Dialogue Restaurant Takes Santa Monica Dining To A Whole New Level

James Beard award-winning Chef Dave Beran wants Dialogue Restaurant in Santa Monica to start, well, a dialogue.

And his 18-seat spot has already been locally and nationally recognized after being open for less than a year, receiving praise from the late LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold and being named amongst GQ's "Best New Restaurants in America, 2018."

It was Beran's goal to make the dining experience at Dialogue truly unique and unlike other restaurants. First of all, he aims to have his seasonally-changing tasting menu play to multiple senses and emotions.

"We really make sure that the menu is a cohesive story and not just a collection of dishes," Beran said.

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The menu changes frequently based on seasonal availability of produce in Southern California. Dialogue also offers options for two separate beverage pairings, a mixed beverage, and a reserve wine pairing.

And whether you go alone or with someone, guests are encouraged to engage in conversation with each other and the staff. The Santa Monica space has eight counter seats and only three tables to encourage this interaction. The restaurant has a completely open kitchen.

"You sit at the counter and it's OK to interact with the kitchen," Beran said. "At the end of the day, our goal is for the diners to have a lot of fun. Guests aren't going to be able to predict the next thing they're going to get or what the next wine is. The whole premise is to take you out of your comfort zone in a way that doesn't feel too uncomfortable."

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Beran joined Alinea in 2006 and he quickly moved through the ranks, being promoted to Chef de Cuisine in July 2008. In 2011, he left Alinea to open Next, the second venture from the Alinea Group, as the executive chef.

"At Alinea, it was more than just food on a plate," Beran said. "There was a philosophy behind it, there was a story behind it. There was something a guest could connect with it."

Chef Beran has been nominated three times for James Beard awards including both Rising Star and Best Chef: Great Lakes, ultimately winning Best Chef: Great Lakes in 2014.  Additionally, Next won a James Beard for Best New Restaurant in America under his leadership. And in 2014, Beran was named Best New Chef by Food & Wine magazine.