Top Chef contestant Nyesha Arrington is breathing new life into the very well-positioned Native—as in, it’s a stone’s throw from the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market. In the space formerly occupied by Santa Monica Yacht Club, Arrington hones in on California-inspired cuisine which leans heavily on what’s freshest and in season. Everything from the short rib “rolled” dumplings—a nod to her Korean grandmother—to kabocha squash and grilled Spanish octopus reflect chef’s thoughtful, considered flavor profile. (It goes without saying, the kitchen churns out the most beautifully plated dishes, too.) Perhaps one of the biggest highlights, though, is spending time with GM Juilan Kurland, who is overseeing the craft beer and wine selections (he’s particularly partial to a few small-batch wineries up the coast in Santa Barbara), and if you let him, he’ll sweet talk you into a sour beer pairing to cap off the night.

Photos: Jake Ahles

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