33 Weird Restaurants Where Food Isn’t The Focal Point Of Attraction
Since eating is such a regular part of life, we rarely remember what we had for breakfast a week ago or can recall what we had for dinner on a date that never went any further. That is because we better remember things and details that arouse our emotions. You might remember the particular flavor of ice cream you ate on the day you broke up with your partner or the dessert you had on your first date with your now-husband. Similarly, you might remember eating at that weird restaurant that had you soak your feet in the water or catch your own dinner.
Taking your dining experience to the next level and turning your meal almost into a quest is the goal of many of these weird restaurants and crazy eateries that provide their guests with so much more than just delicious food. Although these crazy restaurants could be locations where you return more than just once, it's more about the experience and emotions evoked on your first-ever visit there. Also, really cool restaurants are usually hella expensive, which is another reason why you may limit yourself to just one visit. Yet, even if the money was no issue, with so many unique restaurants with unconventional concepts around the world, it's always a good idea to try something new and experience something you never have before. While not all strange restaurants might be your cup of tea (perhaps the idea of having your dinner 150 feet above the ground makes you sick), it's all about the one-of-a-kind experience you will remember for years to come.
Below, we've compiled a list of some of the most unique restaurants around the world worth including on your gastronomic bucket list. As always, if any of these weirdest restaurants piqued your interest, make sure to give them an upvote. And as with our previous lists of recommended locations, we invite you to share your thoughts about the places you have been to and let us know if you spot any discrepancies in our descriptions. And now, onto a gastronomic adventure!
Labassin Waterfall Restaurant - Villa Escudero, Philippines
If your idea of fun involves eating and taking a foot bath simultaneously—Labassin Waterfall restaurant has got you covered. This buffet-style restaurant offers a sophisticated experience encased in unparalleled deliciousness with a dash of nature. It allows you to experience a variety of regional flavors while soaking your feet in the shallow running water as the stream softly tickles your feet and the sound of flowing water calms you down. Bamboo tables are situated right next to a man-made waterfall, so even though you could potentially get drenched while eating, eating next to a waterfall is an unforgettable experience that you cannot miss when in the area.
Cabbages And Condoms - Bangkok, Thailand
Apparently, the owner Mechai Viravaidya, also known as "Mr. Condom," said that condoms should be like cabbages (the most common vegetable in Thailand)—found everywhere. And this is pretty much the story behind the very peculiar name of the restaurant. However, the restaurant doesn't operate like your average eatery; it runs as a "Business for Social Progress," with all revenues going to projects for primary healthcare, education, HIV/AIDS awareness, rural development, and environmental protection, among other things.
Fortezza Medicea Restaurant - Volterra, Italy
Cell phones and bags are not permitted inside the prison, and all visitors are subjected to a metal search at entry. The same rules apply to visitors of this restaurant, situated in an actual high-security prison. You will be fed your one square a day, and, naturally, you will eat it with plastic utensils at this restaurant within a jail. Also, all the restaurant's "employees" are actually inmates serving time in the old prison. The prisoners themselves cook the meals and serve them to guests. Apparently, the restaurant was established as part of an inmate rehabilitation scheme. And honestly, working in customer service changes you, so they might be on to something.
Witches In Britches - Melbourne, Australia
If Halloween is your favorite holiday of the year and you don't mind a good show after you just had your delicious meal and some dessert in between—Witches In Britches might give you the experience of your dreams. Think of a restaurant decorated for Halloween all year round and all the Halloween-themed drinks to accompany your supper. And if this wasn't enough, you may round off your evening and dance the night and calories away at Witches Disco!
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant - Rangali Island, Maldives
Try eating your reef fish tartare at sea level if you're one of those folks who loves to know where their food comes from. This spectacular restaurant in the Maldives has been making headlines ever since it opened. Plunged five meters below sea level, the restaurant features curved glass walls that provide diners with amazing 270-degree panoramic views of technicolor marine life. Imagine colorful reef fish, manta rays, sharks, and turtles swimming around you as you enjoy dishes like caviar, Agnotti of duck, or Maldivian lobster carpaccio. If you have a gastronomic bucket list, this is one experience you won't want to miss.
