Whether it’s sipping lattes in a treehouse or devouring seafood at the bottom of the ocean, dining at these bizarre restaurants deserves a spot on your “Things to do before I die” list.
If you’ve got a penchant for eating in eye-popping circumstances, keep an eye out for these restos on your travels…
1. Ithaa Restaurant, Indian Ocean
No, it’s not a typo, the Ithaa (translation: pearl) is totally underwater and can comfortably seat 14 diners in a transparent acrylic bubble that allows you to have a 270° panoramic view of the ocean life all around you.
Offshore from Rangalifinolhu island in the Maldives, this expensive and exclusive dining experience is located by a tunnel from the shoreline Conrad Maldives that leads you down five metres below sea level. Since the expected lifespan of this restaurant is only 20 years, make sure you visit before it starts to leak!
2. Modern Toilet, Taipei
No, it’s not a joke, it’s a hit in Taipei where diners line up – not because they are waiting to get to the loo but waiting to get a chance to dine while sitting on commodes, using toilet paper for napkins and getting their drinks from sink faucets.
Even some of the Modern Toilet‘s tables are glass-topped bathtubs and the dishes are served in tureens that resemble mini-toilet bowls. One must assume that the food is appetizing enough to overcome the decidedly unappealing atmosphere because it continues to draw business like flies to… well, you get the picture.
3. Dinner in the Sky, Brussels
Unlike most restaurants, Brussels’ Dinner in the Sky doesn’t so much welcome you into its comfortable confines but hoists you – dinner companions and wait staff and all – up to 150 feet into thin air. Using specifically designed cranes and tables with attached seating, they can accommodate up to 22 people at a time or just provide an intimate, but rather exposed, table for two.
Regardless of your party size you choose to the lifted high above what ever part of the city suits your fancy so you can watch the everyday events on the ground from a bird’s-eye view. Naturally, this popular idea is catching on and both Las Vegas and Paris have copycat concepts. Regardless of where you tried, be sure and buckle up and don’t be tempted to lunge for a dropped fork!
4. The Clinic, Singapore
Some people fly to Singapore just to check out this medically-based restaurant that offers drinks like “Sex on a Drip” served up in an atmosphere reminiscent an operating theater — complete with waitresses in nurse uniforms and drinks served in test tubes.
Their website is a testament to their pharma-chic pop-art approach to dining, so if you find the medicinal arts fascinating this might be just the place for you. However, if you suffer from needle phobia, get the willies around wheelchairs or get to the sound of a beeping EKG gives you a headache, The Clinic might wind up sending you to the real clinic instead of satisfying your hunger.
5. Cabbages and Condoms, Thailand
With the motto like “our food is guaranteed not to cause pregnancy” you might wonder what you’re getting into if you stumble on the Cabbages and Condoms chain of restaurants in Thailand, but strangely enough it is just what it sounds like – a restaurant promoting birth control.
Don’t worry, their cuisine is considered top notch and the condoms don’t actually come on the plate, but the theme of “safe sex” is predominant and everyone leaves with a complimentary condom instead of an after dinner mint, although don’t be surprised if it is mint flavored.
6. New Lucky Restaurant, Ahmedabad
Customs considered to bring good luck in Ahmedabad include sharing your meals with the departed and although it sounds rather macabre, this restaurant that is literally built around a graveyard has enjoyed tremendous success over the years – so maybe they know what they’re talking about.
Started in the 1950s as a tea stand, New Lucky Restaurant has expanded throughout the years so that diners now find their tables interspersed amid the tombs of someone’s ancestors, although no one quite seems to know for sure who is buried under foot. Nonetheless, fresh flowers are put out every day in respect and diners find their silent dinner companions so comforting it has become a favorite hangout for locals, romantic couples and the very young.
7. Dark Restaurant, Beijing
If you like a good mystery, figuring out what your eating at the Dark Restaurant in Beijing should keep you guessing quite awhile because all the meals are served in total darkness by waiters with night vision goggles.
While on the surface this might not seem too appealing, business is brisk even though guests are requested to not even use their cell phones while dining because the light will disrupt the experience. Figuring out what you are eating often becomes the highlight of the evening, but finding your way to the bathroom can get tricky.
8. Mars 2112, New York City
Smack in the middle of the urban landscape of NYC is a door to another world… at least that is what it feels like the minute you step into Mars 2112, the newest family-friendly restaurant with a Martian mystique that appeals to all ages.
Hang out with the intergalactic crowd at the Mars Bar under a three-story crystal tree where you can enjoy the view of the Martian heavens. While you see the Earth from a whole new perspective, peruse the “red dirt” gossip in your complimentary copy of MARS TODAY or catch up on the latest galactic craze on MARS TV. Signature cocktails emphasize the alien motif for adults while an extensive kids’ menu turns mealtimes into an out-of-this-world experience.
9. Tree House Restaurant & Cafe, Monteverde
For those who love dining amid the sights and sounds of nature, Costa Rica’s Treehouse Restaurant and Cafe is like a trip to paradise. Built amid the fantastically artistic branches of a giant Higueron tree that towers high above the Monteverde Cloud Forest, you don’t have to even have to sacrifice the joys of civilization while basking in the primitive beauty since this popular spot even offers Wi-Fi.
So prepare to have the best of both worlds as you surf the internet while hanging with the birds in the trees, with none of the typical conflicts of man vs nature – well, except for the mosquitoes!
10. Hot Chicka-Latte, Seattle
Notorious for having a coffee shop on every corner, it was inevitable that some Seattle entrepreneur would see the sense of combining two of America’s favorite draws – caffeine and scantily clad women. Hot Chicka-Latte‘s costume-clad divas whip up the java classics and serve breakfast fare while giving an ample view of their more intimate, ahem, tattoos, and the business is perky with some of the chicks taking home over $300 per shift.
Just to make sure passersbys don’t miss the fun, one of the scantily-clad ladies is always stationed out front – supposedly regardless of the weather - holding the sign for the daily special, a practice that just adds fuel to the fire of controversy surrounding the establishment.
Interested in more food travel? Check out the five weird fruits you should eat on holiday this summer or see three mouth-watering places to eat in Buenos Aires. Vegetarian? Discover our top seven destinations for vegetarians and our amazing accommodations for broke veggies.
Words: Lela Lake