Crystal-blue waters, luxury accommodations and tropical appeal aren’t the only draws of Sundy Praia, São Tomé and Príncipe’s first five‑star resort. The sustainably minded destination is also home to an award-winning restaurant designed by French architect-designer agency D.L.2.A (Didier Lefort Architectes Associés). Crafted in the shape of a large fish, the restaurant features a bamboo structure that was mainly assembled by hand and built in just five weeks.

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aerial view of bamboo restaurant with patio seating

Located in the Gulf of Guinea off the western coast of Africa, Sundy Praia on the island of Príncipe was created with low-impact luxury in mind. Hidden among tropical almond and banana trees are the resort’s 15 tented villas, each anchored into the ground with retractable screws to reduce impact on the forest. In keeping with this eco-friendly ethos, designer Didier Lefort created a bamboo restaurant that uses local craftsmanship and materials.

Related: Bamboo community center empowers the local Brazilian community

wicker chairs with pink and orange pillows on patio outside bamboo restaurant

Crafted to resemble a large fish with an undulating spine and a wide-open mouth, the building structure comprises a series of bamboo arches of varying dimensions that are fastened by hand with natural ties and only bolted at key areas. Measuring 24 meters from head to tail, the restaurant can accommodate up to 100 people inside and on the terrace.

small blue table with patterned chairs

The undulating size of the restaurant — from its width to its height — creates spaces for different guests. The narrowest end of the restaurant, for instance, is for VIPs who wish to dine quietly, while the large “belly” area accommodates families. The “mouth of the fish” at the entrance is a popular place for couples wanting to dine by candlelight. 

bamboo restaurant with curtains opened up to outdoor patio

The interior of the restaurant is also dressed in locally crafted products, such as the chandeliers braided from bamboo and inspired by fishermen creels and the large curtains that are held together by strings of large seeds. The long buffet tables are designed by the D.L.2.A agency.

+ D.L.2.A

Photography by Géraldine Bruneel via D.L.2.A

bamboo restaurant lit from within at night