Best Restaurant Casual Dining

Finalists at the 2016 Gold Key Awards for Excellence in Design, Figo and Borracha shine in Boutique Design magazine

Figo, Toronto

DESIGN FIRM: Studio Munge, Toronto

INSPIRATION: Create a fluid space that transitions effortlessly from brunch to cocktails. Incorporate a delicate, feminine vibe via an airy spin on an Italian cucina. Layer textures and motifs to add interest to a nearly all white and cream palette.

INNOVATION: Finding the line between “pretty” and “saccharine”. Making use of an open kitchen let the designers play with dainty elements against a backdrop generous enough to give them visual weight. A fresco-style floral mural on the ceiling gets gravitas from sheet scale. “using a translucent floral print on floor-to-ceiling windows gives guests a taste of the style.” says Studio Munge principal Alessandro Munge. The space’s anchor, a 4,000-tile Romanesque archway, grounds the entirety of the restaurant.

INTEL: Eclectic doesn’t have to mean ultra-high contrast elements. The juxtaposition here is more subtle. The soft gloss of stone and wood works with the crystalline notes of the glass in bottles and lighting.

Borracha Mexican Cantina at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Casino & Spa, Henderson, Nevada

DESIGN FIRM: Studio Munge, Toronto

INSPIRATION: Bring Mexico to Nevada via a Day of the Dead-themed restaurant in the round. Take a trip to the dark side with a black- and brown-heavy palette. Up the drama with zigzag wood patterns on the ceiling and elaborate metal screens.

INNOVATION: Celebrating the slightly sinister underside of the holiday in both the art and the overall feel. “On matte black walls in modern pointillist style by Mexican artist Oscar Flores, a classic story of good and evil and the creation of man depicts eagles and snakes battling around Aztec gods in metallic shades of copper, silver, and gold”, says Alessandro Munge, principal, Studio Munge. The harsh geometry of that work riffs the edginess of metal-and-glass light fixtures. Circular banquettes might take a less rigid approach, but leather upholstery keeps them in the darky cool realm.

INTEL: A steel fist can be just as seductive as a velvet glove. The 135-cover venue makes guest take a second look not with rich textures, but with an off-kilter approach to the cultural and aesthetic expectations of a cantina. Metal shelving wraps around the round bar, making the bottles a sparkling art piece. Meet the coolest kids’ fiesta – no pinatas needed.