Zibibbo, in Palo Alto, a second project for Rowena Wu, is the sister restaurant to LuLu in San Francisco. The 14,000-square-foot, 400-seat restaurant is a casual place with a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces that bask in the gentle Peninsula climate. Like the menu, the design references the Mediterranean—from Southern France to Morocco, Spain and Italy.
Zibibbo, a full city block in length, is organized along a yellow brick road that links three buildings as well as dining gardens set with olive trees, aromatic herbs, flowers and fountains. The first building is an 1890s Victorian that has been transformed into the main bar for the restaurant. The second building, built new as the main dining room, has an industrial barrel vaulted roof and is oriented to extend into the adjacent gardens via slide-away glass doors on either end.
The third building, a renovated 2-story commercial structure, features two floors of dining and a bustling, open kitchen. The mezzanine overlooks the tremendous working kitchen, a frenzy of oak fires, burners and rotisseries. Where this building meets the street, there is a modern French-Italian sidewalk café and wine bar. Alongside the café is the ‘gallery’ – a long dining room with a collection of photography exhibited within full-height panelized walls.
Photographer: Michael Bruk