A Tiburon restaurant that's been four years in the making, The Bungalow Kitchen, debuts Wednesday night, with a swanky house-party vibe and several of chef Michael Mina's greatest hits on the menu.
Mina says that he's had people begging him to open a place in Marin County for years, and it was four years ago that he and business partner Brent Bolthouse toured the former Guaymas Restaurant in Tiburon — a few doors down from the popular weekend destination Sam's Anchor Cafe. The original plan had been to split the 12,000-square-foot space into a restaurant and a bar, with Bolthouse running the bar, but the pair later decided to team up as they did over a decade on the former XIV restaurant in Los Angeles.
Bolthouse, who owns two Los Angeles area bars called The Bungalow — one in Santa Monica and one in Huntington Beach — tells the Chronicle this week that he was aiming for a comfy, residential vibe with Bungalow Kitchen. And the restaurant's 300 seats are spread across multiple rooms, as well as an expansive deck overlooking Belvedere Cove and Angel Island.
"What I told my friends out here is, ‘You’re going to thank me because you’re never going to have to throw a party in your house again.’” says Mina, speaking to the Chronicle.
The Bungalow Kitchen has been in the works for four years in Tiburon, having been delayed by the pandemic, but Mina and Bolthouse ended up opening a second planned location in Long Beach first, earlier this year.
The menu at this Bungalow Kitchen features an array of comfort foods, cocktail snacks, and Mina classics — like his lobster pot pie, tuna tartare, and caviar parfaits.
There are also oakwood-grilled meats and fish — including a 44-oz porterhouse steak for 4 ($249) — handmade pastas, and a $24 Wagyu beef burger topped with white cheddar, pickles, and onion jam. Mina also mentions some thin-crust pizzas in the Chronicle, but those don't yet appear on the opening menu.
There's also a $49 two-course brunch prix fixe on the weekends (the lobster pot pie comes with a $20 supplement there) and there's a late-night menu that will be served until 2 a.m. on weekends — basically a first for sleepy Tiburon.
Mina is now one of the country's biggest restaurateurs, with over 40 restaurants in his group's current portfolio. Back in September, Mina opened a new Greek restaurant in downtown SF, Estiatorio Ornos, in the California Street space previously occupied by his eponymous Michael Mina restaurant. He also runs International Smoke in the Millennium Tower building with Ayesha Curry, PABU downtown, and Indie Superette in the Marina.
The only remaining restaurant called Michael Mina is at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.
The Bungalow Kitchen is open Wednesday and Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Find reservations here, or take your chances with seats at the bar.
Top image via AVABLU