.

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food4
ambience3
service2
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 30, 2017

Always love Balboa. My favorite place to go in fact....

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on August 27, 2017

Balboa has a nice ambiance and comfortable booths as well as bar seating. However, the food was underwhelming at best. The meat eaters at the table had a tough sweetened porkchop that was not good and a bad burger with side order of fries (only good thing ordered). As for the vegetarians at the table, there were few options except for weak starter salads. The only pasta had meat and they said we could order without meat (of course), but it was awful (heavily sauced with terrible yellowish cream sauce that was almost inedible). The waitress was surly, had no suggestions for anyone at table, and didn't recommend any wine when we asked. We ordered an overpriced white burgundy ($18 glass that was mediocre) and a Cabernet (really bad). Waitress basically forgot about us after bringing bad food and drink. Thankfully, the busboy was attentive and finally we asked him to clear barely half eaten plates and get out check (waitress bailed after bringing terrible food). Check was expensive (as usual in downtown Mill Valley), but food was not good and waitress as bad as food. Will not return to this place unfortunately.

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Bar Seating, Business Meals, Kid-friendly
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food2
ambience4
service3
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 26, 2017

The server and host were so friendly, helpful and fun! Plus the food was delicious :)

Tags: Paleo Friendly, Bar Seating, Good for a Date, Pre/post Theatre, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 20, 2017

best hamburger in town, fabulous textbook cab! always enjoy the waiters.

Tags: Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 19, 2017

Seated promptly and waiter checked on us quickly, explained menu additions and gave us time to consider order; restaurant, in general, has a festive feel. The bar with it's tv is not intrusive to diners. Salads are innovative. Roast chicken was a bit overwhelmed by a tart sauce; the saffron infused risotto topped with fish filet was nicely flavored. Portions quite generous.

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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 14, 2017

Dungengess crab risotto was amazing . Tito provided excellent service on a quiet Sunday night

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food5
ambience3
service4
value3

vip
 (Dallas)·Dined on August 6, 2017

Great Brunch!!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 30, 2017

I have been going to Balboa Cafe on a regular basis for a number of years. In the past I have also recommended it to a number of people. I have always enjoyed the atmosphere and the food. The service also was good. The last two times I have been there, however, the service was horrible. Food and drinks were very slow in coming out. On my last visit when the food finally came out, the table had not yet been cleared of the appetizer plared. My dining companions and I cleared the table so the sevrver could set down the food. On both of my last visits I had to repeatedly ask someone to find our waiter . Once, after a lengthy search, I was told by a busboy that he was unable to located our waiter. The busboy ended up taking our dessert order. I left very frustrated and have no plans to return.

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food4
ambience4
service1
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 25, 2017

A couple of friends and I met for dinner on a Monday evening. Service was prompt but not overbearing, and our waitperson was very knowledgeable and professional, and also incredibly patient with a member of our party who was undecided about wine choice. I love the atmosphere of the Balboa Cafe -- friendly, relaxed, and fun, with great food and wine. One of our favorite places in Marin!

Tags: Fun, Great for Brunch, Late-night Find, Neighborhood Gem, Quick Bite, Casual, Local Ingredients, Healthy, Sunday Lunch, Bar Seating, Good Vegetarian Options, Fit for Foodies, Comfort Food, Worth the Drive, Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 27, 2017

We've been twice now for pre theatre dinner and found the food consistently good and the service familiar and fun..

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Fit for Foodies, Casual, Creative Cuisine, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience2
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 26, 2017

Our favorite fried chicken, and the cronuts are great. The Balboa is overpriced but good, and convenient since we live nearby.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience4
service4
value3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 18, 2017

Father's Day dinner

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food2
ambience4
service3
value2

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 18, 2017

Not the bar scene of the SF triangle - this location is more sedate but the food steps up a notch. We had steak, pork, chicken, salmon, and the pasta of the day plus three appetizers. All were delicious and I would order them again.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Disabled Access, Good for Groups, Business Meals, Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays, Cozy, Romantic
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 18, 2017

Always excellent in every way...authentic steak frites a favorite, scrumptious French toast, etc., etc. Lovely service. Comfortable atmosphere. So happy BC is in MV !

