Seattle, WA


Samara Restaurant

Formerly a beloved neighborhood video rental place, Samara was born out of chef-owner’s Eric Anderson’s vision. Always a far-away thought, Anderson spent years writing menus and picking out handmade plates for this hypothetical restaurant. Then he found the perfect corner spot in Sunset hill.

He gave a simple brief to create a small, sophisticated, and intimate, neighborhood corner bistro. His menu calibrated with a strict eye toward seasonality and environmental sustainability. Raised in Chicago, he wanted to bring that exposure of the craftsman aesthetic into the restaurant.

At its core, the restaurant aims to evoke a rich sense of timelessness and comfort. Perfectly integrated into the fabric of the neighborhood, Samara becomes a place comfortable to go to in all seasons, a fire in the winter and a fire in the summer. It is a place for all.

Named after the winged fruit of maple trees that twirls like a helicopter, Samara’s approach to the design takes after its roots in nature. Walking through the door, you are flooded by a feeling of tranquility dominated by a strategic use of darker, earth tones. Suddenly the dining area (which seats 38) opens directly to the wood-fired grill a strategic display of preparing food, yet another reminder of the comfort we feel when gathering around a fire. A clear ode to the atmospheric quality found in Dutch still life paintings is visible, the material palette made from charred wood and copper cookware continues to elevate the rich, moody atmosphere with an elemental simplicity. Dark stained oak paneling and wainscoting wrap the space and bar front, a critical move continuing the message of intimacy and connection to hearth.


Copper was the metal of choice over blackened steel, not only does the material have an immediate connection to cooking, but it has an ability to get better with age. Copper cladding wraps the area above the grill featuring a rich patina and handmade Danish bricks fused with glass ultimately creating a delicate firelight dance. The interior is lit to a Caravaggio-style painting scene enhanced by the firelight and the custom-designed-and-fabricated lighting fixtures made by Mutuus Made (a research and development portion of Mutuus Studio).

The design and the menu are inextricably linked. Each ingredient and each element of the design are given full weight. Samara succeeds in giving restaurant patrons a heightened sense of ritual when sitting around the table.

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Status: Built
Location: Seattle, WA, US
Firm Role: Architect
Additional Credits: Kevin Scott-Photographer