clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The 15 Most Beautiful Restaurants of 2015

Feast your eyes on these stone cold stunners.

If you buy something from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

The Grey, Savannah.
The Grey, Savannah.
Quentin Bacon Courtesy of The Grey
Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

As the year comes to a close, Eater takes a look back at the most stunning restaurant designs of 2015. And while stark whites and slates have ruled minimalist restaurant design (and Instagram), this year saw the return of vibrant color and eclectic tchotchke-ism. Restaurants, like Eater's 2015 Stone Cold Stunner of the Year winner the Grey, pictured above, tackled impressive renovation projects to transform everything from bus stations to art galleries into chic dining destinations. Midcentury modern furniture and aesthetics were also a major theme this year — from gorgeous pieces of Don Draper-ready furniture to impressive plays on indoor/outdoor space. Exposed lighting still rules the ceilings, but instead of sticking to what real estate and design publication Curbed has called a cliched "Ye Olde-y vibe" with copper filaments, the newest lighting obsession is riffs on the mid-century modern orb, like this one.

"People want their restaurant decor to be as fun, surprising, thought-provoking, and nostalgia-inducing as the food they’re eating."

"I love that this crew of restaurants really commits to the looks they are going for," says Curbed editor Asad Syrkett. "There's nothing worse than a restaurant interior — or one of any kind, really — that can't make up its mind about what its vibe is. New York's Polo Bar doubled down on the luxe All-American aesthetic (with its plush leather banquettes and low, coffered timber ceilings); and San Francisco's Bon Marché really nails that mix of California breeziness (with perky yellow accents and Eames chairs slipcovered in punchy fabrics). I think people want their restaurant decor to be as fun, surprising, thought-provoking, and nostalgia-inducing as the food they're eating, and these interiors hit those notes."

Syrkett's favorite restaurants of the top 15 all display a perfect "lack of clutter" — "I'm a fan of sleek, minimally fussy spaces," he says. Below are the best in show, and do keep an eye out for Syrkett's picks.

Otium, Los Angeles

Address: 222 S Hope Street, Los Angeles, CA
Key Players: Timothy Hollingsworth, Bill Chait, Studio UNTLD, House of Honey, Osvaldo Maiozzi
Opened: November 2015
The Look: Worthy of its position next to the ultra-contemporary Broad Museum, Otium combines striking natural materials, midcentury modern accents, and plenty of greenery. Industrial touches and a Damien Hirst mural bring of-the-moment drama.

· All Otium Coverage [ELA]

Photos: Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA

The Grey, Savannah

Address: 109 Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard, Savannah, GA
Key Players: Mashama Bailey, Johno Morisano, Parts and Labor Design
Opened: January 2015
The Look: Behold Eater's Stone Cold Stunner of 2015, a refurbished bus station that lives somewhere between Art Deco and industrial. The original flow of the station is still very much visible, but infinitely more stylish.

· All the Grey Coverage [E]

Photos: Quentin Bacon Courtesy of The Grey

Butchertown Hall, Nashville

Address: 1416 Fourth Avenue N, Nashville, TN
Key Players: Terry Raley, Metal Fred
Opened: February 2015
The Look: This German-inspired restaurant beer hall is all about gorgeous woods, industrial metal accents, and the drama of its super-high ceiling. Stacked stone features and clean white tiled walls keep things from looking hokey.

· All Butchertown Hall Coverage [ENASH]

Photos: Justin Chesney/Eater Nashville

The Polo Bar, New York City

Address: 1 E 55th Street, New York, NY
Key Players: Ralph Lauren
Opened: January 2015
The Look: Comfortably elitist, complete with sporty art, deep leather banquettes, and equestrian flair. This is Ralph Lauren's co-ed gentleman's club, a stunning fantasia of American prep and New York snobbery.

· All Polo Bar Coverage [ENY]

Photos: Daniel Krieger/Eater NY

Stateside, Seattle

Address: 300 E Pike Street, Seattle, WA
Key Players: Eric Johnson, Callie Meyer
Opened: Late 2014
The Look: Technically this restaurant opened at the tail-end of 2014, but since Stateside won the 2015 Stone Cold Stunner Award from Eater Seattle, it deserves the pass. It also gets a pass because in grey Seattle, Stateside delivers tropical vibes and bold patterned walls while showing a sophisticated restraint.

· All Stateside Coverage [ESEA]

Photos: Barnard & Meyer/Eater Seattle

Marcel, Atlanta

Address: 1170 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta, GA
Key Players: Ford Fry, Elizabeth Ingram
Opened: July 2015
The Look: Marcel pairs luxurious fabrics in vibrant jewel tones with tchotchkes aplenty — there's a fencing helmet lighting feature, vintage photos, and a bathroom setup that could double as a hipster barber shop.

