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The Most Beautiful Restaurants of 2017

Feast your eyes on these 15 incredible designs

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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 2017 comes to its end, Eater takes a look back at the best restaurant designs of the year. Great restaurant design is transportive and transformative — and this year’s designs delivered.

Last year’s Eater Award winner for design of the year was Gwen in Los Angeles, and many restaurants this year seemed to adopt its principals: dramatic, Deco references and over-the-top glitz all combining for a sense of unabashed, unrestrained luxury. In 2017, openings like BLVD in Chicago (perhaps the most like Gwen with its bunker-like setting) and Born & Raised in San Diego kept this trend alive.

And for all that flash, plenty of restaurant designers were inspired by the idea of “home” this year — especially at Eater’s Most Beautiful Restaurant of the Year Eight Tables, which modeled itself after an (imaginary) midcentury apartment in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

Other trends that dominated the best 2017 restaurant designs: Great wallpaper, like the softly hued patterns at Grey Gardens in Toronto or the vibrant cacti at Hello Sailor in North Carolina; plants, so many of them, as in the frond-filled dining room at Hai Hai in Minneapolis or the tree growing through the Pujol dining room. And while there was plenty of luxury to be found, some of the year’s most striking designs were the most paired down, like the ultra-minimal De Maria in New York City or the dramatically simple Corvino Supper Club in Kansas City.

Here now, a look at the most beautiful restaurants of 2017:

BLVD in Chicago.
Photo by Marc Much for Eater Chicago

BLVD, Chicago

Opened: June 2017
Key players: Karen Herold, Studio K Creative, World Headquarters, LG Construction + Development, Space Architects + Planners, Kara Callero, Frank Callero, Steven Zaleski
The look: Deco glamour and a lack of windows makes Eater Chicago’s restaurant design of the year ripe for VIP-baiting.
Take a tour of BLVD.

Pujol in Mexico City.
Photos by Jake Lindeman for Eater

Pujol, Mexico City

Opened: March 2017
Key players: Javier Sánchez, Micaela de Bernardi, Lily Foster, Enrique Olvera
The look: Luxe minimalism meets Mexico City lush at one of the biggest reopenings of the year. Indoor tree required.
Take a tour of Pujol.

Vicia in St. Louis
Photo by Greg Rannells for Eater

Vicia, St. Louis

Opened: March 2017
Key players: Sasha Aleksandr Malinich, Michael Gallina, Tara Gallina
The look: An actually modern “modern farmhouse” at one of the year’s best new restaurants.
Shop the Restaurant: How to bring the Vicia look home.

Grey Gardens restaurant
Grey Gardens in Toronto.
Jenna Marie Wakani/Grey Gardens

Grey Gardens, Toronto

Opened: February 2017
Key players: Jen Agg, Mitch Bates
The look: A soft palette and vintage vibes to spare give this wine bar a faded-photograph feel. [Disclosure: Jen Agg has contributed to Eater.]
Take a tour of Grey Gardens.

Hai Hai in Minneapolis
Photo by Kevin Kramer for Eater Twin Cities

Hai Hai, Minneapolis

Opened: November 2017
Key players: Christina Nguyen, Birk Grudem
The look: A colorful mashup of tiles, textures, and plants, Hai Hai is a Midwestern spin on Southeast Asian inspiration.
Take a tour of Hai Hai.

Walnut Street Café in Philadelphia
Photo by Justin Blasi

Walnut Street Café, Philadelphia

Opened: July 2017
Key players: Parts and Labor Design, Branden McRill, Patrick Cappiello, Daniel Eddy
The look: A nautical take on a cushy country club dining room won Eater Philly’s award for restaurant design of the year.
Take a tour of Walnut Street Café.

De Maria in New York City.
Photo by Nicole Franzen

De Maria, NYC

Opened: February 2017
Key players: The MP Shift, Camille Becerra
The look: Deceptively simple cafe decked out in cool-kid neutrals makes for an on-trend instant classic.

Henrietta Red in Nashville.
Photo by Sam Angel for Eater Nashville

Henrietta Red, Nashville

Opened: February 2017
Key players: Kathryn Lager, Manuel Zeitlin Architects, Julia Sullivan, Allie Poindexter
The look: A beachy dining room fit for a Nancy Meyers dream home earned Eater Nashville’s award for restaurant of the year and design of the year.
Take a tour of Henrietta Red.

The entryway at Hello Sailor: a plant, couch, chair, and backdrop of cactus wallpaper Kyo H. Nam/Hello Sailor
A bright dining room with wooden chairs.
Hello Sailor in Cornelius, NC.
Rémy Thurston

Hello Sailor, North Carolina

Opened: December 2017
Key players: Katy Kindred, Joe Kindred
The look: Retro Palm Springs charm by way of a lakeside camp lodge for this late-breaking addition to the 2017 stone-cold stunners club.
Take a tour of Hello Sailor.

Chinese Tuxedo in NYC.
Photo by Daniel Krieger

Chinese Tuxedo, NYC

Opened: December 2016
Key players: Jeff Lam, Eddy Buckingham
The look: Technically a 2016 opening — but a 2017 Eater NY award-winner for its striking design — Chinese Tuxedo blends Chinatown history and banquet-hall scale with picture-perfect worn-in details.
Take a tour of Chinese Tuxedo.

Tallula’s in Santa Monica.
Photo by Wonho Frank Lee for Eater LA

Tallula's, LA

Opened: May 2017
Key players: Oonagh Ryan, James Guillou, ORA, Josh Loeb, Zoe Nathan, Jeremy Fox, Colby Goff
The look: Tallula’s delivers an endless summer with its technicolor mashup of hipster-Tulum inspiration and laid-back California beach flair.
Shop the Restaurant: How to bring the Tallula's look home.

Born & Raised in San Diego.
Photo by Heartwork Hill for Eater San Diego

Born & Raised, San Diego

Opened: September 2017
Key players: Paul Basile, BASILE Studio, Arsalun Tafazoli, Jason McLeod
The look: Over-the-top vaulting and deep wood tones give this steakhouse an old-world train station vibe.
Take a tour of Born & Raised.

Felix in Los Angeles.
Photo by Wonho Frank Lee

Felix, LA

Opened: April 2017
Key players: Wendy Haworth, Evan Funke, Janet Zuccarini
The look: Grandma wallpaper and substantial wood furniture give a homey feel to what is really a pasta church — and one of the best new restaurants of the year.
Take a tour of Felix.

Corvino Supper Club in Kansas City. Photo by Shanley Cox for Eater

Corvino Supper Club, Kansas City

Opened: May 2017
Key players: Hufft Projects, Michael Corvino, Christina Corvino
The look: An almost goth take on upscale dining, with striking dark walls and dramatically high ceilings.
Take a tour of Corvino Supper Club.

Eater's Design of the Year:

Eight Tables in San Francisco. Photo by Patricia Chang for Eater SF

Eight Tables, San Francisco

Opened: October 2017
Key players: Avroko, George Chen
The look: Imaginative and quietly playful, this tasting temple blurs the lines between restaurant and home.

Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater’s restaurant editor.


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