One of the best parts of traveling is sampling new restaurants. Every city in every country has its own unique take on what a restaurant should provide - and we’re not just talking about food. We’ve hand-picked interesting restaurant furniture designs from the design-forward cities Melbourne, Stockholm, London, and Los Angeles. Let’s get inspired!
With its emphasis on locally sourced ingredients and the history of its location in the Central Business District, The George on Collins showcases the experience of Melbourne. Classic Australian dishes receive a little Spanish flair when served tapas-style with seasonal produce. In the basement of Georges Department Store, built in 1880, the design of the restaurant centers around the warm, rustic exposed brick. A palette of neutral tans and browns with rusty red accents creates a comfortable but classy atmosphere. A variety of seating options—from barstools to low tables to comfortable nooks like the one pictured above—allow plenty of choices for customers. Other areas of the restaurant include a lounge with plush leather couches for events and a quiet area with smaller tables and ambient lighting.
Attica: MELBOURNE, AUSTRAILIA
South from George on Collins, skirting the bay, is Attica, a restaurant acclaimed by Restaurant Magazine’s The World 50 Best Restaurants as “Australia’s Best.” While both offer Australian fare, Attica takes a radically different approach. Its dining room is dark and minimalistic, with striking artwork placed strategically on the walls and bars. Bright lights above stark white tables highlight what Attica is all about: the food. The ambiance of the restaurant suggests sensory deprivation, limiting the experience to enhance the taste of Attica’s complex flavors.
Opulent and dramatic, Operakällaren boasts an excellent menu and even better design. On top of its star, Michelin Guide awarded this Stockholm restaurant the highest design distinction: five couvert symbols. Chandeliers, paneled walls, and bright gold accents take customers back to 1787, when the opera house first opened. Operakällaren is defined by its decor and service, with international haute cuisine layering into the ambiance for an exclusive night of decadence.
Gastrologik: STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN
Gastrologik shares the distinction of a Michelin star with Operakällaren, but that’s about where their similarities end. This intimate restaurant offers a surprise menu of foraged Nordic cuisine; until fresh local produce shows up at the restaurant, not even the chefs know what the night’s offerings will be. Airy and comfortable, the dining room design and restaurant furniture create a relaxing environment for Gastrologik’s diners, perfect for cozy evenings. A banquette lines a wall of curtained windows and simple white spindle back chairs bring the ethereal design back down to earth.
German Gymnasium: LONDON, uNITED kINGDOM
Built inside a repurposed gymnasium that hosted the indoor events of London’s first summer Olympics, the German Gymnasium is astounding to the eye. A menu of “Mittel-European” German cuisine is served to customers beneath a soaring ceiling that belies the venue’s original purpose. Understated dark wood tables and chairs draw customers’ attention to the shelf-lined walls, the loft-like balcony, and of course, the unique circular centerpiece.
Bob Bob Ricard: LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
Time Out Magazine described Bob Bob Ricard’s eclectic design as “Orient Express meets American Diner,” and indeed, the restaurant’s aesthetic seems to become more difficult to pin down the longer it is considered. Offering a fusion of European and Russian fare, critics’ opinions have ranged from bewildered to ecstatic. Royal blue velvet booths and banquettes make up a bulk of the restaurant’s seating. The Roaring 20s-esque gold detailing and marble panels give the entire space a nouveau-riche feel. Love it or hate it, Bob Bob Ricard is full of whimsy and fun.
Hinoki & the Bird serves Japanese-inspired small plates, but its menu is only a small part of the restaurant’s appeal. This elegant, trendy spot in LA instead focuses on melding the senses into the ultimate tranquil experience. The scent of hinoki, a Japanese cedar, permeates the space, and the simple neutral palette and restaurant furniture ensure that every aspect makes just enough of a statement. Minimalist votives and place settings make each table attractive and intimate and create cohesion in varied seating options.
ROKU: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
From quiet and contemplative Hinoki & the Bird to ROKU in bustling West Hollywood, the two restaurants just go to show how design can create drastically different experiences. ROKU offers teppanyaki and Japanese small plates, but its daring and whimsical space give the Asian eatery a decidedly Hollywood twist on a traditional cuisine. With circular booths and plush armless chairs, each table offers comfort and interest. Carefully maintained greenery, along with eye-catching lighting and ceiling detail, give ROKU a hip and high-energy atmosphere that is designed for customer enjoyment just as much as their cocktails and sushi.
These novel designs from around the globe challenge us to think differently about restaurant furniture. From enriching the menu to delighting the senses, a restaurant’s design is as integral to a customer’s experience as the food. Get inspired and design!
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