We all enjoy going out to a restaurant for lunch or dinner. It gives us a well-deserved break from cooking and allows us to create memorable moments with friends and family. But, after years of eating at your local restaurants, you may find they’re rather predictable (and in most cases, overpriced). You may turn the excitement up a notch by opting for a “dinner and a show” type of restaurant, such as Medieval Times, but even those may get old after a while. Luckily for us all, there are a variety of unique restaurants around the world just waiting for adventurous foodies to visit them. In some cases, it’s the location which makes the restaurant unique and in other cases, it’s the theme (yes, there is actually a toilet-themed restaurant out there) or the food (insects, anyone?).
There simply are no limits—not even the sky—when it comes to restaurants in this day and age. And when you choose to eat at a restaurant that’s completely out of the ordinary, it can stimulate conversations and create unforgettable experiences, which go way beyond the menu. The following 20 restaurants range from interesting to downright odd and you won’t believe that they actually exist! Which ones will you be adding to your bucket list?
20. O. Noir, Toronto & Montréal, Canada
One of the pleasures of dining out is seeing the incredible presentation of the food. In fact, these days, the highlight of eating out for many people is actually taking a photo of their food for Instagram. But, don’t expect to do this at O. Noir. The restaurant aims to have its guests experience what it’s like to be blind. So, once you enter, your phones are confiscated (that way, you can’t cheat by using its light to see). Then, you are seated in a room which is completely dark. You can have your pick of filet mignon, pesto chicken, pasta or—if you’re feeling adventurous—opt for the surprise dishes. The servers who bring your meal to you are all legally blind! How impressive is that? Once the food is in front of you, your sense of smell, taste and touch will surely be heightened.
19. Heart Attack Grill, Las Vegas, USA
Okay, we all know greasy burgers and fries are unhealthy. But, restaurants usually try to hide the fact that their food may be unhealthy, right? Well, Heart Attack Grill sure doesn’t try to hide anything! The restaurant glorifies unhealthy food. It has a hospital theme, with waitresses dressed as nurses taking orders (AKA “prescriptions”). The menu includes Double and Triple “Bypass” Burgers, among other high-calorie items. If a customer finishes a Triple Bypass Burger, they are “rewarded” by getting pushed in a wheelchair to their car. Not only that, but customers over 350 pounds eat for free (which seems a bit illogical, as those people should be watching their weight, not adding to it). Not surprisingly, Heart Attack Grill has received tons of backlash, especially after one customer suffered a real heart attack while eating a Triple Bypass Burger.
18. Modern Toilet, Various Locations, Taiwan
A restaurant with a hospital theme is pretty gross, but a toilet theme? No, thank you! Who on earth came up with this idea? Dao Ming Zi, that’s who. The story goes that he was inspired by a Japanese cartoon character who loved to “play with poop.” So gross! But, the restaurant is, admittedly, pretty cool and has been so successful that there are now 12 locations in Taiwan and Hong Kong. What’s all the fuss about? Well, the customers sit on toilet-shaped seats, drink from urinal-shaped containers and eat food from mini toilet-shaped bowls. It doesn’t end there, though; the foods—which include curries and chocolate ice cream—are also made to look like, well…crap. Good thing it doesn’t taste like that, though!
17. Ithaa, Rangali Island, Maldives
Many people are fans of seafood (lobster, salmon, shrimp and so on). Maybe you are one such seafood fan, who indulges in these delicious dishes every chance you get. Well, imagine how trippy it would be to eat a lobster or fish, as you watch them swim nearby.
Ithaa (which translates to “mother of pearl) is the world’s first undersea restaurant and was named “the most beautiful restaurant in the world” by the New York Daily News in 2014. Located at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort, the restaurant sits five meters below sea level. It offers guests a 180-degree view of the crystal-clear water and its wildlife (everything from reef fish to stingrays), through its transparent walls. There is a three-course lunch menu (which includes mango & papaya salad, along with grilled reef fish) and six-course dinner menu (which includes lobster carpaccio and mandarin sherbet).
16. Dinner in the Sky, Various Locations
Eating underwater seems truly spectacular, but how about eating amongst the clouds? You might think this is only possible in an airplane or jet, but it’s not! Dinner in the Sky is a Belgian-based restaurant service which uses a crane to create a truly unique dining experience…150 feet in the air! It’s open, too, so you can enjoy the fresh air and take in the sights below you. The service—which sets each guest back about $300—is available in over 40 countries, including Canada, China, USA and France. And if you want to kick things up a notch, the company also offers Lounge in the Sky (which is like Dinner in the Sky, but with champagne and live entertainment). Pretty cool, isn’t it?
