Three-year-old Santa Monica fine dining restaurant Dialogue will close on November 7, Eater has learned. The tiny, semi-hidden, mostly counter service restaurant was built from chef Dave Beran’s desire to craft an intimate yet largely unstuffy experience — but now, with the ongoing pandemic, that closeness has become a liability.
Dialogue emerged on the LA dining scene in September of 2017, landing as an 18-seat, 700-square-foot jewel box off the Third Street Promenade that housed little more than some fermenting jars, rotating produce, and Beran and his team. The multi-course tasting menu almost immediately earned wide acclaim, including a four star-review from LA Weekly, national food media buzz, and a Michelin star.
More recently, Beran expanded his Westside footprint with upscale French brasserie Pasjoli, which opened in Santa Monica to similar accolades from places like the New York Times. But with the disruption of dining life as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, both restaurants have been forced to dramatically rethink their business models. Pasjoli has managed to move outside for al fresco dining, while Dialogue attempted to reconfigure itself as a balcony-only wine bar with snacks, overlooking the Promenade. That setup, called Tidbits, is coming to an end on November 7.
Reps for Dialogue tell Eater that, while the restaurant is closing in its current iteration, Beran and his partners are actively searching for new spaces, both temporary and permanent. When or where that might happen, though, is still very much up in the air.
Dialogue was always more than a fine dining escape for chef Dave Beran, who first came to prominence working at Alinea and Next in Chicago. He moved to Los Angeles to craft his dream of a standalone restaurant that toyed with the seasons and the traditional underpinnings of the fine dining world, and since the beginning he’s had more than just Dialogue on his mind. Pasjoli remains, and Beran is certain that there will some day be a new Dialogue, because in many ways the tiny original iteration off the Third Street Promenade was never going to last forever. That doesn’t make the current loss any easier for Los Angeles.
The loss of Dialogue is another notable step back for Los Angeles’s prodigious dining scene. Since the beginning of the pandemic a number of highly touted, Michelin-rated restaurants have closed permanently, including Auburn on Melrose and Bazaar on La Cienega. Others, like Ma’am Sir, Broken Spanish, Baco Mercat, and Beverly Soon Tofu, have also closed as the COVID-19 crisis, which has left some 220,000 Americans dead and millions unemployed, stretches on with little hope for a return to “normal” any time soon.