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6 Toronto Restos Rocking the Latest Design Trends

What a tasty crop of eateries is cooking up with the design world’s favourite new ingredients

By Eric Mutrie

In our latest issue, we spotlight three new trends taking the design world by storm: geometric tile, leaf-y wallpaper and orb-style lighting. Many of the city’s top design firms have already put these elements to use in their recent restaurant projects.

Below, six local spots that satisfy our appetite for on-trend dining environments.


Great graphic tile: Khao San Road

Photo by Robert Albertin.

Since opening on Adelaide Street in 2011, Khao San Road (11 Charlotte St) has established itself as one of the city’s top spots for a taste of Thailand. Recently relocated around the corner to a larger space on the first floor of a Charlotte Street condo, the eatery now reps its ties to southeast Asia more proudly than ever.

A waterfall of hand-painted, made-in-Thailand tiles washes right from the top of the two-storey dining space down onto the floor. Sourced directly by the restaurant’s design firm, Make Studio, from a factory near Bangkok, the feature wall was envisioned as an ode to the sort of authentic Thai craftsmanship happening in Khao San Road’s kitchen. More top-notch tiles can be found in the washrooms – the floor of each one is decked in a different graphic pattern, while poppy oversized subway tile clads the walls.


For another taste of this trend:
Burdifilek’s design for King East’s Masseria (577 King St W) is an elevated take on the Italian pizzeria. On the floor, a mosaic of long marble tiles in contrasting black, grey and white hues help build the space’s grandiose ambiance. Photo by Ben Rahn/ A-Frame.


Get the look with our roundup of five terrific flooring styles.


Palm Springs-style decor: Planta

What’s the difference between a vegan restaurant and a “plant-based” one? Judging from Yorkville’s Planta (1221 Bay St), style. The resto, which does not use animal products in any of its dishes, serves up its Cali-fresh menu in an appropriately Cali-chic setting.

Designed by East Studio, the space goes all in on this year’s Pantone colour of the year. Banana leaf-print wallpaper designed by Candice Kaye builds on the room’s ample supply of indoor plants. Cushy seating – long banquettes and hanging cocoon chairs – adds to the laid-back atmosphere.


For another taste of this trend:
Banana leaves also feature in the Barr Gilmore-designed mural behind the crescent-shaped banquettes at Brandon Olsen’s La Banane, envisioned by Mason Studio. The piece’s gold accents match the bling-ed out wine glass racks that hang above the bar. Photo by @labananeresto.


Get the look with our guide to fresh, breezy furnishings.


Orb-style lighting: Oretta

Photo by Larry Nichols.

Commute Design’s scheme for downtown’s Oretta (633 King St W) puts a playful spin on art deco. Glass orbs hang suspended from the space’s cathedral-like ceilings by thin brass arms. The globe-shaped accent lighting acts as a splendid complement to the round-edged geometric elements found on the majestic pink-and-gold feature wall.

Glam detailing can also be spotted in the Italian restaurant’s fun flooring, where engineered white oak planks from Trends and Trades are intersected by elegant strips of brass.


For another taste of this trend:
The former lobby of downtown’s historic Hudson’s Bay building is reimagined as a grand art deco-style dining room at Leña (176 Yonge St), dreamed up by The Design Agency. Its centrepiece is a custom chandelier by Viso. Pear-shaped glass orbs hang from the ends of beautiful arcing brass arms.


Get the look with our selection of spherical pendants.


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