15. Ninja New York, New York City, USA
There are so many unique facets of Japanese culture, so it’s not hard to understand why many non-Japanese people have taken such a hardcore interest in it—from sushi to anime. But, if it’s not enough for you to simply go home and eat the sushi you picked up from your local grocery store, you should check out Ninja New York. This restaurant is designed to resemble a Ninja village, with rooms laid out like a maze and contraptions throughout. And what’s a ninja-themed restaurant without ninjas? Of course, servers dressed as ninjas serve the food and also drop from the ceiling, perform backflips and appear from puffs of smoke. But, it’s not all about the entertainment. The food is classified as “high-end Japanese cuisine” and the menu includes deep fried calamari, tempura rolls, teriyaki chicken and (obviously) sushi.
14. Cabbages and Condoms, Bangkok, Thailand
When you think of places you’re likely to find condoms, the bedroom, pharmacy, clinics and health education class may all be on the list. But, you wouldn’t expect to see (or even hear about) condoms at a restaurant, right? You’re in for a surprise because Cabbages and Condoms is a real restaurant with real condoms scattered throughout. It’s weird, but not as gross as it may sound. The restaurant was created with the aim of promoting better understanding of family planning and all proceeds go towards funding of the Population and Community Development Association (PDA). Condoms from all over the world (along with photos and messages that support family planning) make up the décor. They also guarantee that their food—which ranges from stir-fried beef to deep-fried vegetarian patties—will not cause pregnancy! And you’ll leave with a complimentary condom, too!
13. Prison of Fire, Tianjin, China
It looks like restaurants with a social message are a trend. In China, a prison-themed restaurant named Prison of Fire was opened in 2014 to try to convince diners to cherish their freedom and avoid crimes. The restaurant consists of separate rooms (AKA cells), which have iron caging and a door hatch to pass food through. Even the restaurant’s entertainers are trapped in iron cages! There’s also a dungeon and water torture devices. Pretty creepy, if you ask us! Thankfully, though, the guests are allowed to use proper cutlery and the food is unlike that found in a prison!
12. Treetop Dining, Koh Kood, Thailand
Dinner in the Sky sounds cool, but it definitely has more of a city vibe to it. If you’re a nature lover, perhaps you’d enjoy dinner in a bird’s nest, instead. Alright, fine, it’s not a real bird’s nest, but it’s close enough.
Treetop Dining is located in the Soneva Kiri Resort is made up of bamboo pods (AKA nests), each of which are attached (16 feet above the ground) to a tree. It’s definitely a much more intimate experience than Dinner in the Sky, as the pods are quite small and seat just two people at a time. Once up there, you can enjoy the breathtaking views of the water and the Koh Kood rainforest. And best of all? The waiter uses a zip line to deliver food (traditional Thai delicacies) and drinks! So exciting!
11. Royal Dragon, Bangkok, Thailand
Royal Dragon is unbelievable due to its astonishing size and over-the-top presentation. In 1992, the seafood restaurant was named as the world’s largest by Guinness Book of World Records. It’s just over eight acres large and has over one thousand staff members! Guests will definitely not be bored at this restaurant. There are daily Thai classical dancing performances, martial art performances, a live band and costumed waiters that roller skate or “fly” through the air on zip-wires. Royal Dragon also has the largest collection of live seafood tanks and offers 1000 different dishes! You definitely can’t complain about not having options at this restaurant!
10. Black Ant, New York City, USA
When you’re eating, you’d normally want ants to stay away from your plate. But, Black Ant—a restaurant in New York—serves ants for dinner. Yes, you read that correctly. One of the most popular dishes is the black ant guacamole—complete with avocado, tomato, cilantro, apples and black ant salt. Not only do they serve ants, but they serve grasshoppers, as well. The restaurant does offer traditional Mexican dishes without ants, too. We suppose this may not be so weird in some parts of the world, but it really is unexpected that a restaurant like this exists in New York. Then again, it’s New York…
9. Chillout Ice Lounge, Dubai, UAE
When you go to a restaurant, you’d probably expect your drinks to be ice cold. What about your seats, table, glasses and plates? Do you expect those to be ice cold, too? Probably not, but that’s just the norm at Chillout Ice Lounge in Dubai, where almost everything is sculpted out of ice! There’s even a gallery, with ice sculptures and an ice portrait. The illuminated dining area is a chilling minus six degrees Celsius, but not to worry—you’ll be given thermal gear at the entry and may request sheepskin throws, if things get too unbearable. The restaurant serves cold cuts (no surprise there), cheese and ice cream. It is owned by Sharaf Group, but was created with the help of Canadian-based the company, Iceculture Inc.
8. Hajime Robot Restaurant, Bangkok, Thailand
Maybe you’ve heard that robots are taking over the world. They’re slowly replacing bank tellers, bomb squads and warehouse assembly line workers. And now, they’re replacing waiters, too?! That’s right—Hajime Restaurant features four dancing robots, which serve guests Japanese foods, such as sushi and barbecued meats. They even pick up the empty trays! According to reviews, the restaurant is more like a tourist attraction known for its robots, rather than its food. Nonetheless, it really seems like Thailand is the place to go if you’re into unique restaurants, as this is the fourth restaurant in Thailand to make it onto our list!
