From the impossibly kitsch to the over-the-top extravagant, here are 15 wild and unusual restaurants from around the world.
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Maldives
The world’s first all glass underwater restaurant with 180 degree views of marine life, beneath a curved glass ceiling, 16 feet down.
Reservations definitely needed and dress nice to watch the fish. Oh, and wear your sunglasses if it’s sunny.
Rangali Island 2034, Maldives
When a blind clergyman from Zurich discovered that some of his dinner guests would wear blindfolds at the table in solidarity. (I wonder how he discovered it? He couldn’t see it…I guess he just had to trust them.)
It turned out that those guests were able to enjoy the tastes and textures of the food more, and he opened the Blindekuh where the servers are all blind and diners enjoy classic Swiss food in total darkness. The trend has caught on, and it’s particularly popular with couples who’ve never met/blind dates. Darkness also lowers inhibitions, so things can get friendly very quickly. My kind of place.
+41 044 421 50 50
Other dining in the dark restaurants:
Opaque in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco.
Whale Inside in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Dans le Noir? in London, Paris, Barcelona, and Moscow.
O Noir in Montreal.
Linger Lodge Restaurant, Bradenton, Florida
Snakes, coyotes, fish and a 1,000 pound alligator will watch you eat at Linger Lodge Restaurant. Owned by an amateur taxidermist who is also an alligator wrestler, the restaurant is proud of its cult status in the area.
As I think it’s a tad off-putting to eat alligator chowder while an alligator glares down at me, I’ll be out on the patio overlooking the river.
7205 85th St Ct East
Dinner in the Sky is a 20 foot dining platform hauled over 150 feet in the air by a 120 ton crane and will give you the best seats in the house, as long as you’re not scared of heights.
You’re safely strapped into a swivel chair before you’re flown into the air. Dinner in the Sky is ideal for business, corporations, and weddings without a budget: entertain 22 guests with a six-course dinner plus wine for the bargain price of $38,000.
Or shell out $289 per person in Las Vegas and soak up the view of Sin City from the best seat in the house. Be picked up at your hotel, and enjoy a red carpet reception on the way to dinner.
Pop to the toilet before going up, while it only takes a minute to lower back down, the whole table has to go down with you, and things might get awkward.
Las Vegas reservation line 702-257-7303
Shinok Restaurant, Moscow
Ukranian kitsch is everywhere at Shinok in Moscow with piped in folk music, employees in “traditional” embroidered garb, and a farmyard with turkeys, chickens, rabbits and goats. Dive into traditional dishes, like sala, or lard, which does actually become appetizing once it’s wrapped around garlic and marinated.
You can ask for a table that overlooks the courtyard/farmyard when you reserve. Country style it may be, but definitely not country prices. Have your rubles ready at this joint, particularly for the wine.
2a 1905 Goda
+7 255 0204, +7 255 0888
SnowRestaurant, Kemi, Finland
It’s a frozen fantasy of sparkling ice reincarnated each year on the northern coast of Finland.
Everything is ice outside of the reindeer fur that covers the seats. So caps and gloves are a requirement, along with thermals, coats and thick-soled shoes.
Though the food should help warm you up: there are lots of soups available. Go local and enjoy the cream of smoked reindeer soup.
It will be opening in 2011 on January 29. Don’t be left out in the cold; make a reservation as the whole thing will melt by April.
Alice in Wonderland, Tokyo
According to their website, it is a “labyrinth of fantasy dining.” It certainly has a heavy dose of whimsy with blue curtains around the booths and a giant pocket watch-style clock. You’ve definitely gone through the looking glass.
The food is a mix of Japanese and Western and appetizers come with “Eat Me” tags. Sushi rolls are arranged as caterpillars, and the croutons in the salad are shaped like Alice.
The waitresses (no male servers) are all dressed as, you guessed it, Alice and answer to the ring of a brass bell from your table.
Taiyo Bldg. 5F, 8-8-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku
The Treehouse, Northumberland, UK
Eat in a tree house and next to a log fire. I’m not sure how safe it is to have a fire in a tree house, but at The Treehouse, they get away with it.
Featuring local foods like smoked haddock risotto, the menu changes with the seasons and is eclectic and delightful as the architecture.
The Treehouse is tucked into the back woods of the contemporary Alnwick Gardens on the Alnwick Castle grounds.
A highlight of the Gardens is the Poison Garden, restaurant and poison, thankfully, being kept far away from each other.
It towers 56 feet in the air, is 6000 square feet, and to complete my childhood tree house fantasies, it has a suspended rope bridge.
The Alnwick Garden, Denwick Lane
+44 01665 511852
Toilets, ninjas, graveyards and more! Keep reading…
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Kristin Conard is an editor at Matador Nights as well as a writing instructor in California. As a child, she wanted to be a librarian, because she thought that the librarian was the one who got to write all the books in the library. Her obsession with reading and writing has continued, and when she is not grading papers and lesson planning, she is working on a collection of essays and planning her next trip.