Dyer Brown Architects Turned This Historical Space Into a Plant-Filled Restaurant

Lush greenery sets the tone at Nahita, a buzzy new restaurant in the Back Bay.

In order to maintain the integrity of the historical space, the designers made sure the new terra cotta–colored columns didn’t touch the room’s original plaster ceiling. / Photo by Jared Kuzia

For Boston foodies, the arrival of summer means just one thing: the return of outdoor dining. And yet at Nahita, a lively new restaurant on Arlington Street, patrons can enjoy the ambiance of al fresco meals year-round. Owned and operated by the Turkish hospitality company D.ream, the globally influenced eatery—which opened its doors in September 2018—teems with natural light and greenery, conjuring a tropical oasis in the heart of the Back Bay. Ahead, learn how architects at Boston-based Dyer Brown gave life to the space, complete with an invitation-only speakeasy.

Photo by Jared Kuzia

Because Nahita occupies a building listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the design team was required to preserve some of the space’s original features, including the double-height plaster ceiling and the stone columns. To “help bring down the scale” of the room and make it feel more intimate, Dyer Brown architect Deniz Ferendeci says, green vines hang from new metal armatures while other flora sprouts from planters nestled between the leather banquettes.

Photo by Jared Kuzia

A thick custom wallcovering forms a focal point for Nahita’s main dining space, accessible via a glass-enclosed vestibule that opens to the street. Devised in collaboration with Turkish interior designer Zeynep Fadıllıoğlu, the metallic wallcovering features cheetahs and other exotic animals, which add to the tropical vibe. Walnut finishes and a terra cotta–hued palette, especially noticeable in the four decorative columns added by the design team, help make the surrounding space feel warm and inviting.

Photo by Jared Kuzia

Crafted from black Italian marble, the bar—accented by LED strip lights—isn’t the only place to enjoy Nahita’s lengthy beverage list. Just a few steps away, a smaller, single-height room houses the restaurant’s exclusive speakeasy, where some of the handmade ceramic tiles from New Mexico bear the footprints of animals—a happy consequence of being left outside to dry.

Dyer Brown


Interior Designer
Zeynep Fadillioǧlu