Marlowe: cool bistro opens in San Francisco's SOMA neighborhood

Marlowe, a bistro on Townsend Street across the Caltrain station in San Francisco’s south of Market (SOMA) district, has just opened in the space formerly occupied by South Food & Wine Bar. Anna Weinberg (one of the founders of South) is behind Marlowe, but there is a different menu and wine list. Where South F&WB focused on Australian and New Zealand wine and fusion food (hence the name “South”), Marlowe offers more “bistro style” food. The executive chef of Marlowe is Jennifer Puccio, who earned three stars from the SF Chronicle when she cooked at Cortez.

I went to Marlowe last night and was pleased to see that it was crowded, despite the fierce storm blowing outside. What we had:

– Spiced prawns with a spicy cocktail sauce on the side ($12): the prawns were sprinkled with herbs and grilled, very delicious, and the cocktail sauce was piquant, much better any other cocktail sauce I have tasted.

– I usually don’t eat hamburgers, but last night, I ordered the Marlowe burger ($13). It came with caramelized onions, cheddar, bacon and horseradish sauce. Very delicious smoky flavor!

– My partner ordered the lamb mixed grill ($24) which was succulent and delicately spiced. The Iacoppi butter bean, chard and sheep’s milk ricotta gratin on the side ($7) was so good I could have ordered it as a main dish and eaten that alone.

There is an excellent wine list, not quite as extensive as South F&WB’s, but there’s enough to please most people and the prices are reasonable. The Cabernet Sauvignon La Petite Ferme, from Franschhoek, South Africa, 2005 was outstanding (glass $12, bottle $45).

The parking situation in this area is grim when there is a ball game but no worries. If you are arriving by car, parking is $5 even on game days. Marlowe guests can park in the Bank of America lot on the corner of 4th and Brannan for $5 after 5pm every day. Just call Marlowe at (415) 974 5599 for the special code and keep your restaurant receipt.

Marlowe has a long communal table for large groups, or for people who come in twos and threes and don’t have reservations. I do recommend booking a table because the place is small and it’s a very popular neighborhood hangout. There is a bar for those who want only drinks.

Marlowe is also open for lunch: sandwiches are between $9 and $12 (that Marlowe Burger!) and the Iacoppi butter bean gratin is available too.

330 Townsend Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
+1 415 974 5599

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About Esme Vos

Esme Vos is the founder of Mapplr, a travel site featuring boutique hotels, luxury resorts, travel guides and restaurant reviews. You can find her on and Twitter.