Joe's Taco Lounge Mill Valley
Yes, in a city with unlimited access to authentic and delicious Mexican food, it seems funny to highlight a restaurant that requires driving across the Golden Gate Bridge. But this isn't your run of the mill taqueria and at some point or another, you will find yourself in Mill Valley—after hiking and biking on Mt. Tam or paying a visit to Muir Woods. You will need to eat and Joe's Taco Lounge is the place. Named after its East Coast hippie founder who supposedly fled to Mexico to escape the Vietnam draft, the restaurant was a way to pay homage to his adopted country upon returning home in 1992 (now run by his wife and son Gabriel). Adorning the walls is an eclectic mix of religious iconography, Mexican tchotchkes, and Christmas lights, all bordered by an infinite row of hot sauces ready for the picking to spice up your meal as you see fit. A central formica red countertop encircles the register/bar, surrounded by a smattering of small tables covered in plastic tablecloths (this is not the Four Seasons). The original menu was modeled after Mexican street cart food with lots of Yucatan influence from the founding kitchen staff. Everyone has their favorites - whether it's the prawn and fish tacos, tofu tostada (yes, this is Marin county after all), grilled pasilla chili, or standards such as enchiladas, burritos, and quesadillas. Whatever you choose, you will be sure it tastes great, especially when washed down with one of the famous house margaritas, and extremely affordable.