Esrawe, the Mexico City design workshop headed by Héctor Esrawe, wears many hats. Specializing in furniture, product and interior design, it is perhaps best known for its collaboration with Rojkind Arquitectos on Tori Tori, a sushi restaurant with a fishnet-inspired facade in the city’s trendy Polanco neighbourhood.
Now, in the same area – which is also home to the glimmery Museo Soumaya – the studio recently completed a restaurant that brings a touch of luxe to that old staple: Italian cooking. Most urban trattorias have done away with tablecloths and fussy decor in favour of a casual style, a laid back approach that Esrawe also embraces here by furnishing the space with no-nonsense oak tables and chairs (the legs made to resemble rolling pins). Yet he boosts the ambience with hits of glamour, as seen in the brass chandelier hanging from a vaulted ceiling, and the bottles of Bombay Sapphire that are backlit – for a jewel-like effect – and lined up perfectly on two walls that frame the main dining space.
In fact, framing the dinner experience seems to be the overarching theme, with mirrors set into the walls, and the arches providing accentuated views into the sequential interior spaces. The bar counter (“da mangiare” stamped on its front) is itself outlined and also contains a framelike liquor shelf from which stemware hangs.
If this space is any indication, La Nonna will be a popular hangout. The first La Nonna restaurant, in the neighbourhood of Condensa, featured ornate, backlit surfaces. But this one hews to a cleaner style, one that goes well with a risotto and a bottle of Barolo.