We came for the food, but we stayed for the breathtaking interiors.

A restaurant’s menu can obviously make or break your entire dining experience. But so can the atmosphere. Sometimes a space is just too formal or too messy, too plain or too over-the-top—but these seven restaurants from the WL archives have got it juuuust right.

1. Native Tongues

Nothing about Native Tongues Taqueria is too precious. In fact, Amanda Hamilton designed it to look like a hole in the wall—and the space fully embraces the shabby-chic trend with custom painted walls that mimic worn-down layers of plaster. See more of this cool Calgary cantina.

2. Calcutta Cricket Club

A bold palette of pinks, soft greens, gold and black lends a colonial-cool look to this modern Indian restaurant or, as design Maya Gohill puts it, “it’s like if an Indian gentlemen’s club were to meet the Golden Girls.” See more of this 1980s Miami-inspired space.

3. Two Penny

Designer Sarah Ward drew inspiration from 1960s Shanghai, a period distinctive for its blending of traditional Chinese architecture and streamlined Art Deco style, for the concept of this modern Chinese restaurant in Calgary. See more of this hip, understated-glam design.

4. Anh and Chi

The restaurant owners wanted to transform their beloved hole-in-the-wall into a modern Vietnamese lounge, so designer Karin Bohn created a design ethos that centres around authentic Vietnam and its historical French influences—but with mid-century modern touches. See more of this Vietnamese resto-lounge.juniper vancouver

5. Juniper

It’s no surprise that the bar takes centre stage in this Chinatown room—Juniper’s menu is lead by a unique gin cocktail program. On the face of the bar, architects Marko Simcic and Bill Uhrich of Simcic Uhrich included tiles that appear in a three-dimensional pattern, but they actually spill down onto the floor in a different arrangement. See more of this West-Coast inspired kitchen and bar.savio volpe

6. Savio Volpe

Co-owned and designed by Craig Stanghetta, Fraser Street’s casual neighbourhood spot (named Best New Restaurant in our sister pub’s 2017 Restaurant Awards), is warm, rustic and inviting. See more of this modern Italian osteria.

7. Tacofino’s Yaletown Burrito Bar

With floor-to-ceiling pastel murals, mosaic-tile tables and mismatched porcelain pendant lighting, Tacofino Yaletown’s small space exudes a West-Coast beach vibe. See more of this cool, surf-punk-inspired taco joint from designer Shiloh Sukkau.

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