Los Angeles Restaurants Eat Up Design Competition

Four L.A. eateries take top design honors from an esteemed jury and the general public as well.

Photo by Ivan De La Luz The new Nobu in Malibu, designed by Montalba Architects, Inc. and Studio PCH, LLC, was a Jury Winner in the Restaurant category. 

When it comes to fine dining, Los Angeles restaurants often take a backseat to their sisters in Northern California. But when it comes to fine dining design, L.A. eateries smoked those in the Bay Area, at least according to those who voted for the 9th Annual Restaurant Design Awards, presented recently at Dwell on Design.

Four of the winners were in the metro L.A. area, while only two from up north were recognized. The other two winners are located in Portland, Maine and Iceland, of all places. But the latter is probably the most stunning of all.  It's called the Northern Lights Bar, and has to be seen to be believed.

Closer to home, the SHOREbar in Santa Monica, designed by Built, won both the Jury Prize and the People’s Choice Award In the Lounge/Nightclub category. As the name would indicate, it’s located right near the ocean, at the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Channel Road.

A little further up PCH, the new Nobu in Malibu, designed by Montalba Architects, Inc. and Studio PCH, LLC, was a Jury Winner in the Restaurant category. But even before the tony sushi restaurant moved to its new digs on the ocean, it was one of Malibu’s, and perhaps all of L.A.’s, hottest eateries.

Another winner on the coast was Venice’s Superba Snack Bar, which also took a Jury Prize in the Restaurant category. The more casual, modern diner that describes itself as “a neighborhood joint showcasing house made pastas, small plate snacks and an ode to vegetables,” was designed by Reed Architectural Group and Design Bitches.

The final Southland winner was Beer Belly, in the Café/Bar category, located in downtown L.A. Self-described as a “a beer bar focused on serving craft beer, and crafty food,” it was designed by MAKE Architecture.

A "Distinguished Jury" judged the competition. It was comprised of writer/editor Margot Dougherty, restaurateur Warner Ebbink and architect George Kelly, AIA. They selected 16 projects as finalists in the Restaurant category, four in the Café/Bar category and three in the Lounge/Nightclub category.

Those nominees were then released to the public online, and people from all over the country had the opportunity to vote for their favorite restaurant designs.

Although the awards were for design only and had nothing to do with food quality, all the winners have been generally acknowledged for their cuisine as well as their good looks. A feast for the eyes as well as the palate makes the consummate dining experience.

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