Food & Wine Editors Share Their Favorite Restaurant Bathrooms, from Perfect Mirror Selfie Spots to Dog Art

MAD; Winona's
MAD; Winona's

When you're eating at a restaurant, it's not just the food that determines whether you have a good or great meal. It's the overall experience — the decor, service, and your company — that makes one restaurant memory stand out from the others. And besides the table you're seated at, there's one other place that you'll almost always visit when you're dining out: the bathroom. When you've had a few too many glasses of wine and get up from your table for a brief sojourn to the loo, there's nothing quite like discovering that the available bathroom is a comforting and calming oasis.

When it comes to a restaurant bathroom, it's the small details that matter. Features that have made a restroom stand out for me include pleasantly dim lighting, a good candle, fancy soaps, mesmerizing art, the right playlist, and effective options for drying your hands. In the most spectacular restaurant bathrooms, I've been known to Shazam a song, take a selfie, or snap a photo of a poster or candle that I love. A truly mesmerizing restroom is the one that you mention alongside your restaurant recommendation; "Oh their pizza is amazing, and make sure you visit the bathroom." Curious to hear what stands out to our staff, I asked them to recall any standout lavatories from their many dining experiences. — Merlyn Miller, Social Media Editor

RELATED: The Fine Art of Finding a Public Bathroom

Cervo's — New York City

If I could have a blue toilet in my apartment I would. But I can't, so instead I will keep going to Cervo's — which is not much of a chore since they also have some incredible wine and seafood. I love this bathroom first and foremost for its colors; there's a blue toilet, blue sink, blue-green walls, and multicolored tiles. Oh, and the toilet also has a beautiful faux-marble pattern on top. (Don't worry, I'll stop saying "toilet" now.) Every hue is rich, relaxing, and the perfect background for a mid-dinner mirror selfie. - MM

43 Canal St, New York, NY 10002 cervosnyc.com

The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar — Charlotte, NC

My favorite bathroom experience has to be the Cowfish in Charlotte, NC. They have really cool art and instead of elevator music, there is hilarious audio translating silly Southern slang in a variety of languages. It's also worth trying the burger sushi; don't knock it until you've tried it, it's amazing. — Alexandra Domrongchai, Editorial Fellow

4310 Sharon Rd, Charlotte, NC 28211 thecowfish.com

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Francie — Brooklyn, NY

"Everything was extraordinary. The music in the bathroom was deplorable. (Table 22, a man in his 80s.)" — Service note at Francie restaurant, June 23, 2021. Honestly, this feedback may be the highlight of my career. I take full responsibility for the glorious loo cacophony — so much so that I proudly, if stealthily, affixed a small plaque on the wall declaring my auteurship of the playlist. This isn't something I do as a lucrative side gig (though if that is a career path I can take, please let me know). Rather, Francie's owner-operator John Winterman is a dear friend and music fiend, and though he poured his considerable heart and soul into the dining room soundtrack for the restaurant's pandemic-delayed opening at the end of 2020. there were too many other details to attend to and he mentioned in passing that he'd like '90s house and dance club music in the bathroom. Seeing as I've had the DJ mix from the legendary Tracks nightclub in D.C. and The Allegro in Baltimore on loop in my head since my art school days, this was a matter of an afternoon's work, but the pleasure has spun out beyond my wildest dreams: making friends with a couple who'd been dying to find out who made the soundtrack, people tagging me in videos of their one-person bathroom dance parties, texts like, "Went into the restroom between courses. Had to pull myself out bc 'Welcome to Paradise' was playing." (It was actually a different song by Front 242, but the texter also mentioned that they'd indulged in an edible before their jaunt.) This all goes to say that it gives me tremendous pleasure to replace the rest in the room with a little bit of booty shake via Crystal Waters, Cajmere, Frankie Knuckles, and Lords of Acid. I doubt I'll ever sway Mr. Table 22, but I'm just gonna flush that worry away and keep adding to the mix. — Kat Kinsman, Senior Editor

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136 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11249 franciebrooklyn.com

James Beard House — New York City

When I first started working at Food & Wine, I remember hearing about the cool bathroom at the James Beard House in New York City — how it was covered in mirrors, and if I ever went to dinner there, I had to take a picture. Almost like it was a rite of passage. So when I did finally make my way over for an event, I had pretty high expectations. It definitely didn't disappoint; the effect of the mirrored walls was pretty trippy, creating an infinity reflection. And if you're wondering, the answer is yes. I absolutely took a selfie (or two). — Bridget Hallinan, Associate Food Editor

167 W 12th St, New York, NY 10011 jamesbeard.org

MAD — Houston, TX

MAD
MAD

Courtesy of MAD

MAD serves up creative, whimsical takes on Spanish tapas (think waffle cones filled with foie ganache) in a successful effort to make you feel like you're out on the town in Madrid. The restaurant's decor matches the Spanish nightlife vibes, and nowhere is this more evident than in the bathroom. The hallway to the restroom is the real pièce de résistance: panels of mirrors surround you on all sides, reflecting neon lights and creating trippy, refracted visuals that practically beg for a photo. But the bathrooms themselves merit mention for their quirky artwork; in the ladies' and gents' rooms you can respectively find quirky artwork like piped neon lighting that forms a geometric pattern on the wall, and a giant plastic bear that appears to be using one of the urinals. — MM

4444 Westheimer Rd Suite C180, Houston, TX 77027 madhouston.com

Niche Niche — New York City

My favorite restaurant bathroom in recent memory has to be at Niche, Niche, one of my favorite wine bars in New York City. Come for the rotating cast of hosts pouring their favorite wines, stay for the bathroom, which is wallpapered in photos of dogs –– just, lots of dogs. There's also some great reading material in there on vineyard dogs. — Oset Babür-Winter, Senior Drinks Editor

43 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10011 nichenichenyc.com

Sakagura — New York City

My favorite restaurant bathrooms of all time are at Sakagura, an underground sake bar and Japanese restaurant near the United Nations in NYC. There are a lot of reasons to eat there — the tapas-style small plates, the 200+ bottle-deep sake list — but for me, it's all about the restrooms, which are housed in enormous sake barrels. — Karen Shimizu, Executive Editor

211 43rd St B1, New York, NY 10017 sakagura.square.site

TĪNG Restaurant — London, UK

TĪNG Restaurant
TĪNG Restaurant

Courtesy of Shangri-La The Shard, London

At a recent morning meeting I suspected TĪNG Restaurant to be a tourist trap on the 35th floor of Shangri-La The Shard, London, but an authentic full-English breakfast and luxurious restroom won me over. Just let your party know you'll be taking your time between the Toto toilets with heated seats, deodorizers and sprays, and more privacy to gawk at floor-to-ceiling views over the city beyond those at your table. — Ashley Day, Updates Editor

31 St Thomas St, London SE1 9QU, United Kingdom ting-shangri-la.com

Winona's — Brooklyn, NY

Winona's
Winona's

Courtesy of Winona's

On a recent visit to the super-charming, all-day Bed-Stuy restaurant, I found it hard to pull myself out of the bathroom, even though I had a gorgeous glass of natural orange wine and soft Spanish tortilla waiting for me at my table. The bathroom — as fun, eclectic, and hard-to-place stylistically as the restaurant it lives in — was covered in dreamy botanical wallpaper, featuring hand-painted snake plants, coral, cacti, and wavelike swoops of blue. I could have taken a thousand selfies. Artist Sophie Larrimore painted the bathroom murals, and she included actual Winona (the dog belonging to owners Cressida and Emir) in the painting. — Maria Yagoda, Senior Editor

676 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11206 winonasbk.com