Tags: Sunday Lunch, Comfort Food, Pre/post Theatre, Kid-friendly, Vibrant Bar Scene, Live Sports, Fit for Foodies, Casual, Romantic, Great for Brunch, Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays, Cozy, Neighborhood Gem, Seasonal, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Miami)·Dined on June 14, 2017

A terrific restaurant that offers a good variety of dishes, expertly prepared. We had a lovely lunch and would return. The roasted salmon was full of flavor and perfectly prepared. The Robert H. Cobb Salad was fresh and full of ingredients

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Quiet Conversation, Casual, Hot Spot, Romantic, Handcrafted Cocktails, Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 4, 2017

We eat at Balboa about twice a month and have always been very pleased with the food and the service. Whenever we've requested a booth or a special table we've gotten it. I didn't check "kid friendly" but we certainly see many happy children eating there. The staff is wonderful!

Tags: Casual, Creative Cuisine, Seasonal, Quiet Conversation
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 26, 2017

The crab and shrimp risotto is to DIe for. My husband's salmon entree was also very delicious. I took bites of his meal too:-) Good wine choices, and I watch what I eat and there are plenty of excellent choices. The service has always been solid and very attentive, but it's the food that brings me back again and again.

Tags: Casual, Seasonal, Local Ingredients, Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date, Authentic, Healthy
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 20, 2017

On a ride, opened Open Table, reserved - no wait and the service food was wonderful. Would go back in a minute. Thank you

Tags: Comfort Food, Fun, Casual, Authentic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 18, 2017

Love this place, service is always good, great cocktails and consistently good food.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience4
service5
value3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 13, 2017

Mark was our server and he was amazing as always.

Tags: Hot Spot, Good for a Date, Kid-friendly, Live Sports
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 9, 2017

We have been to this restaurant many times, but this time the service was extremely poor. It took forever to get our meals, and when I asked the man at the desk what was taking so long, he said everyone came in at once. So here is where you "talk" to your guests. If our waitress would have told us that it was going to be a wait because of an onslaught, we would have not kept wondering what happened to our order. Our food was brought by someone other than our waitress, and we were basically forgotten. Needed more water, cheese for my dish, butter, normal things that make for a good experience. Very disappointed.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Bar Seating
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food5
ambience5
service1
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 7, 2017

While the brunch menu is limited, substitutions were welcome making it easy to accommodate our diet. The food was exceptional and the coffee and mimosas equally delicious. Pricing was also very reasonable for Mill Valley.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on April 30, 2017

Really great. Chicken dish outstanding. Waitress was very sweet

Tags: Casual, Good Vegetarian Options
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 28, 2017

We go to the Balboa fairly often, so obviously we like it. The major negative is overpriced wine, $10 a glass for mediocre house wine, that really knocks down the value for money in our book. But the food is generally good. Excellent french fries, and the fresh hot cronuts are a great desert (but get the chocolate on the side). This time around I rather liked the cabbage with bacon side dish. We often go for the Monday fried chicken (best around), and the chicken pillared was surprisingly good on a Tuesday. Good place but not a bargain.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 27, 2017

To above list I recommend you add "great for dinner."

Enjoyed the calamari with light batter, the crab cakes, and local fresh salmon perfectly cooked.
Didn't care for the white beans and "greenery" that came with the salmon.

(On another occasion, I had the best chicken entree I have ever tasted.)

Kudos to the bar for carrying Porter beer which is rare these days.

Always enjoy our meals there.

Highly recommend it.

Tags: Seasonal, Fit for Foodies, Local Ingredients, Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience3
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 12, 2017

I took a new employee and my boss to lunch and we had only an hour and a half so I didn't want to make a stink. I ordered the Chicken Parmesan and Spaghetti special. Most of the peas were hard as a rock (still frozen maybe?) and parts of the chicken had an odd texture. The spaghetti was fine but I left most of the chicken and peas. They ordered the Steak Au Poivre I think the BLAT Sandwich with no complaints.

I've had better here but this was just weird.

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food2
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on April 9, 2017

Best pork chop I have ever had in my life. Good wine pairings. Simple + delicious.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries, Comfort Food, Quiet Conversation
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food5
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 7, 2017

We had the risotto and found it very salty and not very tasty. We also had calamari which was good and the crab cakes were superior. The server was great. The prices didn't seem that high but the total was much higher than expected. It was also very noisy.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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food2
ambience3
service5
value2

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 28, 2017

Lunch is a real treat at Balboa Cafe, Mill Valley. Good selections, creative preparations and presentations, friendly staff, quite atmosphere and nice surroundings. Not too large a restaurant, which makes it even more attractive. Reservations needed for dinner but not so much for lunch.

Tags: Authentic, Pre/post Theatre
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food5
ambience5
service5
value3

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