There are many things that make a restaurant unique. In some cases, it is simply experimental food, in others a themed experience, and in yet more a setting or circumstances that are different from the norm.
Here is a list of 20 unique restaurants that are worth a visit for a variety of reasons.
Table of Contents
- 1. Redwoods Treehouse Eatery, Auckland, New Zealand
- 2. Bird’s Nest Restaurant, Thailand
- 3. O.NOIR, Montreal, Canada
- 4. Urban Interiorites, Tokyo
- 5. The Parolaccia, Rome
- 6. The Fat Duck, England
- 7. Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Maldives
- 8. Dinner in the Sky, Worldwide
- 9. La Sala Futuristica, Verona, Italy
- 10. The Airplane Restaurant, Colorado, America
- 11. Lapland Hotel’s SnowVillage Restaurants, Finland
- 12. Chodovar Brewery and Spa, Czech Republic
- 13. Haohai Robot Restaurant, China
- 14. Devil Island Prison Restaurant, China
- 15. The Murder Mystery Train, Florida, America
- 16. Mars Restaurant, New York, USA
- 17. Eternity Restaurant, Ukraine
- 18. Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament, Florida (and 8 other cities)
- 19. Wizard of the Opera, Tokyo
- 20. D.S. Music Restaurant, Taipei, Taiwan
1. Redwoods Treehouse Eatery, Auckland, New Zealand
In a forest north of Auckland, New Zealand, there are Redwood trees, and built 32 feet above the ground amongst these, is the Redwoods Treehouse.
Cage-like structures hold guests and to get there you follow a 600-meter winding walkway across the beautiful canopy high up amongst the trees.
This elegant, high-class eatery, is also available to book for special events, although numbers are limited to 30 people, and for obvious reasons, an overflow of guests is not an option.
2. Bird’s Nest Restaurant, Thailand
A Bird’s Nest Restaurant might sound odd, but the name really does describe this eatery. Built out of twigs and sort of wickerwork, a Thai resort has attached small containers with lids high up on very tall trees.
The wonderful views of the surrounding area and the sea are, naturally enough, uninterrupted.
Each nest sits up to four people, and apart from the fun experience of eating in a bird’s nest, getting there is even more enjoyable. These ‘tables’ can only be reached by a zip line!
There are other pod dining experiences in Thailand, but guests are hauled up to the pod by a less inspiring cable.
3. O.NOIR, Montreal, Canada
O.NOIR’s premise is based on the belief that when vision is removed the other senses become heightened. They took this into the fine-dining world by creating a ‘Dark Room’ dining experience.
They ask diners to remove anything which might glow in the dark, (phones, watches, etc), to keep the experience pure. You sit at a lit bar and place your order before being led to an almost pitch-black dining room.
Soft and subtle mood lighting created a very romantic setting, although trying to chase food you can’t see around your plate does spoil this atmosphere a little.
This novel experience does make the food you know, well, taste different, whether this is by suggestion, a great chef or the dark is a question that does not matter because it is a pleasant and different experience for whatever reason.
4. Urban Interiorites, Tokyo
The exterior, which takes up an entire city block is like a giant cake-cream decorated extravagantly and when you set foot inside it seems as if you have entered the insides of a large animal, not a sushi restaurant, sake bar, lounge, or nightclub.
Inside is weird or fascinating, depending on your point of view, but whatever your feelings about this place, it certainly is unique.
Pink is the predominant color, and as one writer described it, ‘you feel you have stepped into a whale’s mouth’.
5. The Parolaccia, Rome
‘Parolaccia’ is Italian for swear word and that describes this unusual restaurant well. You are greeted by waiters and waitresses who swear at you and insult you in every way possible. ‘The ruder, the better’, is this restaurants motto.
An example of one of the more repeatable expressions is, “What do you want you fat, disgusting pig?” but this is tame compared to most insults.
Just about every swear word known to man is used against you and you are treated badly in other ways too.
You can have a menu, but don’t inquire about any dishes – they won’t tell you. You can choose something you fancy to eat, but it doesn’t matter what you chose, they will bring you something different anyway.
The staff does their best work in Italian, so you might not get the same high level of insults in English.
The dishes are not particularly pleasing to look at and taste average, (at best), but people flock here for the experience, not the food.
6. The Fat Duck, England
While other dining with a difference experiences rely on the buildings or ambiance, Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck is all about the food.
Heston has taken food to another level – a place you cannot even imaging until you visit this restaurant and not only taste the dishes but see them too.
Salads are ‘lolipops’, stuck on ‘gravel’, which really do taste of salad, and are made of salad vegetables. There are dishes which flow, others which melt.
Really this needs to be experienced rather than explained, so book now, the waiting list is long – oh and the prices are high, but well worth it.
7. Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Maldives
This is an acrylic domed restaurant with a big difference – it is under the sea. You have heard of the expression ‘have your cake and eat it’, well here you can ‘watch your dinner swim by and eat it’.
Not quite, as they do not go out and catch the fish swimming around, but it certainly feels that way. Meat is also served here, so if you enjoy watching fish but not eating them, there is something for you too.
This small, gourmet eatery is 16 feet below sea level and seats only 14 people.
As you wait for food there is no lack of something to do as the view is stunning; a 270-degree panoramic view of the Maldives’ crystal water filled with sea creatures swimming by and playing.
By the way, you can book a room built the same way and lie in bed and count fish instead of sheep.
