Located only minutes away from Seaport Village and Marina Bay in San Diego’s Gaslamp District, Lionfish opened its doors as the main F&B outlet at the Pendry, a boutique hotel for those seeking contemporary luxury. Designed with a shimmering Pacific Ocean sunset in mind, Lionfish offers a sophisticated yet comfortable dining experience to the Californian seafood lover. Blending an authentic coastal bistro style with an industrial edge, the restaurant’s enduring qualities are conveyed through the use of lasting natural materials and intricate detailing. Those include natural oak, white wash exposed brick, tiled ceilings, raw metal detailing and an extensive custom FF&E program.
Speaking to Premier Hospitality International magazine about the project is Studio Munge’s visionary Principal Alessandro Munge: “Having collaborated on multiple Las Vegas projects, our partners at Clique Hospitality turned to us to take their hotel restaurant to the next level. With Lionfish’s San Diego location, the project marked our first restaurant in California.
“The designers were challenged with modernising thematic coastal motifs expected by both the local community and travellers. The design had to feel like an exciting and unique experience without overwhelming guests with contemporary sensibilities. Our team had to find a balance that would elevate San Diego’s dining scene without intimidation.”
Lionfish begins with the bar and lounge seating on the ground floor and expands onto a street level patio; and dining moves upwards to the mezzanine level.
Beyond the double-height lounge and bar the ample circular banquettes and their supportive wood panelling, evocative of sailboat docks, offer guests intimacy. Upholstered in a natural colour palette including marine blues, warm ivory chevron and cognac leathers, the ground floor dining and lounge seating were designed to comfortably complement the warmth of the traditional cement tiles and oak floors used to define each space. Very much a showstopper, the kitchen features an impressive arched raw steel trellis and clear glass façade, as well as porthole windows reinforcing the maritime atmosphere.
The upper mezzanine, much lighter in its finishes and muted colour palette of pebble grey, water crest and lichen greens, offers striking views on the main hall’s grand chandelier and iridescent slate bar top. Through wall scones, globe pendants and bespoke chandeliers – all custom made from uniquely found objects and reminiscent of fishing lanterns – the diffused shimmering light wraps the entire space with a remarkable sense of ease, setting the guest up for the brilliant dining experience ahead.
Since opening in 2017, the restaurant has been met with rave reviews, as well as being shortlisted in the Restaurant & Bar Design awards.
Commenting on the project’s success, Alessandro said: “A now San Diego favourite, Lionfish is celebrated for its authentic, yet distinguished ambiance from both a design and local foodie perspective. Holding recent finalist positions in Hospitality Design’s Nightlife Awards and Restaurant and Bar Design Awards, Lionfish is being noticed for Studio Munge’s twist on and application of coastal elements and motifs. In addition, since its much-anticipated opening in early 2017, the restaurant has attracted coverage from design focused and food-centric publications including Architectural Digest, Forbes, Eater, San Diego Magazine, Zagat and Food & Beverage Magazine.”
Fuelled by Principal Alessandro Munge’s singular vision to create unforgettable experiences, Studio Munge is a multidisciplinary design firm bringing spaces to life for some of the world’s most iconic hospitality brands and top-tier global developers. While defining a new era of luxury, Studio Munge has established a reputation for masterful storytelling through tactile, layered and immersive design.
Alessandro’s creative leadership and entrepreneurial spirit has inspired the firm’s diverse teams with the passion to produce exceptional interiors that borrow from the projects architecture and environment. From Beverly Hills to Hong Kong, Alessandro’s exquisite residences and inspired Hospitality venues emulate his passion for design, elevating the need and desires for all who thrive within.