Grotta Palazzese - Polignano A Mare, Italy
The Grotta Palazzese restaurant is recognized as one of the world's most beautiful locations. It is a must-visit for anybody looking to have an exceptional experience, thanks to the location's peculiarity and the cuisine's refinement. Allegedly, the cave has been the site of festivities since the year 700! The cuisine, enriched with regional flavors and a contemporary twist, only enhances it. There's also something about being ensconced inside a castle of granite like that, sheltered from the might of the ocean beyond. It's truly magical.
De Kas - Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Everyone with a garden would attest to the superiority of cooking with fresh ingredients you have produced yourself. Imagine a restaurant where the dishes on the menu are made using the freshest ingredients possible. By freshest, we mean items plucked from the field right at dawn on the day you eat there. Welcome to De Kas, a unique restaurant and nursery, formerly an old greenhouse in Amsterdam. Mediterranean vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers are produced and collected in the greenhouse and garden next to the restaurant. Imagine eating within a greenhouse while gazing up at the stars and taking in views of neighboring greenhouses where fruits, veggies, and herbs are being grown. It's an unearthly experience while being super close to the ground.
Rollercoaster Restaurant - Forbidden Valley, Alton, UK
No more chasing down a server. Each table in this restaurant receives meals and beverages thanks to gravity through a stainless steel rollercoaster. The Rollercoaster Restaurant, part of the Alton Towers Resort, is located underneath a rollercoaster track. Here, you can watch your orders navigate two gravity-defying loop-the-loops before falling 8 meters (the height of two double-decker buses) down the twister spiral to the table. For a gastronomic journey that can include everything from a burger to a mocktail named “Funky Express,” make a reservation and board the train.
Dans Le Noir (In The Dark) - Multiple Locations
You might have heard that a dim setting is preferred in restaurants since multiple studies demonstrated that dim lighting enhances taste perceptions, suggesting that the less light, the better the bite. Well, Dans Le Noir took it to a whole new level. The restaurant offers its customers a wide selection of meals to enjoy in pitch-black darkness. At first, eating your mystery dinner in complete blackness could seem a little intimidating, especially if you're concerned about slips and spillage. Nevertheless, we believe you'll find the experience liberating once you get used to it. Also, darkness does not regard table etiquette, so feel free to use your fingers, lick the bowl, and rest your elbows on the table!
The Airplane Restaurant - Colorado Springs, Colorado
As the name implies, this distinctive restaurant is housed within a KC-97 that is still fully intact. The aircraft was built in 1953 and changed into a restaurant in 2002 for its second mission. And the food is far better than what you would often find on an airplane! Available for lunch and supper, the restaurant serves traditional American fare and features a room filled with mementos and unique aviation artifacts. Not only great food but also a flight through aviation history.
Alcatraz E.R. - Tokyo, Japan
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be thrown in jail? Although being crammed into a bar cell is obviously not something we would wish to experience in real life, there is one location where you can get a taste of it. In Japan's Alcatraz E.R. restaurant, your meal will be delivered to you in a macabre recreation of a medical prison, complete with blood and gore. The Restaurant was created to send shivers down your spine, and thus far, it has excelled in that endeavor. Who wouldn't want to be served brain-shaped meat and drink cocktails from a mannequin head while sitting on the floor of a prison cell? Sign us up.
Christon Cafe - Tokyo, Japan
In Japan, Christianity doesn't have the same deep roots as in many Western countries. This may be why restaurant owners not only get away with operating a café with a medieval Catholic motif but also why such a business is thriving. While waiting for the food, guests may forget they are not in a cathedral or a church due to the soaring ceilings, candlelight chandeliers, plush velvet drapes, gleaming gold and marble tabletops, stained glass, and polished wooden altars. The restaurant also has a distinct gothic vibe, with gargoyles looming in the corners, cross- and coffin-shaped menus, and organ music to accompany your meal.
