For a taste of Italy in a comfortable neighborhood setting, visit Bistro Ginolina in San Rafael, California. Visitors to the casual restaurant can sample a selection of authentic and inspired fare in a variety of large and small bites. On the lunch menu at Bistro Ginolina, you will find items such as Greek salad, layered eggplant, veal piccata, pepperoni pizza, tomato bruschetta, breaded mozzarella and Italian sausage pasta.
For dinner at Bistro Ginolina, try the capricciosa pizza, pappardelle alla Bolognese, sweet pea fettuccine and grilled wild salmon. Seasonal dinner specials are available to order and contain items that are locally sourced and prepared during certain times of the year.
We always enjoy Ginolina, and appreciate the excellent service and the quiet, and simple elegance and beauty of the restaurant. Love the Kale salad!
The food was very good, with polite service and pleasant atmosphere. We really appreciated the low noise level so we could easily converse over lunch. Relaxing and enjoyable.
We have come to GinoLina off and on for a few years now. We had a post celebration of life dinner, and left everything to Gino and his team. (We asked him to create three courses and pair the wines) All the guests from out of town (2 couples) were super impressed with the food, service, and ambiance.
Grazia Tante per tutto!
Seafood linguine was okay but nothing extraordinary, although it had ample seafood; the spicy sauce and tangle of pasta was overwhelming. The house salad with prawns was fresh and the presentation lovely.
Our waiter, however, recommended the most expensive items whenever given an opportunity. The wine we ordered wasn't very good, according to him, so he suggested a more suitable one. Torn between two pastas? He recommended the most expensive. Green salad-not enough without the shrimp. He was relentless. And obvious in pushing for the more expensive items and denigrating our choices if we insisted on a less expensive option
Nice traditional Italian restaurant with several unique dishes including the kale-Caesar salad. The Oso Buco was tender and excellent.
I took a friend to lunch here as a thank you for referring a client to me. We both ordered the kale caesar salad with prawns and every element of the dish was exquisite. They were not very busy, but there were several full tables near us, but my friend and I could still have a great conversation without having to struggle to hear. I chose Bistro Ginolina because where I usually take people for such lunches (Vin Antico) was closed for lunch on Mondays. I will definitely go back to Ginolina.
These guy's were great on service and food, treated us like a family. Manager came to each table to make sure we were all satisfied.
Nice ambiance. We were there early on Monday so it was very quiet with only a few patrons. I had chicken and my BF had pasta. My chicken was good, although not different than any basic chicken I've roasted at home (spices were 'usual' not imaginative). My BF's pasta was good but not very hot when it arrived. If give it another try... Maybe the regular chef takes Monday off and the creative one is there weekends.
The service as always was excellent. The food was very good, with the exception of my veal dish, it was a little tough. But the favor was excellent. My fiancées fish was also very, very good. We will definitely be going back.
We were looking for an Italian Restaurant in downtown San Rafael and happened to come upon this restaurant. We were really pleased as it had great food and lots of local/neighborhood character. Would recommend to everyone.
GinoLina is one of our go to restaurants in Marin. We always receive warm service from the owners. The house-made pastas are to die for. And they have the best kale cesar I've ever had. I would place GinoLina towards the top of best Italian restaurants in Marin.
Fabulous food - truly authentic Italian cuisine and hospitality- excellent wine list - great service
Nothing better than a piece of Italia, in your own neighborhood. Though I had been to Ginolina about 5 years ago and remembered it fondly, now I live nearby. The warm greeting you get by Gino or Lina is a super nice start to your lunch or dinner. It's a neighborhood-feel, small community atmosphere with cloth napkins, delicious wine, garlic-olive oil w/ warm bread....I could go on, but just make your reservation now! :-)
I thought the food was excellent. I had the eggplant parmigiana- enjoyed very much. My husband had the sole and love dit.
I had bee out backpacking and got home early so I could treat my wife to a night out. We were first in and our waiter set a long, romantic pace. He did everything perfectly. Great food and a wonderful experience.
food was very good the night we are there, but we had specials, so not sure about regular menu. we will go back to try something else.
My husband and I were looking for a quiet little place so we could
talk. This was a cute and quiet restaurant with great southern
Italian food and great service. Their sauces were exceptionally good
and I would definitely go back. Wine was also very good and they
were very generous with their tastes.
First time and it didn't disappoint. Food was very good, fresh and authentic. Everyone enjoyed their meal. My only complaint is the limited wine list, but understandable for a small, family run restaurant. Would definitely return.
This is a cute little neighborhood Italian restaurant with friendly service. The food is comfort Italian food. Nothing fancy, just good, solid food; clean tables and nice environment.
A little gem of a restaurant with all sorts of yummy classics and some trendy dishes, too. Anyone with diet restrictions will find lots of options. The menu is very reasonably priced. The service was attentive, but not cloying. Bread and garlicky oil is served right away…so delicious! Light and airy with a lovely little patio out front. 3rd street somehow feels miles away. Right around the corner from the Rafael Theater and across from a public lot, so an ideal location. I highly recommend.
Bistro GinoLina was terrific! The food was delicious, and the entire wait staff was extremely friendly and welcoming. I will definitely return!
I've loved this restaurant in the past, and chose it for my first Valentine's Day dinner with my new boyfriend.
Our server was pleasant enough, but rushed us through every decision, brushed off questions, and did not check on us. His first (and practically only) words to us were simply "are you ready to order"? No friendly greeting or dining recommendations on such a special day.
Based on prior experience, when I asked if the spicy pasta dish I wanted to order could possibly be made less spicy, I was abruptly told that it "wasn't spicy". Our Caesar salads had few croutons and limp lettuce; and the pasta in each of our dishes was mushy and overcooked. My boyfriend ordered a linguine dish and was served fettuccine instead, without comment.
I have loved this restaurant in the past and will dine there again, but was extremely disappointed with my boyfriend's first experience here.
We went to the restaurant on Valentine's Day. They only offered an abbreviated menu and they increased the prices for the night. Same offerings they usually have for $4-5 more per entrée. Food was good, but not worth paying more for it than I would have a day later!
I love Ginolina. It is an elegant, quaint, quiet, cozy restaurant with excellent service and wonderful food. It is always a pleasure to diner there--one of our favorites.
This was our second visit. The first was OK, nothing special. This meal was atrocious. The octopus appetizer: tough and tasteless, the cauliflower soup had no seasoning. Their special pot pie undercooked and pasta d'avola had bland shrimp. We actually ended up at Napoli pizza where my husband had a fabulous dinner. Never will we return to Bistro Ginolina.
Gino and Lynn are two of the best hosts in the business, in the grand old-fashioned sense of the word. I don't mean that person who stands at the door and walks you to your take. I mean the person who attends to you throughout your visit and makes sure everything is great. Food on my visit was pretty standard Italian fare, but well executed with quality ingredients. Ask Gino to recommend a wine, you won't be disappointed.
A friendly helpful woman running the bar in no way reflects the terrible food and dour service ? THe Frito is fishy even under the batter... The Eggplant Parm was terrible tasting like a strange metal can and sweet with sour sauce notes ? The carbonara had fatty lard like cubes . The pasta was rubbery and tasteless .. Its so dissapointing to have a neighborhood Italian restaurant be so sadly bad.
Exellent food. Owner was warm and friendly. Very charming atmosphere.
Wonderful food and service. The quality is always consistent.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Great, authentic Italian food in downtown SR. Great for World Cup watching as well
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!!
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.
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.
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.