7. Safe House, Milwaukee, USA
Are you a fan of spy movies? If so, Safe House may be your dream restaurant. Not only does spy memorabilia cover the walls, but the walls actually move and there are secret doors in the restaurant. To get inside the restaurant (if you ever find the entrance), you’ll need to know the password and if you don’t…well, you’ll see when you get there. Don’t just show up hungry for food; show up hungry for an adventure!
The menu items are all spy-themed, too (for example, there’s a Bourne Identity Salad and Double Agent burger). And if you order the spy-tini, the shaker is sent around the room in a vacuum tube! How cool does this place sound?
6. Hachikyo, Sapporo, Japan
Hachikyo may not have dancing robots or walls that move, but it has a strange (though understandable) policy: customers who do not finish every last bit of food from the restaurant’s signature dish will be required to pay extra. The dish in question is a bowl of rice topped with salmon. So, even if you leave a grain of rice in the bowl, you’ll have to pay up! It may sound like this restaurant is just money hungry, but that isn’t the case. All payments from uneaten food will be donated to Japan’s fishermen—who risk their lives to catch the seafood served at restaurants—as a token of gratitude.
5. Cereal Killer Café, London, UK
Fans of sugary, breakfast cereals rejoice! Stepping into the Cereal Killer Café in London is like going back in time to when you were just a young child, who ate Lucky Charms while watching cartoons each Saturday morning. Ah, the good ol’ days! This nostalgic heaven, which features ‘80s and ‘90s memorabilia, offers over 100 different cereals, from Froot Loops to Cheerios and everything in between. There are also 30 varieties of milk to choose from—including bubblegum, white chocolate and almond. And don’t forget the toppings! Throw some fruits and nuts on your cereal…or even some Oreos and marshmallows! Why not?
The café doesn’t just offer cereal (or cereal cocktails), though. They also offer Pop-Tarts (yay!) and toast with your choice of spread (whether it be Malteser spread, popping candy spread or one of the other fun options).
4. Calico Cat Café, Tokyo, Japan
Most restaurants have signs stating: no smoking, no outside food and no animals. But, cat cafés completely go against the latter rule. The first cat café opened in Taipei, Taiwan in 1998. It capitalized on the fact that cats are cute and people love them, but many apartments in Japan forbid keeping them as pets. Since then, these cafés have exploded across Asia and have even made their way over to North America! So, what exactly is a cat café? Well, it’s literally all in the name. You sit around drinking tea and eating biscuits, while petting cats! Though there are numerous cat cafés in Asia, we chose Calico Cat Café in Shinjuku, Tokyo as one of the most unbelievable. It is one of the largest in Tokyo, housing over 50 cats! The multi-level café also has video games, cat toys and books.
3. Twin Stars, Moscow, Russia
No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you; there really are identical twins everywhere! Bordering on creepy, Twins Stars restaurant is staffed only by identical twins, who are dressed in identical clothing. We can’t help but wonder how long it took to find that many identical twins with restaurant experience! Its owner was inspired by the movie, Kingdom of Crooked Mirrors, in which a girl looks in a mirror and sees her twin in an alternate reality. The twin theme doesn’t just stop at the staff, though. The restaurant offers two-for-one deals for customers who are twins, too! One question, though: are we required to give a double tip?
2. Barbie Café, Taipei, Taiwan
If you’re a Barbie girl, living in a Barbie world, then you must eat at the Barbie café! Fans of Barbie, can you believe this is a real restaurant? Taiwan manufactured Barbie dolls until the 1980s and the dolls are still very popular in the country, so it does make sense that this restaurant is located there. Opened in 2013, Barbie Café has no shortage of pink or plastic. Literally, all of the décor is Barbie’s favorite color and the walls are filled with images of Barbie. The servers are also dressed in pink tutus, pink shirts displaying the Barbie logo and Barbie armbands. Even the menu is fit for a Barbie doll, consisting of macarons and salmon. The foods don the Barbie logo, too! This is truly a dream spot for everyone who loves Barbie.
1. Grotta Palazzese, Polignano a Mare, Italy
When you think of caves, the first thing that comes to mind is probably bats…or rocks. You would never think of dinner in association to a cave, right? But, Grotta Palazzese is about to change that! This absolutely breathtaking restaurant is situated in a cliffside limestone cave with a view of the Adriatic Sea! The restaurant is about 70 feet above the water and is only open in the summer. Guests can feast on grilled prawns and Thai squid, while enjoying the fine wines of Italy. The restaurant seems very romantic, with dim lighting, nice tablecloths and of course, that lovely backdrop. It has been opened since the 18th century, hosting Italian nobility and guests from around the world. This is a must-visit for anyone visiting Southern Italy. After all, it’s not every day you get the chance to go inside a cave, much less eat a fancy dinner in one!
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