Little Cueto — Santander, Spain
Little Cueto is proof enough that gastronomic treats are to be found in the most unlikely places. The Cueto neighbourhood in Santander’s north has long been prized for its time-lapsed rural delights. In recent years, large urban developments have begun encroaching, though traditionalists still cling stubbornly to the past, especially when it comes to the architecture.
The restaurant is unexpected on two counts. One is its location – a small, low slung farm building that dates back a hundred years. The second is that Madrid-based studio Zooco was tapped to convert it into a contemporary pizzeria.
Whilst the facade and interiors are all entirely spruced up, great care was taken to ensure the space remains harmonious with its history. This, the architects say, involved using large hexagonal floor tiles to create ‘an open and continuous open space that avoids divisions, whilst using the same materials as the original, that is wood and stone for both interior and exterior, and incorporating some metallic touches in the carpentry and furniture.’
The small dining area – lined with ceiling beams and spidery strings of light fixtures – opens out through dark-framed concertina doors into a pint-sized terrace that overlooks the neighbouring tiled roofline. A perfectly evocative space, in other words, to tuck into the piping hot pizzas that emerge from the oven in the open counter kitchen.