With the current pandemic closing down everything from schools to national parks, many bucket lists are starting to grow as people spend their free time daydreaming rather than exploring. If that’s the case for you, here’s one to add to the list. Samara, a wood-fueled bistro in Seattle, doesn’t just have a menu that will have you drooling all over your keyboard, the design of the space is just as much of a feast, but for the eyes.
The name Samara comes from the winged fruit of the maple tree (did anyone else put these on their noses as kids?). This name sets the tone for the design of the restaurant — it’s one that uses nature as the guide to create a space that is at once cozy and high-end.
How you experience your meal starts with the environment you are in. Careful attention was paid to every detail of the space which was designed by the team at Mutuus Studio. The menu developed by chef Eric Anderson includes items like locally sourced produce, sustainable seafood, and heritage breed meat, all cooked in the restaurant’s wood-fired brick oven and hearth. Such a robust menu needed to be balanced with a robust, earthy design, creating an all-five-senses experience for diners.
The rich, dark earthy tones of the forest were the main inspiration for the color palette of Samara. Taking a cue from the food, which is all wood-fired, the main materials used throughout the restaurant are also wood. Dark stained oak paneling and wainscotting were used as the primary wall covering for most of the space. Along one stretch of wall, the original firewall was exposed and left intact. The framing timber of the firewall is another reminder of the wood-fueled brick oven used to prepare the food. Tabletops were made from reclaimed wood from piers. Accented by leather chocolaty leather and black wall sconces, there’s a rustic-smoking-lounge vibe throughout Samara.
The concept of an intimate gathering around the hearth with friends inspired the layout of Samara. Seating for 30 is a combination of 4-top tables and a banquet along one wall. Opening up the kitchen to the dining area allows guests to see the flames of the oven and get a glimpse of the food being prepared. It creates a homey ambiance that is comfortable and familiar. It’s a feeling we will all need to restore ourselves once the social distancing can finally come to an end.
Like most restaurants across the country, Samara has had to temporarily close until the pandemic is under control (which, if people continue to practice social distancing, will hopefully be sooner rather than later), but that’s all the more reason to stop and admire the stunning design. Enjoy the decor now, enjoy the food later.
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