Photography by Scott McIntyre

Taste


Renovation Success: Cielo, Sanibel

After being shuttered for six months, the Sanibel institution reopened in December with a fresh look, refined menu and a horseshoe bar for optimal socializing.

How do you maximize under 250 square feet of added restaurant space? If you think like the Cielo folks on Sanibel Island, you reimagine your bar. After closing for a complete gut and overhaul last summer, the once-called Il Cielo reopened in December, revealing a new name, tropical-chic decor and a centerpiece bar. The scheme is simple—crisp white paint, a glass-encased wine wall, sea-inspired oil paintings—but striking.

The space overall is more modern, too, but the standout feature is the bar, which evolved from a passageway to be its own destination. Now, the larger, U-shaped bar gathers patrons around a warm, face-to-face setting surrounded by wood and windows. It fits well with the classic menu, which has been updated with organic and local ingredients, and the blessedly still-present glossy baby grand piano.