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Who says a restaurant has to be solely somewhere you go to eat? Not husband-and-wife team Alessandra and Mario De Benedetti, that’s for sure. They’ve made their first hospitality project, NYC restaurant Il Fiorista, an all-encompassing experience, with the theme being, simply, flowers. There’s a fully functioning floral boutique (you can even take bouquet-making classes) and items like fluke crudo with salted chrysanthemum leaves and a toasted sunflower seed cocktail on the menu.

While most people will be booking a reservation to try chef Garrison Price’s innovative dishes, the design is also enough to make us want to snag a table. You can’t miss the massive, hand-painted wall art when you walk in, created by Leanne Shapton, and the space was designed by architect Elizabeth Roberts, so of course it’s noteworthy—these are a few of our favorite moments: 

The Mural

“To really communicate a concept where flowers and herbs are celebrated, sold, and incorporated into a seasonal menu through the design, we took elements of gardening themes and incorporated them into the modern mural,” Roberts tells us. Enter: painterly brushstrokes and smaller, half-circle designs, which may not look like flowers in and of themselves, but whose bright colors are definitely reminiscent of a well-looked-after greenhouse

The Subtle Texture

Look to the zinc and ash tables or the delicate woven backs of the bentwood chairs for examples of indoor-outdoor style done right. A smattering of natural materials gets the point across without making you feel like you’re walking down the lumber aisle of a Home Depot. 

The Vibe

Much like a garden brimming with every type of herb and flower, nothing is too perfect. “We selected a mix of new and vintage furnishings with calming, muted tones in mind, juxtaposed with bright florals in the front of the restaurant,” explains Roberts. Not even the centerpieces match. This is a space that doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is sort of the point—who wants to eat at a stodgy dining establishment anyway?

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