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About the Business

Marlena comes from Chef Michael Ryan and first-time restaurateur Robert Smith, bringing Californian cuisine to the heart of Naples. There is a sense of privacy surrounding the restaurant, located in the three-decade-old former Russo’s space and sitting away from the main drag on 2nd Street.

Diners will find a seamless indoor-outdoor vibe at Marlena. Ryan’s culinary point of view reflects a local, seasonal, and globally-influenced approach synonymous with California bistros like République and Alta Adams. Although this style of cooking is common in greater Los Angeles, it is less so in Long Beach where only a handful of restaurants are cooking similarly, like Ellie’s in Alamitos Beach, Nonna Mercato in Bixby Knolls, and the now-closed Restauration from chef Philip Pretty.

Ryan apprenticed under chef Evan Funke for the first six years of his career including stints at Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica and Felix in Venice. “I’ll still call Evan when something just isn’t working,” says Ryan. “His influence on my food is clear.” Ryan also helped to open the now-closed AR Cocina in Culver City, Winsome in Echo Park, and Faith and Flower in Downtown. Most recently, the Ryan overhauled the menu at Claire’s, the daytime beachside spot at the Long Beach Museum of Art.

Photos by Brian Addison

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  • July 19, 2024 7:30 am local time

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