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Top Chef's Nyesha Arrington Goes Local With Upcoming Venice Restaurant LEONA

Arriving this month.

Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Some late day news for anyone in the Venice area: there’s a Top Chef headed your way.

Nyesha Arrington is a former Top Chef-er, Knife Fight winner, and (more apropos to L.A.) executive chef at Wilshire in Santa Monica, but will be adding to her resume later this month with the opening of LEONA in Venice. The Washington Boulevard restaurant calls itself Progressive Californian in nature, which certainly sounds about right for the area.

The plan, apparently, is to use the menu as a guide wire through much of California, from Central Valley produce to coastal seafood, with Mexican and Mediterranean influences thrown in. On the one hand, that might mean straightforward dishes like brick chicken, while on the other hand there are plans for a sweet corn tumeric ice cream.

In partnering with Kristian and Breegan Vallas, Arrington looks to make her mark among the conscientiously-motivated, neighborhood-leaning restaurants out that way. Though the shop won’t be on Abbot Kinney proper (rent prices and all), it will be nearby at 123 Washington Boulevard, in the former Canali Café space —where Arrington has been throwing occasional pop-up dinners.

Per the LA Times, the restaurant’s build-out (which is ongoing) will include a chef’s table, lots of communal tables, a wine bar area and some outdoor seating — all done in the usual exposed woodwork and brick style, with a few brassier elements thrown in. Shortly after opening, the dinner-only destination will open for lunch and brunch as well.

123 Washington Boulevard
Venice, CA

Canali Cafe

123 Washington Blvd, Marina del Rey, CA 90292 (310) 822-5379 Visit Website