Chillout Ice Lounge - Dubai, UAE
This Ice Restaurant will offer you a flavor of what it's like to eat amidst glaciers. Everything in this restaurant is made of ice, including the tables, chairs, and interior decor. Even the beverages are provided in iced glasses! In the only ice lounge in the Middle East, hot drinks and a range of traditional hot meals are also offered to help ward off the cold temperature. Put on a warm coat in advance because it will be below six degrees when you arrive!
Bird’s Nest Restaurant - Koh Kood, Trat Province, Thailand
The name speaks for itself. This little tree pod restaurant is located in a charming setting on one of the numerous trees in Thailand's Soneva Kiri Eco Resort. It's meant to resemble a bird's nest placed high in a tree. The idea was to provide a unique eating environment where customers could enjoy their meals while being raised at least 16 feet above the ground. In addition to the fantastic panorama of the vicinity, the coolest part is having all that mouthwatering food carried to you by zip-lining waiters. It's unique, it's crazy and very romantic.
Vampire Cafe - Tokyo, Japan
If re-watching The Vampire Diaries isn’t enough to quench your thirst for vampires, visiting the Vampire Café might. This mysterious café will awaken your inner vampire with its macabre decor of coffins, fake blood, mirrors, red drapes, and its equally spooky cuisine. Every little aspect, including the dishes and atmosphere, is designed to create an eerie eating scene. Naturally, this restaurant is only open at night and offers themed specialties like glowing blue Dracula, the sparkling green Vampire Castle, and the Evil Hot Chicken. Blood-curdling names, indeed!
Robot Restaurant - Tokyo, Japan
It's no secret that the Japanese are the leaders of the robot revolution. The Robot Restaurant in Tokyo is a peek into the future that you won't soon forget. This place is for you if you enjoy your supper with a side of strobe lights, pounding sounds, and crazy dance performances by robots and half-naked women. Who would actually want to dine at another typical restaurant? Yet still, this place isn't at all about food. Food is more of a bonus. At the moment, the restaurant is temporarily closed until further notice.
New Lucky Restaurant - Ahmedabad, India
The New Lucky Restaurant in India fulfills proposals to dine with the deceased. No, but seriously, graveyard dining is a real thing. Instead of disturbing the dead's final resting place, the restaurant's owner, Krishnan Kutti, decided to capitalize on the dilemma and build a restaurant accommodating an old Muslim cemetery. Kutti chose not to pave over the graves or disinter them; instead, he built his restaurant around them, making the burial sites the central focus. Except for that small measure of protection and barrier—steel bars around the graves to prevent people from stepping on them—the deceased are your dinner companions. Although there haven't been any reports of ghost sightings so far, a visit would be interesting.
Alux Restaurant - Riviera Maya, Mexico
This experience could be more appropriate for individuals who are too terrified of heights or eating above the clouds. Alux, a cave-based restaurant, serves Mexican cuisine with “international touches.” While the menu offers fresh foods like grilled octopus and duck confit, the location is anything but: the cave is more than 10,000 years old. Also, you might expect a few bats to fly throughout.
Modern Toilet - Taipei, Taiwan
Contrary to what most decent folk would advise, this restaurant turns a deaf ear to the notion that you shouldn't poop where you eat. Expect dishware shaped like toilet bowls, acrylic toilets that double as dining chairs, rolls of toilet paper instead of napkins, and glass-topped sinks that double as dining tables. It's an obvious choice for dessert—chocolate ice cream swirled like a 💩. Hopefully, finding the restroom isn't a problem.
