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Unusual, Unique Dining Experiences at Restaurants around the World

Updated on July 15, 2011

Some people dine out at the same places over and over again. Other people dine out a variety of different restaurants but typically end up getting the same basic set of cuisine. There's nothing wrong but that but once you've eating at so many Chinese, Italian and Mexican restaurants it can be difficult to really find any of them to be all that exciting. If you want to go beyond the basics of dining out then you need to seek out more unusual restaurants. There are restaurants around the world that offer unique dining experiences that add a new twist to the old story of just going out to eat.

Here are some of the most unique dining experiences that you can find around the world:

  • Underground dining. This is a trend sweeping the world that is typically only found in trendy urban areas. For example, it's become popular in the San Francisco Bay Area. This trend takes the chef and dining experience out of the traditional restaurant setting and brings it to places like art galleries and libraries. The point is to really appreciate the art behind the cooking of meals. It's a word-of-mouth kind of dining experience but if you ask around, you can find it. The Ghetto Gourmet is one example of an underground dining experience that's come a little bit more above ground.
  • Dining in the dark. When you remove one of your senses, the others are heightened. So if you were take away your eyesight, you would find that your sense of taste would get stronger. That's the idea behind these restaurants where the room that you dine in is pitch black and the waiters that serve you are usually blind. The meals are top-notch and come at a high price but what you're paying for is really the experience. The Opaque restaurant chain is an example of this kind of dining experience.
  • Hospital-themed restaurant. Believe it or not, there is more than one hospital-themed restaurant in the world. One example is D.S. Music Restaurant in Taipei where you can order "medicine" (drinks) that come down to your glass through IV tubes hanging down from the ceiling. Sexy nurses serve your meals at this restaurant which is planning to open multiple locations in the near future. Similar restaurants can be found in other places throughout Asia.
  • Eating in bed. Who doesn't like the idea of being served breakfast in bed? Take things a step further and imagine dressing up for a night out at a luxurious restaurant where your table is a bed and your waiter comes to serve you in it. These are typically sexy restaurants in trendy cities. B.E.D. in Miami is one example of this type of restaurant but they can be found throughout the world.
  • Dine in a prison. There are several different restaurants around the world with a prison theme. For example, Russian hockey star Evgeni Malkin opened an upscale prison-themed restaurant in 2006 which is designed to look just like a prison inside. A wooden plank serves as your seat and a sexy warden will bring you your meal. For something even more intense, some have dined in Pisa at the Volterra Prison. The eatery here is upscale but you're actually paying to dine in a real working prison which requires you to check through security and where you'll be fed by actual prisoners.
  • Bid for your meal. There are a few restaurants in the world, such as Tinterro in Spain, where you don't actually order off of a menu but instead bid on your food against others as it goes by. The dishes are all prepared for you to choose from and you have to be vocal and active to get yourself a good plate. If you're not, you're going to miss out and be stuck with whatever is left at the end.
  • Dinner in the Sky. What do you think about the idea of having a table for 20+ people suspended 50 meters up in there so that you can dine up in the sky? It's something that's going on all over the place as people order up Dinner in the Sky for their events. Golf courses and vineyards are popular sites for having Dinner in the Sky but almost anywhere will do.
  • Ice restaurants. You've probably heard of the option to stay at an ice hotel on your vacation; did you know that it's also possible to eat an ice restaurant? The tables and chairs are made from ice and you're surrounded by beautiful ice sculptures in a setting unlike what you'll find in any other type of restaurant. There are quite a few of these in places around the world but perhaps one of the most unique is Chillout, an ice restaurant located in Dubai which is one of the hottest parts of the world.
  • Be served by little people. Sometimes you just need to change one little piece of an equation and the whole experience will be different. There area several restaurants around the world where you can be served your meal by a staff of dwarves. There are also a few restaurants where children will serve your meal. If you're interested in having a waiter that's different from the norm then these are good dining bets.
  • Pay what you want to pay. If you haven't already had this dining experience, then you're missing out. There are numerous pay-what-you-want restaurants in all parts of the world which give you the chance to get some really great food at a low cost. That is, if you're willing to be that guy who is the cheapskate at the restaurant. Terra Bite in Washington is one example of this type of restaurant.

There are many different really unique dining experiences out there. Why continue to eat at the same boring types of places that everyone else is eating at when you can dine at a place that offers a truly different way to eat your meal?


Submit a Comment
  • Robert Erich profile image

    Robert Erich 

    6 years ago from California

    This is an awesome article! I am certainly going to share it on the Facebook page Seeing the World. Great writing.

  • rikabothra profile image


    7 years ago

    wow!! This is one of the coolest hubs I have read... I wish I could try out all these dining experiences! From today I have more things on my to-do list!

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    the full directory of unusual restaurants - with Google map. ALL OF THE ABOVE and many many strange and unique places

  • bwhite062007 profile image

    Brianna W 

    7 years ago from East Coast

    Very interesting article. I did not know about all these unique resturaunts.

