A stunning new waterfront restaurant is finally going to be unveiled this weekend. Sonata, a contemporary restaurant inside The Mahaffey Theater, officially makes its debut this Friday, December 1.
Boasting “coastal cuisine rooted in southern hospitality,” Sonata is being led by GM and Executive Chef Ted Dorsey, a longtime staple in the area dining scene. The entire project is a collaboration between Dorsey, The Mahaffey, and The Imagine Museum, a showcase for all three forms of arts: performing, visual, and of course, culinary.
Dorsey’s menu showcases a wide range of creative seafood dishes, as well as contemporary and upscale chop house selections, alongside a tremendous cocktail program and some of the best waterfront views in St. Pete. Sonata is officially in a “soft opening” phase for now, and reservations are available online through their website.
Part of what will make Sonata so unique – beyond Dorsey’s always-tantalizing fare – is the convergence of so much artistic work in one place. The Mahaffey is, of course, a celebrated performing arts venue, and that same ethos will materialize inside the restaurant.
The centerpiece – and what Dorsey expects will be a popular photo spot – is a gigantic and beautiful moon hung by the Imagine Museum, part of a multi-million dollar arts investment into the space. The moon is six meters in diameter, and much like the one we see in the sky each night, this moon, too, has traveled the world, being on display everywhere from Rome and England, to Australia and now St. Pete.
Now, you can dine under the moon any night you like. Or even beside it.
“The big vision here is creating a one-of-a-kind facility that’s unlike any other, from the aspect of having the three major art forms under roof,” Dorsey said.
For now, only the upstairs dining room will be open, which seats around 140 guests. Soon, the patio and lobby dining areas will be open, bringing the total to 400 seats.
And as for the food those guests will be dining upon, Dorsey has big plans. After 10 successful years of southern-style cuisine while leading the team at The Mill, the chef is excited to return to a contemporary approach, where he says he’s excited to showcase creativity and unique flavors.
“Going back to refined and contemporary cuisine allows me to push the envelope a little and have fun with flavors,” he explained. “We’re doing some really cool, fun stuff with local seafood. We’re having fun with food again.”
Sonata is located inside The Mahaffey Theater at 400 1st Street South, and you can see the full menu here. The restaurant will be open Tuesday-Sunday beginning at 4 pm, with plans to eventually weekend brunch and daily lunch service.