At L.A.'s Love and Salt, California Cool Intertwines With Italian Eats

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Love & Salt, a cozy eatery set on a quintessentially Southern California street above a pier in Manhattan Beach, seems to sum up its design with a simple question: Who says an Italian eatery can't be bright and breezy? While most restaurants with a similar Mediterranean menu seem to opt for dark shades and saturated textures to match the rich cheeses, cured meats, and pastas of the cuisine, Love & Salt decided to do the opposite. In fact, its coastal surroundings did a lot to inform the look. Cloudy blue walls and a polished concrete floor evoke rolling fog and breaking surf, but the raw wood tables and honed marble bar speak to sand and sun. A high ceiling, rectangular skylight, and large front windows bring in plenty of light — and make the small space appear larger — while a long butcher-block communal table speaks to the close community beyond the front door. And the details? Bronze light fixtures, industrial shelving, and vinyl upholstered drafting stools complete the furnishings. "I love that our restaurant isn't too serious," owner Sylvie Gabriele said. It's an airy atmosphere that blends Californian sensibilities with Italy's tastes, making for a place that's a lighthearted escape.

Outdoor entrance for Love&Salt
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The front of the restaurant is minimal: there's just a simple sign designed by Leas Cutter Studios to label the space.

Communal tables and bar
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Communal Table

Original butcher-block tables from Cafe Pierre fill the restaurant. A long communal option divides the bar from the booth seating.

Counter seating with a view to the kitchen.
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Counter Seating

Counter seating looks into the kitchen, making guests a part of the action. Overhead lighting is by Wiedenbach Brown.

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The booths, which are a mix of faux leather and fabric, are by Keyston Brothers. Designform Furnishings supplied the opposing chairs.

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