· All Marcel Coverage [EATL]

Photos: Jonathan Phillips/Eater Atlanta

Provision No. 14, Washington, DC

Address: 2100 14th Street NW, Washington, DC
Key Players: Social Restaurant Group, Swatchroom
Opened: April 2015
The Look: Elegant historic details and bold colors are an unexpected and wholly welcome setting at Provision No. 14. The name provided a bit of design inspiration, which harkens back to early 20th-century trading with luggage, oil drums, and other repurposed pieces.

· All Provision No. 14 Coverage [EDC]

Photos: R. Lopez/Eater DC

Death & Taxes, Raleigh

Address: 105 W Hargett Street, Raleigh, NC
Key Players: Ashley Christensen, Louis Cherry, James A. Goodnight
Opened: June 2015
The Look: What you wish your home looked like, if your home was a repurposed early 20th-century bank tricked out with a top-of-the-line wood-fired grill. Carrera marble, polished grey tones, and local artisanship inject the right amount of Southern charm.
*Syrkett Favorite: "In addition to having a really rad name, Death & Taxes also exceeds at a simple café aesthetic with those chic black Thonet-style chairs and barstools."

· All Death & Taxes Coverage [E]

Photos: Nick Pironio/Eater

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, Chicago

Address: 12 S Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL
Key Players: Land & Sea Dept., Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture, Roman and Williams
Opened: May 2015
The Look: A jaw-dropping restoration of a private men's club, the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel is home to multiple dining properties designed down to the tiniest detail. There's cozy leather booths in the Cherry Circle Room, a wood-clad Game Room complete with bocce ball court, and sweeping views from the bright rooftop restaurant Cindy's.

· All Chicago Athletic Association Coverage [ECHI]

Photos: Marc Much and Clayton Hauck/Eater Chicago

Bon Marché

Address: 1355 Market Street, San Francisco, CA
Key Players: Mercer Restaurant Group
Opened: August 2015
The Look: A commercial space in the Twitter building has given way to the multi-purpose Bon Marché. There's a nod to Parisian cafe style, with classic tiled floors and a cheerful awning — but the overall impression is fresh and quirky.
*Syrkett Favorite: "There's a nice mix of contemporary and vintage furniture, and bits of color on rugs, chairs, and, most notably, the awning over the bar, make it feel fresh."

· All Bon Marché Coverage [ESF]

Photos: Patricia Chang/Eater SF

Cannon Green, Charleston

Address: 103 Spring Street, Charleston, SC
Key Players: Lynn Easton, Dean Andrews, Anne Bowen, Dave Dabney
Opened: December 2014
The Look: This former art gallery cleaned up into an airy restaurant space thanks to pops of green and romantic touches. The original facade makes for a unique interior accent wall that nods to the building's history.
*Sykett Favorite: "The appropriately green upholstery on the chairs at Cannon Green in Charleston add a bit of zest without trying too hard."

· All Cannon Green Coverage [ECHS]

Photos: Chloe Gilstrap/Eater Charleston

Coya, Miami

Address: 999 Brickell Avenue, Miami, FL
Key Players: Arjun Waney, Sagrada
Opened: March 2015
The Look: At once distressed and luxe, the interiors of Coya are decked out in vibrant colors, eclectic fabrics, and Peruvian accent pieces. This lush London-import feels like it was made to be in Miami.

· All Coya Coverage [EMIA]

Photos: Courtesy of Coya

Rivea and Skyfall Lounge, Las Vegas

Address: 3940 Las Vegas Boulevard S, Las Vegas, NVKey Players: Alain Ducasse, Patrick Jouin, Sanjit Manku Opened: October 2015The Look: Think Mediterranean mod, inspired by the glamour, seaside colors, and yachts of the Riviera. The restaurant and nightclub both make tremendous use of their 63rd floor setting with sweeping views and, at Skyfall, cloud detailing on the ceiling.

· All Rivea Coverage [ELV]

Photos: Amelinda B Lee/Eater Vegas

Filament, Dallas

Address: 2626 Main Street, Dallas, TX
Key Players: Matt McCallister, Jeff Gregory
Opened: December 2015
The Look: At this long-awaited casual follow-up to fine-dining hit FT33, a large industrial space gets injected with a bit of stylish warmth from patterned tiles and blue jewel tones. The furniture keeps the scene squarely Texan, especially at the host stand made from an antique drill press.

· All Filament Coverage [EDFW]

Photos: Kathy Tran/Eater Dallas

Juliet, Austin

Address: 1500 Barton Springs Road, Austin, TX
Key Players: Jacob Weaver, Paul Clayton, Joel Mozersky, Mark Word
Opened: July 2015
The Look: Italy-meets-Texas is the design theme at Juliet. The midcentury furniture really steals the show here, allowed to shine against various white, gold, and wood accents and lush greenery.

· All Juliet Coverage [EATX]

Photos: Robert J. Lerma/Eater Austin