Boston is a city of power struggles, politics, expensive real estate, and cutting-edge music and arts. Besides all of this, Boston is also a place that offers many excellent modern décor restaurant options – your head will spin from the variety of marvelous dining places. We are here to help you find the best ones!
Inspired by New England’s copper beech trees, Cultivar’s bar area features a branch-like chandelier and a fallen-beechwood bar top. Cultivar’s interior design symbol – the hanging plants that change seasonally, arranged in the style of a Japanese kokedama garden by South End–based Bloom Couture Floral Studio.
Buttons designed to mimic those found on Revolutionary War uniforms adorn the dining area’s blue banquettes – a nod to Cultivar’s proximity to the Freedom Trail.
Designed by the New York–based architecture firm Bentel & Bentel, Les Sablons evokes the Parisian Metro station that inspired its name. Pendant lights glow warmly throughout the second-floor bar and dining area. Graffiti-like artwork by local photographer Stephen Sheffield adorns the building’s original exposed-brick walls, while a low wood-plank ceiling helps to define the space around the bar.
Designed by Studios Architecture, Terra transports diners to an intimate Italian greenhouse, complete with lush hanging plants and room-brightening skylights. Along the walls, fresh herbs, assorted pottery, and gardening accoutrements sit on natural wood shelves, evoking the earthy vibes that inspired the restaurant’s name. Meanwhile, mismatched rustic tables and chairs by the Italian firm Costagroup ground the space and feed Terra’s authentic, homey feel.
Gold-toned ambient lighting sets the mood at Ruka, where nods to South American and Asian landscapes mingle throughout the space. A concrete backsplash evokes stone found in the Peruvian mountains, while dragons wrapped around decorative columns pay homage to Chinese and Japanese cultures. Golden acacia wood, sourced from the Philippines, tops the tables and bar.
Wrangling with a corporate shell, as the Millennium Tower provides, isn’t easy, but shoji-inspired transoms help divide space while setting the mood. In a grand room such as this, it’s best to illuminate the art, rather than the diners. Here, ambient light is pleasingly low, focusing attention on the food, and on the traditional crane mural, elegantly finished in gold leaf.
A flurry of paper lantern–like fixtures hanging in a joyous pattern mimicks Obon, the wondrous Japanese lantern festival. The fixtures are reflected in the large adjacent mirror to great effect.
Private booths offer not only intimacy, but also an opportunity to showcase a lovely cherry blossom mural handpainted on a rustic wood plank surface, the perfect embodiment of wabi-sabi.
At Waypoint a neutral palette is skillfully rendered in a smart mix of materials. The designers of the restaurant decided to use an accent wall that provides an opportunity to use a new material and show off the art. Ceiling beams here create an undulating surface, which improves a room’s acoustics, while undercounter lighting adds pizzazz where you least expect it, and highlights surface texture. Although indoor/outdoor fabrics are all the rage, there’s nothing quite as inviting as black leather (even faux) upholstery.
Italian bacaro SRV has an enormous glass doors that open to the enclosed courtyard, where diners can enjoy delights under the stars. Luminous cut-crystal pendants hung at various heights create a festival vibe, while painting the ceiling and joists a creamy ivory emphasizes the structure’s regular rhythm. SRV is full of details, such as knotted rope dividers, communicate a handcrafted approach and a high-backed tufted banquette in rosy red becomes an important focal point in an otherwise busy space.
If you ask the chef, the awkwardly configured U-shaped dining room of Tiffani Faison was the culprit. “In terms of physical space, I would not have chosen [it],” Faison says. But who could argue with the location, just steps away from her first restaurant, Sweet Cheeks? So Faison and her wife, Kelly Walsh, decided to take a chance on the unlucky storefront, tapping Sousa Design Architects (Banyan Bar + Refuge, Alden & Harlow, Sweet Cheeks) to tighten up the space and actualize a vibrant love letter to Southeast Asia in the process. “I didn’t want it to be the Rainforest Café,” Faison says. “The idea is to nod to a certain place in the world.”
The ash-wood chandeliers installed in the dining room were inspired by the baskets of rice and fish Faison spotted locals hauling during her travels through Southeast Asia.
Corrugated-metal siding is common in contemporary bar design, but here, it’s inspired by southeast Thailand’s shanty towns.
Huge mirrors at Yvonne’s reflect the chandeliers’ sparkle and the illuminated liquor bottles. Ornately carved woodwork evokes the restaurant’s illustrious past, while strategic lighting, including up-lights behind the bar, keeps things bright. Yellow tufted banquettes offer a bold counterpoint to the Victorian palette. Just as in the 19th century, Calacatta marble and mahogany set the stage for evening imbibing and comfortable upholstered bar chairs in heavy brocade encourage longer sessions.
In a sea of downlights, a few massive glass globes create focal points at BISq. Black ceilings seem to disappear, giving the room the illusion of more height. A simple soffit outfitted with downlights creates intimacy in large spaces. Wood grains are often the unsung heroes of minimalist spaces, used to great effect here. While metal chairs may have an industrial vibe, they look terrific in this loftlike.
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