These 8 Unique Dining Experiences Will Blow Your Mind
Sure, there are plenty of restaurants with 360-degrees views, but how many are perched in a rain forest canopy? You'll find countless seaside restaurants around the world, but how about one where you can dine under the sea? We'll tell you where. These eight unique dining experiences are some of the most memorable meals you'll have anywhere. Just be sure to book ahead!
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Maldives
Yes, there are plenty of restaurants located on farms and vineyards—but under the sea? Conrad Maldives Rangali Island's Ithaa Undersea Restaurant is submerged 15 feet below sea level in one of the most pristine bodies of water on earth. (Ithaa means "mother-of-pearl" in Dhivehi, a subtle nod to its oceanic address.) Here, diners are treated to a six-course seafood dinner inside an all-glass tunnel, where you can watch vibrant fish, stingrays, and the occasional shark swim all around you—without ever having to putting on a wetsuit.
Soneva Kiri Resort, Thailand
This is not the treehouse of your childhood. At Soneva Kiri, on tropical Kp Kut island in southern Thailand, you can dine in a bamboo tree pod overlooking an ancient rainforest and a glimmering sea. If that’s not enough to wow you, how about this: your waiter serves every dish of your meal via a zip-line. (Talk about a balancing act!) Want the dining experience without committing to a full meal? They also offer high tea—pun intended.
In Situ, MoMa, San Francisco
At the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, even the art is edible. Well, at least the art on the menu at In Situ, the museum’s Michelin-starred restaurant. Here, head chef Corey Lee works with famous chefs from around the world (Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, René Redzepi) to feature their most sought-after signature dishes, so you can eat the some of the world’s best fare all in one sitting. The slow-cooked farm egg from Cassidee Dabney of Blackberry Farm, shrimp grits from Wylie Dufresne's now-shuttered wd~50, and cheesecake from Spain's Albert Adrià are just a few of the recent stars in this "collection."
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SnowCastle of Kemi, Finland
Located inside Finland's famed SnowCastle of Kemi, the winter-only dining experience at SnowRestaurant is likely to be unlike any place you’ve ever dined before. While the food is good (hearty dishes like parsnip soup, braised beef brisket, and Arctic berry crumble), it’s the setting that draws patrons from around the globe: every winter season, the entire castle is sculpted from scratch using only ice and snow. Even the illuminated dining tables at its 200-seat restaurant are carved from frozen seawater. (Don't worry, though—fur-topped tree stumps keep you warm.)
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Ali Barbour's Cave Restaurant, Kenya
Looking to wow your date with a romantic, candle-lit evening under the stars? It doesn't get more dramatic than Ali Barbour's Cave Restaurant in southern Kenya, whose dining room sits inside a natural coral cave 30 feet underground that's estimated to be 180,000 years old. You're going to want to save this one for a special occasion, because despite the rustic setting, tables are topped with white tablecloths and the menu leans towards fine dining with an emphasis on seafood. Go for the pan-grilled barracuda or chili crab, and don't forget to look up between bites: the natural hole in the cave’s ceiling lets you see stars or the moon on a clear evening.
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Opaque Santa Monica, CA
While lots of restaurants are designed to intensify the senses with views or music, Opaque in Santa Monica takes an alternative approach: dining in complete darkness. If the idea of being in the dark doesn’t scare you, the philosophy is quite intriguing: taking away your visual sense allows your other senses—like taste—to heighten the experience. Most of the menu sticks to popular dinner entrées like filet mignon, salmon, or pasta, but because it changes daily, is often as surprising as the ambiance.
The Redwoods Treehouse, New Zealand
New Zealand's The Redwoods Treehouse, just north of Auckland, lets you dine while completely immersed in nature, but don’t expect to just show up. This private restaurant—a nest-like pod built from milled redwood that sits 131 feet above the forest floor—is available exclusively for groups, so you and your closest friends can have it all to yourselves (take note, brides-to-be!). Once you arrive, you'll understand why you won't want anyone else there: after crossing the elevated treetop walkway to your 30-seat table, you'll get to enjoy a stunningly peaceful bird's-eye view of the surrounding redwood forest.
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London’s Circus restaurant and bar in Covent Garden gives a whole new meaning to the term “dinner and a show.” Here, the dining room (and often the table, too) is a stage where expert cabaret performers and acrobats dance and twirl while you dine on pan-Asian food and craft cocktails. Costume fans will particularly appreciate the stunning wardrobes worn by the performers, while night owls will love the weekend shows, when DJs (and dancing on tables, on a good night) bump things up a notch.
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