This is my favorite American Bakery. Anywhere in the USA. You can find a very few places that make one or maybe two regional American specialties that are as good as Arizmendi's fare...and you can find a precious few European style bakeries on this side of the Atlantic that you might argue beat Arizmendi for tippy-top spot on the bakery hierarchy, but you can't beat this place for consistently top quality American baked goods, day after day after year after year....
I am an Arizmendi aficionado from the earliest days of the establishment -- when it opened its cramped quarters on 9th and Judah in SF's Sunset district. The high quality of the now classic baked goods remain, every one, at the peak of their delicious powers in all the Arizmendi locations, including this one in downtown San Rafael's "4th St. restaurant row."
Nice things about this particular location:
Space -- Room to sit and enjoy those delectable treats still warm from the oven, over decent coffee, with conversation among friends
Sun -- outdoor patio, indoor picture windows that allow for people watching galore
Near main bike routes and shops -- perfect for refueling when on a long ride from southwest Marin or SF through Lucas Valley, Nicasio, China Camp, and/or or all the way east to Petaluma before heading back southwards...
VERSATILE: Good for a snack, a full (bready) meal, dessert, breakfast pastries, vegans, vegetarians, might even have a gluten-free option or two...if so, it's SURE to be fantastically delicious as everything I've ever tried here has met this high standard.
friendly, efficient, dependable...and
A WORKER'S COOPERATIVE.
What's not to love???
ahhh...there is one little place left for improvement: parasols to cover the tables in the hot sun on the patio. Please. It was so hot on Tuesday that we could've fried an egg and toasted our fresh bread on the patio -- interesting gimmick for a concept restaurant...but not really what Arizmendi's after, I don't think...and I'd rather avoid the skin cancer that comes with such activities.
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