A Different Door: Porta Via in Palisades Village


Sophie Goineau shouldered the heroic task of reinventing an old favorite for a new space

When Beverly Hill’s Porta Via decided to open a second outpost in Palisades Village to satisfy those regulars who live in Pacific Palisades, they faced a common dilemma. How do you take translate a beloved restaurant to a new location? Owner Peter Garland turned to Sophie Goineau to untangle this conundrum for them. “Overall, the visual communication suggests a relaxed, sophisticated, casual atmosphere, one that is both very classic with hints of contemporary elements,” Goineau explains, “I used a rich palette of past memories and rich experiences in a relaxed, contemporary setting.”

For inspiration, Goineau turned to the nearby ocean. “The connotation of organic, bistro, farm-to-table food, and coastal culture—of the Pacific Palisades and also East Coast places I went growing up, like the Hamptons and Maine—gave direction for the design approach,” she says. Antique brass finishes, walnut tabletops, chevron-paneled wood walls and high gloss wainscotting evoke the meticulous craftsmanship found on luxury boats. Hanging lights over the tables conjure up fishing poles; Ralph Lauren scones resemble their holders. A skylight diffuses light over the space, keeping it bright and airy.

Over this foundation, Goineau adds a layer of elegance. Delicately-framed shiny brass bar stools, fabricated in Quebec and covered in pink leather from Sweden, bring a whiff of the feminine into the space. So too does the tufted upholstery on the banquettes, which is also a subtle nod to mid-century legends Charles and Ray Eames, whose home, now a museum, is nearby. “They were masters of how we would live today, so there is an homage to them,” Goineau reveals. Exuberant foliage and bold black-and-white striped marble floors, which tie the indoors to the exterior, are also indicative of their enduring legacy in Southern California.

Garland enthuses over the result. “Goineau evolved the original vision of the Beverly Hills location and created an updated, elevated design that is on point with the concept of what Porta Via is to our guests. She had the utmost sensitivity and understanding that Porta Via is a neighborhood restaurant with a world class feel. We are thrilled with the design.” In fact, he was so pleased that he hired her to work on the Calabasas location that is slated to open in 2020.