Online Exclusive - Tosca Restaurant, MiamiFeb 13, 2013
Entering through a ficus-lined pathway, guests are seated at one of the 20 tables—including vintage leather banquettes—for the entire evening. Black and white photographs of iconic 1950s women adorn textured suede walls, and the minimal lighting reflects in the glass ceiling.
“We wanted to create a smoky, cabaret ambiance, like the sexy cabarets of the ’40s and ’50s,” says Fortier. Instead of ceiling lighting, small accent lights are hidden in the flowers, near the photographs, and under tables to highlight legs. “The whole thing is mirrored in the ceiling.”
With a fountain as the viewpoint, the seating faces an outdoor garden. “There are no bad seats in the house, since everyone is facing out,” Fortier says. And retractable glass doors blend indoors with outdoors. “You really don’t know if you’re sitting inside or outside,” Fortier adds.
Apart from the main dining area, an intimate movie theater screens black-and-white classics, and there’s a stargazing station with binoculars and private swings. Adjacent to the powder room, guests can also pen letters on an antique desk to Juliet’s “Wall of Love” in Verona, Italy, to receive direct replies from Juliet’s secretaries.
The powder room includes a full-time concierge—available for makeup and hair touchups—and wallpaper designed from low-speed butterfly photographs. “We wanted to do something really for the ladies,” says Fortier. “It’s actually an experience to go to the bathroom. You can write a letter to Juliet, get your hair and makeup done, and get back to your table.”
The food is an experience as well. “I wanted to make the ingredients very prominent, so we built a glass cabinet to have all our food specialties displayed,” says Fortier. “It’s like a very high-end food boutique.”
“I tried to approach [the design] like I would a movie, creating different emotions,” continues Fortier. “It makes you really feel like you’re in another time and place.”