  • MOORESHOES profile image


    7 years ago from USA

    I wish I have the opportunity to travel those!

  • ahostagesituation profile image


    7 years ago

    What a completely interesting hub. I went out for steak above ground, with lights on, and not being served by little people tonight...makes our night sound so lame. Thanks for the hub!

  • PaperNotes profile image


    7 years ago

    Unusual dining indeed! The dining in the dark, can be a spooky experience. I don't know if I would enjoy it because I personally would like to see what I am eating.

  • profile image 

    7 years ago

    This looks very interesting

  • tropical459 profile image


    7 years ago

    Eating with the local people all over the world is another great experience. The website connects travellers with local people willing to cook for them in their homes all over the world. It is free to join and free to use and gives an insight into the culture of a country whilst adding a new dimension to a holiday.

  • craigmissuea profile image


    8 years ago from USA

    Dining in different way is quite exciting. You have mentioned innovative ways to dine in a clear manner.

  • video-marketing profile image


    8 years ago from Australia

    Great hub. Those were lovely dining places.

    Gideon Shalwick

  • profile image


    8 years ago from uk

    Some of these are amazing! I bet they cost a few £ though.

    I live in a small town in England, and the only unusual dining experience here is having something without chips :-)

  • profile image


    8 years ago from India

    I love it, do you know how to get ahold of the guys in San Fransisco as I am going there next month and would love to dine at an underground restaurant in SF. I was just at an underground restaurant in NYC and it was really good. But I must say they need some help with their ordering system!

  • cocopreme profile image

    Candace Bacon 

    8 years ago from Far, far away

    I've seen the hospital and prison themed restaurants on Travel Channel shows. I've never seen the ice themed restaurant. That would be an amazing place to eat.

  • ExpandYourMind profile image


    8 years ago from Midwest USA

    Thanks for presenting a different take on the dining experience!

  • Cassidella profile image


    8 years ago

    Hi Kathryn, very interesting hub. Dining in prison, being checked in, and served by inmates. Huh? That would have to be an unforgettable dining experience!

  • profile image

    Dining Coupons 

    8 years ago

    Hi Kathryn,

    Great page!

    Dining in the dark sounds interesting but I'm afraid of the dark. Maybe they'll let me have a flashlight :). I always wanted to make a restaurant wired with web cameras so the patrons could click to different areas of the restaurant and watch other patrons eat or watch the cooks prepare their meals.

  • Jessay profile image


    9 years ago from USA

    You are awesome. Who knew? If you combine some of those restaurant themes it would really be surreal. Anyhow, that was very interesting. Thanks for the info.

  • starrkissed profile image


    10 years ago from Arizona

    wow, this is a great idea! i'd like to experience these sometime. great hub!

  • PlayaNorte profile image


    10 years ago from San Francisco, CA

    This is great, i am a super foodie and I have never heard of some of these. Another great outside experience is Oustanding the Field. They take well known restaurant chefs and serve at local farms or other outdoor settings. I have not had a chance to go yet but I have several friends who have attended and loved it.

  • sun goddess profile image

    sun goddess 

    10 years ago from davao city, philippines

    the whole hospital themed resto seems a bit... offbeat... I've always hated hospital food and the whole hospital theme won't help my appetite too... Though there is one unique restaurant in Taiwan where dishes and seats are regular toilet fixtures. Imagine having to eat while you're sitting on a crapper... you can check it out in here...

  • larenels profile image


    10 years ago from Utah - USA

    We are starting to travel more these days. It's interesting to look out for different experinces that you can have with restrauants. I apprecaite your insights.

  • desert blondie profile image

    desert blondie 

    10 years ago from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen

    I've done the eat in bed bit...seemed chic and so "now" but awkward. And have done the eat in prison, which was practically an eat underground experience as this jail's cells had been carved out of rock...cold, clammy, claustrophobic and a bit spooky. Ate at a place in San Francisco once where diners climbed a glass staircase to eat on second floor, which was also glass, the floor that is...below us were the kitchens and wine storage and bar area all for viewing through our feet! would have been a nicer adventure, but the engineering was such that the floor still wobbled too much each time a waiter or others walked by...made for a tenous feeling dining experience!

  • Linc2010 profile image


    10 years ago from Whiting, IN USA

    Cool Hub! Great information

  • Marlene_OnTheWall profile image


    10 years ago from Singapore

    Great hub! I'd heard of some of these dining experiences, but not others. I think the first I heard of dining in the dark was in an episode of CSI. And I've heard of people trying the dining in bed concept in Thailand.

    All these are a bit gimmicky for me (what happened to enjoying a night of good food and good company?), but I sure enjoyed reading about them. Thanks.

  • nebulousecho profile image


    10 years ago from Orono, ME

    One of those hospital restaurants was featured on Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations on the Singapore show. I don't know if that's what made you add that to the list or not, but if it isn't then it's worth checking out.


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