8. Dinner in the Sky, Worldwide
Dinner in the Sky is not technically a restaurant but it is an eating pace, and has set up in more than 40 countries all over the world.
This is a real novelty-eatery which originated in Belgium and enjoyed such success it spread to many other countries.
What happens is this – you sit in a dining chair and are securely strapped in, then all the diners and the table, including staff, are hoisted up 160 feet up in the air.
The waiters and waitresses stand in the middle to serve you as you float above the ground. The views are spectacular, both by day and by night.
You are so high up it is nearly like flying past in a plane and looking down. This is not for the fainthearted.
9. La Sala Futuristica, Verona, Italy
In Italy a new ‘cookery book’ was published, December 1930, in a Turin newspaper. It was called Manifesto of Futurist Cuisine and came from Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, father of the futurist movement.
Basically Marinetti believed all the senses should be involved in a dining experience, so apart from food, there was music to complement the dishes and perfumes sprayed around to further enhance the experience.
Foods that we think do not go together were mixed, for instance prime veal and absyinthe.
This doesn’t sound too bad, but try herring and strawberry gelatine, or perhaps you would rather not. marinetti also believed that to fully appreciate food you should eat it with your hands so your ‘touch’ was also involved and occasionally people were blindfolded to exclude prejudices.
Today in Verona you can experience this style of eating, and expose your senses to food.
10. The Airplane Restaurant, Colorado, America
The Airplane Restaurant is, funny enough, a restaurant inside a fully intact Boeing. In 2002 the plane was converted and set up for 274 dinners.
This is one of many converted planes that have become eating places; La Tante DC10, Accra, Ghana, Hawai Adda, Ludhiana, India, El Avión, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, Steaks on a Plane, Bolton, United Kingdom and even McDonald’s, Taupō, New Zealand. (Yes that is McDonalds of the Big Mac and chips.)
Some of the converted plane restaurants offer the full ‘flyinh experience’ with waiters and waitresses dressed as cabin crew.
11. Lapland Hotel’s SnowVillage Restaurants, Finland
If you like the idea of an ice hotel but worry about spending the night in such a cold place, a snow restaurant could be the answer.
Made completely of snow and ice The SnowVillage has three restaurants; The Snow Restaurant, The Ice Bar, and The Log Restaurant. You can even enjoy a drink from an ice glass – no rocks needed.
12. Chodovar Brewery and Spa, Czech Republic
Although not an odd restaurant in any way, this place is odd enough in other ways to earn a place on this list.
It is primarily a beer bar and spa, but as one of you drinks a beer, brewed on the premises, others can sit with you in beer baths.
Yes, literally in a bath filled with beer – there is also water, but mainly beer. You can stay at your table while having a ‘therapeutic’ bath. Quite why a ‘beer spa’ is therapeutic remains unspecified, but it certainly is something different.
There are two restaurants too, one in an 800-year-old cellar, the other in an ancient malt house.
13. Haohai Robot Restaurant, China
A restaurant run almost entirely by robots seems like a thing of the future, or at least it did ten years ago. Arriving at the Haohai Robot Restaurant you are greeted by a robot that shakes your hand.
Robot chefs cook your food, (although their repertoire is slightly limited so be prepared to eat dumplings or noodles), and a robot waiter delivers it. There is also entertainment as a singing robot entertains customers during the meal.
The robots are around five feet high and have a variety of facial expressions.
14. Devil Island Prison Restaurant, China
Ever wondered what it would be like in prison? This is as close to the answer as many people will get. Devil Island Prison Restaurant offers a prison experience in just about every detail.
When you arrive you are photographed, fingerprinted, and handcuffed, then led to your plain metal prison table.
Your meal is served on a prison tray and looks like prison food, but a genius chef has made it taste extraordinary, despite the unappealing appearance.
The staff is dressed as inmates and prison guards are dotted around to keep order. Windows have prison bars on them to further convince you of where you are and the décor is stark – prison style.
15. The Murder Mystery Train, Florida, America
Any detective fans out there will love this experience. You eat dinner on a train while a mystery plays out around you. You are given clues and you get to solve the mystery, or not, depending on how good a detective you are.
The food is reportedly delicious, while the theatrical part is slightly ‘retro’. Anyone who has eaten here did say it was worth trying.
16. Mars Restaurant, New York, USA
In Times Square you can experience a trip to Mars, at least according to a themed restaurant. Waiters dressed as Martians greet you in a planet like area, and the food has Martian names – Martian Seafood Platter – hardly original but popular.
17. Eternity Restaurant, Ukraine
If you want to eat in a coffin take a trip to the Eternity restaurant.
The eatery is inside a giant coffin, (the largest coffin in the world according to Guinness World Records), and the menu has death-related names for the food, while you eat next to a coffin.
18. Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament, Florida (and 8 other cities)
Want to eat in a castle and wear a crown? Try Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament in Florida. Here you get dinner and a medieval show including Knights in shining armor, sword-fighting, jousting, and medieval games.
19. Wizard of the Opera, Tokyo
This restaurant seems to be loosely based on Phantom of the Opera and has lots of red velvet décor and music-related food. As you eat the background music is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera soundtrack.
20. D.S. Music Restaurant, Taipei, Taiwan
Do not be fooled by the name as this restaurant is not about music. Basically, you are having dinner in a hospital.
The staff wear nurse’s uniforms and push you to your table in a wheelchair. Drinks come in an IV-type thing from the ceiling, (you don’t get it stuck in your arm), from which a ‘nurse’ squirts your drink into your mouth.