San Francisco’s Best New Restaurant 

Architectural Digest

Aveline, a new Bay Area eatery, features a wall of leather banquette seating. Photograph by Wes Rowe Close

Aveline, a new Bay Area eatery, features a wall of leather banquette seating. Photograph by Wes Rowe

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Aveline, a new Bay Area eatery, features a wall of leather banquette seating. Photograph by Wes Rowe

In an era of high-concept restaurants, the designers behind the new San Francisco eatery Aveline had a seemingly simple mandate. "I wanted it to feel like you were a guest in someone’s home," says chef Casey Thompson, who specializes in casual California cuisine. Architect Oliver John Palmer Michell and his team at the Dutch design firm UXUS delivered, with a space that feels at once friendly and urbane—and appropriate for its setting in the historic Warwick San Francisco.

Aveline’s layout mimics many modern homes. "The restaurant operates as a great room, an approachable space where kitchen, dining, and living are open to each other," says Michell. Leather banquettes create cozy nooks within the 60-seat space. A neutral palette and shimmering brasserie tile feel quietly sophisticated, while shots of color come from artwork by Sarah Atkinson and Patrick Wright. Potted herbs and recipes displayed throughout the restaurant "convey a sense of familiarity," says Michell.

The restaurant’s dining room is open to the kitchen. Photograph by Wes Rowe

The restaurant’s dining room is open to the kitchen. Photograph by Wes Rowe

As part of the Warwick, a 100-year-old hotel designed by Arthur Brown Jr., the restaurant pays homage to its Beaux Arts roots. The architects hung period light fixtures along the walls and incorporated the building’s signature honeycomb-like pattern along the top of a supporting wall in the middle of the dining room. Across the lobby, the European bar—also designed by UXUS—repeats this pattern in a dark, more masculine setting. The supporting wall also serves as a temperature-controlled wine "cellar," giving diners "an opportunity to browse the selection from the comfort of their table," says Michell.

The wine selection is displayed in a case with glass doors. Photograph by Wes Rowe Close

The wine selection is displayed in a case with glass doors. Photograph by Wes Rowe

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The wine selection is displayed in a case with glass doors. Photograph by Wes Rowe

And for a true at-home experience, customers can snag one of the four seats right at the counter of the bustling open kitchen. Says Thompson: "We love watching the guests as much as they love to watch us work."

Aveline at the Warwick San Francisco, 490 Geary Street, San Francisco; avelinesf.com

Click to see more of the Aveline, plus the European bar.

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