A dramatic new restaurant and nightlife venue is prepping for landing in the 4,000-square-foot corner space at 5th and Island that’s housed a succession of different projects through the years — most recently the Asian fusion-ish Monkey King. Called Zama, it’s from the veteran group of restaurateurs and chefs behind University Heights brunch spot Breakfast & Bubbles and Park Boulevard’s Italian-inflected RustiCucina.
Designed by Tucker Sadler Architects, the local firm behind Portside Pier at the Embarcadero, the in-construction AC Hotel Gaslamp, and the San Diego Central Library, the setting is inspired by the Amazonian jungle, with tropical rainforest vibes and lots of greens and natural wood.
Featuring a sushi bar presided over by chef Tayuka Kudo, who formerly worked at Nobu and Lumi downtown, the dinner-only restaurant will be opening next month with an eclectic menu that’ll also include Mexican aguachile and Peruvian tiradito as well as dishes from Latin America.
With a DJ in residence spinning everything from tropical music to tango, Zama will roll out a dance floor after dinner, fueling crowds with cocktails based on exotic fruits.