First Look at In Situ, New Restaurant at SF MOMA where Food Converges With Art


Photo credit: Eric Wolfinger

As a restaurant at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), In Situ curates a revolving collection of culinary influencers, innovators and icons to make their contributions accessible for greater public engagement. This collaborative project reimagines the traditional model of a restaurant to offer a unique cultural experience within the museum. In Situ features rotating á la carte menus for which each dish comes from a different chef or restaurant around the world. Corey Lee, chef-owner of Benu, has worked closely with these chefs to faithfully represent each dish in both technique and spirit. While some chefs have chosen to share a dish from their existing repertoire, others have created something specifically for In Situ.

“I see this project as an extension of the museum’s larger mission — to present great works worldwide and make them accessible for greater public engagement,” says Lee. “In Situ will build appreciation for culinary traditions and hopefully encourage dialogue about our relationships with food, not unlike the way SFMOMA curates and exhibits important works of art.”

The painting is: Rosana Castrillo Díaz, Break This Heart, 2016. Commissioned by SFMOMA; courtesy of the artist and Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco. Photo: Eric Wolfinger

The painting is:
Rosana Castrillo Díaz, Break This Heart, 2016. Commissioned by SFMOMA; courtesy of the artist and Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco. Photo: Eric Wolfinger

Architecture Design by Aidlin Darling Design

In Situ represents a unique and rich intersection of art, design, food and community. To support its mission, the design emphasizes visibility from the street, accessibility to visitors and a sense of the ephemeral within a simple, comfortable, open environment. The design operates at many different scales from urban to the intimate. Spaces are designed to engage all of the senses with an emphasis on acoustics and tactility. The interior shell of the building is left somewhat exposed and is inhabited by carefully considered “artifacts” in the form of lighting, art, furniture and a wood ceiling canopy, all with the intent of drawing contrast between the rough and the refined. These “artifacts” are analogous to ingredients in their various states of refinement and are strategically employed to engage the guest’s physical experience.

EWP2016_InSitu-1538_peBranding and Graphic Identity by Andrea Lenardin, principal a l m project

For In Situ at SFMOMA, a l m’s third project with Chef Corey Lee, a l m project principal Andrea Lenardin envisioned an identity concept that would express Lee’s desire to break with the reigning paradigm for museum cafés and restaurants, and offer instead an à la carte menu appealing to loyal locals as well as visitors passing through. The heart of this project is a master collection of recipes contributed by over 80 chefs from around the world. Lee’s curatorial gesture of selecting chefs is matched by a guarantee that the essence of each recipe will be respected and preserved in the way it is prepared and served at In Situ. a l m folded this respect for origins into an act of placemaking: dual gestures focused on conjuring the optimum conditions for restaging the works of these celebrated chefs.

a l m’s concept for In Situ turns on the notion of a signature recipe from anywhere in the world being inclined toward the local situation of San Francisco, so that the restaurant becomes a crossroads — a place of convergence and cultural exchange in an increasingly global gastronomical landscape. This idea led to the formal strategy. With an eye to map-making, a l m adopted the Mercatur projection of the world demarcated into international time zones, but slightly disturbed by an axial tilt — a dislocation that hints at the shift from a recipe’s origins to its new situation at In Situ. This tilt plays out in each design element, in various media and materials, from logo to menu, tableware, apparel, environmental signage, library, ephemera and website.

A subtle palette of blues and greys conjures the oceans that connect continents. The axial tilt informs the way the menu is organized and folded, but also the shape of In Situ’s signature sharing plate and flatware wrap. If the dining table functions as a tableau for the In Situ narrative, the layered wait-staff apparel sets the story in motion. This narrative is enriched and expanded by the library — part reading room, part book shop — where cookbooks by contributing chefs line shelves that echo the axial tilt. In lieu of signage on the street, a l m devised the shelving to include a sliver of illumination beckoning passersby from the street through the restaurant’s glazed facade – a gesture that embeds a subtle trace of the logo in the space.


