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California Native

  • Bars
  • Holland Park - Yeronga
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
California Native

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Go native in Coorparoo with this restaurant-bar offering the best of the Bear Flag state including cocktails, ales and So-Cal fare

When California Native opened on the less busy, suburban end of Cavendish Road, locals were quick to claim the space as their own. Gone is Le Classic’s dark dining room, replaced with cactus garden, Malibu surfboards and eclectic vintage signage reminiscent of the 1950s West Coast surf scene.

Is it a bar? Is it a restaurant? Actually, it’s a bit of both. Owner Karl Zammit has taken his Californian heritage and used it to create a menu that reflects good old-fashioned America-meets-Mexico home cooking, with a beverage list that reads like a coastal trip from San Diego to Mexico City.

Think specialty cocktails, imported beers, Californian wines and some top-shelf tequilas and mezcals. There’s a fine house sangria, which ditches the brandy in favour of ‘secret syrup’ and packs a spice-tinged punch. It’s cheaper by the (hand blown) jug than the glass, but be warned, it’s deceptively easy to down a little quicker than is sensible.

To avoid your head feeling like a piñata the morning after, have some snacks. There’s complimentary salsa fresca on arrival (nice), but it’s the ‘Rattlesnake Jack’ – a salsa roja blending ghost, Trinidad moruga scorpion and Carolina reaper chillies – that we love more. For something less spicy but no less tasty, go the deep-fried jalapeño poppers (little melting manchengo bombs encased in crisp, battered peppers) or the sleeve-rolling-required Encinitas elote (spiced, grilled corn cobs dripping in creamed butter). Mission Viejo taquitos, meanwhile, are little cigars of spiced, slow-cooked beef encased in crisp, fried tortilla, and perfect with an Anchor steam or icy Karl Strauss ale.

Weekends are busy. Local families begin early in the eve before the bar crowd begins, so book ahead if you are thinking of staying the distance. Be sure to request a booth under the LED-lit maple tree. Arriba!

Written by
Shirley Harring


420 Cavendish Rd
Opening hours:
Tue-Sun 5pm-late
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