The latest Toronto venture of Oliver & Bonacini, famed for its longstanding fine-dining restaurants, Leña Restaurante is corporate executive chef Anthony Walsh’s homage to his Argentinian mother-in-law, Elena, from whom he has drawn a wealth of culinary inspiration and warm hospitality. 

Located in the corner of Saks Fifth Avenue – a listed, art deco property that has always been the city’s most prestigious department store, Leña is an early-morning to late-night restaurant, bar, lounge and event space, aiming to appeal to the business, shopping and theatre crowd alike, and act as a beacon in the continuing renaissance of this important stretch of Yonge Street. 

DesignAgency has created an array of interiors, each with its own ambiance, but universally celebrating the restaurant’s joyful inspirations and its historic setting. 

“With Leña, we were excited to create a new and authentic space that would support Oliver & Bonacini’s reputation for phenomenal dining experiences,” commented DesignAgency principal Matt Davis. 

“Spread over four floors and restricted by heritage requirements, many would have seen the location as a challenge. However, we saw this as an opportunity to create a variety of settings suited to many different kinds of occasions and one which was already rich with elegant features.” 

Leña comprises an airy, street-level bar, which is crowned by a fantastic light fixture and a marble and olive wood octagonal bar; Bar Lala – a moody, lower-level lounge defined by luxurious furnishings, marble and brass finishes, as well as its art and books; a main dining room that is simultaneously elegant and approachable, and a series of private dining/event rooms offer a personal, residential feeling as if you’ve been invited into Leña’s home for a beautiful meal. 

According to Davis: “Anthony’s passion for the concept, his creativity and devotion to fresh and authentic ingredients, and the opportunity to reflect the character of a real person, combined with the deco setting, provided us with amazing material to work with. We were inspired to create interiors that reflect a life well-lived and that are as lively and genuine as these influences.” 

Whether seeking out an intimate alcove for chic cocktails, a high-energy environment to see and be seen, or a refined dining experience, Leña offers an abundance of exceptional hospitality environments.