Sometimes, a classic rump steak accompanied by a glass of red in a pleasant restaurant can be kind of … boring.
But the good news is if you’re looking to amp up your dining experiences there are plenty of weird and wonderful restaurants you can try out around the world.
From curries served in miniature toilets, gourmet cuisine dished up under the ocean to a bizarre “medical prison” where guests are yelled at by nurses to finish their food, these restaurants don’t just offer a meal, but a complete sensory experience.
From the quirky to the downright weird, here are 10 one-of-a-kind dining experiences from around the globe.
A side dish of robots and lasers
If you like your dinner with a side of giant rampaging robots and lasers, check out the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo. In the Shinjuku district, this nightly cabaret show features giant neon robots, flashing lights, techno music and taiko drums. The food isn’t great, but when you’re being entertained by all kinds of robots including sharks, dinosaurs, action heroes and pandas surrounded by bikinied go-go dancers, does it really matter?
Eat straight from the toilet bowl
Ever wondered what it's like to eat from a toilet bowl? Me neither. But in the city of Taipei in Taiwan you can find out at a toilet-themed eatery called Modern Toilet. Meals are served in small replicas of loos, and diners sit on toilets (thankfully not connected to plumbing) while they eat. Dishes like curries, stir fries and hotpots are served in miniature potties, while drinks are served in glasses shaped like urinals. The signature dessert is, unsurprisingly, a big pile of soft serve chocolate ice cream. The idea for this bizarre restaurant came about while one of the owners was sitting - where else - but on the toilet.
Dine with the fishes
Dine 16 feet below the sea at the incredible Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, located on Rangali Island in the Maldives. The all-glass restaurant is encased in a transparent acrylic roof, offering 180-degree panoramic views of sea creatures swimming past in crystal clear waters. The restaurant serves contemporary European cuisine in a six-course set dinner menu featuring fresh seafood, veal, beef rib eye and more.
Dinner in the sky
If you like your dinner with perhaps a side of vertigo, then check out Dinner in the Sky, an “open air” restaurant suspended by a crane above Parc Cinquantenaire in Brussels, Belgium. Diners are strapped into chairs which swivel (so they can properly check out the spectacular views) and are treated to a gastronomic experience cooked up by world famous chefs. The concept began in 2006 in Brussels but is now replicated in 55 countries around the world.
Once you’ve been guided across a setting designed to look like a 15th-century Japanese feudal village, featuring snaking passageways, dark nooks and fake boulders, costume-clad ninja servers will swoop in to serve you sushi and sake at Ninja New York. Your ninja servers (in black costumes, of course) will bow, yelp and perform tricks, ninja-style. Alongside the kooky performances and setting, you’ll enjoy signature dishes like king crab with mango and black Angus teriyaki steak with risotto.
Eat among the tree tops
Take your dining to new heights with the Treepod Dining experience at the Soneva Kiri resort in Thailand. Here, guests are wined and dined while seated in a bamboo pod suspended from a tree by ropes, high above a tropical rainforest. First, you’ll be hoisted up 16 feet into the foliage. Once you're safely seated in the custom-made bamboo pod, food and drinks are then delivered to you in style by a zip-lining waiter.
Pig out like a prisoner
If you want to know what it’s like to dine like a prisoner without committing any crimes, check out Tokyo’s Alcatraz ER. Diners at this “medical prison” are handcuffed and brought to their cells where they are served by nurse waitresses who demand they finish their food. The restaurant is meant to mimic the experience of eating inside a blood-spattered emergency room of a high-security prison. While it’s strange enough that Alcatraz ER is a cross between a hospital and jail, it also serves anatomically correct, genitalia-themed food.
Dining in the dark
First introduced in Canada in 2006 with the opening of O.NOIR in Montreal, dining in the dark’s philosophy is that when sight is eliminated, diners’ enjoyment is enhanced. In other words, when you “dine in the dark” without the sense of sight, your other senses of taste, touch, smell and hearing are amplified. The evening begins in a lit bar before diners are led into a darkened dining room. A two-hour seated dinner service begins and servers explain where everything is on the table. The restaurant takes the concept so seriously it bans the use of cell phones, flashlights, cigarette lighters, matches and luminous watches.
Enjoy an icy feast
Feast on hearty Lappish cuisine like sautéed reindeer at the Ice Restaurant, where the temperature is always between -2 and -5 Celsius degrees. Located in Lainiotie, Finland, everything inside is made of ice and snow and illuminated with candles and colorful lights. Dinner is a 3-course menu.
Pie in the Sky
Chow down on Chicago deep dish pizza - served 1,353 feet above the Windy City at The Ledge restaurant. One of Chicago's most popular tourist attractions, the restaurant is located on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower, which is the eighth-tallest building in the world. The restaurant is essentially a glass box which extends four feet outside the tower. After hours, diners with a sense of adventure can enjoy the “Pie in the Sky” experience by ordering a world famous Chicago-style pizza with incredible views of the lit-up city below.