The Royal Dragon - Bangkok, Thailand
If there is one thing you need to know about the location, it is how big it is. This restaurant, sprawled across 8.35 acres and staffed by more than 1000 people, is notorious for being able to host 5000 customers at one time. But that's not all—although the Royal Dragon bills itself as a seafood restaurant, it offers almost 1000 pan-Asian dishes, which is an overwhelming amount of diversity. Visiting this place is like diving into a sea of extravaganza since many musical, dance, and martial arts acts are performed here. Oh, and the best (yet unusual) bit is that waiters will roller skate or, literally, fly through the air to take and deliver your orders. That's what we call speedy service!
The Safe House - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
You and your fellow spies are invited to take part in Milwaukee's best-kept secret. Once inside, you'll find many spy posters, images, and memorabilia, added over time with careful thought. With a focus on the 1960s, most of the famous fictional spies are featured, including several Bonds, The Man from UNCLE, Maxwell Smart, and even Quiller. But hold on—you are mistaken if you believe accessing The Safe House is easy. To enter the Safe House, in fact, you must know the password. You'll find an agent watching the entry and ensuring each spy knows the password. Anyone not knowing the password must complete a clearance test to show they are not double agents.
El Diablo - Teguise, Spain
The phrase “That meal was scorching hot” takes on new meaning in this Spanish restaurant situated atop a volcano. In this grill restaurant in the heart of Timanfaya National Park, temperatures climb to almost 450 degrees Celsius, and your food is prepared in a one-of-a-kind kitchen with a volcanic hole in the ground. In addition to its spectacular culinary techniques, El Diablo has a breathtaking, otherworldly panorama of Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote, a Martian landscape of red sands and volcanic rock. And hey, don’t worry about the volcano part; the last eruption of this dormant volcano occurred in 1824, so you should be alright. The geothermal heat used to cook your meal is likely the only seismic activity you will feel.
Alice's Fantasy Restaurant - Tokyo, Japan
There are several cafes and restaurants in Tokyo with an Alice in Wonderland theme, but this one tops them all. Everywhere you turn, the exquisitely designed rooms feature an Alice in Wonderland motif. Even the hallway leading to the restaurant features huge book pages with the original Alice in Wonderland drawings lining the walls. You can select your seats, choosing from sitting inside a giant teacup or sitting at tables shaped like oversized playing cards. It’s a terrific spot to escape the city and let your mind run wild with its bizarre décor and enjoyable food.
Kumoya Pop Up Cafe - Singapore
A café called Kumoya used to host pop-up events with well-known companies. Since its opening, the café has featured over 20 themes, including Little Twin Stars, My Little Pony, Cinnamoroll, and Miffy. The menu included dishes like curry rice, burgers, pasta, sides, desserts, and drinks, each lovingly decorated for each theme. And naturally, the interiors would also be done up following the same style. However, according to reports, Kumoya Cafe ceased operating on Jan. 1, 2023.
Kayabukiya Tavern - Utsunomiya, Japan
We're returning to Japan for dinner at this unique restaurant! A unique feature made this traditional sake house anything but conventional: monkeys. The Japanese eatery employed two monkeys as servers. While the adult macaque, Yat-chan, would take your drink order and deliver your beverage, the younger macaque monkey, Fuku-chan, would bring you a hot towel to wipe your hands before dinner. Also, if you wanted to tip your furry waiter, you could do so with boiled edamame. The monkeys' conditions have been scrutinized to guarantee proper care of the animals, and, due to Japanese animal protection laws, they were each only permitted to work for two hours per day. According to accounts, Kayabukiya Tavern closed its doors some time ago. Yet, the idea it had introduced still bewilders us!
Heart Attack Grill - Las Vegas, USA
Downtown Las Vegas is home to this famous hospital-themed restaurant that serves anyone weighing over 350 pounds for free. At Heart Attack Grill, orders are referred to as "prescriptions," customers are called "patients," and waitstaff are called "nurses." According to their official website, when "patients" leave their meals unfinished, they get spanked by one of the nurses. Considered an erotic gimmick, founder Dr. Jon refers to them as "Pain Management Therapy" and argues that spanks are a crucial step in healing. It's one of the few locations in Vegas where the food and waitresses, underdressed like seductive nurses, will make your heart pound faster.
