Fine dining isn’t just something found in the city or on its edge. The recently completed San Lorenzo Restaurant, which includes a café and bar, exemplifies sophisticated dining in suburbs. Located at Caribbean Park, this new offering has proved to be extremely successful, attracting locals and those from further afield.

Project Name: San Lorenzo
Studio Name: Peter Ryan Architects
Completion Date: 2020
Building Levels: 1
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Text: Stephen Crafti
Photography: Alex Reinders

©Alex Reinders

Located at the ground level of a multi-storey car park at Caribbean Park, and nestled between two office buildings, San Lorenzo turns its back on the cars and offers views over the landscaped grounds designed in collaboration with Oculus. Seating approximately 120 people, the steel and glass pavilion-like structure appears to have been ‘carved’ into the car park.

©Alex Reinders

The clients regularly dine at a café nearby (also run by the operators of San Lorenzo) and briefed the architects to take this venue in a similar direction; elegant, warm and inviting, the type of venue that would be suitable for business lunches, as well as fine dining. PRA were responsible for the restaurant and café’s interiors, giving the place a distinctly Venetian feel. Polished walls and deep arches, containing intimate seating arrangements, are complemented by a variety of seating plans: from bar seating in the café, through to larger tables for staff or family gatherings. Tables for two along the window’s edge, benefit from the verdant views, in the comfort of Thonet seating. And for those looking to entertain for that special occasion, there’s also a private dining area that accommodates 20 people. Planters dotted around the spaces further assist in bringing the outside in.

©Alex Reinders

PRA was not only mindful of creating a fine dining experience in the suburbs but also ensuring privacy when required. Two different types of glass were used to achieve this: a more transparent light grey-tinted glass in the informal eating areas, and also a more heavily tinted-grey glass in certain parts of the formal areas where business meetings can occur more discretely. And irrespective of where one prefers to dine, there’s a high degree of acoustic control to ensure conversations can be easily heard.

©Alex Reinders

San Lorenzo opened in April this year, with promising early signs, and word-of-mouth recommendations coming from those who work at Caribbean Park, neighbouring suburbs and beyond.

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