Mexican With Flair

South-of-the-border style and tastes to savor comes to Santa Monica with Tallula’s

A favorite childhood haunt in Santa Monica’s Rustic Canyon has been transformed into a fun and funky establishment via husband-and-wife restaurateurs who are retracing their steps as adults. Having debuted in early May, Tallula’s pays reverence to the longstanding Marix cantina—complete with a warm and inviting atmosphere, proliferation of color, and rustic Mexican comfort food prepared with fresh and seasonal farmers’ market ingredients.

“Zoe and I have longed dreamed of doing our own personal project in this space,” says Josh Loeb, who established Tallula’s with wife Zoe Nathan, chef Jeremy Fox and Colby Goff of the Rustic Canyon Family of Restaurants, known for establishments such as Rustic Canyon, Huckleberry and Cassia. “We now live in the house I grew up in, and Zoe and I have always wanted to open a restaurant we could walk to. This was the perfect opportunity to bring something fun, funky and delicious to the neighborhood that people can come to every day.”

Found in a beachside locale at 118 Entrada Drive—and named after Loeb’s and Nathan’s daughter—Tallula’s features ORA-designed interiors inspired by the hip Mexican beach town of Tulum, complete with south-of-the-border décor, a coastal color palette of pink, green and blue, and many of the structure’s original features. “Right when you walk in, you’re greeted by a festive wall hanging with hand-embroidered flowers and animals that inspired a lot of Tallula’s design elements,” says Loeb. “To the right is an original wooden staircase, with a variety of hanging potted plants dangling from the ceiling. It creates this vertical garden effect, and feels very homey and welcoming.”

As for the culinary offerings, guests will find a menu celebrating the comforting and familiar Mexican dishes the partners all grew up with, but with an imaginative take. Among the standout offerings: grilled fish tacos with Mexican sauerkraut, malt aioli and epazote served on house-made blue corn tortillas; mushroom and pepper jack empanadas topped with guajillo ancho sauce, walnut, sesame and arugula; roasted organic chicken with fig mole, summer squash, tomato and house-made duck fat flour tortillas; and tres leches cake with honey, chamomile and berries. Meanwhile, Bar Manager Aaron Ranf and Wine Director Kathryn Coker have compiled a bar program featuring craft beer; a curated wine list highlighted by boutique producers from around the world; and cocktails infused with house-made syrups (like The Canyon, with Selvarey and Plantation O.F.T.D. rums, pineapple, lemon, spiced tumeric syrup and Angostura bitters).





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