Feast Your Eyes On 3 Recently Opened Bay Area Restaurants


From elegant Italian aesthetics to warm, welcoming diner vibes, these eateries offer a little something for everyone.

Che Fico Parco Menlo


Long marble table and cane-back chairs with leather seats in a restaurant with wood-paneled walls

Photo: Douglas Friedman

In Menlo Park’s burgeoning Springline development, Che Fico Parco Menlo pleases the eye and palate. Interior designer Jon de la Cruz was tapped again by executive chef and co-owner David Nayfeld for the Peninsula sequel to Che Fico in San Francisco. For de la Cruz’s latest restaurant effort, the idea was to “exude conviviality and familiarity but with a slightly more classic, polished edge,” says the DLC-ID founder, noting that food factored into his design. “The blown-glass Venetian-style light fixtures, apart from capturing a sparkly Italian mood, symbolize the fatta a mano (made by hand) concept of David’s cooking,” he explains. Facets of the illumination, including glass trumpets and petals, echo pasta shapes. Singular elements big and small permeate the venue—from the black-and-white striped flooring, Verdi Alpi marble bar top and floral-and-fig patterned wallpaper to the shelves that hold vintage Italian glassware tucked among a bevy of potted plants.



Diner with black-and-white floors, yellow chairs and blue booths

Photo: Jonathan Mitchell

Interior designer Kristi Will’s maiden restaurant project merges her professional and personal lives: George and Betsy del Fierro, the proprietors of Johnny’s in Half Moon Bay, were once her neighbors. Will babysat their three children—two of whom, daughters Maile and Camille, are now the head chef and manager of the diner-style eatery. The space that previously housed Original Johnny’s underwent a “complete reimagination” to “infuse a modern twist into this beloved restaurant,” Will recalls. “We meticulously considered materials for durability and family-friendly use, including high-contrast black-and-white tile flooring, calming natural oak paneling, and soft yellow and deep turquoise seating.” Mosaic tiling delineates the kitchen from the dining zone, and even the restroom offers a visual treat: a playful Fornasetti wallpaper with oranges. Will also worked with Da Vinci Marble to create the floor logo that features stars representing each del Fierro family member plus their favorite saying: “Shine your light.”

La Connessa


Restaurant with black-and-white flooring, black-and-white wicker chairs and dark blue walls

Photo: Ed Anderson

In San Francisco’s Potrero Hill area, La Connessa is part of a triple play of new restaurants by Bacchus Management Group in the mixed-use Mason on Mariposa. Designer Stephen Boyd Brady and Left Coast Design Studio’s Craig Trettau collaborated on an inviting atmosphere that includes Brompton leather booths, black-and-white wicker bistro chairs and lighting from Magnus Schevene of Rose Gold Society. The color and material choices balance the grandness of the space, which features ceilings nearly 20 feet high. Graphic patinated flooring throughout and brass table lamps along the 20-seat bar draw the eye lower, while a neon martini glass sign beckons passersby.