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Long-Gone Restaurants ... Which Ones Do You Miss Most?

We've seen a few close down for good in the past few years. What are some of the places that you wished could have held on?

The column on the new  restaurant sparked Patch reader Mark Burnham’s memories of the old Bali Hai that occupied the same spot at the Novato  way back in the 1980s.  

Having lived in Novato for nearly 34 years, I feel that this is a Golden Age for restaurants in town.  I used to travel to other parts of Marin for great meals, but it’s all right here now. But there are some restaurants that couldn’t hold on long enough.

One of the many that come to my mind is Dalecio’s in Ignacio. That must have been around in the '80s, too, because I remember my favorite cocktail of the day was the Long Island Iced Tea. 

What about Santa Fe Mary’s? I really miss the bean relish that they served with chips as an appetizer. Does anyone out there have the recipe?

In an article about , a Patch reader mentioned a deli called Pumperdinks in the comments. Wasn’t there once a popular deli in the spot that is in now?

Does anyone remember there once being a Cattleman’s restaurant in Novato?

My brother-in-law worked in a French restaurant on Grant Avenue called La Petite Maure. They did a wonderful rack of lamb and french onion soup.

OK, Novato old-timers … what are some of the restaurants and entrees that you’re missing? Do you have any old snapshots of these places? Scan 'em in and upload them to this story just for old times' sake.

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Ugo Innocenti September 15, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Frank Galli, the Mayor of Ignacio. That place has quite a history. After Galli, it became Dalecio Restaurant, then Orsi' and now Boca.
Ugo Innocenti September 15, 2012 at 09:08 PM
If you are talking about the deli next to the old Safeway in downtown Novato, it was Capri Deli run by Gary Anderson. They had the best sandwiches.
Ugo Innocenti September 15, 2012 at 09:14 PM
The old Town Club. Every Saturday night we would get a call of major fights. The firemen of the old Fire Station 1 across the street on Grant, would sit in their chairs in front of the station and watch us fighting with the drunks before placing them in the back of our units.
Abe September 16, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Anyone remember the commercials that would run for some of these venues on our Chambers Cable? I remember DeBorbas, Bali Hai, Delacios to name a few. I would so LOVE to see these commercials again...
Marina September 16, 2012 at 04:40 AM
YES!!!! HI-FI - Truly the BEST burgers EVER !!!
Marina September 16, 2012 at 04:55 AM
Agree ~ two of my favorites also!!! {Nothin' beat ordering the "pumpkin" off the menu at the HillTop 1892 ;) probably 20+ years ago !!!} San Marin haunts: Matsuyama, (still in town?) Cable Car Delights/Bud's Ice Cream, Bella Coffea and Yogurt World!!! (not all are restaurants but are truly missed!) California Diner, and even Henry's was okay for burgers too... A&W was SCARY but okay for the rootbeer. No one has mentioned Gaetano's in the old Cacti spot, and Cacti!
Marina September 16, 2012 at 05:00 AM
1st restaurant we rode our bikes to, "by ourselves" - age 11 & 12 ?
Craig Belfor September 16, 2012 at 05:08 AM
I'm also a Villa Roma orphan, looking for a new home. Thus far, nobody comes close.
Marina September 16, 2012 at 05:17 AM
Try Giacomo's on Lakeville in Petaluma - They don't deliver but they it's THE BEST PIZZA in the Northbay (North of PASQUALE'S on 9th & Irving, in SF)
Alysse McDaniel September 16, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Pietro's on Grant! Loved the strawberries pietro dessert!
dave September 16, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Tijuana Taco, it was where Taco Bell is now, across the way from Luckys.
dave September 16, 2012 at 05:00 PM
I remember, Happy Steak, Santa Fe Mary's, Tijuana Taco, that 50's style diner that was before Cattlemens. TJs on the boulevard but that wasn't an eatery.
dave September 16, 2012 at 05:03 PM
That's right, does anyone recall the name of that 1950s diner where Charlie Boltons used to be?
dave September 16, 2012 at 05:05 PM
That place was the best!!!
dave September 16, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Santa Fe Mary's was a wonderful place to eat...
dave September 16, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Now it's Vande Kamps
Susan Wreden September 16, 2012 at 05:38 PM
I agree, Villa Roma had to best pizza. Stupid shopping center management company!!
Craig Belfor September 16, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Boltons, TJ's, Pink Poodle (50's style), California Fish, Cattleman's - that location has seen many attempts.
Roger September 16, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Brent, besides a new hotel in the proposed Hamilton sports complex, will there be a nice restaurant? Mandy had some details in his letter in the IJ today.
sherri graf September 17, 2012 at 03:59 PM
okay no one has mentioned the best ever from my child hood berkely farms at the bottom of where hilltop was as redwood rd. When 101 used to go through novato and the lose of the freeway traffic caused it to eventually close its doors. They had cows behind it and fresh whipped butter and buttermilk pancakes that were the bomb!
Craig Belfor September 17, 2012 at 04:39 PM
I completely forgot! That was a great place. By the way, where was Santa Fe Marys? I remember it , but can't remember the location.
Tracey Ruiz September 17, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Santa Fe Mary's was where Cacti was...where Muscio's is now.
Ilya Perry September 19, 2012 at 02:14 AM
I miss A and W I went there often back when I was in high school in the 90's but now if I want it I need to go to San Rafael. Thank goodness for it being still pretty close. = )
Sylvia Barry September 19, 2012 at 08:05 AM
Marina: Matsuyama moved after they sustained a fire at the old Apple market location. They moved to Front street, right off DeLong. Much smaller place, still great food!
Tracey Ruiz September 19, 2012 at 07:53 PM
There was a great deli in the Novato Fair Shopping Center that I used to go to on my break when I was salesgirl at Carithers department store (Dollar Tree). Now I'm really dating myself.
Heidi Holloch September 20, 2012 at 04:28 AM
How about Crivello's located near Safeway in the Ignacio. They made the best crab and shrimp sandwiches on fresh sourdough.
Craig Belfor September 20, 2012 at 04:53 AM
I almost forgot about Baseharts in the Ignacio square. We used to eat there in the 70s when we were working at Hamilton. They had a great steak sandwich. Later he moved it to the shopping center at the corner of Center and Novato Blvd, where there is a gym now.
Sylvia Barry September 20, 2012 at 05:11 AM
All these Novatans chiming in on their favorite local restaurants long, long ago! It will be very interesting to see some of the pictures you might have of those establishments - maybe upload those if you have them? Anybody?
ed briggs September 28, 2012 at 05:01 PM
9/28/12 what post office was spiros next to? what street? thanks ed
Dennis Soldavini April 07, 2013 at 06:26 PM
Growing up in Novato,I was a big fan of Hi-Fi and Shakeys pizza which did a lot for the local youth athletes and was a good place to hang out!!

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