Dine Like It's '59 - Page 4

12 California restaurants that savor dishing up the mid-century experience
Retro Dine
Retro Dine

3 I The Spinnaker

Sausalito

Reading reviews and commentary about the Spinnaker—an oddly hidden away restaurant on the Sausalito waterfront—you read about the beautiful views, views, views, views. And, indeed, if you like to gaze at kayakers and herons, or San Francisco glistening in the distance, this place is for you.

But stand back first and take a look at the building itself, with the name 'Spinnaker' decorating the exterior in a beautiful cursive script. It's a near-perfect combination of mid-century modern class combined with rustic simplicity. The building is held aloft above the waves by rough-hewn poles, both within the dining room and outside.

The design of the 1960 building is by Don K. Olsen, a Sausalito modernist architect who has done much work in town, both new buildings and restorations.

Recessed ceiling lights add to the mood, and mirror-filled walls make the space seem larger and the sea seem bigger and add to a slight sense of vertigo as lights bounce off the water and into the room.

Or was that the result of a third glass of Chardonnay?

On the menu: Spanish seafood fideua, grilled scallops brochette, Spinnaker bouillabaisse. The food, it's been noted, harks back a few decades. But isn't that what we like about retro restaurants?

"When you walk through our doors," manager Jeff Scharosch has said, "we want you to feel as though you've taken a step back in history. We opened our doors in 1960, and pride ourselves on preserving the atmosphere and ambiance of the good ol' days."

The Spinnaker is also a lovely place for a sunset drink.

• 100 Spinnaker Dr. thespinnaker.com