8 Most Unique Dining Experiences in the World
Sometimes the best dining experience offers a unique concept as well as good food. From catching your own meal and dining in the world’s tallest tower to a restaurant run entirely by robots, we’ve compiled the world’s most unique dining experiences.
Dans le Noir, London, U.K.
Let your senses of taste and smell guide your time at Dans le Noir?. This culinary experience has guests sitting entirely in the dark and waited on by hosts and waiters who are visually impaired. The restaurant, located a short walk from Farringdon Tube Station in London, hopes to change its guests’ perspective on the world “by inverting” their point of view. There is no set menu, but instead, guests are asked to choose from one of the four “Surprise Menus,” which include the White (a mix of seafood and meat), Red (meat), Blue (fish) and Green (vegetarian) Menus. The bartender will also prepare a surprise cocktail or pair a surprise wine to match exactly what you’re eating that evening.
Zauo, Tokyo, Japan
The owners of Zauo have taken the old “teach a man to fish” saying quite seriously. At this Tokyo seafood restaurant, located in the city’s Shinjuku ward, guests have the opportunity to literally fish for their own meal at the establishment’s on-site water area. Fishing rods are available for rent, and the bait is free. Guests notify the staff which kind of fish they’d like to catch and are left to get on with it. (Help is, however, provided for those who find they’re having difficulty.) Once the fish is caught, it’s prepared by the chef. Each fish can be cooked two different ways, and options include sashimi, grilled or boiled, deep-fried or served as sushi.
At.Mosphere, Dubai, UAE
Located in the world’s tallest tower, At.Mosphere is located on the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa, located 1,450 feet above downtown Dubai and the Dubai Mall. This opulent restaurant and lounge serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, in addition to high tea and light bites. Try the Dry Aged Beef, with wild mushroom puree, broccolini and veal cheek for lunch, or tuck into the Black Cod En Papillote with wasabi root, artichoke barigoule and tomato relish for dinner. If you find yourself exhausted after a day of shopping but have limited time, consider booking in for High Tea. Meanwhile, if you simply want to watch the sunset over the Emirate while sipping a glass of something bubbly -- or one of the many other cocktail options -- At.Mosphere makes for a chic evening out on the town.
The Bubble Room, Captiva Island, Florida
For an experience akin to Alice’s falling down the rabbit hole, head to the Bubble Room. The restaurant, located on Captiva Island in Florida, opened in 1979 and showcases some truly outlandish decor. Walls and spaces are filled with kitschy furnishings, including 1930s and ’40s toys and Christmas decorations, while bright and cheerful pastel colors adorn the exterior. The extensive menu -- available for lunch and dinner -- features American fare, with items like the Crab It While You Can appetizer (homemade crab cakes with a rich lobster sauce) or the Marilyn Mignon (8 oz. filet mignon wrapped in bacon and served with marinated mushrooms) on offer. There’s also a well-stocked bar, featuring beer, wine and specialty drinks, including the Pink Flamingo and Captiva Cooler.
SnowCastle Restaurant, Kemi, Finland
If drinking and grabbing a bite to eat while sitting in a castle made entirely out of snow and ice sounds like fun, make sure to add the SnowCastle Restaurant to your next itinerary. The restaurant is situated inside the SnowCastle, which has been dubbed the largest snow fort in the world. Open from January until mid-April, the entire structure, located near the sea in the Finnish town of Kemi, was first built in 1996 and consists entirely of snow and ice made from seawater. Set dinner-menu options are available and even cater to vegans and vegetarians. Both the SnowCastle and SnowCastle Restaurant are rebuilt every winter, though a year-round Snow Castle is under construction and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Safe House, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
If you’ve ever wanted to follow in the footsteps of George Smiley or James Bond, the Safe House in Milwaukee is a must. This spy-themed restaurant and bar serves up brunch, lunch and dinner, along with a long drink list (all, of course, feature spy-inspired names). To gain entry to this buzzy establishment -- located off N. Front Street -- you’ll first enter into a vintage-inspired office where you’ll provide the password. If, however, you haven’t figured out the password ahead of time, don’t fret. There are a few hoops to jump through, but everyone eventually gains entry. The entire experience is very interactive, from in-character waiters to the puzzle wall.
Hajime Robot Restaurant, Bangkok, Thailand
The future of robots running the world is perhaps closer than we’d like to believe, and Hajime Robot Restaurant is testament to this. Ideal for those with children or those who are looking for something a little geeky, Hajime has robots that take orders, serve the food, bus tables and even have been known to dance. The establishment, located in Bangkok’s Monopoly Park Plaza, serves up Japanese fare, either buffet or a la carte, including shabu-shabu and teppanyaki.
Dinner in the Sky, Worldwide
Perhaps best suited for those who don’t suffer from acrophobia (a fear of heights), Dinner in the Sky is an intriguing Belgium dining concept that uses a crane to hoist the table, diners and staff 150 feet into the air. The gastronomical experience - which can last for up to eight hours - operates in more than 40 different countries and is ideal for just about any event, from birthdays and anniversaries to small office parties. Up to 22 people can fit around the table and catering is included for an additional cost (though guests do have the option to arrange their own catering).
Ashley Bess is an editor turned freelancer writer who describes herself as short, opinionated, recently repatriated, lover of gin and travel and with a head full of useless song lyrics and movie quotes.