Embrace The Coastal European Life (And Design) At Chicago’s Kostali Restaurant


Kostali chicago restaurant

Even in the dead of winter, Chicagoans can feel like they’re basking on the sun-kissed shores of Southern Europe (almost) during a meal at Kostali.

With a name that means “coast” in Maltese, this 68-seat restaurant helmed by James Beard Award-winning chef Carrie Nahabedian (of Brindille and the now-closed NAHA) opened inside The Gwen hotel in late 2019.

It’s a completely different concept from the chef’s previous restaurants, focusing on dishes from Greece, Portugal, Spain, France and Italy, with touches of the Middle East and North Africa. Tom Nahabedian, principal at Bureau | AD in Chicago and cousin to Carrie, designed Kostali to evoke feelings of relaxation, using vibrant shades of blue and gold paired with organic shapes and textures.

Tom differentiated the entrance of the fifth-floor space with brass-toned metal screens; inside, a nine-seat bar with an ocean-blue enamel lava stone top is a focal point, as are custom light fixtures of pale blue ribbed glass.

“These bold strokes are offset by the intimate scale of it all, along with simple and modern detailing and materiality throughout,” he says. “It’s a true transportation to the Italian Riviera.”