High-end dining just got a lot higher.
Just when you think going out to eat is losing its magic, these 10 oddly themed restaurants push the envelope and really get you your money’s worth. For some of them, food is secondary to the ambiance, or not even part of the picture. For others, the tastes of the menu items are piqued by the complementary atmosphere. Whatever you’re into – cats, ninjas, or handcuffs – a few of these restaurants are sure to make it to your bucket list.
Yellow Treehouse Café, New Zealand
The Yellow Treehouse offers a unique setting that channels the excitement of your tree-climbing days. Patrons of the restaurant dine in an illuminated pod-shaped structure perched 10-meters high in a Redwood tree. The pod can hold 30 guests at one time. As for the food, it stays grounded – all dishes are fresh, seasonal, and adapt to clients’ needs.
Cabbages & Condoms, Bangkok
As its namesake suggests, the food at Cabbages & Condoms is “guaranteed not to cause pregnancy.” The restaurant was created to support the Population and Community Development Association, an organization that provides sex/AIDS education and awareness. The garden restaurant is an introduction to Thai food – in only the safest way possible – and instead of mint favors on your way out, you’re given a box of condoms.
Calico Cat Café, Tokyo
Imagine going to a café that only serves cat food, but there’s a chance that it’s too crowded to get a seat. The Calico Cat Café in Tokyo is just that popular. The café caters to your love for coddling and feeding cats sans the commitment. Patrons are asked to sanitize their hands and remove their shoes upon entering and to abide by set rules: do not hold or stroke a cat if it resists you, do not wake a napping cat, do not hold cats with scarves around their necks (they are too young), and do not bring cat nip or cat food to the café. For $9 per adorable hour, the café is a bargain. Only, you’ll leave hungry.
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Maldives
The magical Ithaa Undersea Restaurant is the first of its kind in the world. The restaurant is located 5 meters (16 feet) under water off the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island and serves contemporary Asian-inspired European cuisine. The restaurant is encased in R-Cast acrylic and can host 14 people at one time, offering a 270° panoramic underwater view.
Unsicht-Bar, Cologne and Berlin
Heighten your other senses by taking away one very important one: sight. The Unsicht-Bar, with locations in Cologne and Berlin in Germany, uses the dark to strip patrons of their vision and take them on a culinary adventure that requires they focus more on taste, temperature, texture and smell. All light is forbidden, including that coming from watches and cellphones. The restaurant’s waiters are also either blind or visually impaired. The food, which is described enigmatically to leave an element of surprise, is served in a context-appropriate manner, avoiding a confusion of flavors or a potential mess. The flavors are simple, but profound in that they are enjoyed in an entirely new way – without visual prejudgment.
Ninja New York, New York City
Japanese cuisine just got more interesting. At Ninja New York, diners are wowed, and often at the edge of their seats, with ninjas jumping around, pop rocks on sushi rolls, smoke machine action, magicians, and an overall festive and upbeat atmosphere. The restaurant’s décor aspires to mimic a ninja village from the feudal days, providing patrons with a sense of what it was like back when.
Chill Out, Dubai
As if Dubai has not enough marvels as is, the city offers a unique way to, well, chill out. Chill Out is an architecturally fascinating refrigerator lounge with special lighting and design works that highlight the innovativeness of the frozen structures. Before entering the bar, Patrons are offered thermal clothing – parka, shoes, and gloves – and are then led to the Eskimo oasis. A complimentary mocktail or hot chocolate welcomes you.
Devil Island Prison Restaurant, China
This restaurant was initially conceptualized to scare people from a life of crime. Upon entering this restaurant, patrons are allocated a number, photographed, fingerprinted, and optionally handcuffed. The interior of the restaurant is designed after a prison, with sliding jail doors, metal floors, and rusty iron bars. Patrons dine in a prison cell and are served by waiters dressed in black-and-white striped inmate uniforms. Food includes fried, coffin-shaped bread.
Dinner In The Sky, Worldwide
Suspended 50-meters high by a crane, diners at Dinner in the Sky can host an event practically anywhere. The table is equipped with 22 seats, one chef, one waiter, and one entertainer. Dinner in the Sky operates in more than 15 countries, including the U.S., Canada, Australia, and South Africa. The event can be hosted for up to 8 hours, with the time fragmented – people can come and go at whatever interval of time. As for a bathroom break, have no fear, the crane will lower for relief without interrupting the experience for more than a few minutes.
Marton Theme Restaurant, Taiwan
Originally serving chocolate ice cream in toilet-shaped containers, Marton Theme Restaurant has certainly gained quite the fanfare over the years. There are now Marton restaurants across Taiwan and the company has recently changed the name of its restaurants to “Modern Toilet Restaurant,” all of which offer a full menu that can be enjoyed whilst sitting atop a toilet.
Images: Jeremiah Ro, Meredith P., Carsten Lorenzten, Karendotcom127, Wonder Bus Tours Dubai, Smart Travelers