Gastronomy and design: beyond the plate

  • Plazza Athénée: the dining room

    Plazza Athénée: the dining room

    © Pierre Monetta 2

  • The Opéra Garnier Restaurant

    The Opéra Garnier Restaurant

    © Roland Halbe

Gastronomy and design: beyond the plate

Going out to a bar, taking in the atmosphere, or simply just laughing and having a nice time with friends: the reasons for going to cafes and restaurants are rarely just for the food.

These days, designers strive to create something that goes far beyond just what’s served on the plate. The walls, stairs, furniture, how tables are set: all these aspects contribute to the aesthetics in catering. The goal is to transport visitors to an elegant and chic environment, to let them escape for a moment of respite.

The Opera Garnier Restaurant: a modern ship docked beneath a dome

The aim: to create an extremely contemporary restaurant, at the heart of a 19th Century listed monument without laying a finger on the original walls. Definitely a challenge!

This unique idea for the Phantom of the Opera Garnier restaurant was very successful. With its red and white decor, it invites guests into an isolated bubble of modernity, divided into 3 separate areas (the main room, the Martini lounge bar and a mezzanine).

The see-through wavy glass walls hang from the mezzanine, making it seem almost like a white cloud floating in the centre of the room, or perhaps a giant ship docked in mid-air. Its design alludes to the ever changing form of the phantom, gliding gracefully beneath the dome.

On the menu: dishes from French cuisine, both classic and modern, made from local fresh and seasonal produce.

Plaza Athénée: a dream

If you’re looking to experience an evening of glamour, head for the Chef Alain Ducasse restaurant at the Plaza Athénée 5 star Palace Hotel, and dine in the epitome of Parisian luxury.

Created by the duo Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku, the attention to detail is clear as soon as you walk in!

Pearl coloured decor, Swarovski chandeliers contemplate an imposing 3 polished stainless steel booths that mimic traditional covering plates.

The atmosphere is truly something else. It’s a majestic world dedicated to tableware, boasting a delightful exhibition of rare copper pots and pans, crystal and silverware.

Recollecting history in Strasbourg

Although very innovative, the style of these bars and restaurants can be found in many places outside of Paris, too.

In the former National Stud Farm of Strasbourg, built under the reign of Louis XV, the design of Brasserie Les Haras perfectly echoes the equestrian past of the place through textures and materials:

  • the primitive character of the bar reflects seed buckets of the stables,
  • the use of raw wood adds to the rustic look of the place.

It’s no wonder that Brasserie Les Haras has received the title of "Best Restaurant" in 2014 issued by the "Restaurant & Bar Design Awards" reward, on a global scale, for its modern interpretation of the traditional rural restaurant.

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