Silver Clipper Dinner Flight - Melbourne, Australia
Like The Airplane Restaurant, Silver Clipper is on a mission to challenge the perception that airline cuisine is rarely something worth bragging about. This Australian tour includes a 70-minute trip on an aircraft designed in the 1940s to see the sunset over Port Phillip Bay. Each person on board receives a prepackaged airline meal and wine from the beverage cart. Passengers are urged to dress elegantly and have an adventurous attitude to fit in with the period and elegance of the DC-3. For additional bucks, you can even ask to sit in the pilot’s “jump seat” during takeoff or landing. It’s a flight well worth taking.
The Lockup - Tokyo, Japan
If eating “jail food” while being handcuffed and trapped in a cell sounds like your definition of fun, you would definitely enjoy the experience at The Lockup. After entering the “restaurant,” staff dressed in police uniforms will handcuff you and lead you to the hallway where all the prison cells are. There, you will be accused of a crime and “locked up” in one of the prison cells. Although the menu includes classic cuisine like spaghetti, salad, fried chicken, and pizza, all of the foods on the menu are either presented in a prison-themed manner or have monster-themed decorations. Sadly, as of Jul. 31, 2022, The Lockup has closed its door to visitors and is no longer operating.
Dinner In The Sky - Various Locations
Having dinner in the sky is now a reality; you don't even have to work for NASA to enjoy it! Dinner in the Sky takes dinners quite literally higher than any other restaurant. If you attend one of these dinners, you will be secured in an illuminated platform elevated 150 feet into the air by cranes. Participants in the unique dining event are served plated dishes on a fully decorated dining table, so don't worry about the wind blowing off your paper plates and utensils. Also, do all your toilet necessities beforehand if you don't want your dinner in the sky experience to end ahead of time.
Barbie Restaurant - Taipei, Taiwan
This Taipei restaurant is Barbie's Dream House turned into a reality, with everything being excessively girly, sweet, cute, and pink. The restaurant's huge pink dining space is decorated with chic pictures of Barbie donning her myriad outfits, a handbag-shaped sofa with poodle pillows, chairs with tutus, and red corset-style lacing around the seats. The restaurant staff wears pink T-shirts with the Barbie logo, tutus that match, armbands with the same design, and glitter and tiaras on their heads. Consider visiting this restaurant if you enjoy over-the-top desserts and want to revisit those old childhood Barbie-playing days.
Chicago Sweatlodge - Chicago, Illinois
Discover Turkish and Russian saunas, a near-freezing plunge pool, and a full-service restaurant in this old-world steam room spa in Illinois. Towel-wearing customers may replenish with Eastern European delicacies like pierogies and seafood soup. A visit to the Chicago Sweatlodge could be in order if you’re looking for an experience unlike any other in the Land of Lincoln. However, it’s men only!
Zauo - Multiple Locations, Japan
Zauo is the spot for you if you want your fish fresh; by fresh, we mean you get to catch one yourself with a fishing pole. Then, you may select the preparation of your fish from a varied menu. Or, you can even have one fish prepared in two different ways. For instance, you may order half the fish as sushi and the other half as tempura. At last, enjoy your catch in a boat-shaped eating room surrounded by a fish tank. The final bill may come as a jaw-dropper, but that’s all part of the fun.
The Bubble Room - Captiva, Florida, USA
One restaurant in the globe where the holiday cheer never ceases is this charming, vivid, and colorful restaurant. The room is decorated with toys, posters, and sweets from top to bottom and is set up in a way that will transport you back to a period when everyone eagerly anticipated and treasured Christmas. Even if the variety of food presented here is enough to make anyone go gaga, the sweets are where the enchantment is really at. Trying one of their mouthwatering cheesecakes is a must. At the time of writing (04/26/2023), The Bubble Room restaurant is temporarily closed for restoration.