2024 Restaurant Design Award: Che Fico Parco Menlo by DLC-ID


At Chef David Nayfeld and Matt Brewer’s Che Fico Parco Menlo, handmade pastas are not only a highlight of the menu but also inspired key elements of the interior design by Jon de La Cruz of DLC-ID. According to de la Cruz—who designed the original Che Fico that opened in San Francisco in 2018—the blown-glass light fixtures at the latest outpost allude to pasta, which the restaurant rolls out daily in a range of shapes and styles. The interiors include red “orecchiette” sconces by the bar, gold “conchiglie” sconces along the corridor and red “campanelle” chandeliers suspended from the main dining room’s vaulted ceiling. “A few were vintage,” says de la Cruz. “The others were made for us when we needed multiple pieces to fill the room.” Another Italian staple figures in the private dining room, where the chairs are “a cheerful medley of spumoni-colored velvets with brass-tipped legs.”

At Che Fico Parco Menlo, the main dining room is illuminated by chandeliers whose glass components are reminiscent of campanelle pasta. Photos by Douglas Friedman..

The overall palette deftly incorporates the national colors of Italy—green, white and red—without giving Christmas vibes. Rather, Che Fico has a lively social club atmosphere. In addition to warm mahogany wood paneling, variegated motifs are layered in, such as flooring that combines a six-color terrazzo tumbling pattern with black-and-white stripes (all sourced from Da Vinci Marble). The bar top is composed of Verde Alpi marble, while the hallway and bathrooms are sheathed in a floral-and-fig wallpaper that de la Cruz created specially for this location. (In Italian, “fico” means fig.)

Look down to marvel at the graphic terrazzo flooring and up to take in the ceiling treatment by Innovations in Wallcovering.
Photos by Douglas Friedman.

Another distinction between the San Francisco and Menlo Park iterations: The latter offers plenty of outdoor seating. De la Cruz describes the Casamania Italia chairs, paired with Ardamez tables, as “a play on the alfresco tradition of Italian caning and rattan, but on a bit bigger scale so you could stay a while.” Indeed, whether dining inside or out, leave time and room to enjoy Che Fico’s homemade soft gelato amid the visual feast that DLC-ID cooked up.

The bathroom features a custom floral-and-fig wallpaper designed by Jon de la Cruz for Che Fico.
Photos by Douglas Friedman.