Marlena, San Francisco-12/19/2022

We have been to Marlena a week before they received their 1st Michelin star back in 9/2021 .  Getting a Michelin star is not easy and keeping it is even harder as you cannot rest on your laurel.  Consistency and mainting the same standard is key and fortunately, this year Marlena kept their 1 Michelin star the 2nd year in a row.

Marlena is located in a residential area in the Bernal Heights neighborhood in san Francisco


Side view of the restaurant.



After receiving their fist Michelin star in 2021, Marlena closed down for a quick renovation.  The dinning room is now sleek, and more elegant space but still understated. The space makes you feel very comfort, cozy in casual neighborhood vibes.


View of the open kitchen from our table.


Behind the counter in the center is Serena Chow fisher, one of the owner of Marlena.


Group picture.


Hoa brought a bottle of Canon la Gaffeliere ( I like this wine).





The menu for the evening.

The main attraction is the incredible 4 course prix-fixe menu at $65 per person which is at the lower end of what you’ll see at other SF restaurants. It’s four courses, with two options at every turn. Some dishes are tweaked almost daily, and the whole menu changes out every few weeks.


.Marlena milk bread with cultured butter -$2.50 per piece is not part of the menu.  You have to order extra.


This is a must order! The bread is served warm and with a dolled up of butter, it is certainly a party in your mouth.


Us enjoying the bread course.


For the 1st course we all selected the Hokkaido Scallop tartare with Makrut lime, watercress, buttermilk


The scallop is so fresh and cool and perfect with the silky, rich buttermilk and the acidity and citrus flavor of the Makrut lime.

We all love this dish.


Second course: Farroto Verde, celeriac, egg yolk, smoked chive oil


I was so surprised at how delicious this dish is.  Every single bite was silky, rich, and has so much flavor.


2nd choice of the 2nd course: Cavatelli, honey squash, white chanterelles, confit onion



Homemade cavatelli has a nice chewy texture and the sauce has so much umami. 


3rd course: Seared chicken breast, boudin blanc, stoneground grits, koku cauliflower

The dish is brought over our table and our server proceed to pour the broth over the chicken.


Amazing dish!  The chicken was really amazing, soft, silky, moist and incredible tasty.



Marlena definitely know how to cook chicken breast.  This is probably the best chicken breast I have ever eaten.


2nd choice of the 3rd course: Roasted Covina, little neck clams, sake butter, Brussels sprouts.


Covina is a white firm fish similar to sea bass.  It has a mild, sweet taste and large firm flacked fresh.  The skin was crispy and the sauce complimented the fish very well.


A5 Wagyu rib eye cap, NC sweet potato, black garlic, beef tongue - $45 extra


This is not part of the menu but we ordered one portion to share with the 4 of us.


I am so glad we ordered this dish.  The beef was rich, and melted in our mouth.  I also like the tongue and the roasted sweet potatoes.


Dessert-Course 4:

Pumpkin wreath, Strauss yogurt, fuyu persimmon, Kumquat



Gorgeous presentation and also delicious.  This dessert was very light but very tasty.


2nd option of Course 4: Chocolate cake, oolong bavarois, poppy seed crumble

also delicious but we were too full to finish it.


Marlena offers value a high quality, taste, creativity, and warm service.  They reminded me of Trestle but more sophisticated. 

This is our 2nd time at Marlena and I have to say that the food is still very good and service has improved a lot more.  I remember the last time we were there, the GM told us they had a tough time hiring people and training them.  Looks like they have fix the problem and the restaurant is running very smoothly.

We definitely will be back again.


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