A successful restaurant is built on the foundation of ambiance and comfort. Your customers should be able to enjoy their meals and feel good about their visit to your restaurant—as they will if they are key design features creating a distinct atmosphere. It is critical to choose a professional that will design your establishment with your brand personality in mind and provide the best possible dining experience for your customers.
The list below includes the best restaurant architects in Santa Monica, California. These firms were selected for their accreditations, certifications, and professional affiliations. Industry awards, client reviews, and press features were also taken into account as well as the range of services the firms offer, their specializations, and the length of time they have been in the industry.
2525 Michigan Avenue, Building T4, Santa Monica, CA 90404
Montalba Architects is a multi-disciplinary firm supported by a team of architects, designers, and professionals working across two offices. The firm produces select architecture and urban design-related projects with professional experience that includes the fine arts, media, and business management. Montalba emphasizes experiences by creating environments that are both socially responsive and aesthetically progressive. Over the last 15 years, the firm has continued to refine its craft through the forces of volumetric landscapes, material integrity, natural light, and pure spatial volumes to create solutions to the pragmatic requirements of the client, constructability, and context. The firm fosters communication between involved parties and leads the architectural and construction teams on behalf of the client as proactive experts.
As the founding principal of Montalba Architects, David Montalba is the driving force of leadership and design within the firm. In addition to maintaining membership with the Singapore Institute of Architects, he has also been recognized with numerous awards. Those awards include the National Young Architect Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 2008, a 2019 AIA Institute Honor Award, and over 100 other design awards. David works closely with the principals and staff in taking on a more personal approach with each project, including Cassia in Santa Monica.
For this 4,800-square-foot first-floor restaurant renovation, the original raw concrete structure was left exposed on the ceiling, walls, and floors; the existing 1937 Art Deco character was retained. Blackened-steel portals create the connection between the main room, wine room, and the private dining area. Three different bars activate the various zones within the space—the main bar, wood-grill bar, and raw bar.
2740 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Belzberg Architects has fostered a reputation for creating beautiful, functional architecture and interiors by exploring unconventional methodologies. The firm has a broad base of experience in commercial, residential, institutional, interior design projects. While it nurtures a collective curiosity and dissects critical issues, the firm’s solutions take into account the realities of construction.
Founding Principal Hagy Belzberg is a Fellow of the AIA (FAIA). Hagy has been honored by the AIA California Council as an Emerging Talent, and in 2008 he won the prestigious designation of “Emerging Voice” by the Architectural League of New York. In addition, Hagy has held Graduate and Undergraduate level instructorship and lecture positions at UCLA, USC, and The Southern California Institute of Architecture since 1994. He led Belzberg Architects to recognition from AIA Los Angeles (AIA-LA) with Merit and Citation Awards for its exemplary designs. An example of this is Prova Pizzeria in West Hollywood.
Taking over the old Pizza Joint on Santa Monica Boulevard, Prova Pizzeria is designed much like the pizza, made with high craftsmanship and simple, quality materials. Wood and concrete are transformed with contemporary graphics, painted and stained in hand-finished techniques resulting in a dynamic and layered space that is both rustic and modern.
Kelly Architects, Inc.
2404 Wilshire Boulevard 1E, Los Angeles, CA 90057
Rooted in the dynamic entertainment culture of Los Angeles, Kelly Architects is an architecture and interior design firm known for its prowess in hotel, restaurant, and bar design. It balances concepts and materials with budgets, schedules, and code regulations. The firm’s team has capabilities in permit expediting, site design, construction administration, food service equipment design.
George Kelly implements Kelly Architects’s innovative design approach as the principal architect of the firm. He was a partner at Fields Devereaux Architects & Engineers where he contributed to growing the firm from 23 to 160 employees. He worked on large-scale commercial and civic projects at Gruen Associates, including the LA Convention Center and the Santa Ana Federal Court House. Kelly is actively involved in the AIA-LA Chapter and is a registered architect in the state of California. He has authored and developed many of the strategies the firm has used to creatively respond to the needs of their clients while staying on top of current trends.
One of Kelly Architects’ most prominent projects is Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottur. Guests are greeted in a lobby upstairs covered in tree-printed wallpaper. A series of jade-green steel beams run overhead, supporting a sheet of awning that can be pulled across to shield diners from the sun. An ornately patterned red rug overlays the parquet wooden floor. Star forms appear on the mosaic floors of the restaurant’s outdoor terrace, which looks out over Beverly Hills’ bustling, palm tree-lined streets.
8695 Washington Boulevard, #205, Culver City, CA 90232
Letter Four is a full-service architectural design and construction firm that extends its services throughout Los Angeles. It is a leading expert in the design-build process, offering clients comprehensive services in-house. This minimizes the need for additional subcontractors. The firm has been in business since 2010 and has served more than 438 clients. The firm’s portfolio showcases a broad range of tenant improvements, residential remodels, new construction, restaurants, fitness centers, and hospitality projects.
Lauren Adams brings her architectural expertise to Letter Four’s practice; Jeremy Baker offers his in-depth knowledge in construction. Adams carries almost two decades of design and construction management experience. She is licensed in both California and New York, and holds membership with the AIA, as does Baker. With more than 20 years of design and construction experience in residential and commercial environments, Baker has been trained in architectural design and all aspects of construction, both hands-on and project management. The co-owners guided Letter Four in developing the branding and interior experience of L’assiette.
The brand identity was born from the French word for plate. Both the L’assiette logo and the interior of the restaurant are a modern twist on the traditional steak-frites bistro aesthetic. Traditional forms are merged with sleek wood panels, well-designed lighting, and modern fixtures.
8569 Venice Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90034
Initially specializing in industrial design, TWG Architects has expanded its practice to encompass commercial, single-family residential, and multifamily projects. For each project, the firm puts together a design team consisting of a principal architect and a project manager/designer who are each involved from conceptualization to completion. TWG encourages the active participation of clients throughout the entire process so that they can understand the design. Active listening is integral to the company’s work, allowing it to get a full grasp of the purpose and function of each space.
Principal Edwin Woll was a project manager/architect at Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill in Boston as well as at Gehry & Associates in Los Angeles where he was employed by Frank Gehry. He is president and co-founder of Tomko Woll Group Architects and a member of the AIA. Woll has received awards for a number of his projects including the Lois Apartments in Long Beach, the ten9fifty Studios in Culver City, and the Bixby Center for Reproductive Health & Taper Center for Medical Training in Los Angeles. His efforts continue to create value for long-term clients and facilities that stand out in the marketplace, like Derrick’s Jamaican Cuisine.
TWG renovated tenant space in an existing small shopping center for this Jamaican restaurant. The site work entailed verifying parking provisions to Los Angeles City standards and positioning wheelchair site access. The TWG team created a full kitchen design as well as the intimate layout for the dining area and implemented the owner’s design concept.