Buckhead fine dining sushi restaurant Umi reopened for dine-in service in June, and it continues to evolve how it serves diners safely during the pandemic, this time by opening an elegant covered patio.
To match Umi’s sleek aesthetic in the dining room, the Bonsai Room features an equally modern design with an eight-foot bonsai tree prominently displayed in the middle of the 40-seat, all-weather patio.
“As restaurants are public venues, we have a responsibility to be cautious during the pandemic, regardless of what the government directives are,” owner Farshid Arshid tells Eater. “With the pandemic still being a topic of conversation, there is one group of diners that will only dine outdoors. They are not comfortable dining inside. Right now, these guests are only ordering takeout or dining outdoors, which is why we built this space for them.”
Arshid says he drew design inspiration for the Bonsai Room and its exterior walls from a slatted, open-air structure by Japanese architect Tadao Ando. Pocket windows open to the outside to allow fresh air to circulate throughout the space.
This isn’t the first big change Arshid has made to the restaurant at Two Buckhead Plaza since the pandemic began six months ago. In March, he pivoted Umi to takeout, a move Arshid said at the time he never anticipated making prior to the health crisis. The restaurant has been notoriously strict in the past about allowing people to take their uneaten food to-go. People dining at Umi have resorted to everything from stealing placemats to hide food, to grabbing to-go containers from Chops Lobster Bar next door for their leftovers.
Reservations for the patio and the dining room can be made by calling 404-841-0040. Order online for curbside takeout. Masks highly encouraged while not eating or drinking.