Chef Restaurant Location
Peter Gilmore Quay Sydney, Australia
Christophe Hardiquest Bon Bon Brussels, Belgium
Kobe Desramaults In de Wulf Heuvelland, Belgium
Peter Goossens Hof van Cleve Kruishoutem, Belgium
Gert De Mangeleer Hertog Jan Zedelgem, Belgium
Rodrigo Oliveira Mocotó Sao Paulo, Brazil
Martin Picard Au Pied de Cochon Montreal, Canada
David McMillan & Frédéric Morin Joe Beef Montreal, Canada
Normand Laprise Toqué! Montreal, Canada
Thomas Haas Thomas Haas Vancouver, Canada
Dong Zhenxiang Da Dong Beijing, China
Richard Ekkebus Amber Hong Kong, China
Lau Chiu Shing Fook Lam Moon Hong Kong, China
Matt Abergel Rōnin Hong Kong, China
Matt Orlando Amass Copenhagen, Denmark
René Redzepi Noma Copenhagen, Denmark
Christian Puglisi Relæ Copenhagen, Denmark
James Knappett & Sandia Chang Bubbledogs London, England
Isaac McHale The Clove Club London, England
Sat Bains Restaurant Sat Bains Nottingham, England
Stephen Harris The Sportsman Seasalter, England
Olivier Roellinger Les Maisons de Bricourt Saint-Méloir-des-Ondes, France
Michel Guérard Les Prés d’Eugénie – Michel Guérard Eugénie-les-Bains, France
Alexandre Gauthier La Grenouillère La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil, France
Mauro Colagreco Mirazur Menton, France
Pascal Barbot L’Astrance Paris, France
Sven Chartier Saturne Paris, France
Adeline Grattard yam’Tcha Paris, France
Harald Wohlfahrt Restaurant Schwarzwaldstube–Hotel Traube Tonbach Baiersbronn, Germany
Tim Raue Tim Raue Berlin, Germany
Hans Haas Tantris Munich, Germany
Sven Elverfeld Restaurant Aqua–The Ritz Carlton Wolfsburg, Germany
Alex Sanchez The Table Mumbai, India
Niko Romito Ristorante Reale Castel di Sangro, Italy
Riccardo Camanini Ristorante Lido 84 Gardone Riviera, Italy
Massimo Bottura Osteria Francescana Modena, Italy
Massimiliano Alajmo Le Calandre Rubano, Italy
Gennaro Esposito Torre del Saracino Vico Equense, Italy
Hiroshi Sasaki Gion Sasaki Kyoto, Japan
Hisato Nakahigashi Miyamasou Kyoto, Japan
Tetsuya Fujiwara Fujiya1935 Osaka, Japan
Hajime Yoneda HAJIME Osaka, Japan
Seiji Yamamoto RyuGin Tokyo, Japan
Byung Jin Kim Gaon Seoul, South Korea
Esben Holmboe Bang Maaemo Oslo, Norway
Virgilio Martinez Central Lima, Peru
Gastón Acurio La Mar Lima, Peru
Albert Adrià Tickets Barcelona, Spain
Andoni Luis Aduriz Mugaritz Errenteria, Spain
Juan Mari & Elena Arzak Arzak San Sebastian, Spain
Carme Ruscalleda Sant Pau Sant Pol de Mar, Spain
Petter Nilsson Spritmuseum Stockholm, Sweden
Andreas Caminada Schloss Schauenstein Fürstenau, Switzerland
Lanshu Chen Le Moût Restaurant Taichung City, Taiwan
David Thompson Nahm Bangkok, Thailand
Mehmet Gürs Mikla Istanbul, Turkey
Alice Waters Chez Panisse Restaurant Berkeley, California
Alex Hozven & Kevin Farley The Cultured Pickle Shop Berkeley, California
Bryant Terry Afro-Vegan, Vegan Soul Kitchen Oakland, California
Tanya Holland Brown Sugar Kitchen Oakland, California
James Syhabout Hawker Fare Oakland, California
Roy Choi L.A. Son Los Angeles, California
David Kinch Manresa Los Gatos, California
Daniel Patterson Coi San Francisco, California
Cecilia Chiang The Mandarin San Francisco, California
Anthony Myint Mission Street Food San Francisco, California
Chad Robertson Tartine San Francisco, California
Thomas Keller The French Laundry Yountville, California
Tory McPhail Commander’s Palace New Orleans, Louisiana
Carlo Mirarchi Blanca Brooklyn, New York
Anita Lo Annisa New York City
Daniel Boulud Daniel New York City
Dominique Ansel Dominique Ansel Kitchen New York City
David Chang Momofuku Ssäm Bar New York City
Ann Redding & Matt Danzer Uncle Boons New York City
Wylie Dufresne wd~50 New York City
Dan Barber Blue Hill at Stone Barns Pocantico Hills, New York
Joshua McFadden Ava Gene’s Portland, Oregon
Sean Brock Husk Charleston, South Carolina
Cassidee Dabney The Barn at Blackberry Farm Walland, Tennessee
Chris Shepherd Underbelly Houston, Texas
Nathan Myhrvold Modernist Cuisine Bellevue, Washington
Blaine Wetzel The Willows Inn on Lummi Island Lummi Island, Washington
Address: 151 Third Street

San Francisco, CA 94103


Phone: (415) 941-6050




Social Media: @InSitu_SFMOMA




Seating Capacity: The dining room has 60 seats. The lounge area can accommodate up to 70 guests with communal, open seating and standing-room tables.


Large Groups: The restaurant can accommodate groups up to 22 guests


Hours of Operation: Seatings are available from 11 am to 4 pm every day. Eventually, hours will also include dinner.


Reservations: In Situ will begin accepting reservations on June 11 via the In Situ website. Dining room reservations are accepted up to one month in advance. The lounge is reserved for walk-in guests.


Menu Format: Both areas feature separate á la carte menus that will change to balance seasonality, ingredients, cooking styles and origin.


Architect: Aidlin Darling Design, San Francisco

Wood shard tables by Evan Shively


Designer: a l m project, Los Angeles


Commissioned Artwork: Rosana Castrillo Díaz, Break This Heart, 2016

Tucker Nichols, Specials, 2016

About SFMOMA: Founded in 1935 as the first West Coast museum devoted to modern and contemporary art, a thoroughly transformed SFMOMA, with significantly enhanced gallery, education and public spaces, opened to the public on May 14, 2016. With six art-filled terraces, a new sculptural staircase and Roman steps where the public can gather, access to 45,000 square feet of free art-filled public space and free admission for visitors age 18 and younger, SFMOMA is more welcoming and more connected to San Francisco than ever before.


Visit or call 415.357 4000 for more information.