Leona is a contemporary California restaurant within shouting distance of Venice Beach from chef Nyesha Arrington and business partners Kristian and Breegan Vallas. Leona, which is the former name of Washington Boulevard, promises to display the “Mosaic of the Golden State” for locals, beachgoers and tourists alike.
This former Canali Caffe space features a light wood facade, tan awning, patio with wood tables, dining room with high ceiling, black-and-white photos of bygone Venice beach scenes, and L-shaped bar with brass shelves. Arrington’s menu showcases “California progressive Cuisine,” including a weekend brunch with delectable California Benedict.
California Benedict ($16) features a plump, seasonal soft shell crab coated in a light tempura batter that’s set on beds of crushed avocado and topped with textbook poached eggs and summery tomato Hollandaise. Arrington sprinkles her Benedict with Korean chile flakes, chives and sea salt and anchors the dish on a toasted Röckenwagner Bakery ciabatta English muffin, which is heftier than any of Thomas’ muffins. Since this is a fairly rich dish, Arrington smartly plates her Benedict with bitter arugula leaves and roasted tomato that delivers sweet acidity. Enjoy this Benedict while you can, since brunch only runs on Saturdays and Sundays, and soft-shell crab season is short.